Towards Sound and Responsible Management of Natural Resources
BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN - On November 2-3, 2016, the University of Central Asia (UCA) facilitated the workshop “Sound Management of Natural Resources: State’s Role in the Resource Sector”, which culminated in the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Mining Association of Kyrgyzstan and the Mongolian National Mining Association.
The two-day workshop brought together experts, policymakers, civil society leaders and representatives of the private sector to discuss the role of the state in the management of natural resources and the issues of coordination and collaboration between the government, industry and community. With nearly 60 participants from Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Norway, Germany, Myanmar and Timor Leste, this workshop pointed to a variety of governance models that are available for states to get involved in the mining sectors, but also to some of the risks these models bare.
As a culmination of the workshop, the Mining Association of Kyrgyzstan and the Mongolian National Mining Association signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, the main objective of which is to create a platform for multilateral dialogue in order to discuss and develop mining legislation and mining policies, attract investments, and advance efficiency mechanisms. As Ishimbay Chunuyev, President of the Mining Association of Kyrgyzstan, proudly denoted, “We have been discussing the signing of this Memorandum between our associations for a very long time now, and current workshop in Bishkek provided a unique opportunity to finally realise it.”
This workshop is a series of workshops organised by the International Cooperation Fund of Mongolia, the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute, and the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights. In Kyrgyzstan, UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration was chosen as a national partner because of its expertise and experience in advancing evidence-based policymaking. The main objective of such workshops is to provide a forum for sharing mining governance experience within democracies with resource-based economies. As Julian Dierkes of the University of British Columbia emphasised, “From the perspective of the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute, the workshop in Kyrgyzstan continues discussions, which began in May 2016 in Ulaanbaatar.” These workshops convene parliamentarians, senior civil servants, mining industry managers, and civil society experts from different countries to discuss the state’s role in natural resource management from the perspective of modes of state ownership, fiscal management, transparency, and relationship with community.
Countries, which depend heavily on natural resources, tend to suffer from institutional governance problems and struggle to stimulate economic growth, as several studies reveal. Thus, there is a need for a sound and responsible management of natural resources in the states with significant deposits of natural resources in order to ensure the natural resources are extracted according to established best practices, and revenues from these resources benefit the entire population.
As Ulan Ryskulov, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee on Industry, Energy and Mining of the Kyrgyz Republic, underlined, “There are many examples around the world of how the irrational use of mineral resources leads to inefficiency and corruption. Resource-rich developing economies face essentially the same, although different in scale, problems. Through the partnership with international institutions we hope to further improve the situation in the mining sector of our country. We do not want to stop here, as we want to continue moving forward.”