Environmental security, mining and good governance

Mining (for minerals and oil-gas) is an important source of economic growth and investments in Central Asia. Past 20 years have brought improvements in mining operations but the mining sites (prospective, operational and closed) still cause tensions with and within communities and are of potential environmental security concern locally and regionally.

The research project is based on an idea that socially and environmentally responsible mining development with good governance is part of the solution to security and sustainable development. Sound environmental and social management is increasingly seen as one of the essential cornerstones in building sustainable economic development, political stability, resilience of communities and fostering human security. Mismanagement of natural resources, heavy industrial pollution and inappropriate capacity to govern environmental or social questions can be important drivers in insecurity within and between states and contribute to the seeds of conflict, state fragility and lasting frozen conflicts.


Points of departure

  • Globally growing demand for minerals and mining.
  • Mining expected to be an important source of economic development in the Central Asian region.
  • Mining has caused considerable environmental stress and tension between communities and is a potential security concern locally and regionally.
  • There is a growing interest for, and availability of applicable tools, towards socially more responsible mining.
  • Mining and responsible private sector development are part of the solutions towards stability and sustainable development in the region.


The project objectives

  • To develop an integrated social and environmental impact assessment methodology including perspectives for conflict mediation and public participation for the use of mining sector in Central Asia.
  • To study mining policies and regulation in Kyrgyzstan.
  • To study community perceptions of mining and its impacts at selected case study areas in Kyrgyzstan (for example Chatkal and Talas).
  • To study linkages between social acceptance of mining and environmental security.
  • To build linkages between research institutes and mining stakeholders in Central Asia and Finland and strengthen the body of knowledge on issues related to responsible mining.


Project partners, funding and ENVSEC

The project is a joint effort of the University of Eastern Finland (Environmental Politics/Law), Gaia Consulting Oy (in Helsinki / Geneve) and Zoï Environmental Network (based in Geneva, Switzerland), involving also local experts in Kyrgyzstan.

The project is part of the Security and Development research of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland 2010. The project is also part of Wider Europe Initiative framework programme launched by the Government of Finland in 2008. The initiative strengthens Finland's development policy through a comprehensive approach to Finland's development cooperation in the European Union's eastern neighbourhood, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The programme aims to widely promote stability and prosperity in the partner countries of the initiative as well as in the wider European region. The project also supports and is closely linked to the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) and other international environment and security endeavours.

The project ran from February 2011 to October 2012.