Finland’s current Development Policy, published in 2007, includes a special concept for cooperation between public sector organisations in Finland and in developing countries called Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI). A special initiative, the Wider Europe Initiative (WEI), was launched by Finland in 2008 for bilateral development cooperation in 11 countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. Within the framework of the ICI concept and WEI program, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland decided in 2009 to support the development of the geo-sector information management in Central Asia and a cooperation project managed by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) involving the national geo-institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan could start in 2011.
The Central Asian geo-portal is an outcome of this cooperation between GTK and the national geo-institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. GTK serves as the national geo-scientific information centre in Finland and participates actively in international research and project work. GTK is a governmental agency of Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the operating idea is to produce and disseminate geological information for industry and the society to promote systematic and sustainable use of crustal resources and the national geological endowment (www.gtk.fi). The Committee of Geology and Resources Exploitation, Ministry of Industry and New Technology of the Republic of Kazakhstan carries out of special executive and regulatory functions in the area of geological studies, rational and complex usage of natural resources and state administration of subsoil use. The State Agency of Geology and Mineral Resources of the Kyrgyz Republic is a central institution working under the government of Kyrgyzstan for collecting, storing and distributing of geo-scientific information and providing authorized policy to the legal exploitation of mineral resources. The geo-sector in Tajikistan is managed by the Head Department of Geology under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan established in 1938 as a public property to be the central organ of executive power, state policy management and coordination of work in the sector of mineral exploration, reproduction of mineral resources and provision of geological information about natural resources of the Republic of Tajikistan.
The geo-portal has been established in cooperation between experts from all four participating institutions and special teams with appropriate skills have been in charge of the task. Much of the existing geo-information has been available only as hard copies and therefore much effort has been put on digitizing of old material and certain staff members have been trained for not only digitizing but also for compilation of metadata, archiving and storing. Presently there are special units in each institution working with geo-information and its dissemination and modern storage.
The Central Asian geo-portal is the property of the three Central Asian countries and GTK’s role is limited to consultancy and technical support. The management of the geo-portal is implemented by a team composed of the persons responsible for the nation specific web pages.