How often do IEA ministerial meetings take place?
Once every two years, the Governing Board – which is made up of one or more government representative(s), usually at the level of director general and sometimes at the level of minister, from each IEA member country – convenes at ministerial level. The Ministerial affords a chance to set the broad strategic priorities for the IEA, alongside the direction offered at the regular meetings of the Governing Board, which take place several times a year at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris. Although ministers instruct the IEA to focus on a specific issue, the direction they provide also comes by simple virtue of the discussions that ensue at these meetings. The IEA Secretariat then digests what has been discussed and develops ideas for existing or new work programmes, which it then presents to the Governing Board. Importantly, ministerial meetings also provide an opportunity for member countries themselves to agree to undertake certain actions in the field of energy policy, either domestically or collectively.
For how long do ministerial meetings last?
Since the IEA was established, the frequency and duration of meetings has varied depending on the needs of the organisation, as well as the political and energy climate. In 2011, the event ran for one and a half days.
Is this the only opportunity the IEA has to interact with its member countries?
No, the Ministerial should not be seen in isolation. It is part of the extensive web of interaction that the IEA Secretariat has with member and non-member countries from the expert level right up to the highest political level. Such interaction takes place through a host of committee and working party meetings under the Governing Board, and through advisory and other informal bodies and meetings.
Why are representatives from non-member countries invited to participate?
Growing economic interdependence and increasingly global energy market and environmental issues make IEA relations with non-member countries, industry, international organisations and other stakeholders especially important. Member countries and non-member countries must work together and share knowledge and ideas to overcome current global energy challenges.
When did the ministerial first include non-member delegations?
Non-member countries have attended since at least 2001. Although no non-member countries were represented in 2007, in 2009 officials from China, India, and Russia attended. In 2011 representatives from non-member countries attended all sessions of the Ministerial, with no closed sessions exclusively for member countries.
Are one-on-one meetings held?
Yes. It is no secret that, at this kind of event, what goes on outside of the official meeting is often just as important for a minister as what happens inside. A large number of bilateral meetings are conducted between countries, industry leaders, and senior representatives of the IEA.
Do the press have access?
Yes. There has been keen press interest in the past few ministerial meetings. In 2011, a press filing center was set up at the OECD conference centre, and staffed by members of the IEA Press Unit. While the press do not have access to the meetings themselves, a full press schedule was planned, including press briefings and photo opportunities.
What language are the ministerial meetings conducted in?
English, which is the working language of the IEA. However, through longstanding agreement with the Governing Board, the IEA Secretariat also provides simultaneous interpretation into French and German. In addition, when non-member countries are present, the IEA Secretariat provides interpretation into other languages for countries that express an interest. In 2011, the IEA provided Russian, Chinese and Portuguese interpretation. Member countries also sometimes fund their own interpretation independently.