Mongolia’s National Report on sustainable development achievements since the Rio summit of 1992

Introduction

This report illustrates the progress, achievements and obstacles in the implementation of sustainable development challenges pursued by the Rio summit, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 1992.

The report is prepared according to the Earth council guidelines for NCSD Rio+10 Assessment. 

A. National Strategies for Sustainable Development

National strategy or planning process for sustainable development.

The Mongolian Government created a National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) chaired by the Prime Minister in April 1996 by Government Resolution to oversee the development and implementation of Mongolia's sustainable development strategies. NCSD's mission is to pursue sustainable development efforts in Mongolia and to provide overall guidance on MAP 21.  NCSD of Mongolia was given a clear mandate by the Government Resolution No.73 from April 12, 1996 to coordinate and provide overall guidance on MAP21 development process and its implementation.

 The NCSD advises the Chair of the State Great Khural (Parliament Speaker) and the  President of Mongolia on sustainable development policy and strategy, on the next steps in building the new management system related to the sustainable development and on policies that foster Mongolian participation in regional and Earth sustainable development process.

 Mongolian government adopted "Mongolian Action Programme for the 21st century" by its resolution No. 82 of May 26, 1998.   It declared that ".  .  . We have made a step forward to address common global economic, social and environmental challenges and challenges that are being faced by our country through joint efforts with the international community. The document not only contains dreams of our people and is an assertion of the social consensus but also lays a development path that ought to be followed by the Government regardless of changes that take place in the society . . . ". Main focus of the document, covering the period between 2000-2020, was given to ways of establishing an appropriate harmony between complex economic, social and environmental processes. MAP-21 pinpoints economic growth, social equality and sustainability and adequate use of natural resources as the key strategy for development.   In summary,  the 21st century strategy of Mongolia was identified as follows:

• ” Overcome poverty in the near 10  to  15 years considering it to be a threat to the Nation’s existence.

• Combat environmental degradation and unfavorable changes such as desertification, scarcity of forest and water resources

• Develop economic, educational, cultural, informational and social security framework capable to guarantee human development and quality of life.

• Prevent environmental global degradation and widespread disasters and overcome their consequences with joint community efforts by establishing a reliable structure for mutually beneficial co-operation with international community and countries of the region and making Mongolia as a hearth of the regional development and stability.

Thus, MAP 21 has a very broad development objective: “To establish a process of national development that will incorporate the principles of sustainability while meeting basic human needs.”

For years, many have pursued the term sustainable development even before the MAP 21 conceived  and these were initial attempts on harmonizing efforts towards this development paradigm.  A new Constitution embracing democracy and the market system was passed in May 1991 and adopted by the Parliament in January 1992, changing the nation to a republic with parliamentary government and a directly elected president. Hence the Constitution makes Mongolia a democratic parliamentary state with independent legislative, executive, judicial branches; guarantees citizens freedom of speech, religion, and other basic human rights,  as well as the right to own property, and engage in private business activity.  Most importantly, the Constitution affirmed the right of Mongolians to live in a safe and healthy environment.

All 21 aimags (or provinces) and the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, have now developed their action programmes (AAPs), development programmes that incorporate environmental concerns, social priorities, and economic objectives, as their vision for the next century.   These programmes were developed to ensure that concerns of local people are reflected in national sustainable development policies.  As a result, the MAP 21 was elaborated incorporating AAPs , local Agenda 21s, with financial support of UNDP's Capacity 21 and its implementation began since 1998.

In his foreword to the MAP-21  document, the President of Mongolia N.Bagabandi appreciated it as a document that can serve as a national guideline which embraces and defines the whole complexity of the requirements, policy goals, working directions and methods for developing all the spheres of our country’s life while maintaining environmental checks and balances.   

Strengths and weakness in implementation of the national strategy or planning process

Organization and management system:

Headed by the Prime Minister of Mongolia the National Council for Sustainable Development is comprised of different multistakeholders such as government, non-governmental representatives, NGOs and private sector. Appointed as deputy chairman of the National Council, Chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Environment and Rural Policy and Minister for Trade and Industry, make a good mechanism or opportunity to reflect and focus on  regional sustainable balanced development and clean and cleaner production issues, coordinate them supporting proper use and protection of natural resources.  Representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Economics, Environment, Health, Social Welfare and Labour, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Justice and Foreign Relations, a number of local governors, NGOs, research institutions and private sectors are the members of the Council.

