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Global Dialogue for a Sustainable Energy Future

10 May 2007

New York, US

We are celebrating at this 15th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development the 20th Anniversary of the report of World Commission on Environment and Development - 'Our Common Future'. It highlighted among other things the importance of energy for sustainable economic and social development. It recommended that new mechanisms for encouraging dialogue between consumers and producers be explored. The informal dialogue among Ministers in the International Energy Forum dates back to a proposal by the Chair of the Commission, and Prime Minister of Norway, Dr. Brundtland following up that particular Commission recommendation. 

The 10th in the ensuing series of International Energy Forum Ministerials was held in Doha, Qatar in April last year hosted by the Chairman of this UNCSD Session, H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar. Ministers of the major energy importing and exporting countries, industrialized as well as developing countries, confirmed under the IEF global umbrella energy security as a 'Shared Responsibility'. They addressed the interrelationship between energy, environment and economic development.As the world will continue to rely strongly on ample supplies of fossil fuels in the decades ahead, IEF Energy Ministers underline the need to accelerate the development of cleaner fossil fuel technologies, such as carbon storage and capture, the need to accelerate the development of alternative sources of energy, to increase energy efficiency and to step up investments in the energy sector. Less volatility in energy markets and prices at reasonable levels for producers and consumers is a shared objective.

Need for energy

Because we 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. The time for turning 'commitment into action' is long overdue. Our objectives can only be achieved by 'working together in partnership'. Such is the apt theme of this 15th Session of the UNCSD. You are putting forceful global focus on the need for energy to meet Millennium Development Goals. At a time of heightened energy security and environmental concern across the world.Energy goes to the very core of national and global interests in our increasingly interdependent world. It is crucial for economic and social development in individual countries. Energy affects commercial and political relations between countries. It fuels the world economy and impacts the environment. Energy influences international politics and international politics influence energy developments. There is no quick fix for energy security or final energy blueprint. Decisions will be taken here and elsewhere, but discussions must continue, in myriad energy and other organizations, regional and global. Energy ministers are increasingly joined by other ministers as national policies will evolve in changing circumstances and find expression in bilateral, regional and wider international approaches. Dialogue of Ministers within and among countries and groups of countries acquires increasing importance to synchronize thinking, to identify win-win co-operative approaches and not least to avoid misunderstandings as nations revisit and modify established policies seeking to enhance their energy and environmental security.

Global Energy Meeting Point

noneOPECThe International Energy Forum provides a global meeting point for an evolving Global Energy Policy Interrelationship. A venue for on-going, informal and forward-looking global dialogue that transcends traditional political, economic and energy policy dividing lines. This dialogue among energy ministers has been instrumental in enhancing the awareness of long-term common interests between producers and consumers of energy. It has replaced the image of confrontation of yesterday. And overcome the lack of trust among countries and groups of countries highlighted by Dr. Brundtland in her address yesterday.Not only IEF Energy Ministers, but also G8 Heads of Government at their Summits, have, echoed by many others, underscored the importance of transparency and improved data for energy market predictability and thus for the investments required to enhance global energy security. To this end, they emphasize their commitment to the Joint Oil Data Initiative, which the IEF Secretariat is coordinating, with the support of the UN, APEC, the EU, IEA, OLADE and OPEC. More than 90 countries, accounting for more than 90% of global oil production and demand are submitting data to JODI. The IEF Secretariat and UNDESA presented this unique inter-organzational transparency initiative at a side-event at the 14th UNCSD last year. We have follow-up by holding regional training workshops to improve data and transparency in developing countries - for Latin-America in Caracas and sub-Saharan Africa in Johannesburg. We rely on the submission of timely and accurate data by all countries to make JODI work. Appreciating the opportunity to participate again at this 15th Session of the UNCSD, we are looking forward to continued interaction with the UNCSD as you follow up your decisions and implement your commitments. We share the objective of forging a global consensus on what action must be taken for a sustainable interrelationship between energy, environment and economic development. This session sends a strong message to the global meeting of energy ministers in IEF that will take place in Rome in April next year.