Over the past five years, increasing attention has focused upon a promising new instrument to reduce carbon emissions in developing countries - one which does not attempt to impose a one-size-fits-all solution, but which takes advantage of national-led initiatives tailored to each country's specific needs.

This instrument is called 'Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions', or NAMAs, and is driven by the conviction that appropriate government policies and activities can mobilise public and private investment in low-carbon development. NAMAs vary considerably in scope - ranging from large-scale initiatives costing tens of millions of dollars, to single pilot projects. They might be financed domestically, or internationally. But they all share the same objective: overcoming barriers to a significant and measurable reduction in CO2 emissions, country by country, with global impact.

NAMAs have raised some important questions, which still need to be addressed. Is their voluntary, diverse nature sufficient to tackle a global problem like climate change? Can they be translated into practical initiatives that operate at scale? Despite these concerns, NAMAs continue to gain momentum, and by mid-2012, more than 50 countries have proposed activities under the UNFCCC.

This Handbook illustrates how NAMAs offer a genuine opportunity to promote investment in renewable energy - a proven and effective route to reducing carbon emissions.

Despite improving technology and falling costs, obstacles to accelerating growth in renewable energy remain stubbornly entrenched, and its full potential is yet to be realised. IRENA believes that NAMAs offer a pragmatic pathway to overcome these obstacles.

The Handbook's comprehensive approach aims to facilitate implementation, enhance transparency and engage stakeholders. It is illustrated by compelling case studies from Peru, Kenya and Grenada, demonstrating how policies which promote renewable energy can be used in the NAMA framework.

I am confident this Handbook can serve as the basis of an international dialogue aimed at developing renewable energy NAMAs. I hope its conclusions are widely shared, furthering IRENA's goal of becoming a hub for the exchange of information, and serving as a beacon for the development of renewable energy NAMAs by its Members.

Adnan Z. Amin

Director-General, IRENA