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In memoriam: Ruud Lubbers, founder of the Energy Charter Process

The Energy Charter Secretariat is very saddened to learn of the passing away of the man unanimously acknowledged to be the ‘Founding Father’ of the Energy Charter, Ruud Lubbers. 

Ruud Lubbers was one of the most prominent European and international political figures of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. He was Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1982 and 1994, also being the youngest man in the country’s history to hold the position. He led the Netherlands  during some of the momentous events of the late 20th Century, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. It was against this backdrop that the ‘Lubbers Plan’ first came to prominence, when this statesman developed an initiative to connect ‘East and West’ through cooperation in the field of energy. His vision and political drive soon led to the founding ‘bricks and mortar’ of the Energy Charter Process, eventually leading to nearly 50 countries signing the Energy Charter Treaty in December 1994. The Energy Charter Process was going from strength to strength. 

Ruud Lubbers remained a great friend of the Energy Charter long after his departure from big politics in Europe. He actively lent his stature to the process during the ensuing years of his life, making multiple VIP speaker appearances on various occasions upon the request of the Energy Charter Secretariat. He also gave time to the ‘future generations’ of energy specialists working within the Charter Process, occasionally reflecting on the early years of the Energy Charter with participants in the Secretariat’s training events for young professionals. During the 24th Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Energy Charter Conference held in Nicosia in 2013, Ruud Lubbers became the honored recipient of the First Energy Charter Award for service to the Energy Charter Process. 

He lived long enough to witness some of his core legacies for the Energy Charter as the process continued to evolve further, including the inauguration of the International Energy Charter as the gateway to the full globalisation of the energy convergence process which he started. The International Energy Charter, a political declaration which modernised the European Energy Charter declaration of 1991, opened the door to dozens of new countries from Africa, Asia and the Americas to join the Energy Charter family, endorsing its core values and principles

Ruud Lubbers was a guest of honor at the Ministerial Conference on the International Energy Charter held in The Hague, capital city of the Netherlands, in May 2015, where he received a standing ovation from high level national delegations from all around the world following his key note speech, which can be accessed here.  

He died yesterday, February 14, 2018, in his home town of Rotterdam. He was 78-years-old. 

The Secretariat expresses its most sincere condolences to his family and to all associated persons in the Netherlands and his many friends around the world. 

Mr Ruud Lubber's Speech at the International Energy Charter Conference in the Hague

Mr Ruud Lubbers & Mr Henk Kamp, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands at the International Energy Conference in the Hague