The roots of the Energy Charter date back to a political initiative launched in Europe in the early 1990s, at a time when the end of the Cold War offered an unprecedented opportunity to overcome previous economic divisions.
Nowhere were the prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation clearer than in the energy sector, and there was a recognised need to ensure that a commonly accepted foundation was established for developing energy cooperation among the states of Eurasia. On the basis of these considerations, the Energy Charter process was born.
In a world of increasing interdependence between net exporters of energy and net importers, it is widely recognised that multilateral rules can provide a more balanced and efficient framework for international cooperation than is offered by bilateral agreements alone or by non-legislative instruments.
The Energy Charter Treaty therefore plays an important role as part of an international effort to build a legal foundation for energy security, based on the principles of open, competitive markets and sustainable development.