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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |Mongolia

NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MONGOLIA

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry for Agriculture and Industry is primarily responsible for agriculture and rural development in Mongolia. The Ministry of Finance is the state principal advisor to the Government on economic development and fiscal policies of Mongolia.

In the Parliament, there is a Standing Committee on Agricultural Policy, Nature and the Environment, and within the Provincial Governor's Office is the Division of Agriculture and Nature Environment. Suom Governors coordinate and make decisions on rural development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Mongolian Law on Land (MLL) was adopted in November 1994. The stated purpose of the Mongolian Law on Land is regulation of the possession and use of land by citizens, economic entities, and organizations of Mongolia. The MLL, although not intended as the sole regulatory framework for land conservation, contains a number of provisions that set both substantive and procedural land conservation requirements. One of the principles stated in the MLL prohibits the State from implementing activities that are contrary to human health, environmental protection, and environmental balance. The MLL also requires local governments to use an "appropriate part" of land fee revenues for conservation activities. Conservation requirements are divided into separate categories depending on the use including common requirements, sanitary requirements, pasture protection, protection of hayfields, and cultivated areas. The common requirements include the following:

According to the National Security Council of Mongolia, the Ministry of Agriculture and Industry has developed a Law of Food Security Evaluation System, Food Security Rule, and Law to make amendments to the Food Law. Those Laws have been tabled to the Parliament. A draft proposal to establish a Quality Evaluation on Imported Food Productions has been designed and submitted to the OMIK Company of Japan. 
In Spring 1996, the Parliament adopted the Policy on Rural Development of Mongolia.
There is no specific environmental legislation for the regulation of agricultural pollution.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Incorporation of activities identified in the Mongolian Action Programme for the 21st Century (MAP-21) and Aimag Action Programs (AAPs) started since the preparation of the 1999 State Budget and national development plan within the Ministry of Finance and other line Ministries. Preparation of Aimag development plans and budget leans upon Aimag Action Programs. Ministry of Finance integrates national and local development and financial plans and prioritizes investment policy according to Agenda 21. However, shortage of financial resources limits implementation of sustainable development activities in both national and local levels. All problems related to the sustainable agriculture concerns such as integrated pest management, land degradation and rehabilitation, integrated plant nutrition management and plant and animal genetic diversity are coordinated in the framework of the 3 and yearly budget documents and Environmental policy of Government.

The Mongolian Government has recently revised the national strategy on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) in 1999. The objective of the policy is to provide support to the export-oriented industries and enterprises. Sector reviews have been undertaken with the purpose of supporting export-oriented industries, minimizing the risks and building export insurance and soft loan system for the export oriented enterprises, with regard to the tariff system. Accordingly, A seven million DM loan agreement to support export production has recently been signed between the Government of Mongolia and Germany.

With regard to major policy instruments and activities to promote sustainable plant nutrition management in Mongolia, There are several projects that have been undertaken under strong supervision by the Ministry of Agriculture and Industry. These are;

The Government actions for promoting crop diversification over the last four years are as follows:

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

As Mongolia was a highly centrally planned and administratively managed from the top, the country's ordinary citizens have not much experience or skills to participate in certain policy or decision making processes. Therefore, local Government authorities play a role of the major group, representing the interests and suggestion of the nomadic population. However, youth have been growing during the last decade very impressively and have acquired a lot of experiences in participating different kind of movements, including environmental and sustainable development issues. Last year Mongolian Youth Federation, with the assistance of the Project Implementation Unit of the Agenda-21, organized a workshop on sustainable development. The documents and issues that have been developed and discussed during the workshop have been introduced to the high level officials of the Government. Mongolia don’t have indigenous people, most of the people who live in the rural area are called as a nomadic.

The Business Council for Sustainable Development in Mongolia was organized in 1998 purposing to elaborate the national agenda 21 into business activities. A number of companies and NGOs, such as "Buyan" Co. LTD, Mongolian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Farmers’ Association, Community of Consumers Rights, Association of Conservation of the Nature and Environment, Youth Association, Women’s Federation, have been involved in the process of formulation and implementation of MAP-21.

Programmes and Projects

In order to demonstrate a practical implementation of the sustainable development principles, the Mongolian Action Programme for the 21st Century (MAP-21) has facilitated three pilot projects:

The "Mongolian Live Stock meat-Market" project has been designed to strengthen capacity building to reinforce local food system. It reflected meat quality requirements meet the health requirements for the population. The State Inspection Agency of Trade and Industry has undertaken inspection actions over 2400 enterprises, including the urban areas.

On February 16, 1999 Government of Mongolia adopted the "The National Program for Natural Disaster Reduction" and Action Plan to be carried out during the first stage of the Programme. The Minister of Nature and Environment and Minister of Defense and Governors of all levels have been instructed with supervision of programme performance respectively by the Government Resolution dated 16.12.1999, No. 25.

There is a one program called Poverty Alleviation, which has been developed, but not seriously undertaken to increase the equitable access to the production-support services by the rural poor. The MAP-21 Implementation Support Group however intends to co-ordinate it’s work and actions with the Poverty Alleviation Program and the Government of Mongolia, to direct the actions to support the productive-support services.

Desertification became more serious due to the cutting of 1000-6000 m3 saxual for households purposes between 1950-60. Currently, only the local community is allowed to cut saxual for firewood. As of 1996, 20 million seedings and 7-8 million seeds are planted in forty permanent nurseries annually for the reforestation activities. Reforestation activities were conducted on 4,585 hectares of land in 1993, 4,934 hectares in 1994, 3,970 hectares in 1995, and 3,211 hectares in 1996. A desertification project has been launched in 1998 in Zuun-Bayan soum of Dornogovi aimag. This project is being financially supported by the MAP-21 for Sustainable Development and it covers a 15 hectare area. The total budget is 35,000 US dollars. Another project is being implemented in Kokh- Mort soum of Govi-Altai aimag, which covers 100 hectares of land. It is financially supported by the Mongolian Government. Also there are several projects that are being implemented with the financial support of Germany, Japan, USA and Denmark.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Industry has developed an integrated plant nutrition policy to optimize effective and efficient use of various sources while protecting the environment, and its activities have taken place since 1997. The Green Revolution Programme 1997-2004 commenced in 1997. In 1998, 2,347 organizations and 106,000 families including those in rural areas received 45.000 tons of potatoes, 29,600 tons of vegetables, and 71 tons of fruits.

