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A Global Energy Policy Interrelationship - Achievements of the Producer-Consumer Dialogue

22 April 2006

The 10th International Energy Forum is taking place at a time of heightened global energy consciousness. A unique gathering of energy Ministers across traditional political, economic and energy policy groupings and dividing lines in an ever-more interdependent world. You have focused on a cluster of issues related to energy security and the links between energy, environment and economic development. 

The IEF brings Ministers of energy producing and consuming countries, of industrialized and developing countries, together under one global umbrella. In addition to participating in plenary discussions, you are making good use of this unique venue for informal bilaterals and meeting point regional energy ambition.

Your confidence-building process does not start and end with each biennial Ministerial. An international Secretariat has been set up in Riyadh to provide continuity to and strengthen the political dialogue in the IEF. We are encouraged by the support that you have confirmed in the course of this Ministerial. Your interest and support is the life-line of our mission. 

This concluding session offers an occasion to reflect on the achievements of fifteen years of dialogue. An occasion to give your further direct political guidance - a Road Map for Secretariat follow-up activities and preparations for the next Ministerial two years from now in Rome. We want to be on-going relevant to you. 

The case for global dialogue 

From producer-consumer confrontation of the past, the evolving dialogue in the IEF has been broadened, and confidence increasingly built. An ever-increasing number of Ministers have come to take part in what started as a Ministerial Seminar and Workshop and now is the largest recurring global gathering of energy ministers. This informal yet substantive dialogue, that the Doha Ministerial has further deepened, is a major political achievement in itself.

The IEF is unique not only in its global perspective and scope, but also in its approach. It is not a forum for decision-making, for negotiating legally binding settlements or multilateral fixing of prices and production levels. Ministers meet to present policy views, discuss common concerns and seek consensus-oriented approaches to energy challenges ahead. A shared sense of interdependence, mutual vulnerability and win-win opportunity has fostered a more conducive atmosphere for long-term co-operation. And difficult short-term issues are being addressed in a more co-operative way. 

Results can be seen in concrete measures taken by both consumer and producer countries individually and by their organizations. The results are also evident in your statements of national policy intent that in times of geopolitical and other uncertainty have sent calming signals to nervous energy markets. 

'Energy Security, a Shared Responsibility' is the theme of this concluding session. Preceding sessions have set the scene. The world will need more and cleaner energy used in a more efficient way, accessible and affordable to a larger share of the world's population. The challenge lies in operationalizing this imperative in a fair and sustainable way. Meeting that challenge in political dialogue is what the IEF is all about. It is ultimately the ambition of participating governments, and the sum of their national policy decisions and measures, that will determine the achievements and success of the producer-consumer dialogue. The Secretariat will do its utmost to serve your endeavours. 

Three Pillars

The Secretariat's background paper and Activity Report for 2005 which have been prepared for this Ministerial, and our Programme of Work which you have received earlier, details our activity. 

The first pillar of activity is to support host country and co-hosting countries in preparing for and implementing the biennial Ministerials and follow up the Ministerial deliberations in the interim. The second is to provide additional platforms for exchange of views on relevant energy issues to contribute to the continuity and deepening of the Ministerial level dialogue. The third pillar is to facilitate and enhance the exchange of energy data and information, especially by co-ordinating the Joint Oil Data Initiative.

After Doha, and in light of your further political guidance, the Secretariat will assist Host Country Italy and co-hosts in developing agenda and themes for the 11th IEF and 3rd IEBF to take place in Rome, Italy in 2008. Supportive to this cardinal task, the Secretariat will facilitate with governments and other partners, not least in industry, workshops and network meetings and co-ordinate studies as appropriate. 

The Secretariat will bring 10th IEF perspectives to the 14th UN Commission on Sustainable Development in two weeks time. We will follow up our association with the process of Asian Roundtables already initiated. It will likewise serve as a catalyst link between the global dialogue and other regional and inter-regional endeavours, such as the 2nd Conference of Energy Ministers of African Latin-America and Caribbean countries (AFROLAC) in November and the 8th Arab Energy Conference next month. 

Multi-polar energy world

Regional and inter-regional energy co-operation is being strengthened around the world and must be seen also in its global context. The biennial IEF provides a global meeting point for the mosaic of regional and inter-regional energy ambition and co-operative designs in our multi-polar energy world. 

The two Roundtables of Asian Ministers hosted by India last year, with Kuwait and Russia as co-hosts, and in association with the IEF Secretariat are a case in point. Follow-up meetings are planned for next year, in Saudi Arabia with Japan as co-host and in Turkey with Azerbaijan as co-hosting country. 

The IEF Secretariat was for the first time present in a meeting of G8 Energy Ministers in Moscow last month. We have likewise interacted also with other regional and inter-regional co-operative endeavours, such as the EU-GCC EuroGulf Project, AFROLAC, the African Petroleum Congress processes as well Eurasian dialogues promoted by Russia and the UNECE. 

Data and transparency

In conclusion, let me highlight the Joint Oil Data Initiative. JODI is a concrete outcome and achievement of the producer consumer dialogue. A flagship activity for the Secretariat. IEF Ministers have on repeated occasions expressed their firm commitment to improving transparency of oil data through JODI. You have underscored how accurate and timely data are important for reducing energy market volatility. So have also others. Not least by G8 Heads of Government as well as their Finance and Energy Ministers. Their support has been echoed by other regional and international organizations and by individual countries. 

The six pioneering organizations of JODI - APEC, Eurostat, OLADE, OPEC, IEA and the UNSD - developed at the 5th JODI Conference in October 2004 their specific ideas on how the Secretariat's co-ordinating role might be operationalized. On the basis of an Action Plan approved by the Executive Board, the Secretariat hosted an inter-organizational meeting in Riyadh in January last year marking the start of its more active co-ordinating role. A Review Committee of representatives of the partner organizations, chaired by the Secretariat, and an independent consultant commissioned to work at Secretariat Headquarters, assessed the quality of JODI data prior to the release of the World Database to the public by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the inauguration of our new Headquarters and in the presence of IEF Ministers. 

More than 90 countries, representing around 90% of global oil supply and demand, are now submitting data. The data cover production, demand and stocks of seven product categories: crude oil, LPG, gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, fuel oil and total oil. For many countries, especially the top 30 producers and consumers, timeliness, coverage and reliability are already at reasonable levels. 

The Secretariat will host the 6th JODI Conference that should take place in Riyadh in November this year. To help enhance the quality of data, the Secretariat will also facilitate JODI training sessions in Africa and Latin America in co-operation with IEF countries and regional organizations directly concerned. And two weeks from now, the JODI partners will host a joint side-event in New York at the 14th United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Energy is the focus theme of the UN Commission this year and next.

JODI is international ambition translated into action with the objective of improving the quality and transparency of international oil statistics. It is promising work in progress with great potential. The success of the initiative will be determined by the collective ability of participants to sustain and improve their efforts. The submission of timely and accurate data by participating countries is crucial for its success. Some Ministers are at this Doha Ministerial calling for JODI to be expanded, in due course, to include also other sources of energy important in the world energy mix.

The JODI partners have prepared a special brochure for this Ministerial. On the back page, and on our stand outside, you will see a chart with smiling, neutral and grumpy faces for each country participating in JODI indicating their JODI performance. We hope to see more smiling faces on our chart at the next Ministerial in Rome. The IEA and OPEC will now follow, with their additional perspectives on JODI.