|Opening Remarks of Ambassador Tove Skarstein at the Energy Diversification and Energy Security Round Table
October 5th, 2009
Iztok Hall of the National Assembly
The energy sector is central to both Bulgaria and Norway and the future of their economies depends very much on decisions our governments take today. We need to take decisions carefully, taking into consideration the interests of future generations - social, economic and environmental. We need to make these decisions transparently based on long-term strategies, which have been appropriately discussed with engaged stakeholders;
Norway is a pioneer and shaper of sustainable development in the world. It has extensive knowledge and experience in the governance of sustainable development. In terms of governance Norway ranks among the top most transparent and good governance countries in the world, making it a model country of choice for good governance in sustainable development. My country is the host and a member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative;
In recent years the governance – sustainability nexus is greatly influenced by the globalization process. At the political level multi-level governance becomes increasingly important, and at the market level, transnational economic relations play an increasingly important role. Hence, to realize the benefits of today’s global world it is of primary importance that international and European sustainability policies are implemented with good governance (rule of law) at the national level, taking into account local characteristics. Equally important is the inclusion through public-private partnerships of civil society and businesses;
As Bulgaria and Norway are partners in the European Economic Area, we have been working actively with local Bulgarian stakeholders to share knowledge and lessons on improving the functioning of the economy and the energy sector in particular. For the past decade we have been working with the Center for the Study of Democracy in sharing experiences and improving good governance in the security sector in Bulgaria. Energy, plays a big role in a country's security and it is only natural that we are now embarking on a challenging but rewarding task to contribute to improving energy sector governance for a more sustainable development of Bulgaria and Norway;
Bulgaria and Norway need to work together to develop knowledge-based strategic approaches to good governance and sustainable energy, adding to European security and prosperity. A key pillar of such strategic approach is transparency and alternative scenarios assessment. The Bulgarian public and its international partners need to know what are the alternative scenarios for reaching the country's energy goals and what would the social, economic and environmental costs be in each of the scenarios. Norway is prepared and willing to provide help and assistance in working out such scenarios and building up transparency and participatory decision making in the energy sector in Bulgaria.