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Japan-Mongolia Finance Dialogue www.mof.go.jp

On June 8, 2023, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia and the Ministry of Finance of Japan held the first Japan-Mongolia Finance Dialogue (Vice-ministerial level: the Mongolian side was led by Mr. Ganbat, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, and the Japanese side was led by Mr. Kanda, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs). During the dialogue, both sides had a candid exchange of views on developments in the global economy, Mongolia's economic situation and policy implementation, and technical cooperation between Japan and Mongolia. The outcomes of the dialogue are summarized in the “Joint Press Release Japan-Mongolia Finance Dialogue(PDF:121KB)”.
In the margins of the dialogue, Vice Minister Kanda also had meetings with Mr. Javkhlan, Minister of Finance and Mr. Khurelbaatar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Development.


Mountainous Mongolia eyes e-commerce to diversify its economy www.unctad.org

Mongolia is looking to e-commerce to help overcome geographical challenges and diversify its economy, which relies heavily on mining – mainly of copper, coal, iron ores and gold.
The mountainous, landlocked nation is one of the world’s most sparsely populated. Mongolia’s remoteness, combined with its rugged terrain can make traditional trade and economic activities challenging.
“The digital way opens up a whole new facet for all aspects of economic diversification and especially trade,” said Tapan Mishra, the UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia.
“It is extremely important for Mongolia to leverage its trade potential by being eTrade ready,” Mr. Tapan said.
UNCTAD has worked closely with the government on an eTrade Readiness Assessment of the country.
Published on 8 June, it provides insight on the progress that the Eastern Asian nation has made in laying the groundwork for a strong e-commerce ecosystem and offers a road map of action to overcome remaining challenges.
“The assessment makes a series of policy recommendations, which, if effectively implemented, will help Mongolia move away from its commodity-based economy and accelerate its digital transformation,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s technology and logistics division, said at the assessment’s launch in Ulaanbaatar.
More connected and tech-savvy
Mongolia has made progress in areas that bode well for its e-commerce ambitions. The country has strengthened its ICT infrastructure, especially in urban areas, and increased internet connectivity.
According to data from the International Telecommunication Union, mobile broadband subscriptions in the country rose from 80 to 116 per 100 people between 2017 and 2021. And over 70% of subscribers have access to 4G/LTE networks.
During the same period, the share of Mongolians aged 15 years or older shopping online grew from 7% to 42% – the highest growth among landlocked developing countries and one of the highest in the world, according to World Bank data.
The country has also seen digital literacy increase among its youth. Half of its young men and women now possess general ICT skills, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The assessment also highlights that domestic digital payments, such as e-banking, mobile banking, electronic wallets and QR code payments, are now widely used for domestic purchases.
Urban-rural divides and logistics challenges
Although Mongolia has made progress in many key areas, challenges remain, especially the urban-rural divides – both physical and digital.
People in rural regions in the country still have limited access to reliable ICT infrastructure and to an internet connection. And access to affordable financial services remains limited for some segments of the population.
Mongolia's vast and sparsely populated landscape also presents logistical challenges for e-commerce.
Many of the country’s roads are unpaved and there is no unified system for addresses. These factors, combined with limited transportation networks and harsh weather conditions, make deliveries difficult and costly.
Limited finance and cross-border payments
While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of electronic payments for domestic purchases in Mongolia, cross-border digital payment options are few and fees remain high.
Another challenge is limited access to financing for digital and technological startups. They rely mainly on self-funding, personal loans and government support in the form of grants and tax relief.
Other financing options, such as crowdfunding and venture capital, are sparse and not yet regulated.
Although Mongolia has various laws related to e-commerce, the assessment highlights the need to strengthen its legal framework to protect consumers online and address concerns related to online fraud and data privacy.
A key milestone
UNCTAD’s eTrade Readiness Assessment marks a key milestone in Mongolia´s digital journey and lays the foundation for a national e-commerce strategy.
“By offering an analysis of Mongolia’s e-commerce ecosystem and charting a roadmap for its further growth, the eTrade Readiness Assessment is one of the catalytic forces for Mongolia to rapidly develop e-commerce,” the country’s foreign affairs minister, Battsetseg Batmunkh, said at the report’s launch.
Also speaking at the event, Mendbayar Tseveen, the co-founder of Shoppy.mn, one of Mongolia’s biggest online marketplaces, highlighted the power of e-commerce to open new doors for Mongolian businesses.
“E-commerce connects Mongolian and international businesses and empowers domestic retail businesses to harness their full potential,” Mr. Tseveen said.
The assessment calls on government ministries and agencies, e-commerce companies, academia and development partners to join forces in implementing the recommendations. They cut across sectors and require concerted efforts from the public and private sectors.
UNCTAD will support the country in implementing the recommendations.
The organization is committed to mobilizing further support from eTrade for all and development partners to leverage the power of the country’s growing digital economy and build a bright digital future for all Mongolians.
The eTrade Readiness Assessment of Mongolia was developed with the support of the Republic of Korea, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Switzerland.


