Statement at the Closing Session of the 21st OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum

As delivered by Matthew Murray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce
to the 21st OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum
Prague, Czech Republic
September 13, 2013

Good morning, fellow delegates, representatives, and distinguished guests.  I would like to thank the Ukrainian Chairmanship, including Ambassador Prokopchuk, along with the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities, Dr. Yigitguden, for bringing us together for this concluding meeting of the OSCE’s 21st Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF).

We have had an excellent and productive discussion over these last three days, and I’m excited in particular about some good progress that was mentioned on the development of renewable energy sources as well as increased energy efficiency.  These are just the sort of exchanges that make this forum valuable, and I urge all of our delegations to take these ideas back to their capitals and make good use of them.

We welcomed the introduction of the Good Practices Guide on Non-Nuclear Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection from Terrorist Attacks, Focusing on Threats Emanating from Cyberspace.  We hope this guide will be not only a valuable resource for policy makers and practitioners, but will also help spur discussion on further avenues for participating States to increase the security of their critical energy infrastructure, to protect not only from terrorist attacks, but also from the impact of natural and man-made disasters.

We were pleased with Wednesday’s Special Event on Transparency in the Energy Sector, and urge continued attention to how the OSCE can be used to promote transparency and good governance.  These principles should be furthered not just for their own sakes, but as key elements to promoting investment, job growth, and entrepreneurship.

This morning’s panel on New and Emerging Technologies in the Energy Field was an important one, and we hope that it showed the potential we all have to promote open and wide-ranging debate on the many new and emerging energy sources available to us.  As we look at renewable energy, shale gas, and other options available to an increasing number of participating States, it is important for governments, citizens, and the business community to have forthright and comprehensive discussions about these many options, and the true cost-benefit calculations that each brings.  The OSCE has an important role to play in creating space for policy dialogue, particularly in addressing risk in the energy sector.

In order to have a truly effective dialogue, we encourage the Economic Coordinator and all participating States to work to increase the interest and participation of civil society organizations, including the business sector, so that our discussions on relevant economic and environmental issues can take into account their input and thus be more substantive.

My thanks again to the Ukrainian Chairmanship and the Secretariat staff, including the Economic and Environmental Coordinator, and the Czech Government, for their tremendous efforts and hospitality in organizing the Forum.  We look forward to incorporating what we have learned over the course of the year into discussions toward ministerial action in Kyiv.