On 17 January 2013 in Abu Dhabi, over 160 countries endorsed the growth of renewable energy in a balanced global energy portfolio and noted the leading role of the UAE and Middle East. In the Declaration of the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference (ADIREC), ministers called for a doubling of the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030 under the leadership of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), capping off three days of discussions among government delegations, business leaders, NGOs, and international organizations. Held in 2013 as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the world’s largest annual sustainable energy event with over 30,000 participants, ADIREC was the fifth IREC, building upon successful outcomes in Delhi in 2010 (DIREC), Washington in 2008 (WIREC), Beijing in 2005, and Bonn in 2004. ADIREC also complemented the General Assembly of IRENA, the 159 member country organisation headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, commented: “ADIREC and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week have brought together the world’s renewable energy leaders in Abu Dhabi, home of IRENA, to debate strategies for the rapid expansion of renewable energy globally. The events spotlight the huge transformation in both global and regional energy markets, with billions of dollars of new renewable energy projects in the Gulf alone.” The renewable energy market in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region is rapidly expanding, with a diverse range of countries announcing projects and policies to harness the region’s abundance of renewable energy resources for economic growth and energy security enhancement. With its strong demographic growth, urbanization and expanding economy, as well as high temperatures, the MENA region is experiencing marked growth in energy and electricity demand, which conference participants and IRENA estimate could be met by renewable energy on a cost-competitive basis.
Supporting the discussions, REN21 launched the Renewables Global Futures Report, providing a mosaic of credible renewable energy futures, as well as the Executive Summary of the MENA Renewables Status Report, which highlights the new investment opportunities in the MENA region and the improving direction of underpinning policy frameworks.
Mr. Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman of REN21, said: “With the world’s energy dynamics becoming increasingly complex, there is a need for greater global integration and collaboration to address how the world will power its future generations. The future of renewable energy looks very different today than it did a decade ago. The recent unanimous declaration by the UN General Assembly designating 2014-2024 as the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All underscores the importance of energy to sustainable development and the need for increased use of renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources. The UAE has shown tremendous leadership in this area and will continue to do so. I would like to thank the UAE for the excellent collaboration with REN21 on ADIREC and beyond.”
ADIREC is jointly organized by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change; Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted clean energy company; and REN21, the -based renewable energy policy network.
In addition, ADIREC offered the possibility for not-for-profit non-governmental, governmental, or inter-governmental organizations to organize side events to ADIREC. The Side Events served as a forum for ADIREC participants to highlight their diverse activities in promoting the deployment of renewable energy outside the main ADIREC Ministerial sessions.