What’s in Mongolia’s New Anti-Corruption Strategy? www.thediplomat.com

The Mongolian government has been passing sweeping legislation during its spring 2023 session, including a major constitutional reform package. The legislature is now considering a National Anti-Corruption Strategy, aimed at combatting corruption across all facets of Mongolian public life through 2030.
The government has articulated its efforts to strengthen the previous anti-corruption strategy – dating from 2006 – with a long-overdue update. In February Prime Minister of Mongolia Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai announced 2023-2024 as years to fight corruption by passing resolution No. 49.
In March, Mongolian Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Nyambaatar Khishgee participated in the Second Summit for Democracy’s Indo-Pacific Regional Meeting in Seoul, South Korea. He outlined the Mongolian government’s focus to tackle various causes of corruption through comprehensive reforms and introduced the new anti-corruption strategy publicly for the first time.
The Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs formally submitted the strategy to the State Grand Khural, Mongolia’s legislature, in April.
Amid these efforts, Mongolia’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score dropped from 35 in 2021 to 33 in 2022, according to Transparency International’s landmark annual report. Scores represent “the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean.”
According to an official source, the new anti-corruption strategy is a comprehensive reform that embodies newer elements such as “whistleblowing, removal of corrupt public officials, extradition and repatriation of those under indictment, asset recovery, and transparency.”
In recent years, major corruption scandals have led thousands to pour into Sukhbaatar Square in the Mongolian capital, demanding that the government tackle corruption. Some of these scandals directly involve whistleblowers. Hence, legislation protecting whistleblowers and their rights is not only linked to Mongolia’s democratic governance, but also encourages other people to denounce corruption in public service and their work environment.
According to Nyambaatar, the new anti-corruption strategy establishes 10 national goals with 45 objectives and 224 independent activities, which can enhance cooperation with civil society organizations and the media sector.
Moreover, the strategy includes measures to introduce the transparent appointment of civil servants, ensure greater protections for whistleblowers and journalists, and establish a new governance framework for state-controlled assets and educational initiatives to create a culture of anti-corruption in public life.
In Mongolia’s extractive economy, transparency is very much linked to corruption and thus the government’s anti-corruption efforts. The new proposed national anti-corruption strategy must show progress in its effort to align itself with international standards.
Moreover, the new strategy includes measures to standardize the operations of Mongolia’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The goal is to make all SOEs follow consistent rules throughout processes like the appointment and removal of public figures as well as tenders and procurement.
The new anti-corruption strategy also aims to increase collaboration with both domestic and international organizations such as Mongolia’s Independent Authority Against Corruption (IACC), Germany-based Transparency International, and the Brookings Institution, a top U.S. think tank. The collaboration with Brookings aims to embark upon a large research project, with the objective of achieving tangible measures for anti-corruption goals and having Mongolia engage in the Anti-Corruption, Democracy, and Security (ACDS) initiative.
In a 2022 interview with The Diplomat, Dashdaavaa Zandraa, the director general of the IACC, shed light on Mongolia’s increasing collaboration with international anti-corruption bodies, which in principle and practice, should strengthen transparency.
International rankings, like Transparency International’s CPI, affect Mongolia’s governance and how the world views the government’s actions. In May, chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia Zandanshatar Gombojav hosted a meeting with Herta Däubler-Gmelin, formerly Germany’s minister of justice, and Peter Eigen, the founder of Transparency International, to discuss the country’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption and the proposed amendment of its constitution (which has since been passed).
According to Montsame News Agency, “During the meeting, Mrs. Däubler-Gmelin and Mr. Aigen … acknowledged the efforts made by the State Great Khural and the Government of Mongolia in combating corruption in the past. They also pledged their readiness to offer any support and assistance from Transparency International’s headquarters in Ulaanbaatar and Berlin.”
Mongolia’s dedication to the “Year of Anti-Corruption” involves its parliament, which has a major role in strengthening the legislative framework to combat corruption at all levels.
Oyun-Erdene, Mongolia’s prime minister, has emphasized the government’s focus on anti-corruption initiatives within the extractive industry, given its significant contribution of 93 percent to the country’s total exports.
The new anti-corruption strategy, if passed by the legislature, can modernize Mongolia’s efforts in tackling major corruption at all levels of society. The hope is that the new strategy tackles corruption at the highest level, both in the government and in the public sector. The collaboration between the Mongolian government, the IACC, and international organizations gives hope for positive changes to come.
Bolor Lkhaajav
Bolor Lkhaajav is a researcher specializing in Mongolia, China, Russia, Japan, East Asia, and the Americas. She holds an M.A. in Asia-Pacific Studies from the University of San Francisco.


