On the invitation of International Energy Charter, ECO Secretariat participated in the Baku International Energy Charter Forum held in Baku, Azerbaijan on 23-24 October 2019. The forum was jointly organized by the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan and the International Energy Charter on the theme of “Enabling Energy Transformation through Technology and Policy Innovations”. More than 200 participants, including Ministers, high-level officials and leading experts from Member and Observer countries, international organizations, the energy industry and academia participated in the Forum.
The Forum aimed at discussing the role of regulatory frameworks and technologies in promoting sustainable energy. The ECO Secretariat was represented by Mr. Muhammad Farooq, Assistan Director for International Relations. The opening remarks were delivered by Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan, H.E. Parviz Shahbazov and Energy Charter Secretary General, Dr Urban Rusnák. This was followed by the high-level addresses from the representatives of the governments and international organizations. The Speakers highlighted different approaches to facilitate the energy transition while industry representatives shared their best practices and lessons learnt in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. At the occasion, Mr. Muhammad Farooq delivered a speech on behalf of the ECO Secretary General and highlighted the significance of theme of the Forum for the ECO.
The ECO representative briefed the session that Energy represents one of the highest priorities within ECO and ECO Vision 2025, a major strategic document of ECO, lays down “the enhancement of energy security and sustainability through wider energy access and trade” as an ECO’s strategic objective. Inspired by this objective, the Vision has identified the “deployment of environmental-friendly energy technologies” and “promotion of energy investments through advocating innovative incentives” among key expected outcomes, to be achieved in the coming years. Mr. Farooq informed the audience that ECO Region is endowed with the one third of the global hydrocarbon resources and it is one of the key suppliers of oil and natural gas to the world markets contributing to the international energy security. However, despite the rich oil and gas resources, the energy agenda of ECO has been undergoing the paradigm shift towards transformation to sustainable energy over the past few years.
Mr. Muhammad Farooq underscored the significance of establishment of ECO Clean Energy Centre as a catalyst of both South-South and North-South cooperation dimensions as well as facilitator of technology and know-how transfer in the ECO Region. He also mentioned that establishment of ECO Regional Electricity Market (ECO-REM), aims at harmonizing and merging the electricity markets in our Region, has been identified as a key area for ECO-Energy Charter cooperation. He assured that ECO, as an important regional partner for global agendas, stands ready for any dialogue with international partners for accomplishment of this goal.
On the sidelines of the forum, the ECO representative also had the opportunity to meet the Secretary General of the International Energy Charter and high level officials of the various countries. During his meeting with Secretary General International Energy Charter, both sides stressed the importance of strengthening cooperative relations in the energy sector. In this regard, the Secretary General of the International Energy Charter also assured Mr. Farooq to organize a training/capacity building workshop for ECO Member States in the first quarter of 2020.