ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, June 18 /PRNewswire/ --

- Leaders from five continents back UAE's offer to world's first international renewable energy agency

The United Arab Emirates today completed ratification of the statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), signalling to the 98 fellow member countries and the world at large their support and commitment to bringing renewable energy solutions to all nations, developed and developing. The UAE has officially submitted a bid to host IRENA's headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

The ratification process was completed by decree of UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayn (Federal Decree 37 of May 2009) and the instrument of ratification was deposited at the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin today by the UAE ambassador to Berlin HE Mohammed Ahmed Al Mahmoud making the UAE the first country to ratify the IRENA statute.

The support we have received from countries around the globe for our work on IRENA, and in particular our offer to host IRENA's headquarters in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi has been tremendous, said UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Nations ranging from Europe, to Latin America, from Asia to Africa have pledged their support for the UAE to serve as the permanent headquarters of IRENA in order to advance the shared goal of making renewable energy accessible, affordable and available to everyone. Many believe it is time for an international agency to be placed in this region - in a country that creates the bridge between developed and developing and in a country that offers its whole-hearted commitment to the cause of renewable energy and climate change.

As part of the UAE bid to host IRENA, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has made an unprecedented offer to help IRENA engage developing nations in real, tangible ways by creating a special endowed fund of up to US$50 million annually solely for IRENA-approved renewable energy development projects in developing nations with a concentration on low-cost and low maintenance technology that meets the needs of those nations.

The UAE is committed to facilitating an active and dynamic involvement of the developing world in the future of renewable energy. We feel that we are uniquely positioned to play that role and mobilize that commitment. Moving our world toward a renewable energy future will require more than the leadership and participation of a few countries. The UAE is in a unique position geographically, politically and economically, to bring the developed and developing world together and to bring IRENA's mission to life, said Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan.

Headquartering IRENA in Abu Dhabi's Masdar City, the world's first carbon neutral, zero-waste city powered completely by renewable energy will put IRENA at the center of an innovative new global hub for the renewable energy sector. Upon completion, Masdar City will be home to more than 1,500 companies - including General Electric's new Ecomagination Centre - creating a world-class technology cluster of renewable innovation.

The UAE has committed significant resources to IRENA: for perpetuity, the UAE will cover all operating costs related to the office site, provide a generous inflation-adjusted allowance for conferences facilities and related services, and take care of all immigration fees. As such, the annual contributions of all signatories will go where it matters the most: staffing the agency, and funding its work programs.

To allow IRENA to focus on its mission from its first day of operation, the UAE will supplement its support to the agency by covering all setup and start-up costs including IRENA chosen furniture, state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure and support, an E-learning platform, IRENA-funded research, operational services and housing and relocation for IRENA employees. The UAE's commitment to incubate IRENA totals over US$136 million of which US$70 million are in cash.

The decision for the location of IRENA's interim and eventually permanent headquarters will be made at an IRENA meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt June 29, 2009, where the member countries present will cast their vote.

For more information about the UAE bid and commitments go to www.IRENAuae.com.

Note to Editors:

About Masdar City

Masdar City is the most ambitious sustainable development in the world today - it will be the world's first carbon neutral, zero waste city powered entirely by renewable energy sources. Masdar City is part of Abu Dhabi's Masdar Initiative, a multi-faceted investment in the development and commercialization of innovative technologies in renewable and sustainable energies as well as sustainable design.

About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

IRENA was founded in January 2009 and includes 98 member countries from both the developing and developed world. IRENA aims at becoming the main driving force in promoting a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale. Acting as the global voice for renewable energies, IRENA will provide practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, help them improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity. The agency will facilitate access to all relevant information including reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms and state-of-the-art technological expertise.

Lana Nusseibeh of Government of United Arab Emirates, +971-507423230, lnusseibeh@irenauae.com