Decisions Made at The Cabinet Session www.montsame.mn

During its regular session on June 7, 2023, the Cabinet made the following decisions:
To Make Education Loan Fund and Related Information on Its Funding Procedures and Disbursement Publicly Open
A team of independent experts evaluated the Education Loan Fund and concluded that the fund's operations, funding procedures, and disbursement process need to be transparent, fair, accessible, and clear. It will require organizing the announcement of priority areas of specialization and the world's best universities and the selection process in an open and transparent manner, as well as re-engineering the process to reduce human intervention.
Working Group to Promote the Use of Electric Cars to be Formed
On May 6, 2023, Prime Minister of Mongolia L. Oyun-Erdene held an online meeting with Tesla and SpaceX CEO and Twitter CTO Elon Musk and exchanged views on cooperation.
During the online meeting, Elon Musk introduced the "Starlink" satellites created by the aerospace company SpaceX to deliver high-speed Internet to all parts of the world. Then, he mentioned that it is possible to introduce their network in areas with no internet access in Mongolia, and they are ready to install their test stations and conduct tests.
The Prime Minister underscored his support for Elon Musk’s endeavor to introduce the global use of electric cars and green technology and said that he would facilitate via tax and the legal environment if the Tesla branch opens up in Mongolia.
In this regard, the Prime Minister tasked Minister of Road and Transport Development S. Byambatsogt to form a Working Group to promote the use of electric cars.
Special Regimes Imposed on “Tavantolgoi Railway” LLC and “Tavantolgoi” JSC Terminated
In December 2022, the activities of “Tavantolgoi Railway” LLC were taken under the direct control of the government, a six-month special regime was imposed and the Head of the Legal Department of the Cabinet Secretariat N. Myagmar was appointed as the Government’s Special Representative for the company.
The Special Representative was assigned several responsibilities, which included increasing the state's foreign currency reserves, implementing measures concerning "Tavantolgoi Railway" LLC, disclosing information related to state secrets, and transitioning the operations of the company to normal mode.
Chief Cabinet Secretary D. Amarbayasgalan informed that as a result of the measures implemented during the special regime, the operations of "Tavantolgoi Railway" LLC and the "Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait" railway project have been made publicly open. Furthermore, the safety of railway transportation has been guaranteed, ensuring stable operations for the company in the future. He also mentioned that the necessary conditions for normal transportation operations have been established.
For “Tavantolgoi” JSC, according to the Ordinance No. 450 of the Government of Mongolia, dated December 9, 2022, the company’s activities were taken under the direct control of the government, a six-month special regime was imposed and the State Secretary of Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs P. Sainzorig was appointed as the Government’s Special Representative for the company.
The Cabinet decided to terminate the special regimes imposed on those companies.
Procedures to Ensure Cyber Security Approved
Upon the approval of the procedures to ensure cyber security, a legal environment to mitigate cyber risks will be established, and prerequisite requirements and regulations for ensuring cyber security in activities of public and private organizations, preventing, detecting, and taking responses against cybercrimes will be introduced.
Brief News:
· Draft Agreements on Air Service between the Governments of Mongolia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Governments of Mongolia and the Republic of Latvia were discussed and supported at the Cabinet session. The signing right was given to Minister of Road and Transport Development S. Byambatsogt.
· "Amount of charges for foreign vehicles passing through the territory of Mongolia" and "Amount of charges for vehicles transporting goods exceeding the maximum permitted amount by using international and national highways and road facilities" have been set.
· The 12th International Conference for Mongolists will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in August 2023. A structure of an organizing committee for the Conference was approved.