After completion of MAP21 and AAPs development,  the NCSD has shifted its focus to promoting implementation of this strategy through national and international partners - supporters for appropriate MAP 21 demonstration projects including curriculum reform, developing monitoring actions plan and helping aimags to find applicable support and information for the implementation of their AAPs.

The National Council is responsible for developing and implementing Mongolia’s sustainable development concept and has rights and obligations in connection with implementation of MAP-21.  It is also responsible with coordination and organization of work of ministries, agencies, aimag and capital administrations, other state organizations and NGOs on implementation of MAP-21. As the council composes of high rank position or authority it grants a good foundations for facilitating and promoting cross-sectoral integration to a great extent. Although it’s composition is multi-stakeholder supportive that involves different sector and levels, as well as rrepresentatives from NGOs and private sector a number of stakeholders consider that representatives of the government, relevant interest groups and private sector’s involvement is still not sufficient enough to provide efficient implementation of the programme.

The NCSD has local branches in aimags and capital city called Economic, social and environmental committees. The Council’s local committees are headed by governors of aimag and the capital city who report their work to the National Council on quarterly basis.

In the future, there is a need for further incorporation of NGOs, private sector, academics and government officials in the activities of the NCSD at both national and local levels. There is also need to extend multi-stakeholder participation in implementation of NCSD decisions not only incorporating NGOs, private sector and academicians, but also involving different level stakeholders.

Monitoring mechanism for the implementation of MAP-21 and global Agenda-21 has not   been clearly determined yet.  In other words, means of measurement and indicators to monitor the progress of MAP-21 and its implementation have not been defined at the national as well as at the local level.

Institutional capacity:

A number of qualified professional staff in Mongolia has been increased during the last 50 years,  and re-training and re-qualification of the staff in the western and developed countries have extensively taken place in the last decade.  Human capabilities at the ministerial level are being improved as the training, workshops and seminars organized domestically and internationally contributed to a certain extent.  However, insufficiency of the human resources in social, economic and environmental sectors is still felt.   It is often that government employees (even some decision-makers) both at the central and local levels limit themselves to their only responsibilities (even some do not satisfy the requirements) and lack creativity and responsiveness to the challenges of sustainability. 

Improvement of capabilities for self-evaluation and personal responsibilities of the staff will be an asset in implementation of MAP-21 as well as understanding its strategic importance and applying it to the policies and decisions.

Inadequate practice of cross-sectoral integration or inter institutional cooperation is generally observed despite the efforts imposed by the NCSD. Professionals tend to pay attention to their own disciplines and ignore other factors and issues outside their disciplines, which is likely to lead to disintegrated development output. 

Mongolian government is putting high value into the sustainable development path. Recently, the Prime Minister of Mongolia stressed commitment of the ruling party to sustainable development: “Our party will pursue independent, open, multilateral foreign policy which is based on principles and guidelines of National Security and Foreign Policy Concepts adopted to new conditions, national interests and taking account of the goal of sustainable development. 

. . . Our party believes that developing agriculture, industry, infrastructure, mining and tourism sectors according to the sustainable development concept adopted by the whole world in this century requires combining traditions of protecting the environment and enriching the resources together with the goal of economic development”.

As the NCSD constitutes of mainly high rank posts, namely deputy ministers and state secretaries, it is often prone to the risk that every time the Government is changed the composition of the Council converts to the new members. These changes of NCSD lead to a loss of a valuable time span that one can not easily regain.

Resourcing:

It was extremely important that civil society participation in the sustainable development process had been mobilized around the formulation of national and local Agendas 21. This process carved the knowledge among the general public, local and central government officials, which will certainly contribute to the effective implementation of the programme.    

Nonetheless, education level of the professional institutions doesn’t match to the world’s level, in fact, and hence there is a need to pay closer attention to quality of education provided that highly qualified and capable professional/expert/specialists are the crucial factor to the country’s strategic development.

