On 16 and 17 December, more than thirty Contracting Parties to the Energy Charter Treaty have convened for the 31st Meeting of the Energy Charter Conference, the governing and decision-making body for the Energy Charter process. The Meeting of the Conference extended over two days starting with the Statutory Session primarily dedicated to the main priorities of the year: modernization of the Treaty and implementation of the Review 2019 conclusions. During this Session, the Contracting Parties noted the progress in these priorities reached in 2019 as was reported by the relevant Chairs of subsidiary groups. The principal outcome of the Contracting Parties' conclusions was the need of continuation of efforts aimed at reaching further milestones and eventual outcomes concerning the priorities in 2021. The Chairs of other subsidiary groups of the Conference delivered their respective reports summarizing the main achievements of the year related to strategy, implementation and budget.
The Ministerial Session held on the second day of the Conference was concerned this year with energy efficiency. High-level speakers at the Session representing member countries included Their Excellencies Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr Nurlan Nogayev. State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr Eiichiro Washio, Vice-Minister of Energy of Mongolia Mr Bayarmagnai Myagmarsuren, and Mr Niculae Havrilet, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment of Romania. The Ministerial Session was also attended by international and regional organizations represented by Their Excellencies Mr Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of OPEC, Ambassador Traian Chebeleu, Deputy Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, and Ambassador Huseyin Avni Bicakli, Deputy Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization. Their practical interventions and remarks on the topic of the Session along with those made by delegations have further underlined the significance of concerted efforts towards greater energy sustainability, in particular in light of the ambitions of the ongoing Energy Charter Treaty modernization process.
In the circumstances of the continuing limitations and restrictions globally, the Conference this year had to be held virtually. The Conference was chaired and moderated by His Excellency Mr Parviz Shahbazov, the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Mr Samir Valiyev, the Deputy Minister of Energy.