Robert Taylor, IPAC’s Chief Executive Officer, told participants that one of his greatest joys is helping people find a career path they enjoy because that leads to their success. He went on to provide two pieces of advice. The first was to position yourself as an agent of change, do not be afraid of disrupting process. The second was to find your own path. Pick one or two principles from the training that make sense to you and apply them to a project to promote change.
Dr. Taylor and IPAC’s Director of Research and Outreach, Dr. Andrea Migone, came to Mongolia in September 2018 to facilitate the Second Public Sector Leadership Symposium. The team from the “Mongolia: Enhancing Resource Management Through Institutional Transformation” (MERIT) project hosted the event and worked closely with Robert and Andrea to structure the training to meet participant’s needs. MERIT is a seven-year, capacity-building project funded by Global Affairs Canada. It works with public institutions responsible for resource management at the national level and, at the provincial and district levels with staff from the Governor’s offices and community leaders.
The majority of participants attending the Symposium were Directors and Senior Officers representing provincial and district level government. Notably, three District Governors and one female Deputy Governor participated. In addition, there were Senior Officers from the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the General Tax Authority, the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority, and the Institute of Geography and Geoecology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. Women represented close to half of the participants.
The five-day training provided civil servants with the skills to innovate and lead the change that is happening all around them. The blend of academic research and practical examples from around the world made the training both engaging and accessible. The implementation of a new civil service law and the role of government in the negotiation of contribution agreements with extractive industry companies were used as examples to focus the framework.
The training incorporated feedback from IPAC’s first Leadership Symposium, held in January 2018. More Mongolian content was requested to help participants relate to and understand the principles. Local experts shared their expertise and two participants from the first Leadership Symposium were invited back to share their experience in successfully applying the learnings. These speakers now form a network of local resources for the participants to consult with after the training.
The Leadership Symposium was a space for interaction and to discuss shared challenges. Scenario-based training was used to discuss a case study that looked at the experience of local governments in negotiating contribution agreements with extractive industry companies. Participants formed groups representing the key stakeholders: community members, local government and the company. Through role play they went through the process of negotiating a contribution agreement. This experience gave them the opportunity to apply their skills in leadership, team work, ethics and values, negotiation and innovation.
The value of the training was evident in the informal groups that formed every evening to discuss the day’s learning. As a means to foster collaboration and to support each other, participants created a Facebook page. MERIT staff will continue to work with IPAC to design a one-day workshop to reinforce the training. The objective of these efforts is help participants to operationalize the principles and tools learned.