Energy security and sustainability in the OSCE region focus of high-level OSCE conference in Turkmenistan
ASHGABAT, 17 October 2013 – Development of the robust and reliable energy sector, stable transit of energy, promotion of sustainable energy solutions and energy efficiency are key topics of a high-level conference organized by the Ukraine’s OSCE Chairmanship and the Government of Turkmenistan that started in Ashgabat today.
The two-day conference brings together more than 120 representatives of the OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, high-level officials from relevant ministries and agencies, representatives of international, regional and non-governmental organizations, as well as experts from business sector and academia.
In his opening address, the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, said that energy security and the elaboration of a long-term strategy of joint work in this sphere are the key areas of Turkmenistan’s co-operation with the OSCE.
Energy security should certainly be one of the priorities on the agenda of the OSCE, Berdimuhamedov said. He added that it was necessary to intensify the dialogue on energy issues within the OSCE, and stressed the need to join efforts at the international, regional and national levels, effective co-ordination between state and international organizations, including the OSCE. In this context, special attention should be paid to the preservation of the natural riches of the Caspian Sea, he noted.
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara stressed the central role of energy to addressing major challenges, in his opening statement, and said: “The Ukrainian Chairmanship of the OSCE attaches great importance to enhancing energy security and sustainability in the OSCE region, as they are crucial to regional stability and play a key role in supporting economic development and national security.”
Outlining broad areas to be discussed at the conference, he said that regional co-operation is essential for the development of a robust and reliable energy sector. Kozhara welcomed Turkmenistan’s recent initiatives that culminated in the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolutions on reliable and stable transit of energy – another key topic of the conference. As the third session will focus on the promotion of sustainable energy solutions, energy savings and energy efficiency, the OSCE Chair said: “Energy efficiency is an immediate and effective option with multiple benefits, such as reducing adverse environmental and health impacts, enhancing energy security, and creating jobs and economic opportunities."
Speaking about energy challenges in the globalized world, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said: “While energy issues risk becoming a potential source of tension, they also offer many opportunities for fruitful co-operation between energy supplier, consumer and transit countries.”
He commended Turkmenistan’s strong commitment to promoting international energy co-operation, and stressed that the OSCE’s comprehensive, multi-dimensional and inclusive approach to security, as well as the Organization’s broad and diverse membership offer distinct advantages for the OSCE to advance dialogue and co-operation on energy issues. Zannier outlined possible areas where the OSCE can be more involved, including through promoting wider public support for government action in the energy sector, encouraging the use of environment-friendly technologies; facilitating exchange of sustainable energy solutions and engaging with all stakeholders.
Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, also spoke in the opening session of the conference. The conference is supported by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.