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IRENA Head Makes Surprise Resignation

Helene Pelosse's abrupt departure as interim director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency has puzzled observers as the Abu Dhabi-based organization prepares for its fourth preparatory commission.

Her decision to leave, after 15 months at the helm of IRENA, came despite her recent declarations to local media that she intended to lead the organisation in the longer term.

On 29 July she had told Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper that she had “a mandate of four years.”

“IRENA is like a baby. It’s an organisation that didn’t exist so you had to build it up, you had to set it up. It’s a long-term process,” she told the paper. 

IRENA was officially established in Bonn on 26 January 2009 with a goal of promoting the international adoption of renewable energy. So far 148 states and the European Union have signed the agency’s statute. It has been described as both a partner and counter-party to the International Energy Agency.

Abu Dhabi won a bid to host the organisation's headquarters in June 2009 after the UAE undertook to provide 42% of its funding — although Pelosse has publicly opposed carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear power, both among the emirate’s key policies.

IRENA’s headquarters are due to relocate in 2015 to Masdar City, a pioneering eco-friendly development in Abu Dhabi, which is marketed as the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city fully powered by renewable energy.

IRENA has announced that establishing the procedure for electing a new interim director general will be on the agenda of its fourth preparatory commission, bringing 400 delegates from over 100 countries to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on 24-25 October.

Helene Pelosse’s departure had been rumoured for a week in diplomatic circles, according to The National.

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