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A Journalist's Introduction to the 2014 Eurasia Knowledge Hub

In April the Revenue Watch Institute [now the Natural Resource Governance Institute] organized a three-day workshop with Khazar University, in Baku, where stakeholders gathered from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine to strengthen their networks and knowledge of extractive issues.

A global organization with six regional “knowledge hubs,” RWI offered its course, “Revenue Management and Economic Diversification in Extractive Countries,” to Eurasian partners with an aim to harness natural resource wealth for sustainable development in the region.

The training convened key players from the resource governance space, including scientific research organizations, universities, state agencies and parliaments, journalists and civil society. Topics included revenue management, macroeconomic conditions for resource-rich countries, sovereign wealth funds, fiscal rules, state-owned oil and gas enterprises, economic diversification, and sustainable development. The format ranged from interactive discussions to group work to formal presentations.

On the first day of the training, hub director Ingilab Ahmadov spoke to the importance of good governance. “Transparency in the extractive industry is extremely important if society intends to turn non-renewable natural resources into more sustainable human resources,” he said. “Otherwise, wealth is squandered, and countries risk facing the ruins of poverty and the bondage of debt.”

On the second day of the training, participants gave presentations on the sovereign wealth funds of Russia and Kazakhstan.On the third day, they looked at ways to solve critical challenges in the sector. “This training will help me when interviewing or preparing articles,” said Nargiz Nanakeyeva, an investigative journalist from Kyrgyzstan.

Other experts who presented at the training included Dr. Yerlan Abil from Kazakhstan, budget expert Kurmanbek Turdaliyev from Kyrgyzstan, and RWI Eurasia coordinator Galib Efendiyev. RWI economic analyst Thomas Lassourd joined from New York.

Tatyana Trubacheva writes for Forbes Kazakhstan. Two days after the hub training, she published an article on oil funds in Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan—available (in Russian) here.

Since 2008, NRGI has established six regional hubs in partnership with academic institutions to offer training and support for civil society organizations, members of parliament and journalists, and to help them analyze extractive sector issues and develop robust advocacy campaigns. To learn more, click here.

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