On 30 June 2008 and 1 July 2008, about 100 participants of 44 countries met in the Paul Löbe Parliament Building in Berlin, to attend two parallel workshops concerning the preparatory process for the founding of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The specific purpose of these workshops was to develop an initial work programme for IRENA and to discuss its statute and financing.
The workshops were a major stepping stone in IRENA’s formation. Participants agreed that IRENA should aim to establish itself quickly as the primary international agency for renewable energy. This echoed the sentiments expressed by attendees at the preparatory conference in advance of the agency’s creation, held in Berlin earlier this year.
Workshop I discussed the initial work programme and Articles II to V of the IRENA Statute, which address to the organisation's objective, definitions and activities. Nine main activities were identified for initial action, the details of which continue to be revised in a dynamic process using comments and contributions from country representatives. Key initial activities included the agency’s own core capacity building and providing policy advice. Consensus was reached that IRENA would not be a funding agency but instead would provide information on how Members can receive financial support. The private sector received special attention, and fit with the agency’s emphasis on an integrative policy-and-practice approach.
Participants in Workshop II debated the statute and financial mechanisms for IRENA and agreed on key elements of the agency’s organisational structure. They established three main organs (the assembly, council and secretariat) along with secondary ones. A clear distinction between the role of the main and the subsidiary organs had yet to be made. Participants broadly agreed that membership should be open to as many applicants as possible and that procedures for admitting new members and observers should be swift. Further discussion was necessary on the question of membership of international organisations, and whether private entities and states should be allowed to become observers.