Promoting Sustainable Infrastructure Partnerships
The University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration, the University of Oxford, and the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia, held the inaugural meeting of the ‘Gobi Framework for Sustainable Infrastructure Partnerships’ project at the National University of Mongolia on September 5th 2018. This 30-month project aims to develop a framework for sustainable infrastructure development to promote inclusive economic development and social welfare in the context of Chinese mega infrastructure initiatives in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The launch event brought together national and international experts from government and the public sector, development agencies, non-governmental organisations, academia, and research institutions to exchange knowledge and experiences on how to enhance the capacity of communities and governments to minimise negative impacts of major infrastructure projects, promote inclusive economic welfare, and strengthen regional sustainable development.
Fiona McConnell, the project’s principal investigator and Associate Professor in human geography at the University of Oxford, welcomed participants of the inaugural meeting and explained ‘We aspire to develop a model that builds on experiences from Mongolia's mining sector, but focuses on the Chinese-led Belt and Road infrastructure projects, and then trial this framework at sites in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. We want to address the challenges of building relationships of trust, cooperation and transparency between key stakeholders in infrastructure development projects.’
The project will be based on intensive, interdisciplinary research involving environmental and social scientists in the United Kingdom, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. It will explore ways to develop responsive, transparent, and effective governance institutions, whereby different stakeholders can mediate disputes and ensure that development is sustainable and inclusive. The focus is on what can be achieved in local settings by people in regions constrained by difficult geographical settings. The project is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).