EEDIM: Opening Statement

Agenda of the 2018 OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting, October 15, 2018. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

Opening Statement at the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting

As delivered by Political Officer Dustin DeGrande,
Vienna, October 15, 2018

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good morning, fellow delegates, representatives, and distinguished guests. I would like to begin by thanking Ambassador Azzoni and the Italian OSCE Chairmanship, and Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities Ambassador Žugić, for organizing this Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting. Thank you, as well, to Secretary-General Greminger, Executive Secretary Algayerova, and Director General Dialuce for your contributions this morning.

EEDIM gives us the opportunity to examine how well we participating States have been implementing our commitments, as well as preview areas in which the OSCE can further engage in energy security issues under the Slovak Chairmanship in 2019. With energy often a primary security concern across the OSCE region, we welcome this conversation. Governments, academia, NGOs, international organizations, and the private sector can help the OSCE address challenges in economic and environmental issues. We think this year’s EEDIM provides a good mix of expert opinions to inform our discussions.

In the United States, we have consistently prioritized energy security. Our efforts over the years have contributed to our successful implementation of the consensus OSCE decisions we reached in Kyiv, Athens, Madrid, and Brussels. The current National Security Strategy ranks energy security as one of our country’s top priorities. With America’s central position in the global system as a leading producer, consumer, and innovator, we help ensure that markets are free and U.S. infrastructure is resilient and secure. Our leading role ensures that access to energy is diversified and recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship.

As the State Department Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Francis Fannon told Congress in June, “U.S. diplomacy promotes the diversification of energy sources, supplies, and routes globally so that our allies and partners worldwide are more resilient and can defend against other countries’ attempts to use energy to coerce. The United States… will remain a reliable energy partner and will not ‘shut off the gas’ when others need it the most. Our goal is to keep markets open, transparent, and free of manipulation and political coercion.” He added that, “we need the help of our international partners, as we must all work together to build the necessary infrastructure. Import terminals and pipelines are critical to catalyze a meaningful global gas market that provides increased security for all of us.”

Assistant Secretary Fannon’s comments and the National Security Strategy highlight the responsibility the United States feels as a global leader in promoting energy security. We stand against attempts by some countries to shut off the gas for political purposes, subvert market practices, or bully other countries into accepting disadvantageous energy arrangements. We approach the very real need for energy security on the basis that a diverse energy mix must realistically assess the current reality. The World Economic Forum reported that the United States is the world’s second-largest growth market for renewables, after China. Despite this positive trajectory toward renewables, we cannot ignore the central role of fossil fuels in the world today. As long as the market favors them, governments should continue to focus on making them cleaner. The United States has worked to develop cutting-edge coal and natural gas technologies alongside our investments in renewables.

The United States looks forward to fruitful discussions on these issues over the next couple of days, learning from best practices around the region. Once again, the United States thanks Ambassador Azzoni, the Italian OSCE Chairmanship, Ambassador Žugić, and this morning’s speakers.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.