A traditional nomadic civilization, which evolved over centuries in Mongolia, is based on proper balance between man and nature. To ensure Mongolia’s competitiveness in the era of globalization, it is necessary to develop science and technology, paying particular attention to the introduction of environmentally sound, cleaner technologies.  

The most serious obstacle in the implementation of sustainable development activities is the lack of domestic financial sources. Nevertheless, Government of Mongolia identified 11 priority issues, including implementing environmental policy aimed at providing sustainable development and ecological balance by harmonizing with regional socio-economic development. This priority is the one of four components of Good Governance for Human security programme, which is to deal with the priorities set forward by the government of Mongolia.

Comparing the size of financial resources allocated for the implementation of MAP-21 to the size of the state budget, allocated funds would seem to be sufficient, but in a condition  of poorly developed infrastructure and sparsely living population in the vast territory it is still not sufficient enough. Due to the worldwide environmental deterioration, global warming,  lack of water resources and frequent and intensified natural disasters, the main sources of  economic development, especially outputs of agriculture and animal husbandry is decreasing. This in turn affects food supply and food security of the country and, moreover, contributes to the increase in the number of poor, unemployed and unsecured.         

Political support:

Main political parties are well informed the issue as the NCSD focused its awareness activities during the development of Election programmes of the parties. Many political parties involved the issue into their Election programmes and that in turn helped to raise public awareness on sustainable development concept as a complex issue pursued by the Rio summit. Mr. N. Enkhbayar, the head of the ruling party, Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party which came to the power in 2000, and Prime Minister of Mongolia, had expressed the party’s willingness to pursue sustainable development.  Aside there is not much sign of support or hindrance from the opposition parties in the programme’s implementation.

The main leaders of the major political parties are reasonably informed on MAP-21, as they were personally involved in one of the processes of elaboration, approval and implementation of MAP-21 and, therefore, MAP-21 was an integral part in the pre-election campaign carried out by the parties in  the year 2000.  For example, Mongolian Social Democratic Party, which co- held political power with National Democratic Party during 1996-2000, had titled its programme as “Sustainable development, balanced state”.

In general,  it is praiseworthy that the President, Parliament and Government of Mongolia were all able to find a compromise in accepting and recognizing the concept and dimensions of sustainable development.

Legislative support:

Favorable legal conditions are created for implementation of MAP-21 in Mongolia. As mentioned earlier that the Constitution of Mongolia ratified in 1992, implies ideas of sustainable development, and notions of provision of relation between nature and human, and economic development by means of decentralization or stipulation of local independence was immersed in it.

Environmental laws were adopted in conformity with the Constitution, creating a legal basis for the protection of species and ecosystems.   

In line with principles of Agenda-21, more than twenty new environmental laws have been enacted and action plans have been established in the past few years.  Numerous Mongolian environmental laws that have been adopted by the Parliament range from laws on special protected areas, natural plants and hunting to those on mineral resources, toxic chemicals, and hazardous wastes.  Other laws that incorporate environmental issues have been passed, such as laws on taxation, human health, and tourism.

Policy documents such as State Policy on Ecology /1997/, State Population Policy /1996/ and Regional Development Concept /2001/ ratified by the Parliament of Mongolia are closely related to MAP21 and Global Agenda21.

Although the good legislative or regulatory framework is set up for pursuing sustainability, it is true that its poor execution leads to not intensive and effective implementation of MAP21.

Impact of the national strategy  

The national strategy is now been used as a basis for formulation of policies and programmes. For instance, the government regarded the diminishing the imbalances of socio- economic territorial development as the important precondition towards sustainable development path. Thus, the MAP21 played an important role in formulating Regional Development concept, which serves a principal base of directions and actions for creating public policy and regulatory system oriented to support local or regional development.

As the concept was approved by the Parliament of Mongolia, it further recommended the Government to allocate the necessary financial sources from the national budget by its decree No. 57, 14 June of 2001. 

Apart from this, within the frame of Government priority – to implement environmental policy aimed at providing sustainable development and ecological balance by harmonizing with regional socio-economic development financial – it is planned to allocate 4.1 billion MN¥ for the year 2001-2004.