Pesticides were used in 1,000-3,000 hectares of land to kill harmful insects. Restoration activities and planting of perennial plants are successfully carried out in 355 hectares of the eroded land in Ugtaal farmland, in Tuv aimag. Restoration activities on eroded soils in 600 hectares of land in Orkhon soum, Selenge aimag has been carried out. Investigations and experimental work on improving conditions of catchment areas of more than 20 rivers and springs has been carried out during the last five years.

More than ten scientific projects on protection and restoration of plants have been undertaken since 1991. Currently, methods on introduction and re-plantation of 50 species of very rare and rare plants are under development. Berries have been planted in 670 hectares of land and medical plants in 700 hectares during the last tree years. Pesticides have been used against rodents and grasshoppers in 295.000 hectares in 1996 in order to improve restoration on natural plants. 133 species of plants are included in the law on Natural Plants and use of 287 species of plants has been prohibited in order to improve natural plants.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Industry has undertaken major actions to conserve and make sustainable use of animal genetic resources. The government supports this action. According to the Cabinet Ministers' decision, state property representatives control the conservation and sustainability of the animal genetic resources at the state owned farms and enterprises.

Status

Mongolia has more than 30,000 farmers and 390,000 herders and, although more than half the population lives in settlements of at least 500 people, Mongolia is basically an agricultural country. The population increase (expected to double by 2015) will most likely be concentrated in settlements, major urban areas and employment centers. Therefore, in general, agricultural resources and activities must provide for ever-increasing populations from virtually the same basic resources, therefore requiring an increase in productivity through intensification of grazing and cultivation. At present, 49 percent of the total labor force work in agricultural sector. Agriculture provides 1/3 of the total GDP and 35 percent of the exports. The agricultural sector’s product will increase more than 3 percent in 1999.

Mongolia is divided into primary natural zones that include mountains primarily in the country’s north and west; basins, such as that in which the capital Ulaanbaatar is located; and a mixture of gobi (desert) and steppe which together cover three-fourths of the country. Mongolia’s average altitude is almost 1,600 meters above sea level. Its higher latitude combines with the altitude to intensify the semi-arid climate. Winters are long and cold. Average temperatures fall below freezing for six months of the year. Temperatures in January average about -25 degrees Celsius.

Most of the country is rangeland, and estimates vary for the amounts that have been degraded, primarily through overgrazing. It has been noted at the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, that Government of Mongolia estimated 76 percent of the nation’s rangelands to be subject to slight desertification, 20 percent to moderate desertification, and 4 percent to severe or very sever desertification. However, the Government intends to develop guidelines to integrate environmental concerns into agriculture development projects within the nearest year or two in the framework of the Agenda-21.

Mongolia’s mountainous terrain plays a major role in its climate. The most productive grasslands and forests are found on the protected slopes of mountains. These can receive a significant amount of moisture while the unprotected slopes remain barren and dry. The southern Mongolia is the Gobi Desert with the harshest climates in the world. Mongolia is a land of many of the world’s most beautiful and pure freshwater lakes, most of which are spread across the northern section of the country. The largest lakes are in the northwest and are rich in fish. The river system is also most extensive in the northern part of the country. Several of the major rivers of Asia have their origin in Mongolia. Because of the mountainous terrain, there is a great concentration of potential hydropower in the north. Most of the rivers are unsuitable for navigation. Many are used as water sources for livestock and irrigation of fields and pastures.

The Mongolian economy has experienced considerable industrialization in recent decades, but the troubled agricultural sector still remains the backbone of the economy. While eighty percent of the total land of Mongolia is suitable for agriculture, this is only in its broadest sense of the term. The land includes relatively fragile grasslands which must be utilized carefully and protected from abuse. Only 1.5 percent of the "agricultural" land is used for crops, 1.0 percent is mowed for hay, and 97 percent is used for pasture. A privatization program for agriculture was begun over a decade ago and is now essentially complete, with more than 95 percent of livestock in private hands and most of the formerly state owned farms now joint-stock companies. A serious difficulty is that agricultural production is subject to the harshness and unpredictable nature of the Mongolian climate. This is characterized by very low winter temperatures, a short growing season, and low, erratic precipitation. The agricultural sector has important implications throughout the nation’s manufacturing sectors, providing the essential material inputs into many processing industries such as leather and shoe manufacture, wool processing, cashmere production, milk production, and bread making. Thus, Mongolia’s long term economic strength depends more on its agricultural sector than any other area of activity since it is through agricultural productivity that food is produced and important value added manufacturing activities are supplied with raw materials for their end use products.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising

Civil society participation in sustainable development process started with the formulation of national and local Agenda 21. As a key to the bottom-up approach being applied in Mongolia for the first time, the NCSD selected Aimag/Capital City Sustainable Development Advisors (ASDAs) as the Governors of Mongolia’s 21 aimags and the Capital City, from a pool of candidates suggested by the Aimag/Capital City Governments. Then PIU has organized a training course for ASDAs before assuming their posts. The primary purpose of the training was to brief the Advisors on the concept of sustainable development and the coordination and preparation of Aimag level of Action programs for sustainable development designed to feed into the development of the national MAP 21. The first step in the work of the ASDAs was to organize workshops and seminars in the Aimag centers, as well as in rural areas (Sums and Bags) in order to introduce the concept of sustainable development and generate support for the Programme NGOs, private sector community, government officials, academicians and herders.

