Italian climate negotiator selected as head of IRENA

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A European will head IRENA for the next four years. Francesco La Camera was appointed by member countries at the ninth general assembly of the multilateral renewables body yesterday.

La Camera is an Italian environmental administrator and negotiator who led his country’s team at four rounds of the UN’s COP climate change conventions. He has also served as DG for sustainable development, energy and climate at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea and was professor of environmental and land economics at the Rome Tre University.

La Camera replaced Kenyan Adnan Z Amin, who led IRENA for eight years and served during a defining period for the organization. Amin was IRENA’s first permanent DG and saw it grow to “near universality” in membership terms during his administration.

Amin, struggling with a virus during his speech yesterday, delivered a heartfelt farewell address at the ninth assembly, in which he spoke of IRENA’s accomplishments and of his belief in the bright future of the renewable energy sector.

A bright future for renewables

“Renewable energy can change the future,” said Amin. “Together, we have achieved more than could have been imagined less than a decade ago.”

Amin spoke of a series of highlights during his address, in the form of concrete tools to enable renewable adoption, including the IRENA Global Atlas, the Renewables Readiness Assessments methodology, and REmap reports. He also pointed to reports IRENA had produced during his tenure, including Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics, Roadmap to 2050, and the Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation.

One of the most profound impacts of IRENA’s work during his tenure, said Amin, was shifting the perception of renewables as being “of high costs, unreliability and uncertain future”.

“IRENA’s establishment disrupted this narrative,” he added. “Backed by comprehensive data and analyses, we played an important role in raising a dissenting, yet authoritative, voice in the global energy discourse.”

Amin also thanked IRENA’s host emirate, Abu Dhabi, and the institution’s ‘second home’, in Germany.