The IEA is an autonomous body within the OECD framework. The Governing Board is the main decision-making body of the IEA, composed of energy ministers or their senior representatives from each member country. Through the IEA Ministerial meeting that takes place every two years, the IEA Secretariat develops ideas for existing or new work programmes, which are then discussed with member countries in various IEA committees and ultimately presented to the Governing Board for approval. In addition to the Governing Board, the IEA has several Standing Groups, Committees and Working Parties made up of member country government officials, which meet several times a year.
The head of the International Energy Agency Secretariat is the Executive Director. Based on a decision by the Governing Board, the Executive Director may serve a maximum of two terms of four years each. Aside from assuming the duties of the Executive Director in times of absence, the Deputy is another public spokesperson for the work and mission of the Agency and plays a prominent role in the day-to-day management of the IEA.
The Governing Board is the main decision-making body of the IEA. It is composed of energy ministers or their senior representatives from each member country.
The Governing Board holds three to four meetings at the Director General (or equivalent) level each year to discuss global energy developments along with the Agency’s work with the Executive Director and other senior Secretariat staff. The outcomes of Governing Board meetings are Conclusions, binding on all member countries. The Governing Board also has final responsibility for administrative matters of the IEA, including approving the biennial Programme of Work and the budget.
The voting system is outlined in Articles 61 and 62 of the IEA constituent document, the International Energy Programme or IEP Agreement. A majority vote, a system that allocates voting weights to each member country, 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 decisions other than those that call for a majority vote, or a special majority vote. For example, unanimity is required for the activation of emergency measures specified in the IEP Agreement.
Every two years, ministers from member countries gather for the IEA Ministerial meeting. The high-level ministerial meeting sets broad strategic priorities for the IEA. The ministers may instruct the IEA to focus on a specific issue or suggest a direction during the meeting discussions.
Through the IEA Ministerial, the Secretariat develops ideas for existing or new work programmes, which are then discussed with member countries in various IEA committees and ultimately presented to the Governing Board for approval.
The 2017 IEA Ministerial meeting highlighted the IEA’s role as the world’s leading energy authority and a global hub for clean energy. In line with the IEA’s strategy to open its doors to emerging countries, Mexico became the agency’s 30th member in February 2018. The 2017 meeting also allowed IEA ministers to review steps the agency should take to extend its modernization mandate, an agenda laid out in the 2015 ministerial meeting. The mandate is based on three pillars: expanding the IEA’s mandate on energy security beyond oil to natural gas and electricity; opening the agency’s doors to emerging countries; and turning the IEA into a global clean energy hub, including for energy efficiency.
While the size of the IEA budget and the scope of its work (also known as the Programme of Work and Budget) are determined every two years by member countries, the IEA operates within the financial framework of the OECD. For instance, the OECD Council appoints a Supreme Audit Institution of a member country, which performs an independent external auditing of the IEA’s accounts and financial management.
The 2018 annual budget is EUR 27,849,686. Assessed contributions for member countries are based on a formula that takes account of the size of each member's economy. Revenues from the Agency’s publications finance more than one-fifth of the annual budget.
With the approval of the IEA Governing Board, countries and other energy stakeholders may make voluntary contributions to support and strengthen a wide range of activities in the IEA Programme of Work and Budget. In 2017, about a third of the IEA’s spending was financed by such voluntary contributions, which mostly came from government sources. The Agency also receives some funding from private sources and contributions in-kind, especially in the form of staff on loan.
Unlike the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the IEA does not dispense grants or make loans.
Standing Groups and Committees
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 Standing Group on Emergency Questions (SEQ) is responsible for all aspects of oil emergency preparedness and collective response to supply disruptions.
- The Standing Group on the Oil Market (SOM) monitors and analyses short- and medium-term developments in the international oil market to help member countries react promptly and effectively market changes.
- The Standing Group on Long-Term Co-operation (SLT) encourages co-operation among IEA member countries to ensure collective energy security, improve economic efficiency of their energy sector and promote environmental protection in provision of energy services. The SLT has also established the Working Party on Energy Efficiency.
- The Standing Group on Global Energy Dialogue (SGD) is responsible for work with countries and regions outside of the IEA membership, including China and India. Many SGD projects draw upon both regional and sectoral expertise and are carried out jointly with other IEA divisions.
- The Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT) co-ordinates and promotes the development, demonstration and deployment of technologies to meet challenges in the energy sector. The CERT has established four working parties: the Working Party on Fossil Fuels; the Working Party on Renewable Energy Technologies; the Working Party on Energy End-Use Technologies; and the Fusion Power Co-ordinating Committee. Expert groups are also created under the CERT.
- Committee on Budget and Expenditure (CBE) advises the Governing Board on resource management and administration. In particular, it advises the Governing Board on budget matters.
The IEA’s work is informed by a variety of partnerships with business and industrial partners from all sectors, who provide valuable input into the agency’s work.
The 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. The EBC is the overarching body through which the IEA interacts with business with the following objectives:
- Providing a reality check of its analysis, ensuring that the Agency’s main findings are relevant for all stakeholders;
- Establishing a forum for interactive discussions among ministers and industry leaders on long-term stable policy frameworks needed to stimulate investment in sustainable energy infrastructure;
- Providing inputs from corporate partners on the work of the IEA, particularly the World Energy Outlook.
The Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT) is part of the IEA energy technology network. At the core of this network of senior energy technology experts are a number of IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). These 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.
The International Low-Carbon Energy Technology Platform (Technology Platform) is the IEA’s chief tool for multilateral engagement on clean technologies among its member and partner countries, the business community and other international organisations. Created by IEA Ministers in 2010, the Technology Platform focuses its activities on three axes of action:
- Dialogue workshops: sharing best practice on clean energy technologies and partnership building
- How2Guides: technology-specific guidance for roadmap development and implementation at the national/regional level
- Cross-cutting analysis on selected themes relevant to multilateral collaboration on low-carbon energy technologies
The Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB), set up in 1979, allows high-level executives from coal-related enterprises to provide advice to the IEA on issues relating to coal, and allows the coal industry to present matters of interest to the Agency.
The Renewable Industry Advisory Board (RIAB), set up in 2011 along the same lines as the CIAB, is made up of private-sector entities from OECD member countries, and informs the Working Party on Renewable Energy Technologies and the IEA Secretariat of market-relevant information, industry advice and data.