Key International Organizations in the Energy Sector

International Nuclear Organizations

Three primary agencies are dealing with regulating radioactive substances:

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The IAEA was established in 1956. The primary purpose of the IAEA is to encourage and facilitate the spread of nuclear power to contribute to peace, health, and prosperity globally. It is also responsible for promulgating nuclear safety guidelines, like the 1974 IAEA Nuclear Safety Standards Program.

The IAEA assists the United Nations with inspections for nuclear non-proliferation. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provides for mandatory inspection, and the IAEA is the agency conducting those inspections. The IAEA also provides nuclear materials and assistance o state parties, including safety and compliance inspections.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The OECD has a Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) with a similar role as the IAEA, except that the NEA lacks the mandatory compliance elements found in the IAEA.


The EEC created Euratom in the 1950s to promote cooperation in developing nuclear energy between EEC member states. Euratom requires member states to implement mandatory safety directives and ensures enforcement.

Other Major Energy Organizations

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Established in 2009, and focused on promoting the widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy while acting as the global voice for renewable energy. IRENA facilitates access to all relevant renewable energy information, including technical, economic, and resource potential data offered by renewable energy. IRENA shares experience on best practices and lessons learned regarding policy frameworks, capacity-building projects, available finance mechanisms, and energy efficiency-related measures.

Global Environmental Facility (GEF)

Originally established as an arm of the World Bank in 1991, since 1994, the GEF has been independent. It acts as the multilateral lending institution for international environmental agreements. The GEF is focused on funding projects revolving around the mitigation and adaptation of climate change projects. GEF’s strategic objectives support projects that promote renewable energy technologies and work with regulatory agencies to develop policies and regulations for the renewable energy sector.

The United Nations (UN)

The United Nations has several organizations that deal with climate change and energy policy, including:

  • The Security Council
  • The General Assembly
  • The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
The Group of Eight (G8 Nations)

In 2005, the G* adopted the Gleneagles Action Plan focused on transforming how we use energy, promoting a cleaner future, promoting research and development, financing the transition to cleaner energy, managing the impact of climate change, and addressing deforestation and illegal logging. The G8 committed to working with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Bank/GEF, and other multilateral funding institutions. The Gleneagles meeting also supported a goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2050.

The Group of Twenty (G20 Nations)

The 2009 G20 meetings in Pittsburgh focused on phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels and funding climate change.

Central Economies Forum (MEF)

The US attempted to seek a revision to the Kyoto Protocols to reduce GHG emission goals and allow each emitter to establish mid-term goals.

International Seabed Authority (ISBA)

Responsible for overseeing the exploration and exploitation of the deep seabed. The ISBA acts as a forum where decisions are formally adopted on budgets, cost-sharing, and the distribution of economic benefits of seabed mining.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Created in 1960, it is a group of twelve oil-exporting developing nations. OPEC’s objective is to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its members.

International Energy Agency (IEA)

Formed in response to OPEC in 1974