URALSK, Kazakhstan, 2 December 2011 – A two-day OSCE-supported seminar on effective ways for civil society and the media to interact with the government and private companies in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Western Kazakhstan and the Caspian Sea region began today in Uralsk.
The event brought together some 50 participants from local government, non-governmental organizations, the media, extractive industry companies and international organizations. The group will review the issues of transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from the oil and non-oil extractive industries sectors from the perspective of public-private partnership principles.
On the first day participants will discuss public participation in decision making and the implementation of social infrastructure projects in Western Kazakhstan. The media’s role in promoting EITI principles and practices is the focus of the second day. EITI multilateral councils will be highlighted as a model for effective local interaction between government bodies, extractive companies and the public. The event also aims to promote dialogue and partnerships between journalists, non-governmental organizations and government agencies.
Addressing the participants Alexander Peytchev, Economic and Environmental Officer of the OSCE Centre in Astana, said: “Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources and has the capacity to put in place an effective sustainable development strategy rightly based on the green economy and social responsibility principles. The Centre in Astana firmly supports this approach and will continue to facilitate the active participation of all actors in Kazakhstan to that end.”
“The stakeholders involved in advancing the EITI have to date achieved significant results in accounting for government revenues from the extractive sector. At the local level it is vital to draw attention to social investment projects and ensure their transparency. Multi-stakeholder councils focusing on extractive companies’ social investments are the best way to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of companies’ funds,” said Zhanibek Khassan, the Senior Policy Adviser of Soros Foundation - Kazakhstan.
The event is part of Centre’s engagement in EITI activities in Kazakhstan. It was organized by the OSCE Centre in Astana, the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan, the Administration of the Western Kazakhstan region and the Uralsk-based non-governmental organization Zaman.