Finalists Reveal for Global Young Entrepreneurs Pitch Contest www.montsame.mn

Three African and four Asian youth start-ups will take centre stage at this year’s World Export Development Forum (WEDF), taking place from 26-29 June in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. WEDF is the annual flagship event of the lead UN agency supporting small businesses, the International Trade Centre.
The selected companies will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges at the Youth Ecopreneur Awards 2023. The contest includes two award categories: Green Business Solutions and Land Restoration.
The awards come with seed funding and capacity building. The prize packages for the finalists are provided by ITC, the G20 Global Land Initiative of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Google's Startups for Sustainable Development programme and the multinational law firm Sidley Austin.
The finalists – from Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Madagascar and Mongolia - were selected through a rigorous process by ITC in collaboration with partners, including the G20 Global Land Initiative and advisers from the ITC global network of young entrepreneurs, Ye! Community. Finalists were chosen based on their work promoting sustainability, circularity and the green economy, including land restoration. The finalists went through a two-step process, first a written application followed by a pitch showcasing their efforts to drive change and sustainable practices.
The seven finalists are iPAGE, Bangladesh; Cupmena, Egypt; Sommalife, Ghana; Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovations, India; Liberty Society, Indonesia; Bôndy, Madagascar; and Airee, Mongolia.
In Ulaanbaatar, the pitch contestants will be assessed by a panel of judges comprising the winner of the 2021 Youth Ecopreneur Awards, Vedant Ghandi; Paula Padrino Vilela, G20 Global Land Initiative; Diana Carballo Chanfon, Sidley Austin; Allan Majuru, ZimTrade; and Andrew Ong, WIPO.
The judges will choose the winners based on the value proposition of the businesses, their environmental impact, market potential, team strength, sustainability and scalability of the business model.
The ITC Youth Ecopreneur Awards aims to connect young entrepreneurs to markets and support entrepreneurship, contributing to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Spotlighting the finalists
Finalists for the Green Business Solutions category:
Chirag M G of Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovations, an Indian waste management company, converts agri-waste into sustainable and scalable innovations while creating jobs for rural women.
Abdulrhman Elhalafawy of Cupmena, an Egyptian company, reduces waste in the coffee industry and develops innovative agri-solutions to help combat climate change.
Tamara Dewi Gondo Soerijo of the Indonesian manufacturing social enterprise, Liberty Society, works with women to produce upcycled goods, gifts and green campaigns for socially conscious corporations and brands.
Oyungerel Munkhbat of the Mongolian air filter manufacturer Airee reduces microplastics pollution through 100% biodegradable wool filters.
Finalists for the Land Restoration category:
Max Fontaine of the Malagasy reforestation company Bôndy develops rural communities through agroforestry and mangrove planting to generate socioeconomic and ecological impact.
Mashrur Hossain of Bangladeshi agri-tech company iPAGE provides crop-specific digital advisory services to smallholder farmers to enhance their productivity.
Mawuse Christina Gyisun of the Ghanaian agri-tech company Sommalife conserves and restores shea trees and creates market access opportunities.
These finalists were selected from a shortlist of 419 companies from 63 countries.
The Green Business Solutions shortlisted companies include: Givo Limited - Nigeria, Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovation - India, Cupmena - Egypt, Qubix Robotics - Malawi, ReciclApp - Mexico, Green Composting - Tanzania, Saathi - India, Liberty Society - Indonesia, Angirus - India and Diapo Inc - Zimbabwe, and from Mongolia, Nomadic PowerBox LLC and Airee Felt.
For the Land Restoration category, the shortlist includes 10 companies from seven countries: Bôndy International - Madagascar, Sommalife - Ghana, Clauseph Enterprises - Botswana, iPAGE Bangladesh - Bangladesh, Orda Wealth - Mongolia, Neoperk Technologies - India, Kimalaya Naturals - India, Viva Organica - Botswana, Ecowillow Ghana - Ghana and Climtech Intelligence - Nigeria.
This is the fourth young entrepreneurs pitch competition at the World Export Development Forum. At each of the previous conferences, the national host was offered the opportunity to field independent candidates in the competitive process.
Diversifying through green, digital trade
The 2023 edition of the World Export Development Forum will take the theme of ‘Diversify with Green Trade’, exploring organic, digital and sustainable solutions to multiple crises. While the conference theme is global, there is a focus on trade opportunities for landlocked developing countries. Mongolia is the world's second largest landlocked country.
The conference will be hosted by the Government of Mongolia, led by the Office of the President, in close partnership with the United Nations Country Team for Mongolia.
About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org.


