University of Central Asia and Ministry of Economy Host Forum on Mining Policy in the Kyrgyz Republic
The University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration (UCA IPPA) hosted a Forum on Mining Policy on 11 March 2016. Organised in partnership with the Ministry of Economy, the event brought together key thought leaders, government officials and international experts for a vigorous debate on extractive industries and related issues facing the Kyrgyz economy.
The all-day event, titled Mining Policy in Kyrgyzstan: Prospects and Issues featured presentations on Mining Policy in Kyrgyzstan, Life Cycle and Mining Operations, Revenue Management and Distribution, Attracting Investors, Sustainable Environment and Social Responsibility. More than 85 participants attended the forum, which included presentations by speakers from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom, Mongolia, Thailand and Norway.
Ms. Oyun Sanjaasuren, a member of the Mongolian Parliament, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia, introduced participants to mining policy in Mongolia. MP Sanjaasuren elaborated on challenges and reforms made by Mongolia on subsoil use policy, taxation, procedures to attract investment and work with local communities.
Valentin Bogdetskii, a board member of Kyrgyz Mining Association and advisor to the Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic, drew public attention to the importance of implementing international standards when reporting reserves in order to provide more accurate estimations. This is critical in attracting international investors. Other speakers included representatives of the UNDP Bangkok Regional Center, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Subsoil Use Agency of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Ministry of Economy’s Investment Promotion Agency, the State Agency on Geology and Mineral Resources, International Business Council, and UCA’s IPPA, among others.
Mr. Turatbek Djunushaliev, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Ulan Ryskulov, Deputy Director of Agency on Geology and Mining of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Ekmetkul Baipakpaev, Representative of Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Robin Ord-Smith, Ambassador of the UK to Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Askat Bekov, Head of Natural Resources Policy Department at Ministry of Economy and Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, UCA Director General, welcomed participants to the Forum.
“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the mining sector plays an increasingly important role in Kyrgyzstan’s development. Sustainable development of the mining industry and the effective use of its resources is one of the top priorities for policymakers. This is only possible when the interests of all involved parties are well balanced, favorable conditions for investors are established, and government regulation of the mining sector is transparent and efficient. We need to work on these challenges, develop the regions and introduce innovation…The Forum is a very good platform to address these issues,” said Turatbek Djunushaliev, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to openly discuss best international and national practices and address problems facing the Kyrgyz mining sector. I hope that this Forum will raise very complex and serious issues and discuss them in a frank manner… Difficult questions should not be avoided,” said Bohdan Krawchenko, UCA Director General and Dean of Graduate Studies.
Robin Ord-Smith, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Kyrgyz Republic, expressed the United Kingdom’s support for the goals of the Forum and acknowledged the Kyrgyz Republic’s efforts to develop of mining sector.
“The United Kingdom is pleased to support this event, because we believe the mining sector is essential for Kyrgyzstan’s prosperity. Developing the mining sector in a competitive international environment is becoming increasingly difficult. Our government is committed to working with the Kyrgyz government, to help share expertise, develop the economy and build a prosperous, stable and well-governed Kyrgyzstan,” noted Mr. Ord-Smith.
The broad representation of stakeholders resulted in a vibrant discussion. Those attending included Parliamentarians from the Kyrgyz Republic’s Jogorku Kenesh; His Excellency Shawn Steil, the Ambassador of Canada; Adam Barbolet, Senior Trade Commissioner and Vice-Consul of the Embassy of Canada; representatives from Altyn Alliance LLC; Full Gold Mining LLC, Altyn Kumushtak Mining LLC; Highland Exploration LLC; Z Explorer Mining Company; and Kazakhmys Gold LLC; representatives of the Kemin, Ala-Buka, Talas and Chatkal district akimats; participants from Kalikova & Associates Law firm; members of the Kyrgyzstan International Business Council; organisations including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia; the Aga Khan Development Network; the Eurasian Development Bank; the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ); the Natural Resource Governance Institute; the International Finance Corporation; USAID; UNDP; Aiyl Demilgesi NGO; the Mining Association of Kyrgyz Republic; the Policy Development Institute and a number of state agencies, including the Ministry of Economy; the State Agency on Local Government; the State Agency on Geology and Mineral Resources; and individual experts in this field.
The event facilitated a constructive dialogue on mining policy and specific recommendations to advance the sector. Particularly significant were the contributions from representatives of raions (districts), who noted that inadequate communication between central government agencies and the local population contributes to a negative image of the mining sector. They also called for new approaches in disbursing regional development funds that accrue from mining revenues.
The Mining Policy Forum is the first phase of UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration multi-faceted Mining Policy Initiative, designed to promote an empirically informed public discussion on mining policy that engages government agencies, the media, civil society and the private sector.
In the next phase, UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA) will deliver a Certificate Programme in Mining Policy and Sustainable Development engaging civil servants, experts, journalists, and civil society representatives involved in the extractive industries. The third phase will produce a published report on Mining and Sustainable Development in the Kyrgyz Republic, to serve as an enduring reference document for decision makers.
The 20-month programme draws on resources within UCA and its partnerships with state and local government agencies, international experts, universities, donor agencies and non-governmental organisations.
EXPERT PROFILE: Jonas Moberg, Head, Secretariat at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Transparency in Mining in the Kyrgyz Republic: Positive Progress, But More to be Done
The University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration (UCA IPPA) organised Mining Policy in Kyrgyzstan: Prospects and Issues on 11 March 2016. Jonas Moberg, Head of the Secretariat at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and international expert, spoke to UCA on his perspectives on mining policy in the Kyrgyz Republic.