x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE wins bid to house Irena headquarters

Abu Dhabi has been chosen as the new headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, reacts to the announcement.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, reacts to the announcement.

SHARM EL SHEIKH // Abu Dhabi will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), it was announced today, after two European competitors withdrew from the race. Germany and Austria agreed to withdraw moments before a vote was to take place after reaching a compromise in which they would each house a satellite centre for the agency. IRENA will serve as a lobbying force and information centre for renewable energy policy worldwide, and its establishment in Abu Dhabi will represent the first time an international organisation headquarters is based in a developing country. The agency headquarters would receive the full support of the UAE government, pledged Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. "I would start by thanking Germany and Austria for their support for the UAE today, it certainly shows a lot of interest in our bid," Sheikh Abdullah said. "Because of the very fair, frank, competion we had very strong bids from all three countries." Details on the satellite agencies in Bonn, Germany and Vienna, Austria remained sketchy in the moments after the announcement. Germany said it would commit ?4 million to establish the centre and supply ?2-3 million annually for its operations. Austria also pledged to support for the development of a centre in its capital, but did not offer a firm financial commitment. Moments after the decision was announced, the UAE delegation of 55 members leapt to their feet with cheers and embraces. The win culminates a lengthy and aggressive diplomatic campaign by the UAE government to bring the headquarters to Abu Dhabi. The Masdar CEO Dr Sultan al Jaber said: "This is a historic agreement, we're very proud." "All countries appreciated our efforts we've had a strong support of all countries, all the countries agreed that the UAE is the best and the one who should host the agency." Dr Jabar also said there had been a consensus among the participant countries that the UAE was the best candidate. Asked what would be the next step, he said: "Execution, execution." cstanton@thenational.ae mhabboush@thenational.ae