Symbiotics Investments provides Khan Bank with a 10 million USD gender-focused bond www.gogo.mn

Symbiotics Investments has arranged a 10 million USD gender-focused bond for Khan Bank via the Vision Microfinance Dual Return Fund.
With the issuance of this gender-focused bond, Khan Bank affirms its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5: Gender Equality. Khan Bank has launched new loan products specifically designed to support the productivity, competitiveness, and financial access of women entrepreneurs.
The issuance of this gender-focused bond represents a significant milestone in the Mongolian financial industry's commitment to addressing gender disparities and fostering inclusivity, as it is the first bond in Mongolia with the explicit purpose of supporting the SDGs through a gender lens.
The bond focuses on employment generation and financing programs designed to prevent and alleviate unemployment stemming from socioeconomic crises. It will benefit female borrowers and female-owned or female-managed SMEs. Through this financial instrument, Khan Bank aims to mobilize the proceeds toward addressing gender-related challenges. The bond issuance will not only provide a unique investment opportunity but also generate social impact, creating lasting change that benefits communities and economies.
“Vision Microfinance is proud to celebrate its 15 years of Mongolian investment history with this gender-focused bond, in cooperation with Symbiotics Investments and Khan Bank, which shows the innovation made possible by long-term partnerships and our commitment to impact investing in Mongolia since 2008,” said Christoph Eckart, Senior Fund Manager at Impact Asset Management.
“Building on the momentum of the first gender-focused bond issued in 2022, we are very pleased to work with our long-term partner Khan Bank and enable them to work toward closing the gender gap among their clients and, in a wider sense, for the entire female population of Mongolia,” said Eugene Tan, Symbiotics Regional Manager East Asia.
“We are delighted to extend our cooperation with our long-term partner institution, Symbiotics, through this transaction which focuses on promoting sustainable development in the country. This issuance of the gender-focused bond supports our strong dedication to social progress. By focusing on gender-related issues, we aim to create opportunities for a more equitable and prosperous future,” said Erdenedelger Bavlai, First Deputy CEO of Khan Bank.
This gender-focused bond is issued via Symbiotics sponsored bond issuance platform (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Bonds S.A.) under its Sustainable Bond Framework, certified in December 2019 and November 2021 by DNV GL. The bond is listed on the Securities Official List of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and displayed with the gender-focused bond flag on the Luxembourg Green Exchange.
About Symbiotics Investments
Symbiotics is the leading market access platform for impact investing, dedicated to private markets in emerging and frontier economies. The group offers investment, asset management, and capacity-building services. Since 2005, Symbiotics Investments has originated over 7,100 investments representing more than 9.2 billion USD for 570 companies in 95 countries. symbioticsgroup.com
About Impact Asset Management
Impact Asset Management GmbH is a leading independent asset management company in the German-speaking region, specializing in asset allocation, analysis, and management of impact and sustainable investments. The aim of all products is continuous capital growth with a focus on security and risk minimization. In rising markets, the focus is on performance optimization. In falling markets, the focus is on active risk management to protect the consigned assets from heavy losses. The business focus is on institutional clients and high-net-worth individuals. Our goal is to increase our customer base in close collaboration with banks, online businesses, and distributors and to expand into new markets in the coming years. impact-am.eu
About Khan Bank
Khan Bank has been providing all types of banking products and services to more than 82 percent of the population, or 2.8 million customers, through its digital channels and 545 branches nationwide. Khan Bank supports MSMEs, which are the key drivers of the country’s economic growth, by offering business loan products and non-financial services such as customer training and advisory and consulting services through its Business Support Center. In the last decade, Khan Bank has been actively implementing projects in line with sustainable development initiatives, aiming to be greener and offering environmentally-responsible products and services. Click here to read Khan Bank’s Sustainable Development Report 2021.


