int herald tribune.gifArticle published in the International Herald Tribune, 18 May 2009. By Diana S. Powers.

PARIS — In Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, delegates from 79 countries will meet next month to choose a home, a director and a preliminary work program for the International Renewable Energy Agency, which was set up this year to lead a global drive to accelerate and expand the development of renewable energy resources.

The agency grew out of a conference in Bonn on Jan. 26, which was sponsored by the German government, with support from Denmark and Spain. Of the 192 United Nations member states invited, 125 sent delegations and 75 European and emerging countries signed on to the final agreement establishing the agency, also known as Irena.

Since January, four more countries have joined, most recently Mauritania. Membership includes leading European economies like Germany and France; emerging economies like India; major energy producers like Norway and Nigeria; hostile neighbors like Eritrea and Ethiopia, or Israel and Syria; and poor states like Liberia and Burkina Faso.

The United States has not yet joined the agency because of lingering commercial concerns, but is likely to do so, Hermann Scheer, a member of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, said during an interview. 

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