Energy security in the modern world of digitalisation, industrialisation and globalisation is one of the most critical prerequisites for growing economies. Every modern economy is dependent on a reliable supply of energy in order to satisfy the high energy demands of emerging transportation, communication, security, and health industries. Thus, energy security plays a fundamental role in the wellbeing of the global population.
However, achieving energy security is accompanied by significant challenges, from rapid advancements in digitalisation to the impact of climate change and shifting conditions in the geopolitical environment. Furthermore, existing energy infrastructure in industrial countries, such as Germany and Australia will have to undergo a substantial and expensive transition towards non-fossil energy systems in order to realise the greenhouse gas reductions set out in The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.
Climate change and energy supply security are of paramount concern for societies moving into the coming decades. In response, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) initiated the regional project ‘Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific’ in Hong Kong SAR in 2015, in order to foster networks and discussions on climate change mitigation and energy security in the region. In addition, in 2017 KAS established the Regional Programme Australia and the Pacific located in Canberra, to enhance collaboration between Australia and Germany in the fields of foreign and security policy, economic and social policy as well as energy policy.
In line with the Berlin-Canberra Declaration1, the recommendations of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group (AGAG), and the Framework Agreement between the European Union and Australia, the KAS Canberra office launched its first Energy Security Policy Dialogue in 2018. This key event was organised in cooperation with the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College London, and Climate-KIC Australia.
The inaugural Dialogue brought together leading international and regional experts from government, industry and academia, to exchange comparative and contemporary perspectives on the challenges for comprehensive energy security strategies. In particular, this new platform for energy policy debate provided the opportunity for those at the cutting edge of private and public interests to discuss the effect of energy and resource security on international relations and geopolitics in Australia, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Reflecting on the thought-provoking discussions of the inaugural Energy Security Policy Dialogue, it is clear the debate will continue into 2019 and beyond. I hope that this paper will serve as a valuable contribution to highlight the manifold benefits that strategic dialogue between like-minded countries can offer – in particular in an area as important as the 21st century challenges in the energy sector.
Dr Beatrice Gorawantschy
Director Regional Programme
Australia and the Pacific