The third meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is being held in Abu Dhabi. Formed in 2011 after a long period of negotiations, IRENA sets out to encourage use of renewable energy sources, especially among the developing nations, many of whom are currently making important political and investment decisions that will frame their energy profiles for the next 20-30 years. IRENA has 105 member states, including Italy which ratified the statute last December, while 55 countries are completing the membership process.

The great absentee, China, the country with the world’s highest level of CO2 emissions, has said it intends to become a member of the agency, an important move confirming the credibility and role of IRENA.

This announcement opens sustainability week in Abu Dhabi, centering on the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and the first International Water Summit.

The World Future Energy Summit, the sixth, is a platform for international experts, investors, academics and politicians to discuss ideas and launch cooperation on global projects, technologies and sustainable energy solutions. An annual event attended this year by 40 countries and more than 600 exhibitors.

Meanwhile, the International Water Summit  reflects the need for an assessment of the relationship between the rapid rise in demand for water and its implications for energy demand. The issue is particularly sensitive in the Gulf, a water-scarce region that depends heavily on desalination plants to cover its water requirement. The Middle East is home to more than 6{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the world population who use only 1.4{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of natural water available on the planet.