Media Center

Press Release


  September 9, 2008

Renewing the call for a “new energy order,” Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General José Miguel Insulza today argued strongly for stepped-up energy sector integration and cooperation among countries in the Americas as key to the objective of energy security.

Insulza stressed that ensuring energy sector security in the Americas begins by acknowledging that current production, delivery and consumption patterns are unsustainable. He underscored the need to find a balance between national energy self-sufficiency initiatives on the one hand, and energy integration at the hemispheric level, on the other. Furthermore, the Secretary General noted, while the new energy order for the Americas is still taking shape, its foundation most certainly will based on energy integration but also on energy efficiency and diversification of energy supply as key principles.

The OAS Secretary General shared his perspectives during a discussion about “Energy Security in the Americas,” part of the daylong Fourth Annual Western Hemisphere Energy Security and Cooperation Forum, at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) headquarters. He spoke among a panel that also included the ambassadors to the United States from Brazil, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota; from Canada, Michael Wilson; and from Colombia, Carolina Barco.

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno opened the Forum, which also included participation from Institute of the Americas President Jeffrey Davidow and Chairman of Infrastructure Committee, Sergio Thompson-Flores. U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) was the opening keynote speaker.

Explaining that energy consumption must become more efficient, the OAS Secretary General also emphasized increased development and use of renewable energy alternatives as one important way to achieve diversification. Insulza also cautioned the region against getting bogged down in arguments about which kind of energy to embrace. Rather, he proposed, all alternatives should be explored.

In his analysis and commentary on energy security, Secretary General Insulza stated that the impact of factors such as natural disasters, global warming and terrorism must also be considered in any approach towards energy security. In the case of the Caribbean islands, a special program may be needed to help them with energy security, given their particular vulnerability to hurricanes.

The Energy Security and Cooperation Forum is a joint effort of the IDB, the Institute of the Americas at the University of California-San Diego and the International Biofuels Commission. Participants included U.S. legislators, senior diplomats, energy analysts, investors and other opinion leaders.

During the Forum, the IDB released its Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard, an interactive tool developed as part of a comprehensive effort “to ensure that biofuel investments produce social, economic and environmental benefits.” It speaks to a number of key environmental and social issues, among them food security, greenhouse gas emissions, water management, land use change, biodiversity and poverty reduction. Investors, governments, and NGOs can also use this scorecard to evaluate potential biofuel projects.

Reference: E-334/08