The guidelines have been developed at the request of German Development Cooperation (GIZ) to provide practical advice on how to establish good community - company relations in Kyrgyzstan and pay respect to the challenges in this country. The information provided is of a general nature and not all challenges and recommendations will fit to every company or community, as every company and every community has different needs and goals.
Building and maintaining good community relations are the key factors for companies in the mining sector if they want to earn their ‘social license to operate’. The statement ‘It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it’ sums up most lessons learned in development and maintaining good community relation. Various international institutions and as well mining companies regard the achievement of a ‘social license to operate’ (SLO) as a major challenge for the extractive industries for successful mining project development. The topic ranges within the area of three main actors: 1) the mining company 2) the affected communities and 3) the government. Whereas the main aim of the company is to conduct mining projects without social conflicts, the community seeks for participation and acknowledgement of their rights to decide what is happening to them. The government has an interest to attract investors and generate tax revenues to enhance nationwide wellbeing (ideally).
The following chapters will explain the concept of SLO, why it is important for the extractive industry, what are main strategies to build up and maintain good community relationships, common mistakes and examples from mining projects on international basis. Later on specialties regarding community relations in Kyrgyzstan are explained. As the focus of previous research was mainly about the community’s opinion of problems with mining in Kyrgyzstan relatively less research has been done on the company’s strategies to deal with these. Therefore interviews with mining companies were conducted on their perception of the problems and their strategies dealing with them. From the company interviews, as well from literature research and interviews with local community members, key problems were identified. Comparing the interview results with international best practice and approaches that companies chose in Kyrgyzstan, recommendations were drafted to offer possible approaches for healthy community-company relations.