First IPPA Graduates in Trade and Economic Policy
On 2 September 2012, 60 civil servants from the Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan received their professional development certificates in “Trade and Regional Cooperation in Central Asia and Afghanistan for Economic Growth” at Kapriz Resort in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
Sixty public servants from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic at the Institute of Public Policy and Administration training programme
Started on 25 August, the nine-day training programme was organized by the Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA) at the University of Central Asia (UCA), and delivered by Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs’ Centre for Trade Policy and Law (NPSIA), with the generous support of the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) and the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).
Experts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as IPPA researchers complemented the training sessions with presentations and case studies on relevant regional trade matters. The event was a unique opportunity for trainees and trainers alike to meet colleagues from countries in the Central Asia region and Afghanistan, for an exchange of views and experiences.
Odina Odinaev is a Tajik trade specialist, working as the Head of Mobilization Reserves and State Procurement in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Tajikistan. His job is to facilitate trade and procurement policies for his government. “I really appreciated the mix of people. There were trade specialists, economists and politicians. They raised questions that I myself often do not think of,” said Mr. Odinaev.
The 60 participants came from a wide range of backgrounds. Civil servants from various ministries such as the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Finance of Tajikistan, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan or the Ministry of Economy and Antimonopoly Policy of Kyrgyzstan were all given the opportunity to share their specific area of expertise with others and learn from each other.
Simulating a free trade agreement: Course participants representing the negotiating interests of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China.
“Given the geographical background of participants, it was an enriching experience to learn from each other. But most importantly, for the Kazak delegation, this training opened Afghanistan for us,” said Gulnar Kuatbaeva, head of the Kazakh delegation and Professor at Kazakh Economic University, one of the leading economic universities in Kazakhstan.
The training covered topics ranging from trade economics, policy analysis and strategic options, technical details of tariff and trade barriers, international finance, and international trade negotiations, to in-depth analyses of Afghanistan and Central Asia’s current state of regional trade and prospects for expansion. Top Canadian negotiations experts such as Dane Rowlands, NPSIA’s Associate Director, Don Stephenson, former Canadian Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Margaret Skok, former Canadian Ambassador in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan and Terry Collins-Williams, Canada’s former Deputy Chief Negotiator at the WTO, walked participants through the theoretical and practical intricacies of trade policies and regulations.
The training also included a significant component of practical work, which taught the trainees skills to be employed in the negotiation of international trade agreements, with specific reference to dynamics and issues encountered in negotiating Free Trade Agreements. For the last four days of the training seminar, the participants were divided into five teams, representing the negotiating interests of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China, and were asked to develop and negotiate sector-specific trade strategies for the five countries, according to different scenarios provided by the trainers. Prior to engaging in the simulation itself a presentation and discussion on “Negotiating Strategies and Techniques” was held, to familiarize participants with negotiation skills and to provide them with direction on how to formulate and execute strategies to achieve their negotiating objectives. Trainers and trainees alike became fully engaged in the simulations and the five teams continued the negotiations late into the evening.
The simulation exercises concluded with a debrief session, with coaches and instructors sharing their observations of the simulation relating to negotiating dynamics; engagement and commitment of the negotiators; and use of negotiating skills and innovative approaches.
The trade simulation exercises were particularly interesting to me, said Dinara Uturova, trade expert with the Office of Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan. “Through these exercises, participants gained hands-on knowledge of the skills needed to conduct effective trade negotiations.”
Hazrat Wahriz, the head of the Afghan delegation and Director General of the Afghan Institute of Diplomacy found the trade simulations most interesting as well: “Because most of the participants are government officials, I am sure we will meet again in real negotiations and things will be easier solved in my embassies in the three Central Asian capitals after this training,” Wahriz commented.
Margaret Skok, NPSIA trainer, believes that such the mix of people and experiences provided a good background for discussion and allowed insight into these important issues of trade from different perspectives: “First of all, I must say that UCA has embarked on an ambitious project. It is remarkable that the University of Central Asia has managed to bring delegates from four countries in one location. For Carleton and the Norman Patterson’s CTPL, this partnership with UCA is valuable and the beginning of a longer-term commitment, and we look forward to working together in the near future”.
Kyrgyz Kenjebaeva Shamsiya from the Ministry of Energy and Industry receiving her certificate from Dr Bohdan Krawchenko, UCA Director General.
Afghan M. Nabi Sroosh from the Ministry of Economy receiving his certificate.
The Institute of Public Policy and Administration is a new initiative of UCA that aims to provide in-depth analyses of Central Asian economic policies and organize quality professional development opportunities for civil servants in the region. The Institute has produced and published a series of peer-reviewed original research papers on a broad range of topics dealing with social and economic issues, public administration and public policy as they relate to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Further information on IPPA can be found at http://www.ucentralasia.org/Research/ippa. Research papers are available from: http://www.ucentralasia.org/Resources/Library
- Trade and Regional Cooperation in Central Asia and Afghanistan for Economic Growth Programme: http://www.ucentralasia.org/PhotoGalleries/Album/20
UCA graduates 60 public servants in trade and policy: