The 27th Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Economic and Environmental Forum aimed to promote economic progress and security in the OSCE area through energy co-operation, new technologies, good governance and connectivity in the digital era. The following is Amb. Richard Morningstar’s address to OSCE country representatives in Prague on September 11, 2019.
Thank you Foreign Minister Petříček, Chairperson-in-Office Lajcak and the OSCE, Ambassador Gilmore and his staff for allowing me to address this forum. It is an opportune time to reflect on the growing confluence between new technologies, digitization, and opportunities for increasing energy connectivity, synchronization, cooperation, and security in the OSCE area. At the end of last year, the OSCE published a “Declaration on the Digital Economy a Driver for Promoting Co-operation, Security and Growth.” As I’m sure you know, the Declaration recognized that, “implications of digital transformation are not only leading to progress and prosperity, but also to the emergence of new or enhanced security threats and challenges.”
This is all the more relevant considering the increasing speed of the global energy transition underway. While the famous Czech energy economist and historian Vaclav Smil maintains that energy transitions necessarily are slow, the evidence, in fact, suggests that though history often repeats itself, rules which once held true may no longer be the case today. And even Professor Smil admits that what is possible on a country or regional scale can be quite impressive, with the right policies and the right technologies.
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Ambassador Richard Morningstar served as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2012 to 2014, Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy from 2009 to 2012 and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 1999 to 2001. He is the founding chairman of the Global Energy Center and a board director at the Atlantic Council.