x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

More management needed at IRENA

IRENA was suffering a management vacuum before the recent departure of its top official and must address its management problems to meet a growing agenda.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was suffering a management vacuum before the recent departure of its top official and must address its management problems to meet a growing agenda, a representative of Japan's delegation to the agency said yesterday.

The Abu Dhabi-based agency lost its interim director general, Helene Pelosse, last week and began a scheduled two-day meeting in Abu Dhabi yesterday to discuss a replacement and other changes.

Between now and early next year when it holds its first official assembly, IRENA will need to bulk up its middle management in addition to replacing Ms Pelosse, said Daigo Takeishi, a researcher in the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs, which is IRENA's second-largest financial contributor.

"My current view of IRENA is one where Madame Pelosse is the president of a company where there is lots of staff but no management," Mr Takeishi said yesterday on the sidelines of the closed conference. "That is why she [was] having a hard time because she has to do every item."

An official agenda for this week states that "a new interim director general will be nominated" at the conference, but Mr Takeishi said the way forward was not clear as of yesterday.

"I have no idea what is going to happen but … I think these four months we will start rearranging the organisation to have more middle management staff," he said.

A diplomatic source said the group was more likely to name an "acting director general" than a full-fledged replacement this week. A third source described the new position as "an interim replacement".

The group's progress this year has been delayed by the slow pace with which the 148 member states have ratified the IRENA treaty, Mr Takeishi said.

Today, Japan and Germany are the only members of the Group of 8 among the 42 countries that have ratified the treaty.

"I think last year when we were talking about the 2010 work programme and budget, I think we were too ambitious," he said. "Currently the secretariat is reviewing the activities and some of them we can push out to 2011."

Japan owes IRENA more than US$2.1 million (Dh7.75m) in voluntary contributions for this year's budget, according to a list of donor countries published on the agency's website on October 13, which detailed an $8.4m cash shortage.

But Mr Takeishi said Japan would pay its contribution when it became mandatory at the first official assembly, which has not been scheduled but is expected to take place in March.

Japan has in the meantime seconded three staff members to IRENA as a contribution "in kind" and closely involved itself in the group's work, Mr Takeishi said.

"We already budgeted some amount for the mandatory contribution," he said. "Japan's position is we would like to have the assembly as soon as possible and our hope is other countries will speed up the ratifications and join IRENA."

 

cstanton@thenational.ae