From October 20-21, the Government of Mongolia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is hosting a joint Conference entitled ‘Avoiding the Resource Curse: Managing Extractive Industries for Human Development’.
The high level conference featured government officials, delegates,NGOs, civil society and private sector representatives from over 17 countries including representatives from South Sudan, the UN’s newest member state.It examined how countries cope with managing their natural resources and how mining revenues can foster development and reduce poverty with the hope that the international contributors could share and learn from one another’s experiences.
Ms.Helen Clark and PM S.Batbold
After opening remarks from the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. D. Tsogtbaatar,and the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Mongolia, Ms. S. Sinanoglu, the conference opened with addresses by UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark and Prime Minister S. Batbold.
Ms. Clark began by noting that a country’s human development depends on how its wealth and extractive industries are handled and that the choices made about natural resource wealth determines whether this will impact on development in an equitable and sustainable way.She went on to praise Mongolia’s fiscal stability laws and its funds for fiscal stability and human development,noting that “natural resources can drive human development if they are handled in a transparent, inclusive,and balanced way”.
Ms. Clark concluded by stating that the early stages of resource development present the best opportunities to set up good management facilities and spur positive development. She indicated that Mongolia is currently in these early stages with every opportunity available .Mr. Batbold followed by describing the various achievements made to date with regards to fiscal stability and human development,stating that a “historical opportunity is drawing closer for us”.
He then stated his goal of turning Mongolia into a highly-competitive,regional country and bringing education up to international standards.He concluded by noting that “there is a great opportunity for our people to live happy lives in this country”.
The great development potential for Mongolia and other resource rich countries will feature prominently through the rest of the Conference as many issues surrounding all aspects of resource extraction are addressed. This includes sessions focusing on: how resources can be translated into human development; managing revenue;conflict prevention; institutional and governance management;environmental and social impacts, and resolving potential challenges. The conference draws to its official conclusion on October 21.