All aimags Governor Offices, Ministries and Departments were recommended by the National Council for Sustainable Development of the Government of Mongolia to expand public awareness. However, not much work has been done during the past, due to the lack of monitoring and instructing support from the Project Implementing Unit, which was due to the lack of supporting staff in the Project Unit. However, activities directed to promote public awareness have been taken from the center. The project implementation unit- MAP-21* and Mongolian EPA Programme organized a number of seminars and workshops for the different type of interest groups. The Mongolian EPA Programme organized a special workshop on the topic,"How to develop an EPA Project". The Implementation Support Group will undertake direct actions to increase public awareness with the support of the Ministries, Agencies and the Local Government.

Challenges

Urbanization process became one of the challenging problems of the agricultural and rural development of Mongolia. According to statistics 815,072 people of 7,984 rural families from 21 aimags and 7,960 people of 4,985 families have been shifted to Ulaanbaatar, in 1998 and the first half of 1999, respectively. Half of the 7,960 people informed that they needed relocation from their living space due to a lack of job opportunities in the rural areas.

Sustainable development is achieved by providing a maximized processing of the country’s natural resources and major raw materials, developing export oriented production, and producing competitive and high quality products. Mongolia’s problem is that value-added processing, or even intermediate processing of products, is very limited in its economy. On the whole the nation’s economy is raw material oriented, with raw materials of the agricultural and mining sectors and semi-finished products serving as main export items. A serious difficulty is that technology, production methods and management know-how of state and non-state economic entities and organizations are obsolete, in comparison with those readily available in more economically advanced countries. One of the most important challenges for Mongolia is the acquisition and use of modern equipment and methods.

Financial shortage to support the various activities that have been suggested by the different kind of interest groups at the Local Government level is one of the major problems faced in implementing instruments aimed at conservation and rehabilitation of degraded lands.

As in other sectors and activities, the distribution of agricultural resources is not even and is seriously and adversely affected by concentrations along transportation routes, market centers, water sources and supporting winter grazing grounds. These factors lead to severe overgrazing and desertification in marginal areas and rapidly declining productivity of grazing lands. Similarly, cultivation practices in both dry and irrigated areas tend to destroy the natural fertility and productivity of the soils and reduce productivity. Increasing losses of productivity in all agricultural sectors is further exaggerated by a lack of equipment and parts, fuels, electricity, skilled technicians, and immediate needs for sustenance and sales equipment and materials for scrap values.

Poor irrigation practices reduce the fertility of the soil and increase salinization in the upper areas. At the same time, irrigation from groundwater lowers groundwater tables which reduces the recharge of rivers and lakes and surrounding local groundwater tables. These trends reduce both the quality and yield of water resources for irrigation and adversely affect soils. Salt-related soil losses are further increased by poor irrigation efficiencies for supply and application rates, while little concern is expressed for leaching water for salt removal through drainage. Where drainage is employed, drainage water returns to channels, rivers, and lakes.

Information

The information management system is very poor in Mongolia. All information is separately kept at the line Ministries or Agencies' office staff. It is very difficult to find out who has and collects what information. This is the main reason for the delay in national reporting. There is poor coordination over the information.
With regard to the government's support to early warning systems for monitoring food supply and those factors affecting household demand for food both in urban and rural areas, there are regional and local meteorological stations to meet such needs.

Research and Technologies

The Ministry of Agriculture and Industry has undertaken measures to introduce high technology water plantation to increase the water supply for the rural population and livestock and agricultural and crop production. For this purpose, an additional financial grant of 148.6 million togrogs has been delivered to 10 aimags. As a result 171 water mills have been renovated last year. And a 7 million togrogs grant was given to the nomadic families to supply the necessary equipment for water mills. In support of the local suggestion on crop planting in the Gobi desert area, a 20 million togrogs grant has been given to the "Bayantooroia" Company of the Tsogt soum of Govi-Altai aimag, to renovate the water irrigation system.
At the same time privatization process of the state owned water mills and water irrigation system has been undertaken. With the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, the renovation action plan of the large water irrigation systems has been designed.
Mongolia's power supply is separated into two parts. First, the interconnected grid operated by the Central Energy System cayters to the majority of population. Second, in the more remote areas of the country, individual power stations- mainly diesel powered-are installed. The primary energy source is coal. Mongolia has abundant resources of coal, estimated to be around 50 billion tons. Proven coal reserves are estimated to be about 15 billion tons. The largest users of coal are the thermal power stations and the boiler plants. Mongolia does not produce natural gas and oil, and therefore all requirements for petroleum products are met entirely by imports, primarily from Russia. Hydropower and renewable energy resources are not exploited significantly. There is no mechanism and policies for promoting environmentally sound energy transition in rural communities. However, some private company such as "Malchin" from the Omnogovi aimag has started actions to produce and distribute wind well energy generating small stations for the govi area population, since 1994.
With the purpose of increasing the energy supply to the soums, Government has undertaken a special action since 1997. Within the framework of this action, 74 and 45 diesel stations, which was provided by the Japanese grant aid, have been installed in the soums, in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
In order to reduce the air pollution in the central economic region, technological renovation of the power stations No.3 and 4 of the Ulaanbaatar has started this year with the technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank.
New solar panel production line financed by the ADB loan has begun to show results. Its capacity is 500 kBt solar panels per year. A general plan to supply the 200 soums that are impossible to be connected to the central energy distribution line with renovated energy sources has been agreed to with the Japanese Government. The Japanese Government will deliver grant aid.

