Profile: Adnan Amin

He is so not so well known, nor is the organization he heads. But there is renewed interest in what Adnan Amin has to say and what the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has to do. All at a time when Renewable Energy has the chance to take the world by storm. Read More


It seems as if Adnan Amin is bursting onto the international energy scene, but he has been quietly and sensibly putting his case together and getting the International Renewable Energy Agency off the ground in a responsible way. Now it is ready – as he is – to take the stage and promote its objectives.

Here’s more about the man and his mission.

Profile of Adnan Amin, Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency


Mr. Adnan Amin was appointed as the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in April 2011. In his capacity he is charged with the responsibility of establishing a sound institutional management structure and clear strategic vision for the implementation of the agency’s mandate to promote the adoption and use of renewable energy worldwide.


Mr. Amin served as Head of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat. In this function, he was responsible for overseeing the Secretariat supporting the CEB in its UN system-wide policy coordination under the Chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General and comprising the Executive Heads of UN System organisations. The CEB is the highest level interagency coordinator framework in the UN system and oversees UN coordination on Policy, Management and Field Operations.


Mr. Amin also served as the Executive Director of the Secretariat of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel, co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of Mozambique, Norway and Pakistan, on UN System-wide Coherence. The Panel undertook an ambitious and unprecedented level of consultation on development, environment, and humanitarian aspects of the work of the UN System and proposed an ambitious reform programme that still continues in the UN General Assembly under the framework of the “One UN.”  The development of coherent field operations, harmonised business practices across the United Nations System, and the establishment of a new organization, UN Women, are outcomes of the process launched by the panel.


Previously, Mr. Amin served as the Director of the New York Office of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Special Representative of the UNEP Executive Director. He was responsible for environment policy coordination and collaboration with other UN Agencies, and for outreach to civil society and the private sector. He played the lead role in supporting the ministerial-level intergovernmental process to review International Environmental Governance and UNEP’s participation in the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  He has also served from 2000-2006 as a Trustee and member of the board of directors of the Cambridge, UK-based World Conservation Monitoring Centre that is one of the premier Biodiversity information institutions in the world.


Mr. Amin is a development economist specializing in sustainable development. He is a national of Kenya.


Vision and Mission

IRENA seeks to make an impact in the world of renewable energy by maintaining a clear and independent position, providing a range of reliable and well-understood services that complement those already offered by the renewable energy community and gather existing, but scattered, activities around a central hub.

The international renewable energy community is large, resourceful, and rapidly evolving. IRENA does not duplicate what others are doing, but seeks out, establishes and develops new synergies, facilitates dialogue, and information and best practice sharing. Cooperation at the global, regional and national levels, knowledge sharing, enabling policies and enhanced capacity, as well as the encouragement of investment flows and strengthened technology and innovation, are essential elements in the Agency’s efforts. IRENA is positioning itself as a platform for all-inclusive cooperation where stakeholders can make a positive contribution to the common goals. This cooperation and partnerships are essential underpinnings of IRENA’s work.

Numerous international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations are natural and indispensable partners, as are many private sector companies who are already seizing the opportunities offered by renewable energy. Civil society groups can also contribute to the IRENA vision by being vocal advocates and observers of actions taken by governments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector. IRENA directs its principal partnership activities towards knowledge sharing, ensuring that existing information and experience is developed, organised, and made accessible in a usable format.

IRENA is uniquely positioned to bring together these different constituencies. It aims to become the convening instrument that binds all parts together and become a powerful force in advancing the agenda of the widespread adoption and use of renewable energy, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding a sustainable future.


20 Jan 2013:
REN21 joins IRENA Renewable Energy Learning Partnership 

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has welcomed aboard a new partner in global efforts to provide education, e-learning and training materials to build job skills for the growing renewable energy sector. The IRENA Renewable Energy Learning Partnership (IRELP, now includes the Paris-based Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), a global network connecting governments, industry, academia and civil society. The new partnership builds on a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by IRENA and REN21, reflecting their shared vision for the widespread deployment of renewable energy technologies.

“With investments in the renewable energy sector projected to increase from USD 257 billion [in 2011] to above USD 450 billion by 2030, new jobs and positions will emerge, requiring significantly increased numbers of qualified individuals,” said Hugo Lucas, IRENA’s Director for Knowledge, Policy, and Finance Centre.

“IRENA developed the IRELP portal to raise awareness of readily available renewable energy education and training, thereby enhancing their accessibility. The portal was created to meet the growing worldwide demand for skilled renewable energy personnel, and aims to bridge the gap between what the renewable energy market requires from applicants, and what is taught by educational systems worldwide,” he added.

IRENA’s relationship with REN21, as expressed through the MoU on education and training, will strengthen both organisations in their work to promote renewables worldwide. One of REN21’s central objectives is to promote and support the exchange of knowledge by providing links among knowledge bases worldwide, ensuring that gaps are filled by capable organisations and individuals. REN21’s global network of contacts in the renewable energy sector will play a critical role in populating the IRELP database and increasing awareness of the IRELP platform.

“Today more than 120 countries from all around the globe, more than half of them developing countries, have renewable energy policies and targets in place. A skilled workforce to implement the millions of projects will be a key success-factor for reaching these targets,” said REN21’s Executive Secretary, Christine Lins.

“Renewable energy will undoubtedly play a major role in the world’s future energy mix,” she added. “We need to create awareness and attract the best available talents to this sector. REN21’s partnership with IRENA on IRELP will help to facilitate this.”


14 Jan 2013:
IRENA launches Roadmap to double Renewable Energy by 2030 

International efforts to double the share of renewable energy by 2030 are attainable, but need to accelerate substantially if they are to be successful, according to a new global roadmap launched at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly in Abu Dhabi.

More than 150 countries are attending the two-day assembly, which has become the world’s pre-eminent policy gathering to promote the uptake of renewable energy.

The REMAP 2030 process will bring together experts and policy makers from across the globe together to assess the gap between current renewable energy projections and targets set by the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Initial results show that investment in renewable power generation, grid expansions, sustainable biomass and the use of renewable energy to generate heat needs to accelerate substantially to meet targets. Global renewable power generation will have to exceed annual expansion rates of more than 150 GW per year, compared to around 110 GW in 2011.

“REMAP 2030 clearly maps the challenge we face in meeting international targets to double the share of renewable energy worldwide,” said Adnan Amin, IRENA Director General. “The good news is that costs are falling, the technology is spreading, and countries across the world are implementing policies to make this happen. With the right political will, a world powered by clean, renewable energy is within our reach.”
IRENA is mandated by 159 countries and the European Union to promote the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, and to serve as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange. Formally established in 2011, IRENA is the first major international organization to be headquartered in the Middle East.


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