South American leaders to expand energy cooperation - Insanally
Stabroek News
August 4, 2002

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The Presidents of South America have agreed on the importance and need to expand energy cooperation and integration processes in the South, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rudy Insanally has said.

The possibility of a continental plan to integrate the energy supplies of the South American continent to maximise it for the energy needs of countries is being examined, the minister disclosed, according to a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA). Insanally has just returned from the Second Meeting of Presidents of South America held on July 26 and 27 in Ecuador, GINA said.

The Heads noted the need to increase the levels of security, reliability and quality of energy supplies in South America and the appropriateness of developing regional energy markets that observe principles and practices of sustainable development, GINA said.

The meeting also addressed the need for private and public investment in the energy sector, GINA stated, and in this regard South American Presidents are determined to work towards the establishment of wider markets and to improve mechanisms that will facilitate direct foreign investment in the Region.

The meeting examined too the importance of diversifying energy sources in the respective countries. It was noted, GINA said, that the joint development of energy resources would provide a high degree of energy capacity, efficiency, reliability and sustainability for the Region.

According to GINA, one of the proposals examined was the stimulation of electric power interconnections between countries.

And the potential of natural gas, and other energy sources and resources such as hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy and bio-fuels was also examined at the meeting, GINA reported.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the Presidents ratified their decision to continue implementing programmes to increase electricity service coverage and to improve the quality and reliability of electric power.

Further, GINA said, the document also emphasized the role of the energy sector in overcoming poverty and stressed that the electrification of rural and marginal urban areas poses one of the greatest political, social and economic challenges to the governments of the Region.