In the past years, a number of transnational organizations have emerged to promote sustainable energy cooperation between Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). There exist already relatively solid institutions dealing with this topic on the political level (Union for the Mediterranean), in the industry (Dii, Medgrid) and also in the area of regulation and infrastructure planning (MED-TSO, MED-REG).
However, in the area of academia and science, an overarching, transnational institution is still absent. This was the motivation behind an initiative of the Desertec University Network (DUN) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (WI) to create in 2011 such a scientific institution also for the EU-MENA energy research community. The initiative received strong support from the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE).
The idea grew in the subsequent years into an informal academic network of universities, institutes and other research bodies from presently eleven different countries of the Arab region and Europe. A series of stakeholder consultation workshops in Germany (2011), Tunisia (2012) and Egypt (2013 and 2015) enabled a more precise definition of the scientific scope of the future institute and provided a clearer picture of its organizational and working structure.
At the current stage, the idea has matured to a level where decisions must be taken about an actual establishment of the institute as a formalized entity. A possible name of the institute would be EU-MENA Research Institute for Sustainable Energy (EU-MENA RISE).
The present concept note shall inform interested stakeholders and potential funding organizations about the key objectives, the research agenda and the organizational and financial perspective of the institute for the next three years.
Vision and mission :
The institute is expected to serve as the leading forum for exchange of ideas and expertise about sustainable energy transitions in the MENA region. In that context, the vision and mission of the institute is defined as follows:
- Vision Statement: Connecting and empowering EU-MENA scientific community in addressing challenges (including techno- and socio-economic as well as institutional and cultural aspects) for a transformation to achieve sustainable energy in the MENA region
- Mission Statement: A catalyst for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work to address the challenges and serving as a knowledge, information and communication hub for decision makers from policy, economy and civil society
Here, climate change and energy-water-nexus are relevant part of the sustainable energy transitions in the MENA region.