Training about the Extractives Sector

By Julian Dierkes

One of the specific focus areas in CIRDI’s “IMAGinE Mongolia” activities is to draft a training curriculum to provide an introduction and overview, but also specialized training to the public and to officials in four aimags, Selenge, Uvurkhangai, Bayankhongor, and Uvs.

We are very pleased to currently collaborate with three colleagues from Шинжлэх Ухаан, Технологийн Их Сургууль (ШУТИС, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, MUST), historian Enkhbat A, political scientist Myagmarsuren D, and political scientist Tuguldur Y. They are visiting Vancouver to work with us on the structure of what a modular training curriculum will look like as well as the identification of existing training materials (Mongolian and Canadian (French & English)) that might fit into such a curriculum.

Some of the elements of their preparatory work to develop a catalogue of training materials is quite striking. For example, when they classified training materials as being basic and aimed at the general public, as opposed to intermediate and expert levels, they found that only 3% of all training materials are of such an introductory nature.

When we compare the Mongolian materials to the Canadian resources that Claire Vivier and Petrina Torgerson have found as RAs for this project, it’s also striking that the vast majority of materials target industry. There are few training materials that are focused on government officials, especially at the local level, and there are also very few materials that address communities.

As “free and prior informed consent” is an element in community relations and the desire to obtain “social license to operate” it appears that the information asymmetry that exists between international mining companies and national governments (Rio Tinto and Mongolia, for example) is replicated at the provincial and local level. As the Mongolian government is devolving some decision-making and regulation of the extractive sector to the aimag and soum level, capacity to first understand mining projects and how they unfold and then to ensure sustainable development through effective regulation, appears to be needed in a significant way.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He tweets @jdierkes
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