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Lessonf Rrom Mongolia

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Developing and Implementing National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP): Lessons from Mongolia

1. INTRODUCTION

The legitimatisation of the transition to a democratic system of government initiated a market economy in 1990 by adoption of the new Constitution of Mongolia. The initial implementation of some of its ideas into practice resulted in a historically important event which in turn, started a new chapter in the development of the country. At the same time, Mongolia has intensively undertaken measures to restructure its economy and to establish its legal basis, to develop and complete the country’s infrastructure and its macro-level management systems, as stated in the New Constitution.

Although the pristine natural environment of Mongolia has been comparatively well preserved, some changes can be seen in the socio-economical and environmental balance of the country due to destructive human activities and climate change.

The supreme legislative organ in Mongolia is the State Great Khural (Parliament) which is elected for a term of four years and consists of 76 members. It has a Standing Committee on Rural Policy and Environment, which is in charge of matters pertaining to the environmental conservation. The state supreme executive power is vested in the Mongolian Government. The Ministry for Nature and Environment is the Government’s central administrative body responsible for environment.

Mongolia is administratively divided into units known as aimags (provinces), soums (counties or divisions of an aimag) and bags (the smallest administrative unit).

The capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, is divided into duuregs (districts), khoroos (sub-districts, which are further divisions of districts).

Each administrative unit is led by a Governor who is authorised to take measures to organise the implementation of laws and regulations passed by the State Great Khural, or decisions made by the Government and to provide instructions on practical implementation of Government decisions.

The package of Mongolian environmental laws from 1995 is playing an important role in the re-structuring of the centralised administrative system, which was established for intensive use of natural resources, furthermore, these laws promoted the strengthening of local self-governance system in the conservation and proper use of natural resources. Since 1996, environmental laws have been complemented by the Law on Government, and the Law on Territorial Administrative Units and Their Guiding Principles along with their relevant Amendments. These laws state clear and detailed divisions of responsibilities and rights of the State Great Khural, Central Government, Ministry for Nature and Environment, as well as other Ministries, all-level Khurals, executive governing bodies of the capital city, aimags, soums, duuregs, bags, khoroos as well as professional agencies, institutions and individuals in relation to the conservation, sustainable use, and restoration of Biodiversity. (Chart 1)

Mongolian people have a close association with the natural world and a deep reverence for the environment. Therefore, the Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan for Mongolia is of special interest to the nation. The proposed actions are also important for biodiversity conservation in Central Asia, and will have a positive impact on global biodiversity conservation. Since its flora and fauna are less exposed to the artificial ecological systems that exist in other areas of the world, Mongolia could serve as an ideal example of the existence and evolution of various natural ecosystems under extreme conditions. In this way Mongolia can contribute to the activities of the world community in regard to the protection of biological diversity. In this connection, at Rio, Mongolia took a bold step of proposing that the whole country of Mongolia be designated as a biosphere reserve. This proposal demonstrates Mongolia’s commitment to conservation. The Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan for Mongolia is a further statement of that commitment.

Two. Origin and Background of Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan for Mongolia

Worldwide concern for the loss of biodiversity was expressed by Mongolia and the 167 other nations that signed the Convention of Biological Diversity at the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and subsequently. Mongolia is implementing the Convention’s promise in its National Strategies and Plans through the Environmental Action Plan, the Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan, MAP 21, and through such functional plans as the Protected Area Plan, Desertification Plan, and Climate Change Plan. Mongolia was the thirtieth country to sign the Biodiversity Convention and has since made considerable efforts to carry out its duties. The Action Plan was funded under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNDP. Development of the Action Plan was an important component of the UNDP/UNOPS Mongolia Biodiversity Project initiated in June 1993. Detailed plan, including preparation of the action plan outline and schedule was undertaken in mid-August, 1995. Linkages with the MAP-21 (Agenda 21) project, which is assisting in coordination and skill building, were made throughout the planning stages. When the Mongolian Government approved the Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan, certain activities were included in its annual Action Plan every year to implement the plan sequentially. The Ministry for Nature and Environment (MNE) is the lead agency for the Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan.

The Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan thoroughly examines the status of biodiversity in Mongolia, the threats to the country’s biodiversity, and the status of conservation efforts. Based on these analyses, the plan set forth a detailed action program. In addition, the plan evaluates legal, financial, and institutional measures necessary to ensure implementation of the specific actions.

MAP 21 project to implement Agenda 21 presented its Mongolian Action Program for the 21st Century in 1999, which is the action plan to implement the principles and agreements of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This program is a document that can serve as a national guideline that 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 check and balance. (N. Bagabandi, President of Mongolia). The Government of Mongolia is starting implementation of this program

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