Cooperation

Mongolia become a party to the UN Convention on Desertification in 1996 and has been conducting activities based on the National Action Plan to combat Desertification. The programme includes a wide range of measures to combat desertification as well as some pilot projects to be implemented. The Ministry of Nature and Environment, in collaboration with UNDP, ESCAP, UNEP, UNSO and secretariat of the Convention for Combating Desertification, on environmental assessment, and mobilizing public participation within the framework of the national programme.
The Government of Mongolia is also involved in various technical projects with the World Bank, ADB, and foreign countries such as Denmark, Canada, Japan, etc.

This information was provided by the Government of Mongolia to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

 

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Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.
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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Nature and the Environment, the National Agency for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and the National Climate Committee are responsible for the protection of the atmosphere in Mongolia.

Programmes and Projects

Resolution of issues of capacity-building and technology is in the beginning stage. Mongolia participated in the US Country Studies Programme and its implementing ALGAS project.

Cooperation

Mongolia signed the Montreal Protocol (1987), the London Amendment (1990) and the Copenhagen Amendment in September 1995. The latest reports to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat were prepared in 1995. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed 30 September, 1993 and the latest report to the UNFCCC Secretariat was submitted 30 September, 1993.

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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BIODIVERSITY

No Information Available.

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

Environmental issues are within the mandate of the MNE. Like other Mongolian government structures at the national and local level, it is limited in its effectiveness through a general lack of funds, which makes recruitment of staff for new tasks difficult.. This situation is certainly not better at the Aimag or Sum level. At the centre of all National Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (NPACD) activities will be a coordination unit at the Ministry of Nature and the Environment (MNE). It will be fully integrated within the institutional framework of MAP-21. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa was signed 15 October 1994 and ratified 3 September 1996. The latest report to the Secretariat of the Convention was prepared in 1996.

Since the causes of degradation often are linked to human activities, effective participation is a necessary orientation, notably for field projects. Another important orientation in this context is the emphasis on rangeland management. The recently adopted New Land Law provides a better adapted legal framework for the implementation of activities to curb land degradation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

In recent years the Government, with assistance from the international donor community, has formulated a number of policy documents to serve as a framework for activities that influence Mongolian ecosystems and their uses. Of particular importance to this NPACD are the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) and the Mongolian Action Programme for the 21st century (MAP-21). These documents provide a more general institutional basis where the NPACD can be considered to fill in certain chapters.

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

The following major groups are important in combating desertification: local communities and people, farmers and herdsmen, decision makers, and indigenous people.

Status

The process of desertification is affecting Mongolia and can easily be noticed with the naked eye. Land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas is the result of various factors, including climatic variation and human activities. according to this definition, 90% of Mongolia is vulnerable to desertification. These areas are, in the case of Mongolia, almost exclusively used as rangelands, supporting about 28 million head of livestock. Land degradation is not wide-spread, but also not uncommon. Especially around centres of socio-economic activities like roads and wells, or district (Sum) and province (Aimag) centres, degradation, and in the drier areas desertification have become apparent.

Anthropogenic causes of desertification include: overgrazing, inappropriate agricultural practices, deforestation, ill-planning and inappropriate use of the road network. Keeping in view the adverse impact of desertification on socio-economic conditions as well as its ecological implications on natural resources, the Government of Mongolia, in collaboration with UNEP and ESCAP, embarked upon the preparation of the NPACD.

Challenges

Before an approach for the sustainable management of Mongolia's land and water resources at a larger scale can be launched in the field, a number of activities are needed in the short run to develop and test potential tools that create an enabling institutional environment. Such activities include:

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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ENERGY

No Information Available.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Nature and the Environment implements policies and programmes related to forest resource management and use. Under the Ministry, an Agency for Nature Conservation, in conjunction with the Forest Bureau, was established which is responsible for implementing the forest policy. Aimag Governments execute forest conservation and reforestation measures through the aimag district, timber companies and individuals. The National Forestry Institute was established over 70 years ago.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Ministry of Nature and Environment has taken several major policies for sustainable forest management over the past 4 years. These cover following directions and actions:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

The national strategy on forests focuses on management and protection of the forest ecosystem, prevention of forest fires and the non-exported wood production policy.
In 1998, the Mongolian Government adopted the National Policy on Forest for years between 1998 and 2015 (government decree No.122). However, it has several disadvantages. It relates to ambiguous actions to be undertaken, unclear approaches to implement and unclear budget source allocation.

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

Local residents, commercial enterprises, reforestation planting specialists, indigenous people and youth are involved in the decision-making process of forest management policies.

Programmes and Projects

Status

The total forest area of Mongolia is 15.3 million hectares and is mainly located in the northern part of the country along the Russian border. Most of the forests are inaccessible due to lack of roads and mountain relief pattern. Forest resources are distributed in Khangai, Khentii, Sayan, Altai mountains and sub-mountain areas and are divided into three forest vegetation zones:

Compared to other Asian counties, Mongolian forests are very vulnerable to anthropological effects and have a very low growth capacity equal to a 1.5-2.0 m3/ha year. Trees in Mongolia have great importance beyond their commercial value. Almost all rivers of the country, including the inflow to Lake Bail, the largest fresh water lake in the world, come from forested watersheds of the Northern and Central part of Mongolia. In addition, trees serve as wind breaks to combat desertification and help stabilize agricultural lands.

Challenges

There are no policies or initiatives to promote the use of forest products in place of products made of non-renewable materials due to extremely limited forest resources.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising

During the past 20 years, 21 tree nurseries with a capacity of producing 20 million seedlings per year were established in the country. Mongolia has gained good experience and professional knowledge on forest reforestation. More than 10,000 people have been educated in a variety of forest specialization and there are currently 3,000 employers in the sector.

Information

The criteria and indicators used as a tool for reporting, policy development, or policy monitoring for the sustainable forest management in Mongolia are as follows:

The following criteria and indicators used in Mongolia could be useful to assess progress towards sustainable forest management at the international level:

In participation of the IPF process, one million hectare of land in Bulgan aimag, 270,000 hectare of land in Uburkhangai aimag and 250,000 hectare of land in Ulaanbaatar have undergone forest assessment between 1997 and 1998, and criteria indicators have been developed.

