Between the 28th-29th of November 2017, the Romanian delegation led by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Energy, Robert Tudorache, attended the 28th Energy Charter Conference, organized by the Turkmen Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Energy Charter Secretariat in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
The main talking points of the 52 national delegations and 10 international organizations present were “Mobilising investment for a sustainable energy future and diversified transportation routes”, as well as the modernization of the Energy Charter process in order to accelerate long-term cooperation in the energy sector and to contribute to energy security. In addition, during the event, Nigeria, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali, the United Arab Emirates, Panama and Gambia became observers of the Energy Charter.
Furthermore, according to the Declaration, the Energy Charter Treaty reiterates the importance of energy security ensured through transactions, transit, promoting and protecting investments, as well as increasing energy efficiency. At the same time, the Charter brings forward the UN General Assembly resolution titled “Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation» of 2008 and 2013, as well as the “Towards a Multilateral Framework Agreement on Transit of Energy Resources” Forum, held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan between May 30-31, 2017, under the Energy Charter’s umbrella.
Moreover, the International Energy Charter recognizes that the investments in the energy sector which use efficiently various energy resources and technologies and could lead to later modifications of investment flows and patterns, are main priorities. As such, these measures would lead to respecting the countries’ commitments towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement, according to the principles, objectives and capacities of each signatory state, while underlying that investments prosper in a stable, predictable and non-discriminatory legal frame.
The recent developments and challenges on the international energy market led to the adopting of a mid-term document, which will be revised in 2019, through which five main areas of interest are set:
- Facilitating investment, preventing and managing investment related disputes
- Continuing to broaden and deepen membership of the Energy Charter Treaty
- Improving energy security through strengthened international cooperation to guarantee energy transit and facilitate trade
- Modernizing the Energy Charter Process
- Promoting regional energy cooperation on the basis of the principles of the International Energy Charter and Energy Charter Treaty
The presidency of the Energy Charter Conference, held in 2017 by Turkmenistan, is assumed by Romania through the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Energy, Iulian Robert Tudorache, thus marking the first time an EU-member state will hold the rotative presidency.
According to Agerpres, at the reunion in Ashgabat, the Romanian official reaffirmed that the Romanian Government views the Energy Charter as an ideal frame for discussing investments, protecting investors, as well as the energy transit modernization process. Furthermore, during the debates, Mr. Tudorache declared that “During its presidency of the Energy Charter Conference, Romania will promote the necessity of a structured and strategic discussion on improving the degree of adapting the Charter’s objectives according to the unprecedented changes on the energy market and to the technological progress”. As such, Romania will continue to promote the vision of the Charter towards a safe and sustainable energy future. Alongside the Secretariat, Romania will contribute to the development and modernization process of the Energy Charter towards expanding investments, trade, facilitate transit, dispute settlement, energy efficiency and regional cooperation.
At the same time, the Romanian official declared that “Taking over the Presidency of the 29th Energy Charter Conference is both a challenge, as well as an opportunity for us, Romania wanting to contribute to global dialogue on energy and to the consolidation of international cooperation on the issue”. Moreover, the declaration emphasized three general objectives of Romania’s mandate for the Energy Charter Presidency:
- Encouraging energy efficiency solutions to improve access to energy;
- Promoting investments and cooperation development to attract smart technologies, while improving production and transport networks;
- Improving the security and reliability of trans-border energy flows as a critical issue of energy security.
In an interview given for Energynomics Magazine, Urban Rusnák, the General Secretary of the Energy Charter Secretariat, stated on the organization’s priorities in 2018: “One of these priorities refers to the policies and practices for combating energy scarcity by promoting energy efficiency solutions. From our point of view, this approach is conforming to the priorities of expanding the International Energy Charter”. Mr. Rusnák underlined that technology, investments and the exchange of know-how represent the best methods to provide reliable, accessible and modernized energy services, which reduce the risk and impact on the environment.
In addition, the General Secretary declared that “Another priority will focus on improving the security and reliability of the trans-border energy flows. For Romania, this objective is in accordance to the protection of critical infrastructure, cyber-protection and emergency-response solutions in the energy sector. Romania intends to organize, in close cooperation with the Secretariat, conferences and seminars that will bring together representatives of governments, regulating bodies, private sector, in preparation of the 29th session of the Energy Charter Conference, which will be held in Bucharest in November 2018”, signaling that this approach contributes to the ongoing modernization process of the Treaty.
The process of the Energy Charter was launched in Europe at the beginning of 1990s, after the end of the Cold War, as a political initiative to create a cooperation platform in the energy sector, accepted both by Eurasia, as well as developed countries. In 1991, in Hague, the European Energy Charter was signed, and in Lisbon, the Energy Charter Treaty and the Energy Charter Protocol, regarding energy efficiency and environmental aspects. The two documents were ratified by Romania in 1997. In December 2009, the modernization of the Energy Charter was launched, while in may 2015, 86 states and international organizations, including Romania, signed in Hague the creation of the International Energy Charter as a part of the modernization of the Energy Charter Process.