At the end of June, the US signed the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), thereby increasing the number of countries participating in the organization to 136. IRENA was initially founded on 26 January with 75 member nations, and its membership now includes most of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as Australia, Greenland, India, Japan, and parts of South America.
|Map of IRENA’s Signatory States (as of 29 June 2009). Click to enlarge.|
IRENA will engage governments around the world in promoting a rapid transition toward the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is the location for the interim headquarters of the new agency.
The US signing was the result of careful consideration by the Obama Administration and members of Congress following the launching of IRENA in January. Ambassador Reno Harnish, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, signed the statute at the second session of the IRENA Preparatory Commission in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.