Research and Technologies

There isn't any sophisticated recycling technology for forest products. However, people use the forest product waste as firewood.

Financing

In the national budget and social-economic plan of the country, certain funds have consistently been committed to afforestation/reforestation purposes. For 1995, the funding of the forestry sector from the state budget was Tug 126 mill. (0.25 million US$).

Cooperation

Mongolia became a member of the Asia-Pacific Forest Commission to the UNFAO, and is participating in regional projects on Forest Policies and Institutions. At least ten national forestry specialists have been trained in Germany and Japan during the past six years. International Experts from Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Finland have visited Mongolia and exchanged opinions on the development of forestry management, protection and conservation of forest resources.
A forestry agreement was signed between Russia and Mongolia in 1995, and a framework of cooperation has been established. A project on the Forestry Management of the Selenge Aimag was implemented from 1993-1996 under the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The World Vision International Organization in Mongolia is planning to implement two Post-fire Rehabilitation Projects.

This information was provided by the Government of Mongolia to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Nature and the Environment is responsible for water resource use, management and development strategies. Under the Ministry there is an Agency for Environment Protection, which maintains national coordination and monitoring of the water resources. Governor's offices of the aimag and municipalities are responsible for water supply and waste water treatment.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Mongolian Law on Water and relevant legislation act became effective in 1995. It covers all aspects of water managment and its further implementation will play an important role in improving water management and the protection of water resources.

Chapter One: Article 9. Plenary Rights of the State Administrative Central Organization
For the protection and proper use of water, the State Administrative Central Organization in charge of nature and environment shall exercise the following plenary rights:
1. conduct State record on water reserves;
2. annually consolidate and summarize reports and data on water use, waste water removal and water pollution;
3. develop water use limits and standards;
4. provide management for water reserves protection, restoration, prevention of water disasters, and elimination of damages to nature resulting from them;
5. approve and enforce the procedures for setting waste water removal points in cooperation with the appropriate Certified Organization;
6. regulate the water use of trans-Aimag rivers (MNE, 93-94).

Chapter One: Article 10. Plenary Rights of Aimag and Capital City Governors
For the protection and proper use of water, Aimag and Capital City Governor shall exercise the following plenary rights:
1. submit to the Citizen Representative Khural for approval plans for water collection, restoration, proper use, water quality protection, prevention of water disasters and elimination of their damages, and an estimated budget for implementation of such plans;
2. regulate inter-Soum and inter-Duureg water use and allocation;
3. undertake measures to prevent the depletion, degradation, and pollution of water resources and water quality;
4. undertake measures to provide drinking and household water to local residents which meet sanitary requirements (MNE, 94).

Chapter One: Article 11. Plenary Rights of Soum and Duureg Governors
For the protection and proper use of water, Soum and Duureg Governor shall exercise the following plenary rights:
1. submit to the Citizen Representative Khural for approval plans for water collection, restoration, proper use, water quality protection, prevention of water disasters and elimination of their damages, and an estimated budget for implementation of such plans;
2. regulate water reserve allocation in their territory and issue decisions on water use under contract by citizens, economic entities and organizations;
3. set waste water removal points in collaboration with Certified Organizations pursuant to adopted procedures;
4. in the event of water reserve shortages, or where rivers, streams, lakes, and springs, ponds or wells have been depleted or become polluted, they shall rehabilitate, collect water, repair and improve the sources of rivers, streams, springs, and ponds, as well as reforest and plant;
5. undertake measures for providing local residents with water sources meeting sanitary requirements;
6. implement and finance from the State Central or local budget supervision over exploitation of State owned water facilities, their maintenance and expansion;
7. popularize work on water resource protection, proper use, and restoration (MNE,94-95).

Chapter One: Article 12. Plenary Rights of Bag and Khoroo Governors
For the protection and proper use of water, Bag and Khoroo Governors shall exercise the following plenary rights:
1. enforce within its territory the implementation of the legislation on water protection, proper use, and restoration, as well as decisions issued by competent authorities;
2. involve citizens in the repair and improvement of the sources of rivers, streams, springs, and ponds, cultivation of trees and seedlings, planting, increasing ground water quantity, and prevention of water depletion or pollution.
3. enforce compliance with water use, protection, and sanitary requirements within their territory (MNE, 95).

Chapter Two: Article 13. Protection of Water Reserves and Water Quality
1. The volume of water required to keep a natural and ecological balance shall be maintained during the usage of water source reserve.
2. Aimag, Capital City, Soum and Duureg Citizen Representative Khurals may take rivers, lakes, mineral water, springs or ponds with special ecological importance under local community protection.
3. The boundaries of Protected Zones to be created for the purpose of preventing the depletion and pollution of water sources due to economic activities shall be set by Aimag, Capital City, Soum and Duureg Governors based on the recommendations of Certified Organizations taking into account land, soil, and rock formations.
4. Sanitary Zones shall be set not less than 100 meters from the water sources for centralized water supplies.
5. The Protected and Sanitary Zones regimes shall be established by the State Administrative Central Organizations in charge of nature and environment and health.
6. Establishment and operation of production, services or economic entities with water use technology inconsistent with international or national standards shall be prohibited (MNE, 95-96).

