First Summit of the Americas


The Regional Cooperation in the Energy Sector mandate was intricately linked with the "Partnership for Sustainable Energy Use", one of the initiatives of the leaders launched through the Miami Plan of Action. However, this Partnership, along with the "Partnership for Biodiversity" and "Partnership for Pollution Prevention" (all parts of the Miami Plan of Action), were merged into the broader area of Sustainable Development.  The leaders in Miami noted that sustainable economic development requires hemispheric cooperation in the field of energy.

In Miami, the governments committed themselves to convening a follow-up hemispheric meeting in 1995.  The goal of the meeting was to encourage cooperational development of the energy industry within the Hemisphere, while simultaneously using cost-efficient national energy strategies and following the Miami Plan of Action's "Partnership for Sustainable Energy Use".  The main objectives were to:

  • Use the energy sector to promote sustainable economic growth;
  • Optimize and facilitate the financing mechanisms of international institutions in order to support the development of projects and increase investment in the energy sector.  Governments should pay special attention to the enhancement of energy efficiency and non-conventional renewable energy;

  • Promote the use of conventional, renewable, efficient and non-polluting energy technologies, and increase technical expertise in this area; and

  • Enhance ongoing efforts to establish electric and other energy facilities which abide domestic regulatory frameworks and under sub-regional agreements.

Energy Ministers from around the hemisphere launched the Hemispheric Energy Initiative during their first post-Miami meeting in Washington D.C., in October 1995, in order to conjunctively coordinate Initiative 12 ("Energy Cooperation") and Initiative 21("Partnership for Sustainable Energy Use") of the Miami Plan.  The Initiative resulted in a number of positive steps forward, including the creation of a Hemispheric Energy Steering Committee aimed at guiding the implementation of the Action plans. The Steering Committee, which met for the first time in Santiago, Chile in February 1996, established 8 working groups.   They had the following objectives and coordinators:

    Working Group Name/ Objectives


    1. Increasing Investment in the Energy Sector

    United States

    2. Promote Clean Energy Technologies in the Electric Power Markets (OLADE)


    3. Advance Regulatory Cooperation in the Hemisphere


    4. Increase Economic and Environmental Sustainability of the Petroleum Sector


    5. Create New Opportunities for Natural Gas


    6. Make Energy Efficiency a Priority Throughout the Hemisphere


    7. Develop Workable Hemispheric Rural Electrification Strategies


    8. Share Information on Voluntary Efforts to Reduce Global Buildup of Greenhouse Gases Generated in the Energy Sector

    United States

The Energy Ministers met for a second time in Santa Cruz, Bolivia in July 1996.  Primary among the concerns of this meeting were the commitment to energy growth consistent with the goals of sustainable development and the promotion of increased private sector investment. The Ministers committed themselves to cooperate on strategies which would increase rural electrification services and ensure that at least 80% of the Hemisphere's population had access to energy by 2010.   The work of the Steering Group was endorsed at the Summit on Sustainable Development, which took place in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in December 1996. 

The Third Meeting of Energy Ministers took place in January 1998 in Caracas, Venezuela.  In the Caracas Declaration, the Ministers agreed to the following initiatives:

  • Promoting policies that support the progress of  FTAA negotiations, including the promotion and facilitation of trading products, goods and services relating to the energy sector and the hemispheric infrastructure;
  • Increasing energy trade and developing further links to foster hemispheric economic integration;
  • Promoting investment in the energy sector through transparent and non-discriminatory legal, fiscal and regulatory systems;
  • Encouraging fair regulatory frameworks which would facilitate the integration of natural gas and electricity markets, as well as increase investment in the sector;
  • Expanding rural electrification; and
  • Actively encouraging the exchange of information and cooperation among the member states with respect to the issue of climate change, consistent with United Nations initiatives as taken within the Framework Convention for Climate Change, and the Kyoto Conference.

Ministers endorsed the integration of energy markets, and their interplay with transparent investment regulatory frameworks. They recognized the great importance of technology in environmental monitoring of the energy sector.

The Ministers also created a Coordinating Secretariat to continue the progress of the Hemispheric Energy Initiative. This Secretariat provides support to the Steering Committee and the 8 working groups. The Secretariat is composed of one official each from:

    1. The Venezuelan Ministry of Energy and Mines
    2. The U.S. Department of Energy; and
    3. OLADE.

Sustainable Development has also been a key component of the Hemispheric Energy Initiative. The IDB has financed a program known as "Sustainable Markets for Sustainable Energy". The objective of this program is to encourage the development of long-term markets for energy efficiency and clean/renewable energy resources for the Hemisphere. The program has links to many financial avenues within the IDB, including the Inter-American Investment Corporation, and the Multilateral Investment Fund. Several projects are already receiving support from this new IDB initiative, including: a rural renewable energy services project in Brazil; energy efficiency projects in Peru, Argentina and El Salvador; and urban transportation projects in Brazil and Ecuador.

Other initiatives and areas of focus within the energy/sustainable development sector have taken place between 1995 and 1998. These include:

    Natural gas: It is an important component of the energy initiatives because it is a clean fuel. Efforts have been made to increase private investment in the natural gas sector. A meeting between governmental and private interests was held in La Paz, Bolivia in June 1996. This resulted in the outline of a Hemispheric Natural Gas Strategy.

    Energy Regulation: Efforts have also been made to ensure that regulation after the privatization of markets is fair and transparent. The first conference devoted to this area was hosted by the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission in July 1996. Ministers have agreed to ensure transparent and predictable regulatory systems, and facilitate the integration of natural gas and electricity markets via fixed grids. Training of regulatory personnel is also a key area of concern and databases have been created for this purpose.

    Clean Energy: Working Group 2 wrote a report entitled Clean Energy Technologies for the Americas in December 1996. This report, which includes a database of current and projected electric power demand and capacity by country, allowed for the evaluation of clean energy evaluations. The Group has also investigated 12 projects concerning advanced technologies in both fossil and renewable fuels. Another major area of concern has been the removal of lead in gasoline. Working Group 4, in January 1998, wrote a report entitled Fuel Harmonization in Latin America and the Caribbean, which included recommendations and time frames for lead removal objectives. Civil society and private industry have also contributed to the debate on clean energy use. NGO and industry initiatives include the Renewable Energy in the Americas initiative, the Environment Forum for Petroleum and Gas in the Western Hemisphere, and the U.S. Clean Cities program.

    Standardization of Energy Standards: A workshop was held in Toronto, Ontario, in June 1997, to deal with the elimination of barriers and the increasement of cooperation in this area. Other workshops have since been held to deal with harmonization in areas such as testing and equipment:

    Needs of Rural Communities: The Working Group dealing with this area issued a report entitled Report on Rural Electrification.  It estimates that approximately 50 million rural inhabitants lack access to basic electrical supplies. The report also documents progress in this area.

    Human Resources in the Energy Sector: Advents cannot be made without the support of a well-trained industry professionals. Venezuela, therefore, hosted a conference entitled "Hemispheric Petroleum Forum of the Americas: Human Resources" in Caracas in May 1997 in order to increase discussion about issues of personnel training and the general development of human resources in the petroleum sector.

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