MAP21 is reflected in the policies and decisions made at the central and local levels, but there are shortcomings considering a full reflection and a concrete implementation of MAP-21. As Parliament members /MPs/   are elected for the 4 year period, newly elected MPs lack basic knowledge of MAP-21 and, therefore, it takes time for them to understand the significance of the issue, hence it is inadequately reflected in the decision making process in terms of relevant span. 

State budget, as a whole, approved by the Parliament on a quarterly basis could  be regarded as a pursuit towards sustainability. Nevertheless, changes are necessary in order to pertain proper  use of funds and distribution of the budget.

As each Aimag’s Programme was developed according to its own particularities, resources and possibilities, it is the provision of basic conditions for decentralization.

The commitment to decentralization has been wide and strong at all levels of government. This appears in the form of:  1) substantial constitutional and other legal reforms 2) down-sizing in public sector staff and budgets, especially central government. The legislative framework offers greater scope for a delegation of power to lower authorities than in is practices so far. Thus much of the effects of the legislative reforms have been more on paper, than real (Human Development Report, 1997).  In a study of 6 aimags it was observed that more than 60 percent of the functions carried out by local public service organizations are assigned by laws adopted by the State Ikh Hural (the Parliament), 30 per cent by government resolutions and ministerial decrees, and only 10 per cent by decisions made at the local level (Report of UNDP Mongolia Project).

The next steps to improve the national strategy (or planning process) and its implementation

The national strategy or the MAP21 serves as a pull of the country’s numerous initiatives. The process of implementation of the strategy of sustainable development needs a constant monitoring. Attaining the objectives detailed in the programme calls for broad-ranging measures embracing many different sectors of society and cooperation between various implementing bodies. In order to improve the strategy, collective multistakeholder monitoring will have an important contributing impact.  Nonetheless, with the funding by the Capacity 21, the NCSD of Mongolia is implementing the second phase of the project,  Support for implementing the MAP21.

Within this project an objective was set that monitoring action plans will be developed so that implementation of MAP21 is monitored coherently on the constant base. 

Therefore, it is essential to review the programme’s concrete progress in detailed manner.

Apart from the above in order to improve implementation of the programme the following steps need to be undertaken:

·         Broaden professional knowledge and raise awareness in necessity of sustainable development

·         Political commitment to realize sustainable development should be risen

·         Support multi – stakeholder participation in the implementation of the programme

·         Strengthen the institutional capacity to deal with sustainable development issues, which is responsible for integration of sectoral issues into sustainability path and its implementation

·         Develop intersectoral consultation and cooperation and partnership between central governmental institutions and more local governments

·         To introduce sustainable development indicators and items, thus changes to the law of Statistics and law of Budget.

Specific sustainable development targets that are achievable in the next 5-10 years are as follows: 

·         to enhance planning mechanism and approach in pursuit to reaching sustainable development

·         to reduce poverty and deprivation of basic needs 

·         strengthening capacity to monitor and enforce environmental regulations

·         development of non-regulatory approaches such as environmental education and awareness and economic instruments for environmental management

Attaining the above targets could make a significant difference in the progress towards sustainable development

B. Integration and Participation

How national sustainable development strategies,  plans and programs demonstrate an integrated approach.

It was briefly mentioned earlier that Regional Development concept is approved in 2001 by the Parliament of Mongolia and this policy document clearly demonstrates an example of integrated approach towards sustainability.  A vision or mission of the concept is to create a favorable condition to dismantle current unfavorable concentration of population and production, to reduce gaps between urban and rural areas, and unequal and not balanced development of the regions bringing closer level of development, on the basis of rational use of land, its resources, agriculture and livestock, raw material resource  and intellectual capabilities, and thus to foster national socio-economic development.

In order to reach this vision the several objectives were identified within the frame of public institution, economy, socio-culture, protection of nature, population distribution and urbanization and international cooperation. All these objectives are equally interrelated and their achievement will lay down the sustainable development pattern.

