MOSCOW -- The establishment of a reliable and comprehensive system of energy security is one of the strategic goals for the G-8 -- of which Russia assumed the presidency in January -- and the world community as a whole. Today, energy is an engine of social and economic progress. This is why it directly affects the well-being of billions of people around the globe. During the Russian presidency of the G-8, not only will we seek to develop fundamental approaches to meeting current challenges in this field, but also outline our coordinated policy for the long term.
Today, the lack of stability in the hydrocarbon markets poses a real threat to global energy supply. In particular, the gap between supply and demand continues to widen. The apparent increase in energy consumption in Asian countries is caused not only by market fluctuations but also by a host of other factors related to policy and security. In order to stabilize the situation in this field, coordinated activities of the entire world community are needed.
The new policy of the leading countries should be based on the understanding that the globalization of the energy sector makes energy security indivisible. Our common future in the area of energy means common responsibilities, risks and benefits.
In our view, it is especially important to develop a strategy for achieving global energy security. It should be based on a long-term, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy supply at prices affordable to both the exporting countries and the consumers. In addition to reconciling the interests of stakeholders in global energy interaction, we will have to identify practical measures aimed at ensuring sustainable access for the world economy to traditional sources of energy, as well as promoting energy-saving programs and developing alternative energy sources.
A balanced and fair energy supply is undoubtedly a pillar of global security at present and in the years to come. We ought to pass on to the future generations a world energy architecture that would help avoid conflicts and counterproductive competition for energy security. This is why it is essential to find common approaches to creating a solid and long-term energy base for our civilization.
In this connection, Russia calls on the G-8 countries and the international community to focus their efforts on developing innovative technologies. This could serve as an initial step in creating a technological basis for mankind's energy supply in the future, when the energy potential in its present form is exhausted.
Global energy security will also benefit from an integrated approach to enhancing the energy efficiency of social and economic development. The G-8 made important progress toward elaborating this last year at Gleneagles, including, in particular, the adoption of a Plan of Action aimed at promoting innovation, energy saving and environmental protection. We find it crucially important to engage non-G-8 countries -- especially fast-growing and industrializing economies -- in G-8 initiatives and, particularly, in implementing the document adopted at Gleneagles.
The way most people see it, energy security has mainly to do with the interests of industrially developed countries. It should be kept in mind, however, that almost two billion people in today's world do not enjoy modern-day energy services, while many lack access even to electricity. Their access to many benefits and advances of civilization has been virtually blocked.
Needless to say, energy alone would not solve the poverty problem. At the same time, lack of energy resources throughout different regions significantly hinders economic growth, while their unsustainable use may result in an ecological disaster on a global rather than local scale.
Lately, experts have been actively discussing ways of increasing energy use in developing countries through a more intensive development of unconventional energy sources. And this is where assistance rendered by the G-8 in developing and introducing alternative power facilities becomes so important.
Generally speaking, all of us should recognize and admit that "energy egotism" in a modern and highly interdependent world is a road to nowhere. Therefore, Russia's attitude toward energy security remains clear and unchanged. It is our strong belief that energy redistribution guided wholly by the priorities of a small group of the most-developed countries does not serve the goals and purposes of global development. We will strive to create an energy security system sensitive to the interests of the whole international community. Basically, all it takes is for mankind to create a balanced potential in order to provide every state with sustainable energy supply, and international cooperation opens all avenues for that. Russia is ready to contribute actively to further progress in this direction.
Mr. Putin is president of Russia.