Type to search

Global Leaders Commit to Enhanced Energy Security and Clean Transitions at IEA 50th Anniversary

Global Leaders Commit to Enhanced Energy Security and Clean Transitions at IEA 50th Anniversary

Listen to this story:

Co-chaired by France and Ireland, meeting of ministers from around the world delivers mandates for IEA on membership talks with India, opening a regional centre in Singapore, launching a critical minerals security programme, and leading on implementation of COP28 outcomes

Energy leaders from around the world met in Paris this week for the International Energy Agency’s 2024 Ministerial Meeting and 50th Anniversary, a two-day event that produced a strong commitment to safeguard energy security while speeding up clean energy transitions to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C within reach.

The meeting of energy and climate ministers representing close to 50 countries – which was co-chaired by Irish Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan and French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty Bruno Le Maire – delivered a powerful consensus on the need for bolder action and greater global cooperation to swiftly transform the world’s energy system, with geopolitical uncertainty on the rise and global temperatures continuing to break records. Special guests included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

The Ministerial also gave the IEA a strong mandate to deepen cooperation with major emerging economies. This includes starting discussions with India on its request for full IEA membership, and announcing the establishment of a regional cooperation centre in Singapore to extend the Agency’s engagement in Southeast Asia and beyond.

The major gathering of high-level energy decision makers took place just a few months after the COP28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai, where nearly 200 governments reached a key agreement on energy and climate issues. This included the new 2030 global goals – aligned with the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – of transitioning away from fossil fuels, tripling renewable energy capacity, doubling energy efficiency progress and reducing methane emissions.

At the meeting in Paris, ministers from the IEA’s 31 member countries laid out a series of mandates in a joint communique that will guide the Agency’s mission going forward. The mandates cover areas such as ensuring global energy security, with ministers recognising the threat posed by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East; marshalling the global energy sector’s fight against climate change; and boosting global financial flows for clean energy transitions, especially in emerging and developing economies.

Noting the Agency’s “significant input to global energy and climate policy” under Executive Director Fatih Birol – and commending work in recent years to deepen the IEA’s relationships with developing economies, with the IEA Family of countries now representing almost 80% of global GDP – the ministers called upon the IEA to “continue to put climate change and sustainable development along with energy security at the centre of its activities and analysis.”

In the joint communique, IEA ministers recognised the significant focus on energy in the outcomes of COP28 and directed the IEA to take a leading role in ensuring their implementation. “We call upon the IEA to continue to track and report our delivery against key commitments, identifying barriers to progress, and providing members and the wider global community with recommendations on how to accelerate our national secure, clean energy transitions,” they said.

In a major announcement, IEA ministers also mandated the start of discussions with India in response to the Indian government’s request for full IEA membership in October 2023. Ministers recognised the “strategic importance” of India in tackling global energy and climate challenges. India joined the IEA Family as an Association country in 2017.

India is the world’s fastest growing major economy. Sustained growth needs energy security and sustainability,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said in a video address to attendees at the Ministerial Meeting. “I am sure that the IEA will benefit when India plays a bigger role in it.

In line with the IEA’s efforts to deepen its engagement with emerging and developing economies, IEA ministers and the Singaporean government announced the establishment of a new IEA regional centre in Singapore to increase the Agency’s engagement and impact across Southeast Asia and beyond. The Ministerial Meeting also presented an opportunity for members to invite Latvia to become the 32nd member of the IEA and to welcome Costa Rica as the IEA’s newest Accession country.

This meeting saw governments from around the world commend the IEA’s energy and climate leadership over the past 50 years. And they made it very clear that they’re counting on us to be even more impactful in the future,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said. “The IEA has received clear mandates from its members. We will redouble our efforts to lead the fight against climate change in the energy sector, while ensuring the security of global energy supplies and working to increase energy access throughout the transition.

Related Article: IBM Enhances ESG Platform with Supply Chain Emissions Tracking Capabilities

I would like to say how proud we are to host the International Energy Agency in Paris. Proud because since the oil crisis that led to the creation of the Agency in 1974, international cooperation on energy issues has never ceased to be an absolute necessity,” President Emmanuel Macron of France told attendees in a video message. “We are also very proud that since its creation, the Agency has been able to profoundly shift its mandate. From an agency dedicated to managing strategic oil reserves, it has now become a global hub for debate and collective action to meet the challenge of the energy transition.

Fifty years is a massive milestone. So much has changed in the past five decades. Today, with energy insecurity and climate change now immediate global realities, your work has never been more important. It is central to shaping a secure and sustainable energy future for all,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland said in a video address. “Special thanks to Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol and his team for providing advice and support to leaders and policy makers.

Ministers at the meeting noted the continued importance of oil supply security to the global economy, and emphasised the key role played by the IEA’s oil stockholding system. They also directed the IEA to develop a framework to advance the objectives that have been laid out for a voluntary IEA Critical Minerals Security Programme, which would look to boost the security of the supply chains for the crucial minerals needed for clean energy technologies.

And they called on the IEA to continue its strong work on expanding energy access and affordability, including for clean cooking; on advancing just, people-centred transitions to build a more inclusive energy economy; and on increasing clean energy investment in emerging and developing economies, where high borrowing costs and difficulty accessing capital are restraining energy transitions.

The IEA wants to deliver secure and sustainable clean energy transitions for all people around the world,” Dr Birol said. “We are grateful that IEA ministers commended our work on ensuring transitions are equitable and people-centred, and that they instructed us to go further. We intend to amplify our efforts to keep energy justice at the top of the global agenda, given the essential role it plays in building a better energy future.


Related Articles