The State Policy on Ecology” /SPE/ had been developed at a time when MAP-21 was elaborated as well, this is why the two documents are closely interrelated and interdependent. SPE reflects a set of policy guidelines on the proper use of natural resources while providing opportunities for social and economic development, protection and rehabilitation of environment and production of environmentally sound technologies.

Moreover, National Poverty Alleviation Programme, which is now renamed as a Household Livelihood support programme), Programme on Empowering Women's Welfare and Population policy of Mongolia have a clear vision of integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Positive impacts of programmes and policy are  remarked by the national as well as international agencies.

Enabling continued, broad based participation in sustainable development policymaking and implementation

Hundreds of people of various qualifications were involved in elaboration of MAP-21and AAPs, contributing to selection and identification of the appropriate version of interrelation between environment, economy and social development. Elaboration of MAP-21 was completed during a relatively short period of time by organizing seminars and conferences broadly involving various stakeholders in different regions. This approach gave possibilities to exchange opinions and suggestions on the concept of development and urgent issues of the strategy.  Steps towards enhancing public participation in the implementation of MAP-21 are  made to some extent.

Policy barriers to effective local Agenda 21 implementation

In implementing sustainability challenges at the local level, there are some barriers often induced by the center. Although there were considerable efforts in decentralization and provision of local governance empowerment, little were practiced or translated into actions. The state budget tend to be allocated less under the decentralization yet local government's authority is limited to earn the gap. For instance, in Gobi-Altai aimag, where gold mining was  identified as the leading or most important source of economic development in the Aimag, it does not have a licensing authority to mine the gold in its territory, instead it is given by the central authority to mostly non local entities/individuals. 

Coordinating mechanism for stakeholder participation in sustainable development planning and implementation

Earlier it was said that National Council for Sustainable Development of Mongolia was a core body for urging sustainable development challenges and concepts from the very beginning of the process.  The multi-stakeholder participation in NCSD continued to be extended during the implementation stage of MAP 21. Recent changes in NCSD membership include representatives from NGOs and private sector as well as representatives from line miniseries, Parliament and local governments.  Since 2000, the number of members of the NCSD had been enlarged up to 28 members consisting of the representatives of more ministries, NGOs and the private sector. These measures were undertaken to increase and balance participation of the Parliament, Government, NGOs and the private sector. Thus, this mechanism guarantees almost all sector participation given the composition of the Council.

In order to strengthen the coordinating mechanism, so that better implementation and monitoring of the programme progress and threats, is taken place, the following few steps are recommended. These are:

1.       To enlarge the National Council with more committed interest groups, people and organization and different level stakeholders, especially staff involved in the implementation process.

2.       To create a unit or  division at the Ministry of Finance and Economics responsible for day to day management of the implementation and monitoring of the MAP21, which will work closely with the NCSD.

3.      To intensify the NCSD activity

C. National Critical issues

National critical issues and  national actions taken to address the issue

Increasing number of poor and unemployed and environmental degradation are the most urgent issues faced by Mongolia at the current.

I. Increasing poverty

In response to dramatic increase of poverty the Government took an initiative to reverse the trend and with the collaboration and support of UN agencies, multilateral institutions and key bilateral donors it has implemented National Poverty Alleviation Programme (NPAP) during 1996-2000. The main objective of NPAP was to substantially reduce the level of poverty, to cut poverty to 10 per cent by the year 2000.  The programme was a wide-ranging and comprehensive attempt to address poverty issues, not only focusing income poverty but also on social needs of human development. By implementing the NPAP the country has gained considerable experiences in the area of decentralization and public participation.  Significantly, it is the main accomplishment that the process of implementation as a whole imposed a change in mentality of poor that they can lead their lives by own effort.

Also, one of the proud achievements of the Programme has been the creation of a national capacity for delivering activities even to the farthest outreach of this vast country (National Poverty Alleviation Programme: Final summary report, 1994-2000). The programme as a whole achieved beneficial impacts on the lives of many poor and even some managed to climb out of poverty.  However, it was learnt that due to a poor targeting and selection, or inadequate supervision some projects have failed to achieve the set goals. 

