The purpose of the task force is to examine the linkage between energy and security and to strengthen multi-lateral mechanisms to promote cooperation and to prevent and defuse energy-related conflict.
“Energy should be a motor for development and cooperation, not a source of conflict,” said Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen, the president of IPI. He cited tensions in Northern Iraq, Southern Sudan, the Niger Delta and the East Mediterranean as examples of how competition for energy resources can cause instability.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE special envoy for energy and climate change, and CEO of Masdar, said: “With energy demand predicted to grow nearly 50 percent over the next 20 years, competition for resources will increase. Energy is therefore becoming a key piece of the global security puzzle. Any significant move to solve the energy crisis is also a step toward creating peace and stability among the nations of the world.
Other notable speakers at the task force launch included President of the Republic of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Maria van der Hoeven.
The task force will examine current multilateral mechanisms to prevent and defuse energy-related crises. It will review what lessons have been learned from past experience and what confidence-building measures have been successful. It will look at the role of the private sector in promoting energy cooperation, and it will focus on a number of regions that are vulnerable to energy-related conflicts. Special attention will be given to regions such as the Arctic, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Caspian, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa as well as West Africa.
“Our aim is to bring together the brightest minds in the fields of energy and security in order to promote evidence-based policies that can reduce tensions,” said Mr. Roed-Larsen.
“This topic can only be addressed properly by involving experts from the private sector, the governments, and the research community,” added Dr. Al Jaber.
The task force secretariat will be based in Vienna, Austria – a key hub for energy security including the headquarters of IAEA, OPEC, UNIDO, and the new office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Mr. Kandeh Yumkella.
In his keynote address at the launch, Mr. Yumkella, in his function as director-general of UNIDO, highlighted the important linkages between energy, development and security and the important contribution of the three goals of the SE4All initiative in this regard.
“With Masdar’s links to the government of the United Arab Emirates, to the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, its respected role among the network of leading energy companies around the world, as well as its research campus in Masdar City, the company is well-positioned to play a leading role in this task force,” said Mr. Roed-Larsen. “I commend the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Masdar and Dr. Al Jaber personally for taking the initiative, and I encourage others to join us, as donors, participants and experts,” he said.
Since 1970, IPI has been promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts between and within states by strengthening international peace and security institutions. Since 2008, IPI has convened ten task forces on strengthening multilateral capacity in relation to issues such as terrorism, organized crime and peacekeeping.
The new energy and security task force was launched at the World Future Energy Summit, a participating event of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week – the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East. The conference, taking place from January 15-17, 2013, is a platform dedicated to driving investment, encouraging collaboration and providing companies with a platform to showcase promising, cutting-edge water technologies.
For more information on the task force on energy and security please contact Marc Baltes at firstname.lastname@example.org.