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EU energy ministers adopt International Energy Charter

Energy ministers and other high level officials from around the world have adopted the International Energy Charter, a political declaration for international energy cooperation. This was the result of lengthy negotiations in The Hague which involved around 80 states.

The “International Energy Charter” represents a “new and dynamic” institutional benchmark outlining the principles governing energy relations between the countries that have signed this document.

The charter constitutes a modern, non-discriminatory global instrument which aims to address the core energy challenges of the 21st Century.

These include security of supply, security of demand and that of transit of energy, as well as universal energy access as a means of poverty reduction, and shared environmental responsibility.

The central theme of The Hague ministerial conference was ‘Investing in Energy’.

The charter is seen as being a critical tool in moving signatory countries towards a clear commitment of the principle of protection of investments in the energy sector at the global level.

Delegates from Africa to the Americas, from Europe to Asia, gathered in the Dutch city to share a common vision for addressing “core areas of concern” facing international energy markets.

Reliable investment conditions and predictable energy markets are seen as being of vital importance for the international economy. So is transparency and good energy governance. Stability of markets enhances investor confidence and helps to build trust between governments and the investor community.

Urban Rusnák, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, said, “The conference was the culmination of much effort by so many. Much has been achieved, that should be celebrated. And yet, much remains to be done. This is not the end of a process, but rather the beginning of a process.”

The charter can be seen as a first step towards accession to the legally binding Energy Charter Treaty.

Together, the Charter and the Treaty are envisaged as a major step in helping to stimulate the many billions of dollars in investment flows that are required each year in order to meet rising global energy demand in a sustainable manner.

By Martin Banks