International Renewable Energy Agency 9th Assembly

Samoa was well represented at the 9th annual Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA), the intergovernmental organization comprising 160 member countries that supports
governments in their transition to a sustainable energy future, held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates from 10-13 January 2019. The Samoa delegation was led by Honourable Fiame Naomi
Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. She was
accompanied by Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan who is also Samoa’s Ambassador to IRENA, Her
Excellency Fa’alava’au Perina Sila-Tualaulelei and Mrs Vanda Faasoa-Chan Ting, Assistant Chief
Executive Officer (ACEO) of the Renewable Energy Division of MNRE.

The 9th Assembly was attended by more than 1,200 delegates that included heads of
state/government from more than 160 countries, international organizations, private sector and civil
society, for discussions and cooperation on accelerating renewable energy deployment towards
achieving sustainable development goals and global climate objectives.

The Assembly undertook the election of a new Director-General to replace outgoing Director-General
His Excellency Mr Adnan Amin who has been at the leadership of the Agency for the last 8 years. Mr
Francesco La Camera of Italy obtained overwhelming support of members and will be Director General
from April 2019. Samoa remained deeply engaged in the selection process including through its role
as Chair of the IRENA Council.

A SIDS High Level meeting was also held prior to the Assembly for dedicated discussions on
accelerating SIDS’ energy transition. In her statements in the Assembly and in the SIDS High level
meeting, Honourable Fiame emphasized the importance of political commitment and national
ownership, coupled with durable and genuine partnerships in renewables which support the
implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation
Actions (NAMA), which are aligned with the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement and SAMOA Pathway.
Honourable Fiame said that climate change is the single greatest threat to SIDS and that there is an
urgency to take effective action immediately to mitigate against the adverse climate change impacts.
Energy transformation in SIDS is therefore a critical pathway to enhancing sustainable development
and climate resilience. Honourable Fiame was also invited as a panel member on the special event
titled “Gender in the Energy Transformation” where the participation of females is encouraged in the
energy sector to further drive the acceleration of renewable energy globally.

Honourable Fiame on behalf of all the SIDS leaders, presented the SIDS Ministerial high-level report
to the general assembly with the following recommendations:

1. SIDS Heads of States and governments all agreed that NOW is the time to IMPLEMENT
tailored solutions;
2. In order to accelerate energy transformation in SIDS, there is a need to intensify technical
advisory services, capacity building, strengthened technical training and institutional
development that are specific to the unique challenges faced by SIDs;
3. It is essential to further support access to finance as well as the development of bankable
4. The work on end use solutions, most notable transport, has to be an integral part of the
IRENA Lighthouse Initiative 2.0 especially as it embarks on this new phase;
5. Durable and genuine partnerships, tangible investments in renewables in SIDS and synergies
with other platforms must be encouraged;
6. Closer relationship with the private sector, reinforcing the multi-sectoral importance of
renewable energy on agriculture, tourism, health, water and food;
7. The need for inter- SIDS cooperation was also underscored, and peer-to-peer learning and
continued dialogue should be promoted;
8. Public education and awareness on RE technology;
9. The deployment of renewable energy is vital in advancing SIDS’ economic, social and
environmental priorities and we call on partners to support SIDS in meeting these multiple

The 10th IRENA Assembly will be held in Abu Dhabi 10-13 January 2020. The incoming president
would be Uganda and the four Vice Presidents would be Samoa, Burkina Faso, Luxembourg and El

Leaders at the SIDS High Level meeting

Panellists at the “Gender in the Energy Transformation” special event

L- R: Excellency Fa ’alava ’au Perina Sila – Tualaulelei, Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata ’afa
and Vanda Fa ’asoa – Chan Ting