Urban Rusnak

Secretary-General, Energy Charter Secretariat, Brussels

Ambassador Urban Rusnák is currently the Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, a post he has occupied since January 2012. The Energy Charter is a leading international energy organisation based on an inter-governmental agreement involving more than 50 countries and the EU. Member countries include the EU-28; Eurasian oil and gas producers Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan; other former-Soviet Republics, Norway, Turkey, Japan, Australia, and further states across Eurasia. The spinal cord of the Energy Charter organisation is the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) of 1994 (the only multilateral instrument dealing with investment protection, trade and transit in the energy sector), which commits its Contracting Parties to adhere to binding regulations intended to protect FDI in global energy markets, as well as transit of energy flows. Amb. Rusnák"s core task as Secretary General of the Charter is to prevent international energy security crises from happening, or to find solutions when an unforeseen crisis breaks out. Such assignments take Amb. Rusnák into the heart of international decision making at the highest level: frequent meetings with the ministers and heads of states of ECT member countries are a daily part of the job.

With deep political crisis over Ukraine driving Russia and the West towards an unprecedented standoff, these are testing times for energy policy across the Euro-Atlantic area. That said, Amb. Rusnák possesses no shortage of the necessary experience enabling him to handle the formidable challenges confronting all energy stakeholders. He served as the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovakia to Kiev from 2005-09 and was at the heart of his government"s efforts aiming to diffuse the fallout when Russia shut down the gas supply to Ukraine in January 2009. At the same time he also served as NATO-point Ambassador in Ukraine, coordinating the Alliance"s policy towards the wider-Ukrainian region. Amb. Rusnák has more than two decades of experience as a Central European diplomat, having served as Slovakia"s Ambassador-at-large for Energy Security, its Deputy-Head of Mission to Turkey, as well as handling other dossiers on the South Caucasus, Central Asia and South East Europe. He is a linguist, speaking no less than nine languages (English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Turkish, Kazakh, Czech and Slovak). He studied oil and gas engineering for five years in Moscow during the Soviet era, prior to receiving a Ph.D. from the Ankara University Institute of Social Sciences in 1998. A gifted speaker and author, he has held several acting and honorary lectureships at a number of European universities, is widely published on energy security matters and is on the editorial board of several influential European policy journals. Amb. Rusnák is married and has two children.

Urban Rusnak