H.E. Mr. Bangabandi
President of Mongolia

at the 
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
3 September 2002

Mr. President,
Distinguished Heads of States and Governments, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, may I extend our sincere gratitude to His Excellency President Tabo Mbeki, the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa for the kind hospitality and excellent arrangements for the Johannesburg Summit, providing us all with an opportunity to review the post-Rio decade and collectively formulate our immediate agenda for sustainable development.

As a follow-up to the Rio conference Mongolia has developed its national program for sustainable development into the 21St century. A National Council for Sustainable Development has been set up under the leadership of the Prime Minister of Mongolia to coordinate and monitor the implementation of this program. As a result, the objectives and specific measures envisaged in the national program for sustainable development have found due reflection in day-to-day activities of the State and Government. Hence, the Good Governance for Human Security Program, being developed and implemented in Mongolia since 2000, has proved to be instrumental in translating into practice the objectives of the sustainable development. The Good Governance Program has epitomized the aspirations of the State and Government of Mongolia to consolidate the nascent democratic institutions and make them more humane, and to advance the country's development in an environment friendly manner. Hence, the program has been enjoying a broad support on the part of the general public.

Currently, 25 environmental acts along with 20 specific environmental programs are being implemented in Mongolia. As the 17th largest country in the world Mongolia has preserved 13.2 per cent of its total landmass as protected area. Although this area equals to entire territories of some countries we endeavour to enlarge it and, should it has been possible, place the almost entire territory of Mongolia under the international legal protection as a sacred reserve land beyond destruction and degradation. By doing this we would prevent the spread of desertification not only in Mongolia but also in the whole region of Central Asia and beyond. Otherwise, due to its geographic location on the Central Asian highland at the crossroads of wind-and-water flows Mongolian sands could reach even the far away regions on the globe.

Despite the considerable efforts exerted by Mongolia towards ensuring sustainable development it is still faced with environmental challenges most of them beyond her control.

The natural disasters, droughts and zud (severe snowfalls) which have occurred in Mongolia over the last two consecutive years badly hurt the livestock sector, a mainstay of the country's economy, forcing the affected herdsmen to join the ranks of the poor. The Government carried out a National poverty reduction program from 1996 to 2000, nonetheless, due to a multiple of factors, the level of poverty failed to see considerable reduction.

The country has faced a fast spread of desertification over the short span of time due to, a no lesser extent, to inappropriate human activities. The Third Forum of the Asian and African states parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the 4th Asian meeting both held last year in Ulaanbaatar have resulted in greater awareness for regional cooperation to jointly combat desertification.

Over the last 30 years 1.6 million hectares of forest has been destroyed because of forest fires and other inappropriate human activities.
In the 21St century the human family is faced with a scarcity of fresh water resources. Mongolia is no exception in that regard. Thus, in light of the upcoming World Water Forum next year we in Mongolia plan to designate 2003 as a water policy reform year with a view to developing regional cooperation in conserving fresh water resources with its adjacent areas and habitualizing its proper utilization.

Furthermore, Mongolia is keen to collaborate with fellow member states and relevant international organizations through developing joint studies and conducting various projects in the areas of combating desertification, preserving and restoring forests, conserving fresh water resources, protecting the endangered biological species, and rehabilitating the degraded environment as well as assessing the economic and health impact of probable climate changes and disasters.

Mr. President,

I wish to emphasize the importance of the Johannesburg Summit and the 2nd General Assembly of Global Environmental Facility in providing fresh impetus towards ensuring early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, creating adequate financial mechanisms for the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as well as setting up the World Solidarity Fund on poverty.

Mr. President,

One of the most expected outcomes of this Summit is, in our view, a fresh impetus to be given to proposals and initiatives designed to speed up the implementation of national sustainable development strategies and mobilization of necessary resources at the international level for their realization. In this regard, Mongolia welcomes the G-8 initiative to replenish the Global Environmental Facility with US$2.9 billion for the next four years.
The spirit of Johannesburg Summit, which upholds the momentum gained in Rio and the new objectives envisioned in the outcome document are to be successfully realized if, inter alia, conveyed to the millions of ordinary people in a user-friendly way as ecological literacy.

As Head of State, it is my honour to reiterate that my country - Mongolia stands committed to actively cooperate with fellow members of the international community for the common good of our shared village.

Thank you for your attention.