The importance of energy efficiency and its relation to a cleaner environment was already underlined in the 1991 European Energy Charter. The subsequent Energy Charter Treaty, and in particular Article 19 of the Treaty, requires that each Contracting Party minimise, in an economically efficient manner, harmful environmental impacts arising from energy use.
The Energy Charter Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related Environmental Aspects (PEEREA) was negotiated, opened for signature and entered into force at the same time (16 April 1998) as the Energy Charter Treaty. Building on the provisions of the Treaty, PEEREA requires its participating states to formulate clear policy aims for improving energy efficiency and reducing the energy cycle's negative environmental impact.
By way of contrast to other activities in the Energy Charter Process, the emphasis in the work on energy efficiency is not on legal obligations but rather on practical implementation of a political commitment to improve energy efficiency. This is promoted through policy discussions based on analysis and exchange of experience between the member countries, invited independent experts and other international organisations.
Through the implementation of PEEREA, the Energy Charter Conference provides its member countries with a menu of good practices and a forum in which to share experiences and policy advice on energy efficiency issues. Within this forum, particular attention is paid to such aspects of a national energy efficiency strategy as taxation, pricing policy in the energy sector, environmentally-related subsidies and other mechanisms for financing energy efficiency objectives.