OSCE involvement in energy security is based on the 2003 Maastricht Strategy Document agreed in December 2003 at the Maastricht Ministerial Council. This document states that a high level of energy security requires a predictable, reliable, economically acceptable, commercially sound and environmentally friendly energy supply. It also underlines the need to ensure the safety of energy routes.
Under the 2006 Belgian Chairmanship, the Chairman-in-Office (CiO) requested the OSCE Secretariat to conduct a technical fact-finding mission to gather and analyze information on energy security within the OSCE area, and to make suggestions on renewed international dialogue. The report on that mission was completed by the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and submitted to the CiO in July 2006.
The 2006 G8 meeting, under the Russian Chairmanship, placed energy security at the top of its political agenda, which led to the St Petersburg Action Plan on Global Energy Security adopted by the G8 on 16 July 2006.
That same year, the European Commission launched its Green Paper A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy to stimulate consultations on this subject. Together with the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Commission issued a paper on An external policy to serve Europe's energy interests and organized a conference on this topic in Brussels, 20 and 21 November 2006.
Together with the Secretariat of the Energy Charter and the International Energy Agency, the OSCE organized in Brussels on 25 October 2006 an international conference on The role of governments and international organisations in promoting energy security.
The 2006 OSCE Ministerial Council adopted in Brussels a Decision on Energy Security Dialogue.
Reaffirms the earlier OSCE commitments on energy security set out in the Maastricht Document;
Expresses support for the principles and objectives aimed at strengthening energy security agreed at the G8 Summit in St Petersburg;
Assigns the OSCE Permanent Council (PC) and, in close co-operation and consultation with participating States, the OSCE Secretariat, the task of promoting dialogue on energy security, including at the expert level, involving producing, transit and consuming countries;
Assigns the PC and the OSCE Secretariat the task of raising awareness and enhancing dialogue on the G8 Plan of Action on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development (2005) and the G8 Plan of Action on global energy security (2006).
The OSCE concept of energy security goes beyond security of supply to include security of demand and security of transit, as well as energy efficiency.
The energy security dialogue: a framework for securing energy relations
Increased energy demand from emerging markets such as China and India and an overall trend to higher prices are pressing for the use of all available platforms for dialogue on energy security.
The OSCE can offer for such a dialogue its unique pan-European and trans-Atlantic platform to support existing frameworks such as the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy, the Energy Charter Secretariat, the International Energy Agency, the International Energy Forum and the structured dialogues of the EU with Russia, with the South-Eastern European countries and with the Black Sea and Central Asia countries.
Dialogue on energy security should promote use and implementation of existing international instruments. It should stress the importance of fair and balanced handling of energy issues for the participating States, with special attention being given to the transit countries as well as to the countries that are most vulnerable to disruptions in their access to energy.
The energy security dialogue includes the need for better energy efficiency which is made even more pressing in the light of climate change.