Resource-rich Eurasian countries have faced revenue management problems due to various factors, poor administration and lack of experience among them. These problems became more critical after the commodity price crisis proved how volatile national economies were.
During the downturn, countries have the opportunity to use revenue management tools to smooth expenditure volatility and protect other areas of the economy. In particular, countries can:
- Adjust monetary policy in line with the change in revenues lower commodities provoke
- Ensure that spending is as efficient as possible
- Assess existing fiscal rules for sovereign wealth funds
In order to accomplish this, CSO experts and activists—as well as journalists—must have the capacity to analyze and advocate for change. To that end, NRGI and the Eurasia Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub last month hosted a three-day session aimed at bolstering the capabilities of advanced revenue management trainers.
Thirteen participants from seven Eurasian countries (as well as Lebanon) attended the training in Tbilisi, Georgia. They were selected for their advanced understanding of the subject, their continued involvement in issues related to it and their ability to absorb and conduct trainings in English.
The training sought to:
- Increase the roster of experts able to provide training on core areas of work in line with NRGI policy messages and the organization's training approach.
- Strengthen the capacity of staff at partner organizations to provide training on core NRGI issues to countries outside the NRGI sphere of intervention.
The essential aim of the training was figuring out how to most effectively help various actors acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to decide on policies and laws, implement programs and monitor progress related to effective natural resource revenue management.
This event was just one phase of skill development. For participants already engaged as NRGI trainers, the event served as a reference point to good practice as future trainings are reviewed. Participants benefited from acquiring solid self-assessment tools to be used in the future trainings and knowledge-building that will deliver results.
"The training was a truly unique and exquisite experience on so many levels," Zeina Hasna of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies said. "On the technical level, it introduced me to innovative ways of presenting technical concepts to non-experts—a much-needed skill that is very hard to develop on my own and rarely addressed by research centers."
"The course leaders divided us into four types: activists, 'reflectors' (a type who does not react immediately but comes back with suggestions at a later time), theorists and pragmatists," Sergey Belov of the Kazakhstan Civic Alliance said. "Now I know how I can take into account peculiarities of perceptions of these people in the audience. Usually, I prepare trainings with activists and pragmatists in mind—I didn't think about theorists and reflectors. It means I was missing the half of my audiences. [With the] advanced techniques I acquired at this training, I will be able to reach out to bigger portion of my listeners."
Galib Efendiev is Eurasia director of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).