On 22-23 November 2005, 24 major regional and international organisations, either collecting or using energy statistics, convened in Paris at the 1st International Energy Statistics (InterEnerStat) meeting. The objectives of the meeting were twofold: to share experience and explore avenues of further cooperation.
Participants agreed to further harmonise methodologies, terminologies and definitions; strengthen the exchange of information and expertise; and emphasize capacity building and training.
This first meeting followed the United Nations Statistical Commission, at its 36th session in March 2005, which approved the establishment of two complementary working groups to carry out the revision and further development of relevant international standards on energy statistics: The Oslo group on energy statistics, and the Intersecretariat Working Group on Energy Statistics (InterEnerStat), with a mandate to:
“..enhance the coordination of international energy statistics and the collaboration of international (global, regional and sectoral) organizations with a view to improving the availability and quality of international energy statistics without increasing the response burden on countries and by making best use of resources”.
Its work, will give priority to:
(a) Making an inventory of the current data collection, processing and dissemination system of the major organizations working on energy statistics;
(b) Reducing the reporting burden by harmonizing data collection, processing and dissemination, by limiting duplication and/or by building links/bridges between existing energy statistics questionnaires, concepts, methods and timetables;
(c) Improving sharing of the collecting/processing work between organizations and enhancing data-sharing and data transmission once data validation procedures have been agreed and implemented;
(d) Improving the coordination of energy statistics with social, economic and environmental statistics at the international level;
(e) Promoting training and capacity-building and coordinating the related efforts;
(f) Creating joint forums to promote the dialogue of statisticians and the user community;
(g) Raising the profile of energy statistics and energy statisticians at all levels.
International organisations and agencies engaged in the collection of energy statistics from countries at the global, regional and sectoral levels and major users of international energy statistics should be invited to join InterEnerStat, which will act as a permanent body and will report to the Commission periodically.
In line with these objectives, it was decided to build a joint website where users could find a wealth of information regarding the work and coverage of energy statistics by each organisation, the definitions and methodologies used by the organizations as well as other useful information to know when working with energy statistics. It is an evolving product which is updated as often as possible with inputs from the organisations.
Given the importance of international consistency to formulate a global understanding of energy, participants agreed to make harmonisation of definitions of products and flows a top priority.
Through excellent cooperation of all partners, by the 4th InterEnerStat meeting in October 2009, 95% of the definitions of both flows and products have been agreed by all participating organisations.
Over the next couple of years the final definitions were agreed such that a full set of definitions could then be used by the organisations in reshaping and reformulating some of their definitions (when and where needed). These definitions also formed the basis for the definitions of the IRES Manual to be produced by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), driven by the work of Oslo group. IRES was endorsed by the UN in 2011 and is currently being finalised. Alongside this the Oslo group has also developed an Energy Compliers manual, which will be released later in 2016, which has drawn on the work of InterEnerStat.
Cross organisational cooperation is also central to work on JODI (Joint Organisational Data Initative) and its work on improving transparency on oil and gas markets
Given the success of the coordinated work across organisations, InterEnerStat members saw value in continuing to meet and work together to drive the development of energy statistics and met again at the IEA offices in Paris in September 2015. Compared to prior meetings the focus was much wider and covered issues such as the SGDs, data originality, coordination of training and capacity building, updates to IRES, measurement issues for renewables, consistency of energy balances and energy efficiency. Presentations and minutes of the meeting will soon be available here.
One important agreement at the 2015 meeting was the importance of improving data and consistency of reporting of final energy use data (and activity data) to support the development of energy efficiency indicators. To take this forward it was agreed to hold a focused InterEnerStat meeting on energy use data in 2016 - provisionally planned for December.
At a time when organisations face more challenges to improve transparency and timeliness, it is our sincere hope that the InterEnerStat site will help users to better understand energy statistics and pave the way for more cooperation and harmonisation between organisations. In order to increase the usefulness of the site, comments and suggestions are more than welcome.