Communique. Meeting of the Governing Board at Ministerial Level

We, the energy ministers of IEA Member countries, meeting in Paris on the 28-29 April 2003, agree:

Energy Security, Environmental Protection and Economic Growth –The Three Es – remain robust as the IEA’s guiding principles for energy policy. Reaching our shared goals requires constant adaptation to changing circumstances and renewal of commitment. This is particularly true in the context of the current geopolitical instability in key energy-producing regions, price volatility, demand growth and a growing threat to our environment.

Energy security remains our focus
We strongly affirm our readiness to combat any disruption of oil supplies, including through the judicious use of emergency oil stocks, demand restraint and other appropriate response measures.

We welcome the benefit of reinforced dialogue between producers and consumers of oil, as well as between the IEA and OPEC secretariats, which has contributed to mitigating the effects of potentially serious crises in world markets and the economy. We appreciate OPEC Ministers’ commitment to keep world oil markets amply supplied, and we call for attention to the correlation between oil market volatility and low industry stocks, and the importance of maintaining adequate stocks to anticipate seasonal needs and to promote oil market stability.

The Eighth International Energy Forum (IEF), held in Osaka last September, made a substantial contribution to that dialogue. We look forward to the Ninth IEF, to be held from 22-24 May, 2004 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and pledge our active support for greater co-operation between consumers and producers.

Recent energy market events have provided a sharp reminder of the central role of energy for our near-term security. Insecurity arises from a range of issues, including geopolitical instability, natural disasters, terrorism and even poor regulatory design. Increasingly tight capacity in energy infrastructure and production facilities and diminished potential for fuel substitution demand renewed attention to existing energy security policies and procedures. Growing oil demand in IEA Member and non-Member countries, particularly in transport, requires greater effort by importing countries to build and hold appropriate emergency stocks.

Addressing the challenges of investment, diversification, efficiency and technology
Meeting the longer-term challenges of maintaining a secure, efficient and safe energy system will require near term action. Substantial new investment will be needed to provide secure supply, to reduce growing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and to overcome the problem of the lack of access to electricity for more than a quarter of the world’s population.

Diversity by energy type, source and route remains essential to improving energy security. Each country has chosen its own mix of fuels among oil, gas, coal, nuclear and renewables based on energy resource endowments and national policies. We call for the continuing development of policies and programs, consistent with national priorities, to promote diversification, including increased support for energy research, development, demonstration and deployment. We remain particularly interested in the acceleration of the commercial availability of cleaner technologies with low pollution and carbon emissions.

While appreciating that much has been done since the first oil shock of 1973 to reduce energy use per unit of output, more can and must be done. We commit ourselves to achieving greater energy efficiency both through national programs and through international technology collaboration. To do so, we will increase incentives to efficiency in market and consumer behaviour, in particular in the transport sector, for buildings and equipment. We will also seek to reduce energy intensity through R&D, technological innovation and international collaboration.

Our high and rising dependence on oil, particularly in transport, poses significant economic, security and environmental challenges. We recognise the importance of working together, and with the private sector, to accelerate research and development in fuel efficiency and competitive alternative fuel sources and carriers in our economies and world-wide. We note, in particular, our intent to further develop the technologies for a hydrogen future.

We note the increasing reliance on natural gas in the energy mix as well as the growing dependence in many countries on natural gas imports, and have considered its implication for overall energy security. Notwithstanding the regionally discrete nature of gas markets, national level production and distribution problems can nonetheless affect global energy markets. We call on the Secretariat to continue its assessment of these vulnerabilities, and to identify policy options and strategies, including securing diverse gas sources and routes as well as technology development, to contribute to a greater security of gas supply. The collaboration of government and industry is essential to this effort.

Strengthening and extending the forces of the marketplace within and beyond our borders can contribute to enhancing energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. We commit ourselves to strengthen the policy framework permitting markets to meet our global investment and trade needs and to promote enabling environments that will attract private investment.

Promoting International Co-operation
We affirm the increasing importance of IEA non-Member countries in world energy markets and warmly welcome the participation of Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov at this meeting. We will engage Russia and other key countries more actively in our dialogue on energy policy, and we direct the Secretariat to reinforce a world-view in its work. In particular, we encourage the acceleration of energy security co-operation with international organisations and IEA non-Member countries, especially those critical to global energy supply and demand. We recognise that only through a more global framework can security be assured.

Committing to sustainable development
We acknowledge the importance of, and our commitment to, implementing the agreements reached at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development of September 2002. We particularly commit ourselves to enhance the role of renewables and other lower carbon-emitting sources of energy in the energy mix, and work to shape a future where basic energy services will be available to an increasing number of the world’s citizens. We will continue our efforts to mitigate the impact of energy use on the global environment, and in particular on the global climate system, consistent with our efforts under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We will continue to stimulate the development of new market-oriented instruments essential to reaching our sustainable development goals at lower costs. We also call for the further development of technologies needed to meet these goals, and to this end, with the help of the Secretariat, call for a review of the focus of our cooperative R&D programs in strategic areas.

We reaffirm our commitment to promoting a sustainable energy future, meeting the social, environmental and economic challenges this entails.