Chapter Two: Article 14. Protection against Water Reserve Depletion
1. In the event the natural restoration and purification capacities of a given water source are reduced, the Soum and Duureg Governors shall reset the amount of water to be used for commercial purposes and organize water collection on the basis of recommendations by Certified Organizations.
2. In the event water resources are depleted and water quality degraded due to violations of the water legislation, technical specifications for water facilities, or technological procedures for water use by a water user, the Aimag, Capital City, Soum, or Duureg Governors shall stop water use and require purification and restoration to be executed at the expense of the citizen, economic entity and/or organization responsible.
3. Wood cutting and plant use for commercial purposes in prohibited areas indicated in the Laws on Forests and Natural Plants, as well as the extraction of sand and gravel, or the exploitation of mineral deposits in water source Protected Zones shall be prohibited without an approval proposal, drawings or authorization.
4. Where it is necessary to change a water channel during the construction of facilities, appropriate expenses for restoring it to its natural state shall be included and implemented in the drawings and proposal preparations and improvements.
5. It is prohibited to permanently alter natural and original river channels (MNE, 96).

Chapter Two: Article 15. Safeguards Against Water Pollution
1. It is prohibited to discard wastes, garbage or polluting substances into and around water sources, riverbeds, channels, dry ravines, and in Protected Zones.
2. Upon completion of use, citizens, economic entities and organizations shall cover wells and return possession of them to the Soum and Duureg Governors.
3. In the event a water stratum is discovered during natural resource exploration or mining, protection measures against its pollution shall be undertaken and the information on it shall be directed to the Governor at the appropriate level and included in the Water Databank.
4. Citizens, economic entities and organizations using water shall locate chemical washing of livestock and agricultural production downstream from and outside water resource Protected Zones, as well as decontaminate and remove waste water.
5. Economic entities, organizations and residents of towns, villages or other settled areas shall line, improve, and use their waste disposal points in conformity with the regulations established by the State Administrative Central Organizations in charge of nature and environment and health (MNE, 96-97).

Chapter Three: Article 17. Water Use
1. A contract on water use may be established for a period of 40 years, but extension of this duration shall not be for more than 20 years at a time.
2. A water source may be shared and used by citizens, economic entities or organizations pursuant to contract.
3. Citizens, economic entities and organizations shall have preferential rights to use water for commercial purposes in the Soum or Duureg where they reside and land possessors shall have preferential rights to use water for commercial purposes in the land they possess, but this shall not be grounds for restricting the rights of others to use water (MNE, 97).

Chapter Three: Article 19. Authorization for Water Use
1. Where two or more users submit applications for using one water source for a commercial purpose, the Soum and Duureg Governors shall select among them taking into account conditions such as the applicant's place of residence, administrative and territorial jurisdiction, the purpose of water use, the expected economic efficiency of water use, the impact on the environment, the impact on water reserves, and the paying capacity of the users (MNE, 98).

Chapter Three: Article 21. Basic Requirements for Commercial Use of Water
1. Citizen, economic entities, and organizations which use water for commercial purposes shall comply with the following requirements:
2. Apply technology for reusing and saving water.
3. The water use fee amount for enterprises or economic entities without clean and waste water metres shall be fixed on the basis of the capacity of the water using equipment, facility, or the amount of water spent per output of product unit (MNE, 99).

Chapter Four: Article 27. Encouragement for Water Protection and Restoration Activities
The local budget income obtained from compensation for water law violations shall be spent on the elimination of damages caused, as well as for the encouragement and rewarding of water users which finance water reserves and quality protection activities with their own financial means and apply environmentally safe technologies (MNE, 101).
The Mongolian Law on Water and Mineral Water Use Fees

Chapter Four: Article 8. Fee Exemptions and Discounts
1. A fee payer shall be exempt if the purpose of water use is any of the following:
2. for potable water or water used for household needs, livestock, animals, and family vegetable gardens (MNE, 142).

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

There is a mechanism to provide for the participation of all major stakeholders in the decision-making process. Drafts of policies and regulations are drafted by many different groups and individuals and groups can reply with comments. In addition, Articles 17.2, 17.3, 17.4, and 19.2 in the Mongolian Law on Water provide mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts surrounding water resource management and development.

Status

Mongolia is comparatively rich in water resources stemming from precipitation in the high mountains. There are 3,500 fresh water and saline lakes, 3,811 rivers and 187 glaciers. There are approximately 1.5 million ha of standing water bodies and 50,000 km of rivers. The surface area of all waters is 13,630 sq. km. In the central region there is substantial water, partly in the form of large, fast flowing streams. However, in the desert south, western and eastern provinces, the water resources are much scarcer and are generally of poorer quality with increasing salts and diminishing water levels in groundwater tables, streams and lakes. In the Gobi and nearby southern areas the ground water is hard and contains a high degree of minerals. These conditions have serious effects on the health of the human population there. More than 80 sums (villages) in 16 aimags have severe problems with water quality, with the water containing calcium, magnesium, chlorine, and sulphate which exceed safe limits for drinking.
In 1995 water consumption by industries and organizations was 108,2 mln m. The share of water consumption by sector is the following: Energy and mining - 55%, construction - 12%, light industry and food production - 33%. If the gobi and steppe regions are not considered water supply is not a constraint to industrial development. Only 9.4% of water used by indusries is recycled.

The Law on Water covers pricing policies which are intended to ensure cost recovery and the equitable allocation of water resources. At present, however, only approximately 65% of water costs are recovered through pricing partly because of the present economic conditions. For example, although the regulation states that all water used for industrial purposes will be charged, industries are not making enough profit to pay for the real costs of water. Water use for agriculture is free although every user much establish a contract for the use of water; household users pay small fees for the use of water.

The standards that are used to measure water quality include the Mongolian standard approved by the Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organisation drinking water guidelines. According to 1996 statistics, 20% of the total wastewater (119.2 mln m3) was treated in 121 WWTPs, and about 35 million cubic metres of wastewater was discharged into the natural surface water without any treatment. Water is not being recycled at this time; 70% of urban sewage is treated. Domestic waste water in rural areas is mostly discharged into the environment without any treatment. The coverage of sanitation service is about 25%.