As the NPAP final report says, poverty continues to be a serious problem and this can be explained by number of factors, such as statistics differences, economic growth, which has been sluggish, less-broad based and less labor intensive, and unemployment.

To continue its fight against poverty, the Government has been developing the next programme, National Program to Improve Household Livelihood, on the basis of the successes and lessons learnt, which is aiming at overall support of human development .         

Organizational and managerial structure:  Well structured, competent institutional framework covering all aimag, district, soum and khoroo (administrative divisions) was established supervised by National Poverty Alleviation Committee (NPAC). Under NPAC, the Poverty Alleviation Programme Office in the capital city, its provincial and district units in all aimags and duuregs, and its local units in soums and khoroos work in due course.

Institutional capacity: Institutionally, a nation wide capacity involving all local administrative units (aimags, districts, soum and khoroo) to deal with poverty have been formed and strengthened. 

Resources and funding: Human resource necessary for all level unit working for poverty alleviation is provided. Total of 15.6 million US$ is spent for implementation of the programme  and there is still a need to find more funding provided that poverty has increased both in numbers of people and in the proportion of the total population. Most of the government reports note that despite the achievements reached through the implementation of the programme, increase of poverty is observed during the period. This is partly because of the inadequate growth and deterioration of the economy, which add more people to rank as poor.   

Political support. As the poverty alleviation is the major challenge in Mongolia, all the political parties have reached a general consensus that solving the problem is the one of the priority of the society as well as in the context of sustainability.

Legal support.  However, a legal environment on poverty alleviation is being shaped, it nevertheless needs improvement.

II. Environmental degradation.

Most of the territories of Mongolia are in deteriorated condition as result of climatic changes, global warming and a various human activities. According to researchers, over the past 60 years temperature in Mongolia has increased by 1,56 degrees, drought takes place each year and there is increase in desiccation. Amongst environmental problems faced, land degradation and desertification have been threatening the livelihoods of many Mongolians. Increase in the number of livestock and its heavy concentration in localities of water collection and in the places, where herders escape from zud (natural disaster caused by heavy show fall), have been causing overgrazing the land  and consequently shortage of pasture.  

According to the assessment of 2000-2001, 78.4 per cent of the pastureland has been degraded to a certain extent, meaning that the size of deteriorated land has increased by 8-10 per cent over the last decade. Sequence of repeated droughts, deterioration of pastureland vegetation, snowstorm disaster and zud have had a negative impact on animal husbandry.

Mongolia has been actively participating in elaboration and implementation of the “UN Convention to Combat Desertification” /CCD/.  3rd Asia-African Forum on the implementation issues of the CCD”,  4th Focal Point on Coordinators of CCD of Asian countries and a National forum on the implementation process of the CCD, Convention on Climate Change and Convention on Biodiversity  took place in the capital city Ulaanbaatar in 2000. Mongolia was the fourth country in Asia to formulate its National Plan of  Action to Combat Desertification during 1992 and 1996. In 1994-1997 a package of laws on the Land use and management was approved by the Parliament and are being implemented.

Legal basis to combat desertification and degradation of lands was provided by ratification of a package of laws and documents listed below:

                  -    Land law /1994/

-         Law on Protected Areas /1994/

-         Law on Protection of Environment /1995/

-         Law on Land Payment /1997/

-         National Plan of Action to Combat Desertification /1996/

-         National Program on Protected areas /1998/

-         National Forestry Program /1998/

-         National Water program /1998/  

In order to direct actions fighting degradation of land and desertification issues towards increase in the living standards of population and reduction of unemployment, measures supportive of hearty and proper  use of the mother land are undertaken. For example, legally it is permitted that pieces of land are given to the ownership of herdsmen for 60 years initially, with possibilities of extension of the right for the consecutive 40 years.

Organizational and managerial structure. National Committee to Combat Desertification is responsible for combating desertification. Ministries, NGOs and business groups are members of this Committee. Although it is main accomplishment that there is mechanism to overcome the problem, the Committee’s legal status is not adequate to act as comprehensively and coherently as it is required.

Institutional capacity. Very often the activities are carried out with efforts of a limited number of people from the Ministry of Nature and Environment interested in the desertification issues.  More inclusive working group to combat desertification needs to be established.

