137th IPU Assembly
St. Petersburg, 14-18 October 2017
Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade
Item 5 Debate on Engaging the private sector in implementing the SDGs, especially on renewable energy
Humanity - which has just passed 7.5 billion people – will use this year the equivalent of 1.7 Earths to produce the resources it consumes and absorb the waste it generates.
According to recent studies, in case we will continue to ignore the need for greening the growth path of our economies, in 2030, the one billion people plus world’s population will need a second Terra. Now, more than ever, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals is an imperative.
Before bringing to your attention a few examples of parliamentary activities which, I believe, are of relevance for our discussion, I would like to mention that Romania’s current energy policies have been established in accordance with the national Energy Strategy 2007-2020.
For the remaining 3 years we focus on changing the paradigm in adapting the so-called energy mix (production, distribution and use of energy) to the global energy mix, including as regards the efficiency of renewable energies sector which, according to updated forecasts, will ensure 60 percents of electricity production in Romania.
In the field of energy, our Parliament fulfills its functions - adoption of the appropiate legislative framework for the implementation of national energy policies, parliamentary oversight, dialogue with the private sector – mainly through the specialized standing committees: the Committee for Energy and Transport, in the Senate, and the Committees for Economic Affairs and, respectively, Environment, in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Ensuring the country’s energetic security has been at the top of our 2017 parliamentary agenda:
· we have amended the Law on promoting energy from renewable resources ;
· we conduct an on-going evaluation of the National Authority of Regulation in Energy (ANRE) – an autonomous administrative authority, under parliamentary control -, with a view to increasing its efficiency; and recently, following some irregularities in the energy market and upon request by the Employer’s Organization of Renewable Energy Producers in Romania, we established a special parliamentary committee of inquiry, tasked to investigate ANRE activities.
Last, but not least, we are in the process of adopting by law the new Energy Strategy of Romania 2017-2030 with the perspective of 2050 , and I want to stress that the adoption of a governmental strategy by law – and not by Governmental decision - represents an auspicious premiere for our Parliament.
Public consultation - as a mandatory stage of the Romanian legislative procedure - will certainly bring added value to the document. Moreover, upgrading the strategy to a higher ranking legal instrument will require a sustained and concerted action from all stakeholders, in order to reach the agreed targets.
In this context, I would like to emphasise our Parliament’s determination to ensure a legal framework that foster both democratic dialogue and a transparent and efficient cooperation between state representatives and the business sector.
To this end, in 2016 we adopted the Law on the public-private partnership. And currently we are examining the possibility to create a Lobby Register – based on the model of the European Transparency Register -, and to pass a Lobby Law.
Such law must guarantee non-discriminatory access of businesses to policymakers, while establishing clear procedures and limits within which parliamentarians should legally and transparently represent the legitimate interests of citizens or legal persons in relation to central or local authorities.
Other relevant issues on our parliamentary agenda relate to: facilitating scientific and technological research in the energy field; updating the National Register of Qualifications by adding new qualifications in the renewable and non-conventional energy sector; ensuring skilled labour force in the field of renewable energy; fostering the „prosumer behaviour” (production by consumers) among citizens and the small businesses.
Based on our experience in parliament and lessons learnt so far, as mentioned earlier, I propose to our co-rapporteurs to take into account, for the draft resolution, the following aspects:
1. The importance of transparent, inclusive and accountable policies and decision-making processes for developing Renewable Energy Sources, as a means to ensure an effective and efficient engagement of the private sector; in this respect, a binding period for public consultation should be included in the relevant governmental and/or parliamentary legislative procedures;
2. The importance of having a medium/long term national energy strategy meeting sustainable development targets; such strategy must be based on political consensus and wide public support, and needs a strong legal foundation and adequate institutional and budgetary frameworks, hence the key-role of parliaments;
3. The need to constantly improve the national regulatory frameworks, in order to provide policy-makers with legal instruments establishing rules and patterns of transparent and accountable collaboration with the business-sector and civil society, as a golden key to achieve the SDGs; such legal instruments should regulate public-private partnerships, and lobbying activities;
4. Measures aimed at laying the grounds for ensuring secure and sustainable energy at affordable prices, such as: prioritizing R&D Gross Domestic expenditure on clean energy, or policies that simulate the private sector to innovate;
5. Coherent and flexible Human Resources Development policies, consistent with national sustainable development strategies/policies, and fully in line with the labor market needs; in this respect, we should focus on enhancing and diversifying the labour force skills in the RES sector, and to update accordingly the National Register of Qualifications;
6. Enhancing citizens’ awareness and education on RES, as a prerequisite for a functional and successful RES market, including by encouraging a “prosumer” behavior;
7. Enhancing parliamentary engagement in international multi-stakeholder activities in the field of RES, as well as the participation in parliamentary specialized fora (for instance, the European Forum for Renewable Energy Resources – EUFORES); interaction between the IPU and such parliamentary fora should be also encouraged;
8. Increasing international development assistance/other international funding sources in order to support countries in their shift towards low-carbon power sources and technologies, and the transition to a more sustainable economy.