PARIS, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The International Energy Agency and six emerging economies including China and India agreed to pursue stronger cooperation, the IEA said on Wednesday in a bid to strengthen ties with non-members whose share in global oil demand has grown rapidly.
The initiative to form an "association" between the West's energy watchdog, combining 28 developed economies, and non-members is aimed at boosting ties on energy security, data sharing and energy market analysis, the Paris-based group said.
China, the world's top energy consumer, India, Russia, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia have signed the joint declaration, a non-legally binding agreement.
As oil demand growth has shifted from developed to emerging countries over the past decade, the IEA has looked to non-members to preserve its importance as an international agency.
"Energy governance is an increasingly important element of the global energy economy," Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA's executive director said at a news conference following the agency's biannual ministerial meeting in Paris.
"The changing energy economy requires extending our strengths beyond our membership," she said.
Sources told Reuters earlier this year the initiative included a proposal that non-member countries be allowed to sit in meetings of the IEA governing board to jointly discuss issues such as strategic stock releases in response to supply problems.
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