Maria van der Hoeven took over as Executive Director of the IEA in September 2011 and has led the Agency during a period of exceptional change in the global energy economy, as rapidly shifting supply/demand balances for oil and other major fuels transform the IEA’s traditional mandate. She has responded by enhancing IEA engagement with key non-member countries including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa. Under her leadership, the IEA admitted its 29th member, Estonia, and increased its co-operation with OPEC and the International Energy Forum (IEF) as well as signed a partnership accord with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Ms. Van der Hoeven has repeatedly emphasised the close link between climate and energy policy. A member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate led by former President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, she has initiated discussions at the IEA between policy makers and industry representatives on the impact of climate change on energy security, and sought to raise awareness among young people around the world of the problem of climate change and the need to get informed and take action. She has also promoted renewables and energy efficiency as part of the critical role she believes innovation and technology play in contributing to energy security while supporting climate goals, including expanding the IEA series of Medium-Term Market Reports to include annual critical analysis of both renewables and energy efficiency These and her other initiatives at the IEA reflect her overall focus on energy security in all forms, for all people. That includes the hundreds of millions around the world who lack access to modern energy services, and in recognition of her efforts in this area, she was invited to serve on the Advisory Board for the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
Prior to leading the IEA, Ms. Van der Hoeven served as Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands from February 2007 to October 2010, during which time she demonstrated leadership on energy policy at the national, regional and global levels. She also served as Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science from July 2002 to February 2007, having spent more than a decade before that as a member of parliament in her country.