Challenges

There is an urgent need to improve research and monitoring activities with regard to water throughout the country. For example, chemical analyses have been conducted for water in only about 14 percent of the country's 20,000 bored wells and have not been conducted for the water in about 20,000 dug wells. It is believed that water has been contaminated in 70 to 80 of these dug wells. In addition, inadequate bacteriological analyses have been conducted for the water in engineering wells in the settlement areas.

Water resources management, monitoring and controls have not been effective to date in maintaining water quality and supply, and generally have only documented the loss of resource reserves and quality. Many urban water supply projects include much leakage and wastage from the distribution system while inefficient supply systems generate higher flows which overwhelm sewage treatment systems. It is estimated that in Ulaanbaatar, water wastage in high rise apartments amounts to 60 percent of the total used. In addition to loss of the water resources, this waste also overloads the sewage system and more than doubles the electricity requirements for operating the water supply pumps. Agricultural, rural residential and industrial uses of groundwater in Gobi, western and eastern Mongolia are contributing to low water table levels and increasing salinization.

With regard to the technological needs more waste water treatment equipment is needed. Most cities have existing treatment plants, but they do not have adequate capabilities. It is estimated that over half of the existing waste water treatment plants are not functioning properly and need expanding. In addition there is no water purification system due to economic constraints. There is no treatment for drinking water purposes. The cities have preliminary purification systems like chlorinization.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

With regard to programmes or campaigns for educating the public about water, there is a programme on public ecological education which covers water conservation and management related issues. The Ministry of Nature and Environment has a project on publicising the Mongolian Law on Water. Mongolia also has the Tuul River Project, and the Mongolian Green Party has a project called "Fresh Water", to educate rural students on traditional methods to protect Mongolia's rivers from pollution.

Financing 

The following is a list of the current flow of external resources into water resource management and development:

Information

The national Statistical Office collects information on water managment and development and distributes it as an annual report with the assistance of the Geoecological Institute and the Mongolian Scientific Academy. There are a number of web sites that contain information about freshwater resource management including various projects that are being implmented. See below for links to these websites.

Cooperation

With regard to bilateral, sub-regional or regional agreements concerning the use of international watercourses, lakes or groundwater Mongolia and China are parties to an agreement on the Protection and Proper Use of Transboundary Waters (1994). There is also an agreement between Mongolia and the Russian Federation on the Protection and Proper Use of Transboundary Water Resources (1995).

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997 and 1998. Last update: 18 February 1998.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Mongolian Government places significant importance towards integrated land management, in spite of its economic difficulties. The Ministry of Nature and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Industry in co-operation with Agenda-21 Implementation Support Group play the leading role.

Issues and laws in the environment field and natural resources, including land use, are handled by the Standing Committee on Agricultural Policy, Nature and the Environment of Mongolia's Great Assembly. The members of the Assembly, at all levels, as well as Governors, may introduce an act and provide suggestions for decision-making. Citizens may participate in this process. The Cabinet Ministry is the highest executive authority and consists of the Prime Minister and nine Ministries. The Minister of Nature and Environment is responsible for land resource management, land use regulation and land protection within the Cabinet Ministry. The Ministry of Nature and the Environment prepares strategy documents and has authority on the adoption of standards and regulations on land-related issues. The Land Management Agency will be the main organization responsible for the integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources at the national level.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Land Law was enacted by the Parliament in 1994. Today, all Mongolian land is owned by the state. Under the land law, entities such as political, state, non-governmental and religious organizations and citizens may possess and use land. Land is classified by its basic purpose and type, and the responsibility for land management lies with the central or local government. The Constitution declares that private lands shall be owned by the citizens of Mongolia. A law concerning land ownership by citizens and land use fees is in the pipeline.

Since the Mongolian Parliament enacted "The Mongolian Law on Land in 1994, the Government has undertaken all possible measures to implement this law by managing and organizing activities related to land management. In 1997 the Parliament enacted the "Land Fees Law", and Regulation No. 152 was issued to organize related activities.

The Ministry of Nature and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Industry built institutional and coordination mechanisms for land and land resources in 1999. The purpose of this action is to ensure sustainable use of land and land resources, and to undertake active forecasting on weather, water and fire disasters, as well as control over air, water and land pollution.

In 1994 the Parliament of Mongolia has approved the Mongolian law on Special Protected Areas. According to this law, land can be taken under special protection and its rational use and original condition can be guaranteed. The Parliament decided to enter the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In addition, the Parliament passed the Mongolian Law on Environmental Protection, Law on Special Protected Areas, Law on Hunting and Forest, Law on Natural Plant and Land, Law on Water and Air, Law on Protection from Toxic Chemicals, and Law on Water use Fees.

In 1998, Parliament also approved a program for the conservation of biological diversity, and conservation and management of fresh water resources and mountain ecosystem. The purpose of this program was to define the government policy of setting high priority on satisfying the ecological balance and establishing a network of land planning and land management.

The Mongolian Law on Forest and Hunting has an article, which restricts the transfer of forestland to other uses.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Key elements such as food security, rural development, viability of rural areas, environmental aspects and social aspects are incorporated in Mongolia's strategy toward integrated land management.

Various sectoral projects give special attention to land use planning and the protection of land resources. The Government of Mongolia also supports various programmes and projects, directly or indirectly oriented to the management and protection of land resources such as:

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

Through the relevant new land legislation acts, planning and management systems are highly decentralized and local authorities have authority over land relations. For instance, the Soum (the name of the smallest administrative unit in Mongolia) Citizen Representative Assembly will approve, upon submission by the Governor, land management planning in their territory. Soum Governors make decisions on land possession and use by citizens, economic entities, and organizations. Each soum should have a specialist on land management and regulations who is required to educate people in land management and place land use planning experts in the local level.
Different kinds of actions directed to increase the role of the local governing bodies on land management have been undertaken. In particular, local suggestions in terms of improving integrated land management have been supported. The central government made a number of actions to extend the authorities of the local government, in terms of licensing the enterprises and controlling the activities of the industrial technologies.
Before adopting the Law on Land and National Land Reform Program, a series of surveys was conducted to reflect the interest and opinions of the farmers, small-scale food producers and nomadic people. Their suggestions and opinions have been reflected in National Land Reform Program. Despite these actions there is not strong involvement of the major groups in the actions related to the decision-making process.
Mongolia doesn’t have indigenous people. The nomadic population has a right to use firewood. They require paying charges for this consumption.

