Caracas, Venezuela
January 15-16, 1998


(corrected English text)


The Energy Ministers of the Hemisphere, considering the mandates of the Summit of the Americas of December 1994 held in Miami, U.S.A., as well as the agreements from the First Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers/Hemispheric Energy Symposium held in Washington, D.C., in October 1995, and the Second Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers held in July 1996 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, now celebrate the Third Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers with the following objectives:

  • Evaluate the fulfillment of the commitments adopted.
  • Review the state of progress of the activities that the different working groups of the Hemispheric Energy Initiative are carrying out under the coordination of the Steering Committee.
  • Further strengthen the hemispheric cooperation process in the area of energy.
  • Consider the institutionalization of the Hemispheric Energy Initiative and especially the options for establishing a Coordinating Secretariat for this Initiative.
  • Become informed regarding the meeting held by the private sector entitled "First Energy Business Forum of the Americas."
  • Consider the paragraphs on energy to be proposed to the Heads of State and Government at the Second Summit of the Americas, for consideration for inclusion in the Declaration of Principles and in the Action Plan that the Heads of State and Government will sign.


That in the Declaration of Principles and the Action Plan adopted at the Summit of the Americas, the Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere committed to guaranteeing sustainable development and conservation of the environment for present and future generations and stated that sustainable economic development requires hemispheric cooperation in the area of Energy; commitments that were countersigned at the Hemispheric Summit held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in December 1996.

That during the First Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers held in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., it was agreed to increase regional cooperation among governments, multilateral financing institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector as a mechanism to achieve economic and energy development in our hemisphere.

That at the Second Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in July 1996, the key role of the energy sector in the achievement of sustainable development was confirmed, and the need to promote private investment in the sector was recognized.

That at the Second Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers, energy supply to rural areas was qualified as being imperative due to its importance in sustainable human development. That the Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere at the Summit on Sustainable Development resolved to collaborate on strategies and training to increase access to energy services in rural areas in order to assure a hemispheric coverage for 80% of the total population in the year 2010.

That this Third Hemispheric Meeting furthered the understanding of those aspects essential to the advancement of the Hemispheric Integration Process and identified the following complementary elements:

1. To acknowledge that the development of regional links in the energy sector and the intensification of the trade of energy related products, goods and services, have acquired high levels of dynamism, which may strengthen and foster the integration of the Americas. Likewise, integration contributes to the achievement of the goals of sustainable development in the energy sector as stated in the Summit of the Americas.

2. To reiterate that the energy sector can be a catalyst for integration. Aware of the challenge this implies, it is necessary to recognize that consensus does exist in identifying the core principles that take into account different national conditions and objectives, in order that the integration be the result of transparent and competitive activities. These activities should be oriented toward improving the quality of life of the inhabitants of the hemisphere by satisfying their demands with quality and minimal impact to the environment.

3. To recognize that the consolidation of these principles will require a considerable effort to design and implement policies and programs to be applied by the respective governments. To accomplish this, it is necessary to intensify the exchange, of experiences and cooperation based on the advances achieved through this Initiative.



We the Ministers recognize the need to assure the continuity of efforts of our countries within this framework of cooperation.

In this sense, we have decided to create a Coordinating Secretariat for one year as a trial stage. This Secretariat will be composed of:

  • An official from the Ministry of Energy and Mines of the Republic of Venezuela with appropriate support, with headquarters in Caracas.
  • An official from the U.S. Department of Energy with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • An official appointed by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) with headquarters in Quito, Republic of Ecuador.

The official based in Venezuela will be the focal point for handling queries, providing administrative assistance and dealing with the flow of information, etc.

We charge the Steering Committee with the definition of the mechanisms of rapport with the Coordinating Secretariat so that the latter may efficiently support the working groups.

Integration of Energy Markets

Recognizing the commitment of our Governments to conclude negotiations in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at the latest by the year 2005, we the Ministers commit to promoting policies and processes that facilitate the trade of products, goods and services related to the energy sector, for the integration of the energy markets in accordance with the commitments that our Governments take on within the context of the negotiations in the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

In order to achieve an increased integration of energy markets, we the Ministers commit to promoting policies and processes, in the shortest possible time, that facilitate the development of infrastructure, including across international borders.

In this sense and with the purpose of promoting the removal of existing barriers in the trade of energy products, and in order to facilitate the formulating of specific proposals to advance the free trade of energy, the Steering Committee is charged with the study of coordination mechanisms with the FTAA working groups, for the purpose of obtaining information regarding the progress achieved in the different work areas that conform the current commercial integration process related to the energy sector. The result of this research should be presented for consideration by the Energy Ministers at the Fourth Hemispheric Ministers' Meeting.

Regulatory Framework

In accordance with the legal and constitutional rules of every State, we agree to:

  • Take steps so that national regulations allow market forces to operate with the greatest freedom and transparency.
  • Promote the creation and strengthening of transparent and predictable regulatory systems which consider the needs of the different parties involved, including producers, suppliers and consumers.
  • Facilitate the integration of natural gas and electricity markets via fixed grids, for which we will promote the development of domestic regulations aimed at:

1. Assuring open access of third parties to the remaining capacity in these grids;

2. Assuring non-discriminatory treatment for local and foreign companies;

3. Providing broad access to information;

4. Preserving the environment; and

5. Maintaining reliability and security of the respective energy systems.

Investment Promotion

In accordance with the international commitments that the States may assume within the framework of the negotiations in the Free Trade Area of the Americas and other international agreements, we the Energy Ministers recognize that it is necessary to establish predictable, transparent and non-discriminatory legal, fiscal and regulatory systems in order to promote local and foreign private investment in the energy sector in the permitted areas in the respective Constitutions.

Rural Electrification

In accordance with the constitutional and legal rules of each country, we commit to find sustainable financial solutions in order to achieve the goals regarding rural electrification coverage, as stated in the Action Plan of the Summit on Sustainable Development, seeking to involve the private sector and multilateral financing organizations.

Considering Strategies for Climate Change

We the Ministers recognize the key role technologies play in managing the environmental aspects related to energy and we exhort hemispheric cooperation in order to achieve successful results in this field.

Based on the above, we the Ministers agree to activate the working group on climate change for purposes of exchanging information and analyzing activities and mechanisms for cooperation between the countries of the Hemisphere, in the light of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the decisions made at the III Conference of the Parties held in Kyoto, Japan, as well as of the results of the discussion to be held at the meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 1998.

We agree to instruct the Steering Committee to develop, with the support of the Coordinating Secretariat, the report for approval by the Energy Ministers. This report will be presented at the II Summit of the Americas to be held in Santiago de Chile in April 1998.

We agree to instruct the Steering Committee to follow up on the measures and actions set forth in this Declaration, and to convoke the IV Hemispheric Meeting of Energy Ministers in 1999, to be held in Mexico on a date to be defined.

We would like to express our gratitude to the Government and the people of the Republic of Venezuela for their warm welcome and excellent organization of this meeting.

We hereby express our consent in regard to the text of this Declaration in witness whereof we sign hereon in the city of Caracas, Republic of Venezuela, on this 16th day of January, 1998.