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UNASUR Supports the Drafting of a South American Energy Treaty

18 May 2012: The South American Union's (UNASUR) South American Energy Council decided to form an ad hoc specialized group of policy and legal experts to draft the substantive content of a South American Energy Treaty and report back to the next Council session.

The Council, holding its third meeting on 18 May 2012, in Caracas, Venezuela, instructed the specialized group to be mindful of the proposed treaty structure agreed to by Heads of State and Government at the May 2010 Extraordinary Summit held in Los Cardales, Argentina.

In other matters, the Council reviewed the status of work to create an "Energy Balance of South America" by its advisory body, the Energy Experts Group (GEE), with technical assistance from the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE). The Energy Balance is to be a diagnosis and ten-year prognosis of energy supply, transformation and demand, broken down by type of energy and by country. The Council also instructed the GEE to continue work building on the 15-point Guidelines for the South American Energy Strategy also approved at Los Cardales, which calls for, inter alia: providing incentive to rational energy and sustainable energy consumption; promoting regulatory and commercial harmonization; promoting renewable and alternative energy, including biofuels, wind, solar, nuclear, marine, geothermal, hydro and hydrogen; and promoting energy efficiency.

The Council instructed the GEE to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a UNASUR research institute to bring together energy experts, promote student exchange and facilitate energy research and development. It further called for the GEE to form an Energy Planning Working Group to propose to the next Council session energy infrastructure projects for UNASUR to support. Finally, it was agreed that regional meetings on oil and gas, electricity, and energy technology will be convened.

Although signed by Heads of State in 2008, the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty did not come into effect until 2011. The 12 UNASUR member States are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The South American Energy Council was created by the UNASUR Heads of State and Government at the May 2010 Extraordinary Summit held in Los Cardales, Argentina. [UNASUR Press Release (in Spanish)] [OLADE Press Release] [Publication: III South American Energy Council Declaration (in Spanish)]