NOTE: The event starts at 15.00 local time in Bishkek - 10.00 CET.

Despite Central Asia being one of the world’s most climatically vulnerable regions, there is a large literature gap related to energy transition and climate change impact and policy in the region. Local and international scholars have been liaising to bridge this knowledge gap. Therefore, the OSCE Academy, NUPI and EUCAM are organizing an open workshop to present new research on critical minerals in the region.

Central Asia is likely to become a new hotspot for mineral extraction and a major global supplier of selected critical materials for clean energy technologies. Central Asia is endowed with mineral reserves and holds 38.6% of global manganese ore reserves, 30.07% of chromium, 20% of lead, 12.6% of zinc, and 8.7% of titanium. All these critical materials are used across a wide range of clean energy technologies used in energy transition. The Central Asian countries are also already among the top 20 global producers of many critical materials.

The workshop will also feature a new Central Asia Data Gathering and Analysis Team (CADGAT) report on energy transition trends in Central Asia as well as an article about cycling culture. This open workshop is expected to create a platform for discussing a broad range of related issues including climate change impact on security, energy, politics, gender, mining and many others. The OSCE Academy, NUPI and EUCAM invite researchers, policymakers, practitioners, journalists, and all interested parties to attend an open workshop on “Energy transition and Central Asia” on January 17th, 2022. The event offers both in-person and online participation options for those who RSVP in advance.

About Organizers & Speakers

OSCE Academy in Bishkek ( is a public foundation, established in 2002 between the Kyrgyz Government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Academy promotes the principles and values of the OSCE through post-graduate education, professional training and intellectual exchange. Moreover, the Academy hosts Research Fellowships, as well as publishes articles, policy briefs, and research papers on questions relevant to the Academy’s mission.

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) has about 80 employees, including part-time positions and guest researchers. The institute is organised in four research groups that reflect NUPI’s thematic core competences. NUPI’s Centre for Energy Research is an interdisciplinary research centre covering international relations and economic issues related to the field of energy. The centre was originally established as the Energy programme in 2006, and brings together researchers from different parts of NUPI working on energy issues. The centre's objective is to be a forum for analysis of international energy issues, as well as Norway’s role on the international energy arena. It is to function as a meeting place for international actors working on energy related questions, and to facilitate debates on international energy policies.

Europe-Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) was established in 2008 as a project to monitor the implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia. EUCAM has developed into a knowledgehub on broader Europe-Central Asia relations through its research, training, networking and awareness raising activities. The EUCAM programme is part of the Centre for European Security Studies (CESS); an independent institute for research and training, based in Groningen, the Netherlands. CESS seeks to advance political development, democracy, human rights and in particular security, by helping institutions and civil society face their respective challenges.

Indra Overland is Research Professor and Head of the Center for Energy Research at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He previously headed the Russia and Eurasia Research Group at NUPI and has worked on Central Asia since 2001. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in the year 2000, followed by a three-year post-doctoral project on Central Asia and the South Caucasus. He has carried out fieldwork in all Central Asian states and has been responsible for cooperation between the OSCE Academy in Kyrgyzstan and NUPI since 2007. Every year he teaches MA students from all Central Asian countries on energy issues and hosts 4-5 Central Asian students in Norway. He is (co)author of ‘Caspian Energy Politics’ (Routledge), ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative through the Lens of Central Asia’ (Routledge) ‘Kazakhstan: Civil Society and Natural Resource Policy in Kazakhstan’ (Palgrave), ‘Renewable Energy Policies of the Central Asian Countries’ (CADGAT). Indra Overland strives for policy relevance in his research and has been cited the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Associated Press, Bloomberg, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, CBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Times Literary Supplement, Forbes, El País, Le Point, Hokkaido Shimbun, Toronto Star, Het Financieele Dagblad, Straits Times, Al Bawaba, Japan Times, Wall Street China, Azernews, Vietnam+, Nang Luong Sach, Dat Viet, Radio Free Europe, Politiken, Psychology Today, Carbon Brief, PV Magazine, Europower,, The Diplomat, Eurasianet, Conway Bulletin.

Roman Vakulchuk is Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo and holds a PhD degree in Economics from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. He specializes in Central Asia and Southeast Asia and his main research interests are economic transition, trade, energy, climate change, and investment policy. Roman has served as project leader in research projects organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, the Global Development Network (GDN), the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and others. In 2018, he worked as governance expert for OECD’s mission in Kazakhstan and advised the government on privatization reform. In 2013, Vakulchuk was awarded the Gabriel Al-Salem International Award for Excellence in Consulting. Recent publications include ‘Seizing the Momentum. EU Green Energy Diplomacy towards Kazakhstan’ (2021), ‘Discovering Opportunities in the Pandemic? Four Economic Response Scenarios for Central Asia’ (2020), ‘Renewable Energy and Geopolitics: A Review’ (2020).

Rahat Sabyrbekov received his PhD from School of Economics and Business at Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He obtained his Master's degree from University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom. Rahat serves as an author for Intergovernmental Platform for Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Assessment Report. Rahat’s research interests include environmental economics, ecosystem services, natural capital, and natural resource management. . Dr. Sabyrbekov teaches Economics and Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources course at the OSCE Academy. The Google Scholar link.

Jos Boonstra. Before joining the Centre for European Security Studies in the Netherlands in 2016, Jos Boonstra worked as head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia programme at FRIDE, a think tank with offices in Madrid and Brussels. At CESS, his research focuses on democratization, security and development policies in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. He also coordinates the EUCAM programme at CESS, including its research and fellowship activities. Jos is a member of several international research networks and regularly comments on European and Central Asian affairs in opinion articles and media.

10:00 - 10:05 (CET)  Opening remarks

  • Dr. Alexander Wolters (in person), Director, OSCE Academy in Bishkek

10:05 - 10:15  Energy Transition in Central Asia: Trends and Risks (presentation of a new CADGAT report)

  • Dr. Roman Vakulchuk (in person), Senior Researcher, NUPI

15:15 - 15:25   Central Asia is a Missing Link in Analyses of Critical Materials for the Global Energy Transition (presentation of a new article)

  • Prof. Indra Overland (in person), Research Professor, Head of Center for Energy Research, NUPI

10:25 - 10:35   Why Choose to Cycle in a Low-Income Country? (presentation of a new article)

  • Dr. Rahat Sabyrbekov (in person), Post-Doc Researcher, OSCE Academy

15:35 - 15:45  Jos Boonstra (online), Discussant, EUCAM Coordinator, Centre for European Security Studies (CESS)

10:45 - 11:30  Q&A and open discussion

  • Moderator: Dr. Roman Vakulchuk (in person), Senior Researcher, NUPI