VIENNA, 4 February 2013 - Improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities and discussing ways to renew and deepen the OSCE’s political commitments and engagement in promoting environmentally sustainable energy management are the focus of an OSCE meeting that started in Vienna today.
During the two-day event, officials, experts, and representatives of national and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the business community and academia will discuss best practices and co-operation to improve the environmental footprint of energy-related activities in the OSCE area.
Opening the event on behalf of the 2013 Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship, Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk said: “Promoting co-operation on economic and environmental matters contributes to greater stability, security and prosperity. On the other hand, neglecting economic and environmental challenges and problems may increase tensions inside and between States and regions. This applies as well to issues related to energy, and that is why we will emphasize the aspect of co-operation in the whole Forum process.”
He added that “the OSCE should contribute to the energy security dialogue, not only among its participating States, but also among leading experts, the private sector, the civil society, and international organizations”.
The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, noted the positive impact that increased energy use has had for the quality of life of billions of people but acknowledged that “the current economic and environmental challenges oblige States to look for solutions, based on renewable, efficient and environmentally sound technologies”.
Zannier also stressed that “addressing the link between energy, environment and security would need to go beyond the energy and environmental sector and include tackling economic development, trade, social issues, climate change, political and security concerns”.
Referring to energy issues as one of the most pressing global challenges, the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Yurdakul Yigitguden said: “We shall identify examples of successful co-operation, support innovative solutions and share best practices on topics such as effective policies for sustainable energy and energy efficiency, climate change concerns, the environmental impact of energy activities, particularly at local level, including gender aspects”. He also encouraged “the inclusion of good governance and anti-corruption aspects in policies promoting sustainable energy and environmental management”.
This meeting is part of the 21st OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum process. It will be followed by a second preparatory meeting on 16 and 17 April 2013 in Kyiv. The conclusions and recommendations stemming from these two meetings will pave the way to the Concluding Meeting of the Forum to take place in Prague in September.