Programmes and Projects

The current situation of integrated land management and actions undertaken by the Government are as follows:

Status

Mongolia's land area is about 1.56 million square km., and the population density is 1.4 persons per square km. Based on these statistics alone it would seem that natural resources would be in abundant supply, that environmental degradation would be limited, and land management not a high priority. However, the characteristics of the Mongolian land and climate, combined with past land use, have led to significant environmental degradation and have made improving land management a high priority for the future.

In general, land cover and use in Mongolia can be broken down as follows:

Mongolian land territory has been divided into six broad vegetation zones, which include:

There are not any special plans for the expansion of human settlements in Mongolia. However, the benefits of land possession can be considered as follows:

Social benefits

Economic benefits

Environmental benefits

Challenges

Due to financial shortage, land inventories that are used to guide sustainable land resource allocation and management cannot be undertaken regularly, but very occasionally.

Information

Relevant line Ministries have sufficient access to such information as soil and slope characteristics, climate and hydrological data, vegetation cover, land capability and suitability at nation-wide scale, agricultural inputs, land area covered by human settlements and other physical infrastructures etc. However, information sharing is not well managed among the decision-makers. Information disseminated to the local level is very low.

Research and Technologies

New electronic technologies of weather forecasting have been installed in 6 aimags.

Cooperation

An International workshop on "How to use geographic information network, remote sensing model for the research on land surface change" has been conducted in July, 1998 in the framework of the Northeast Asia Land Use Project.

This information was provided by the Government of Mongolia to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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MOUNTAINS

Status

There are no special management schemes or activities for the mountain areas.

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Status

Mongolia is a land-locked country.

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.
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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Nature and Environment (MNE) is primarily responsible for the regulation of activities and is charged with establishing a "non-staff" Toxic Chemicals Council for this purpose. In general, the regulation of highly toxic chemicals remains the responsibility of the MNE, while toxic chemicals are managed by local government. Toxic chemicals are divided into three categories - highly toxic, toxic, and mildly toxic. The chemicals belonging to each category are to be determined by the MNE and Ministry of Health and Social Protection. Permits for the disposal of toxic chemicals are to be obtained from the aimag and Capital City Governors with recommendations of the environmental and health inspectors from the local area. Disposal of highly toxic chemicals requires a permit from the MNE with a recommendation from the Council.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Mongolia requires a regulatory framework and training for the proper handling, transportation, use and disposal of radioactive materials and toxic chemicals. 

Status

It is estimated that Mongolia receives 7,276 kinds of different chemical substances, totalling 3,774 tons, for use in agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors. The amount of these chemicals imported each year is increasing. At the same time, the agencies in Mongolia that are responsible for toxic chemicals do not have adequately strict procedures for the storage, handing, transportation, distribution, and use of these substances. This, combined with the improper use and disposal of the chemicals increases the risk to workers' health and safety. Recent analyses indicate that 52,593 tons of chemicals are discharged into the environment per year. This total includes 68 different chemicals emitted into the air, 790 into the water, and 602 in the soil.

Challenges

In order to ensure the environmentally sound management of toxic and dangerous products, the following actions must be implemented:

Cooperation

Several national specialists have attended international workshops and courses.

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Nature and Environment and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are primarily responsible for the management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues. The bag and district Governors are responsible for the implementation of waste-related activities.

Status

Solid waste from the cities poses two problems: collection and disposal. The lack of equipment or the breakdown of existing equipment has left the main cities with insufficient capabilities for solid waste collection and transport. It is estimated that in Ulaanbaatar less than 70 percent of solid waste generated is collected and disposed of in official dump sites. As a result, there is a pile up of solid waste, and much is dumped in storm ditches and drains, creating problems there. There is also much less waste collection in the gher areas (traditional peri-urban settlements) than in the central cities. Wastes which are collected are transported to designated waste dumping sites on the outskirts of the cities. In Ulanbaatar, there are three sites situated on hilly terrain roughly 10 km. from the city centre.
Waste disposal usually involves dumping at sites without properly defined boundaries, where there are no arrangements for fee collection with consequent low revenues for companies involved. Where there is inadequate containment, no adequate groundwater protection exists, nor usually, burial, and no control or management of dumping. Wastes are commonly burned, and in those sites which are close to settlements, the burning contributes to air pollution. The sites pose a serious risk to health and to the contamination of surface and groundwater resources. The present procedures also represent an economic loss since analyses of the waste indicates that 70 to 80 percent of the waste contents are potentially recyclable.

Challenges

There is a need to develop master plans for waste collection and disposal for each metropolitan area. Immediate specific actions required include:

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Hazardous Wastes

Status

The available monitoring data on hazardous wastes in Mongolia is limited. Industries and some clinics are major sources of hazardous waste generation in Mongolia.

Cooperation

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed 22 March 1989 and the latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in August 1996.

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.


Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Governmental Special Committee is responsible for the control, safety and use of radioactive substances. Mongolia requires a regulatory framework and training for the proper handling, transportation, use and disposal of radioactive materials and toxic chemicals.

Status

In Mongolia, diagnostic medical institutes and scientific research institutes that use radioactive materials do not take the proper precautions regarding the storage, transportation and use of the materials. This has resulted in radioactive materials contaminating the environment and expensive clean-up costs.

This information is based on Mongolia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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