Resources and funding: There are relatively rich experiences and knowledge, based on traditional practices and modern technologies to combat desertification. However, activities such as analyzing the data and knowledge gathered and its dissemination are lacking behind due to a shortage of staff working in the area and funding and investment by national , international organizations and donors.

Political support. All the political parties are well informed and show their interest to cooperate in this field.

Legal support. An adequate legal basis for combating with desertification and degradation of land has been set up already.

Measures  already taken or planned to overcome the implementation failures

The Government’s goal towards reducing poverty is to address the issue in line with a broad macro economic policy aimed at sustainable economic growth, employment promotion, and improvement of social protection.  This involves amongst others:

-         Stimulation of small and medium enterprise development through an appropriate legal and regulatory framework, a suitable tax regime, facilitation of access to credit and entrepreneurial training

-         Investment in human capital formulation including education, health and skills formation

The Government has started implementing the second phase of the NPAP taking into account the experiences and lessons of the first phase.

 It is appropriate to link the National Committee to combat desertification with the NCSD; in this way its organization and management structure would be improved for carrying out policies at the national level.   As a matter of fact, desertification is connected not only to degradation of land, but with poverty, deprivation and economic depression as well. Therefore, creating a nation wide capacity to combat desertification is of necessity.

 Moreover, in order the land degradation is arrested and to provide effective implementation of the National Plan of Action to Combat Desertification is a raising public awareness extensively is an urgent challenge of the society.

 There are following suggestions to solve the prioritized critical issue of combating desertification at the national level:

- Bring in effect the Law on Land Payment so that imposing payment on the relevant size, productivity and quality of the land allocated to herdsmen and landowners will provide opportunities for restoration and protection of lands.

- Create incentives and provide support to those entities and individuals or exempt them from taxes or other payment, which protect or rehabilitate the land and improve its quality by carrying out reforestation, planting trees and etc.

And at the international level:

-As desertification is a worldwide disaster that affects the food safety, and human security in broad terms, there is a need to add this issue to the 4 already existing focus of the Global Environmental Facility, such as ozone layer, temperature increase, biodiversity and water supply.

- To annul and reduce debts and loans of those developing countries that are spending considerable amount for combating desertification and successful in their undertakings.

-  To conduct a research on the implementation of the clean Development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol of the Climate changes.

- To propose the European Community to cooperate and collaborate with Mongolia regarding the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.

Measures to be taken by international organizations, the United Nations system in particular, to support the above corrections are as follows:

- To provide financial support to raise public awareness on combating desertification and sustainable development . 

- Allocating funds for reforestation and settlement of wells in the Gobi and steppe zones

- Allocating funds for the projects of National Programme on Improvement of Livelihood of Households

- To assist in strengthening NCSD activities, specially in terms of its empowerment in the implementation of MAP21 and firming up its commitments to guarantee sustainable future.

D. Global critical issue: education, training and public awareness

How education, training and public awareness are integrated into the country’s national sustainable development strategy

It is stated in the MAP 21 that

As a guarantee for successful implementation of the MAP21 the national capacity would be build up in interrelation of planning, decision making, management, natural resources, science, technology and human resources. The idea of building the national capacity is to encourage in all aspects the development of a Mongolian individual and social community, by further improving the cultural and educational level of the people, increasing the system’s management effectiveness at all levels, and strengthening scientific, technological, educational, financial, and social capabilities.

Thus, education, training and public awareness are being a part of the means of implementation of the MAP21.

The role of education, culture and scientific organizations regarding this matter is not adequate enough concerning the requisites. Governmental organizations, NGOs, scientific organizations lack knowledge on these issues and, therefore, are not acting effectively.

Nonetheless, some achievements have been made meeting the commitments of Chapter 36 of  Agenda21.  National Programme on Ecological education to Public was approved by the Government in 1997. Under the programme objectives, provisioning ecological education has been started to deliver at the secondary school level. 

In order to increase public sensitivity to environment and development problems there was an initiative of the environmentalists in Mongolia that established Environmental training and Research Institute called Eco Asia. The Institute will produce highly qualified professionals in the field of nature and environment, that will serve disseminating information, and promoting personal environmental responsibility and commitment towards sustainability. 

