In 2011, there was an upsurge in conflict between mining companies and local communities in Kyrgyzstan. In addition, beginning in 2012, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic initiated policy and legal reforms to protect the rights of mining-affected communities and to strengthen regulation of the mining sector. Between 2012 and 2015, the State Committee on Industry, Energy, and Subsoil of the Kyrgyz Republic, which is responsible for implementing state policy on mineral resources — namely promoting investments in the mining sector and arranging the system of granting, suspending and terminating mineral rights — approached PeaceNexus with a request to create guidelines for mining companies in building cooperation with local mining-affected communities.

We decided to accept this request by involving interested stakeholders in the mining sector as part of a multi-actor process. As a result, a steering committee was established, which consisted of the representatives of the government structures, regulating extractive and investor’s sector, INGO (Natural Resource Governance Institute) and business (International Business Council). The result of this collaboration was the Guidebook for Conflict Management in Mining Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic. This Guidebook is the result of the stakeholders’ joint and harmonised co-working which encompassed representatives from the government, business, and civil society. It is intended to assist companies, investors, state and local authorities, and international agencies to prevent and manage potential conflicts related to the Kyrgyz mining industry.

Moreover, these guiding principles aim to improve the understanding of companies and potential investors of the causes of conflict in the Kyrgyz mining sector, and to recommend steps they can take to prevent and mitigate conflicts with local communities in the future. It also provides a guide to companies’ legal obligations according to current Kyrgyz law, particularly requirements aimed at protecting the rights of mining-affected communities.

We are grateful that PeaceNexus supported the development of the Conflict Management Guidebook in the mining sector of Kyrgyzstan and continues its peacebuilding activities to facilitate dialogue between companies and mining-affected communities.

Ulanbek Ryskulov, Chairman of the State Committee of Industry, Energy and Subsoil of the Kyrgyz Republic