What is the IEA?
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation that works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973-74 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets. While this continues to be a key aspect of the Agency’s work, the IEA has evolved and expanded to encompass the full mix of energy resources. It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations.
Download a pdf which highlights the structure of the IEA
What were the main objectives of the IEA when it was founded?
What is the relationship of the IEA with the OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development)?
The IEA is an autonomous body within the OECD framework.
How is the IEA funded?
The IEA is funded by its 29 member countries and the revenue it generates from its publications. The 2014 annual budget was EUR 26 612 200. Assessed contributions for member countries are based on a formula that takes account of the size of each member's economy. The IEA also receives voluntary contributions from member governments and others for a wide range of activities included in its Programme of Work and budget.
For 2014, revenues from the Agency’s publications accounted for nearly one-quarter of the annual budget. With the approval of the IEA Governing Board, countries and other energy stakeholders may also make voluntary contributions to support and strengthen the IEA Programme of Work. In 2014, just over 30% of IEA spending was financed by voluntary contributions. Most of this came from government sources, although the Agency does receive some funding from private sources.
The Agency also receives contributions in-kind, especially in the form of Staff on loan.
How is the budget managed?
The size of the IEA budget and the scope of its work (also known as the Programme of Work and the Budget) are determined every two years by member countries. The IEA operates within the financial framework of the OECD. Independent external auditing of the Agency’s accounts and financial management is performed by a Supreme Audit Institution of a member country, appointed by the OECD Council.
Does the IEA dispense grants or make loans?
No, unlike the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the IEA does not dispense grants or make loans.
The Governing Board is the main decision-making body of the IEA and is composed of energy ministers or their senior representatives from each member country. The Governing Board holds three to four meetings at Director General (or equivalent) level each year, at which it discusses global energy developments, and recent and future of work of the Agency, with the Executive Director and other senior Secretariat staff. The outcomes of Governing Board meetings are Conclusions, binding on all member countries.
Once every two years, ministers from IEA member countries gather for the IEA Ministerial meeting. This meeting sets broad strategic priorities for the IEA, alongside directions offered at the regular meetings of the Governing Board. Although ministers may instruct the IEA to focus on a specific issue, the direction they provide also comes through the discussions that ensue at these meetings. Through the IEA Ministerial, the IEA Secretariat develops ideas for existing or new work programmes, which it then discusses with member countries in various IEA committees and ultimately presents to the Governing Board for approval. The outcomes of each Ministerial are not fixed; however, some sort of political statement or communiqué is issued.
The Governing Board also has final responsibility for administrative matters of the IEA, including approving the biennial Programme of Work and the Budget.
How does the voting system work in the IEA?
The voting system is outlined in Articles 61 and 62 of the IEA constituent document, the Agreement on an International Energy Program or IEP Agreement. A majority vote is required for all decisions on the management of the IEA Programme of Work, and on procedural questions and recommendations. However, majority vote is based on a system of voting weights allocated to each member country. Unanimity is required for all other decisions than those for which a majority vote, or a special majority vote, are required. The latter is required, for example, for the activation of emergency measures specified in the IEP Agreement.
What is the role of the Standing Groups?
In addition to the Governing Board, the IEA has several Standing Committees (also known as Standing Groups), made up of member country government officials, which meet several times a year:
The IEA also has a range of advisory bodies, some of which include private sector and IEA non-member country representatives, with varying legal bases.
What is the IEA energy technology network?
The IEA energy technology network is comprised of the Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT) as well as the four working parties and three expert groups established by the Committee (see What is the role of the Standing Groups? for more information). At the core of this network of senior energy technology experts are more than 40 multilateral technology initiatives (Implementing Agreements). These initiatives enable governments, businesses, industries, international organisations and non-governmental organisations to share research on breakthrough technologies, to fill existing research gaps, build pilot plants and carry out deployment or demonstration programmes.
How does the IEA work with industry?
The IEA Energy Business Council (EBC) is an executive-level group comprised of leading international companies involved in both the supply and demand side of the energy sector, as well as financial institutions and large technology manufacturers. Overseen by the IEA Chief Economist, Fatih Birol, who is responsible for the Agency’s annual flagship publication World Energy Outlook, the EBC is the overarching body through which the IEA interacts with business with the following objectives:
In addition, the IEA has established two advisory groups where industry can present matters of interest to the Agency. Since 1979, the Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB) has permitted a group of high-level executives from coal-related industrial enterprisesto provide advice to the IEA on a wide range of issues relating to coal. Since 2011, the Renewable Industry Advisory Board (RIAB), made up of private-sector entities located within OECD member countries, has informed the Working Party on Renewable Energy Technologies and the IEA Secretariat of market-relevant information, industry advice and data.