Ecological training, campaign is carried out by means of media and community initiatives step by step. 

Financial difficulties are creating obstacles in provisioning textbooks, handouts and training materials on environmental management. Also, there is an insufficient qualified staff to work in this area.  Public sensitivity to environment and development problems has deteriorated during the last decades, and measures, which mainly concentrated on formulating legislation and passing laws,  are not adequate to stay at peace. There still need more training, public campaign and media actions that facilitate better understanding of the sustainability, sense of personal environmental responsibility towards sustainable development among not only public, but also at the higher level of governance - the decision making and policy formulation level. 

Ministry of Science, Technology, Education and Culture Education has implemented the Education sector development programme for 1997-2001, with the support of Asian Development Bank. The programme has a comprehensive aim to strengthen education management capabilities, improve quality and coordination in higher education in accordance with emerging requirements and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of secondary education. Outcome of this programme serves a basic footing to further reorient education towards sustainable development, since it has reformed the education sector to a great extent making sound education management and supervision and higher education program management.  It is worthy to note that development of information system within the programme would contribute further in disseminating information and raising public awareness. Being part of the project, development of an academic network between major tertiary institutions to provide communications, information and resource sharing, inter-library cooperation and Internet access to international research and information data bases  was an important component of the reform in higher education.

Measures planned

The NCSD of Mongolia  has been working on promoting a steady flow of high quality public awareness messages in support of sustainable development  as well as the progressive development of revised educational curricula at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Thus it plans to formulate a national strategy of public awareness and curriculum development for sustainable development by the year 2002.

In line with the frame of Governments priority ”To implement environmental policy aimed at providing sustainable development and ecological balance by harmonizing protection of biodiversity with regional socio-economic development”,  an objective is set forward - Increase public participation of citizens, economic entities, and NGOs in the environmental protection concerns, through undertaking environmental awareness and ecological education programs. To reach this objective, the below measures are planned for the year 2001-2004:

A.     To implement  National program on environmental awareness

-         Carry out environmental awareness and training programs every month through National TV and twice a week on radio, reach out to the public by establishing contracts with daily newspapers, carry out regular programs designed to improve ecological education through media channels;

-         Intensify awareness programs on traditional customs of environmental protection and environmental  legislation. Establish and operate awareness studio in order to eliminate the violations

-         Foster the development of newspapers and journals specialized in environmental issues.

B.     To intensify National program on Ecological education of Public:

-         Organize training courses to improve the knowledge and skills of rangers, environmental inspectors and the personnel in charge of public awareness affairs

-         Increase participation of Government organizations, NGOs, economic entities and citizens in ecological educational programs.

C.     To increase public participation in environmental protection:

-         Take measures to improve management of central and local environmental organizations and strengthen their material resources

-         Re-establish the “Public committee to support and coordinate people’s activities and initiatives in environmental protection; under the direction of  Minister for Environment, link its activities with committees in aimags, broaden scope, implementing contracted projects, institute mechanism for providing economic incentives

-         Strengthen and support environmental NGOs engaged in activities such as reducing environmental pollution and rehabilitating degraded areas, take measures to involve their staff in  in-country and overseas training.

Moreover, within the project carried out by the NCSD of Mongolia, it  is planned that textbooks or manuals on sustainable development for university and secondary school students will be developed during the year 2001-2002. 

In order to improve institutional effectiveness to provide education for sustainable development, it is necessary:

-to establish worldwide sustainable development education network using  Internet and media

-to prepare training books, manuals, easily readable materials for general public, CDs, video materials, special training packages for people of all ages, bring attention and focus of scholars and researchers to the issue

-to uphold commitment to participate in the process for intersectional consultation, cooperation, partnership and integration in the sustainable development initiatives and translating vision into concrete actions.

E.  The way ahead
A Development Vision

Our development vision for the 21st century is to support human development and raise the living standards of Mongolians and form harmonious economic, social and ecological environment for not only current population, but maintain the society in an ecologically healthy state to future generations.