As currently structured, the International Energy Agency is an autonomous body of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Until recently, IEA was housed on the same premises as OECD. It has recently moved to separate quarters, because OECD has an expanding membership and needed the space.
Its powers of decision lie in the governing board, made up of officials holding positions of policy responsibility in the member governments. The board's decisions are made in practice by consensus, despite the existence of an elaborate system of formal voting rules.
The IEA's voting rules are not entirely dominated by the traditional doctrine of sovereign equality; they also reflect the members' relative economic stakes in the outcome of the agency's activities. Accordingly, the U.S. and Japan are the main contributors to IEA's annual budget of 130 million francs. The governing board has plenary powers over the financing of the agency and its financial administration.
As described in "Origins and Structure of the IEA," written by Richard Scott for the IEA's 20th anniversary, the IEA secretariat may be regarded as "the center of the visible, tangible, and permanent presence of the Agency."
The secretariat consists of about 150 individuals chosen among highly qualified personnel from member countries. They do not represent their countries but carry out their tasks in an impartial way under the authority of the executive director. This also applies to the executive director and deputy director, who head the secretariat.
Subject to control by the governing board, the secretariat's role is to carry out the tasks assigned to it in the International Emergency Program (IEP) agreement and in governing board actions. Its authority is far-reaching in certain cases-as in the triggering of the Emergency Sharing System.
One of the roles of the secretariat is to assist the standing groups, whose main role is to prepare reports and make action proposals to the governing board. The IEP agreement provides for four standing groups on emergency questions: the oil market, long-term cooperation, relations with producer countries, and relations with other consumer countries.
Finally, meetings at ministerial level are held every 2 years, or more, if the occasion requires.
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