IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsEnergy Diplomacy in the Caspian

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Friday, June 28, 2013

Energy Diplomacy in the Caspian

On June 28th, the IPI Vienna Office hosted an expert roundtable on energy and security in the Caspian, Caucasus, and Central Asia. The roundtable focused on the region around the Caspian Sea, which is potentially the world’s third largest oil producing region, with reserves of more than 200 billion barrels of oil and 800 billion cubic feet of gas.

Energy is a major factor in the political and economic relationship between countries of the region and major markets in Europe and China. Particular attention was paid to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, which are the biggest producers of oil and gas in the region.

The meeting was the first in a series of regional roundtables that will provide input to IPI’s energy and security task force, which has these aims: 1) to identify the impact of energy on security (and vice versa); 2) to examine what structures and mechanisms exist to promote multilateral cooperation on energy issues; and 3) to make recommendations on how energy-related governance structures can improve regional stability.

Participants in the roundtable observed that, despite a plethora of energy security frameworks, very few are suited to promoting cooperation on energy-related issues. For example, there is no body to promote cooperation among states of the Caspian, nor a legal agreement among the five littoral states to resolve disputes or to ensure long-term security and development in the Caspian. Past attempts to promote Caspian economic cooperation and a Caspian bank were recalled. The precedents of regional and sub-regional councils in other parts of the world (such as the Arctic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and among Nordic countries) were cited as possible models.

In Central Asia, water is a major energy-related issue. Upstream countries (i.e., Tajikistan) seek to use rivers for hydro-electric power which concerns downstream countries (i.e., Uzbekistan) that rely on the water for irrigation. While bilateral and regional agreements are essential to resolve water-related disputes, thus far the countries of Central Asia have been unable to find ways to work together. Attempts to integrate Afghanistan into energy projects involving countries of Central Asia were pointed to as an opportunity to promote regional cooperation, economic development, and stability.

Concerning the Caucuses, it was noted that energy is not a source of tensions, but could be used as a means of promoting confidence and cooperation among countries of the region. The importance of the Southern Corridor and Turkey’s growing role as an energy hub were highlighted.

Observations and recommendations from the expert-level meeting will be shared with the energy and security task force, which is scheduled to meet on the margins of the high-level segment of the UN General Assembly at the end of September.

The Global Observatory

History Points to Rough Road Ahead for Ukraine Peace Deal
Previous deals can help shed light on the future of Minsk II.

Key Global Events to Watch in February
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

February 24, 2015
Quantifying Peace
“Peace can and should be quantified,“ said Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace while speaking at IPI’s Vienna office on January 24. Mr. Killelea stressed the need for focusing on positive peace rather than just the absence of conflict (negative peace), and outlined ways of defining and measuring peacefulness.

February 17, 2015
ICM Briefs UN Delegates from Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Others
ICM Chair Kevin Rudd and Secretary-General Hardeep Puri briefed delegates from the Eastern European and Western European and Others groups on February 17th and 19th, respectively.

February 13, 2015
Slovak FM Lajčák: Ability to Listen Is Key to Effective Multilateralism
Sharing his views on topics ranging from the crisis in Ukraine and the role of women in peace processes to the changing role of the UN, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák of Slovakia said the key ingredient to a successful multilateralism is “the ability to listen to each other, the kind of listening when you understand even if you might disagree."

View More