Country Spotlight: Mongolia

While Mongolia joined PAGE in 2013 and graduated in 2018, it remains a key member of the PAGE family, most recently committing to a green recovery with a proposal for support through PAGE's Green Recovery Funds.

Throughout the course of the partnership, there have been a number of achievements in Mongolia, including the integration of IGE goals and targets into national economic and development planning; sectoral and thematic reforms in green buildings and construction, green finance, waste management and sustainable procurement; and strengthened institutional capacity of government institutions, the media, universities, research institutes and businesses. Building on this foundation, the new proposal includes national targeting for growth in the eco-tourism sector, in order to serve livelihoods among those hardest hit by COVID-19 impacts, such as rural communities. 

The development of this proposal engaged the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, PAGE Agencies and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, Tapan Mishra. Continue reading for Mishra's perspective on the plans for green recovery in the country.

The development of this proposal engaged the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, PAGE Agencies and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, Tapan Mishra. Continue reading for Mishra's perspective on the plans for green recovery in Mongolia.

NATIONAL COORDINATOR: Tapan Mishra

1. You have been very engaged in the green recovery planning in Mongolia in collaboration with PAGE. How does this work expand on the commitments already made for green economy in Mongolia?  

There are over 40 laws and regulations regarding the green economy and natural resources in Mongolia. In 2014, the government adopted its pillar document on green development - the National Green Development Policy, that sets ambitious targets up to 2030 for water resource and land management, using renewable energy, solid waste management, reducing CO2 emissions, etc. In addition, the Government Action Plan for 2020-2024 that was adopted this year, includes policy measures aimed at helping the country to recover greener and better from the current COVID-19 crisis.  

Our green recovery proposal for PAGE particularly focuses on the country’s tourism industry that has been heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, by offering nature-based solutions for its recovery and creating green jobs. We are also planning to initiate a dialogue with the government of Mongolia on energy subsidy reform by implementing a comprehensive assessment of energy subsidies in the country and their impact on households, businesses, government budget, environment, etc., and providing evidence-based recommendations for energy subsidy reform.   

I hope that this work will make a significant contribution towards implementation of the UN socio-economic response plan for COVID-19 in Mongolia, and realization of the existing government’s commitments for green economy.   

2. As the UNRC, how do you oversee collaboration on the ground and how has the interagency work of PAGE contributed? 

PAGE is a great example how the UN action on green economy can be coordinated at the global level to bring together the expertise of five UN agencies – UNEP, ILO, UNIDO, UNDP and UNITAR to assist the PAGE countries in achieving the Sustainable Development GoalsAt the same time, as the UNRC, I see a need for more enhanced coordination on the ground and alignment with the national priorities and strategic engagement with the highest level of the government to ensure national ownership and promote a change. I am glad that the Office of Resident Coordinator was engaged in the new PAGE green recovery planning in Mongolia. This is in line with an ongoing UN reform agenda that envisages establishing a more empowered, capacitated, accountable and impartial Resident Coordinators System at the country levelMy office has five core coordination functions in strategic planning, economics, development finance, monitoring, and communication, which can support the improvement of inter-agency collaboration within PAGE by reducing the partnership coordination costs and ensuring the alignment of PAGE work within the broader development agenda of the UN Country Team in Mongolia.  

3. How did you determine some of the target areas for the green recovery proposal?  

The green recovery proposal development was quite comprehensive in Mongolia to ensure participatory approach and compliance with the green recovery fund criteria. All PAGE partner agencies were invited to propose the project ideas for the UNRC review and strategic guidance. As a result, the Office of the Resident Coordinator received four proposals, including i) nature-based solutions for COVID-19 recovery or green jobs creation through eco/cultural tourism; ii) promoting green renewable energy in agri-business sector; iii) policy advice and pilot demonstration on used Prius vehicles; iv) supporting a green recovery in Mongolia through energy subsidy reform, while building modelling capacity for long-term development planning 

Guided by the evaluation criteria, I have prioritized for discussion with the government counterparts two proposals that are more impactful and make the overall economic recovery “positive for SDGs”i.e. aligned with enhanced NDC ambitions, nature positive, reducing net pollution, enhancing net employment while disproportionately benefiting the poor, and that might help to advance transformational change and achieve SDGs. As a result, based on consultation with the Ministry of Finance and the National Development Agency, it was agreed that the PAGE partner agencies submit to the green recovery fund a proposal on nature-based solutions for COVID-19 recovery or green jobs creation through eco/cultural tourismto be implemented by UNDP and ILO.  

4. What is your hope for green recovery and sustainable development in Mongolia moving forward? 

Mongolia has a progressive regulatory and policy framework on green development and protection of natural resources. At the same time, I hope that the national development planning will shift to a more sustainable path and better align with the country’s commitments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement. The success of the implementation of the national green development priorities will depend on further government’s commitment to increase institutional capacity to deliver on the adopted laws and policies; and ensure adequate budget allocations and increase public investments in green recovery and sustainable development. Without this there is a risk that the national development policy documents remain declarative. Therefore, it is important that the UN agencies join their efforts to advocate for sustainable development and provide support in a more coordinated manner to maximize the development impact.