When people with similar hopes and challenges come together, there’s a good chance they’ll learn from each other. Whether it’s person-to person or country-to-country, sharing knowledge and experience can help foster positive change and avoid repeating mistakes. That’s the goal of a series of peer-to-peer learning workshops convened by Mongolia’s International Cooperation Fund (ICF) and CIRDI.
Last November the second of three workshops was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Over 60 delegates from Mongolia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar and Timor Leste gathered to share knowledge on the state’s role in natural resource governance. All are emerging democracies, all are resource rich and all are looking for the right balance of state involvement in managing their resource endowment.
The Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights and the University of Central Asia also supported the workshop, which included subject matter experts from Norway, a country with leading practices in the state’s role in natural resource management.
Two Countries with much in common learn from each other
Two countries that have a lot in common are Mongolia and the Kyrgyz Republic. Both countries are new democracies and both have a vibrant civil society, competitive politics, limited infrastructure and a desire for foreign investment. Delegates from these two countries took advantage of the gathering to share knowledge in multiple ways.
Mongolian delegates ventured 4000 meters high into the Kyrgyz Republic’s Southern Tien Shan Metallogenic Belt to visit Kumtor, the largest gold mine in Central Asia operated by Canadian company, Centerra Gold. This study tour was organized by CIRDI and sponsored by Centerra Gold. The group included representatives from the Mongolian Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, Erdenes Mongol State-Owned Enterprise, the Mongolian National Mining Association, the Mongolian Mining Journal and the Mongolian Consulate in Bishkek. Operational since 1997, Kumtor’s gold production in 2015 was 520,694 ounces and contributed 6.8% to the Kyrgyz GDP.
The delegates also visited four community development projects in the Issyk Kul Region, including an apricot farmer supported by Kumtor’s microfinance initiative and a jointly financed water treatment facility.
In addition, Mongolian and Kyrgyz delegates attended a bilateral meeting at the State Committee on Industry, Energy and Mining of the Kyrgyz Republic. A Memorandum of Cooperation between the Mongolian National Mining Association and the Kyrgyz Mining Association was also signed with the intention to increase cooperation and learning opportunities between the two organizations.
The final workshop, to be held in Mongolia in June 2017, will bring together young professionals from Mongolia and ICF target countries to learn, share and collaborate through an interactive, hands-on learning environment, which addresses current policy challenges and provides mentorship and support from international and local experts in natural resource governance.