Seven founding members of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) signed Tuesday during an online ceremony the statute establishing the body as a regional intergovernmental forum based in Cairo.
EMGF founding members are Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilides signed the declaration saying it marks a “long, strong and fruitful collaboration”.
“Today, the Forum is officially established as a regional intergovernmental organization, a mere 20 months after Egypt’s initiative calling for such a development.”
The Forum is open to all countries that have an interest in the region, as long as all the founding members agree unanimously on their participation, Pilides said.
She called it a “historic day and true milestone” for regional cooperation in energy production.
Any East Mediterranean country can apply for membership while any other state, regional or international organization, can apply to join as an observer,
“Committed to developing a sustainable regional gas market, whilst minimising the technical, financial and political risks involved …bringing together a range of different stakeholders, from gas producers and investors to traders and financing entities.”
“We hope that this effort will allow our region to make the best possible use of natural gas, always taking into account the environmental objectives and the responsible exploitation.”
The goal is to jointly exploit the natural resources that initially concern gas while there is the intention to consider adding cooperation on electricity and renewable energy projects.
“Technical and financial support already received by the EU and the World Bank, as well as strong interest expressed by countries such as the US and France, to collaborate, is also concrete evidence of the importance that the Forum already holds,” said Pilides.
Egypt ambassador Mai Taha Khalil said the EMGF countries chose to have gas as a unifying catalyst for cooperation in the region instead of fighting over it.
She said the speed by which the accord was signed was “exceptional”, showing the “insistence of the leaders of this region to cooperate and develop for the prosperity of the people of the Eastern Mediterranean”.
“This group was not established to have a coalition against anyone.”
Joint Declaration on EMGF
“The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources hosted today, the 22 September 2020, the signing ceremony of the statute of East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), establishing it as a regional intergovernmental organization, based in Cairo.
The EMGF aims to serve as a platform that brings together gas producers, consumers and transit countries to create a shared vision and establish a structured systematic policy dialogue on natural gas, leading to the development of a sustainable regional gas market, and unlocking the full gas resource potential in the region for the benefit and welfare of its people.
The EMGF will fully respect the rights of its Members over their natural resources in accordance with international law.
It will support their efforts to monetize their reserves, utilize the existing and future gas infrastructure through interactive cooperation with the gas industry and other stakeholders; including investors, traders, financing entities.
To this effect, the Gas Industry Advisory Committee (GIAC) was established under the EMGF in Nov 2019; as a permanent dialogue platform between Governments and other business partners.
The EMGF will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity, creating an environment of trust, prosperity, stability and good neighbourly relations through regional energy cooperation.
To this end and according to the relevant provisions of its Statute, the EMGF is open for any East Mediterranean country to apply for membership and for any other country, regional, or international organization to apply to join as an observer provided that they share the same values and objectives of the EMGF and the demonstrable willingness to cooperate based on international law for the security of the whole region and the welfare of its peoples.
In this context, The EMGF appreciates the constructive responses and extensive support it has received, as reflected in the interest of many international parties and organizations to engage in its activities and the fruitful collaboration with international partners, such as the EU and the World Bank.
On this occasion the EMGF reiterates its deep appreciation to Egypt for its initiative calling for the establishment of the EMGF, providing the utmost support as a host country, under the leadership of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.”