Mongolia amends constitution to increase transparency, boost equality and further increase representation www.finance.yahoo.com

/PRNewswire/ -- The Mongolian parliament has passed into law a number of changes to the country's Constitution that will strengthen its legislature, increase transparency and bring legislators closer to the people they serve.
Representatives in the State Great Khural debated and approved reforms that will increase the size of the body by 50, from 76 to 126 members and see nearly 40% of its members elected through proportional representation. The Government is also shortly due to introduce separate proposals that will increase the representation of women in the parliament. All these changes are set to be in place in time for the next elections to the legislature, due in 2024.
The increase in the size of the State Great Khural will address the rise in the number of voters represented by each parliamentarian, which has increased from 27,000 in 1992 to 44,000 today. Alongside the move towards a more proportional electoral system, these reforms will help bring parliamentarians closer to the people they are elected to serve, as well as enhancing the scrutiny given to new laws.
A separate amendment to the country's Constitution creates a role for Mongolia's Constitutional Court in reaching a final decision on citizens' petitions which allege a breach of Constitutional civil rights and freedoms, which include equal rights between men and women and freedom of thought, speech and peaceful assembly.
Mongolia's political system is centred on the sharing of executive power between the Prime Minister as head of government and an elected President. The country's Constitution was adopted in 1992, with amendments made in 1999, 2000, 2019, and 2022. Recent changes have focused on securing political stability in the country, through for example limiting the maximum term of the presidency from two four-year terms to one six-year term and amending the number of parliamentarians who can hold ministerial positions.
Commenting on the proposed changes to the Constitution, Mongolia's Prime Minister, L. Oyun-Erdene, said:
"Today, I express my gratitude towards the members for their decision to decentralize power. The role of a parliament member will no longer be dominated by business minds. This pivotal change will ensure that the fundamental principle of truly representing the people and serving as a public representative is fulfilled. It will open doors for more citizen representatives to enter the political arena."


Export of Goods and Raw Materials Increased by 54.5 Percent www.montsame.mn

In the first five months of this year, our country exported goods and raw materials worth USD 6305.8 million, making an increase of 54.4 percent compared to the same period of the last year.
In the total export, mineral products accounted for USD 5492.4 million or 87.1 percent, precious and semi-precious stones, precious metals, jewelry, and coins amounted USD 297.2 million or 4.7 percent, plant products – USD 127.6 million or two percent, altogether making up 93.8 percent of total exports.
During the first five months of the year, 100 percent of lead ore and concentrate, iron ore, zinc concentrate, and crude oil, 99.9 percent of copper concentrate, and 98.5 percent of coal were exported to China, 47.3 percent of processed bovine and equine hides, and 76.1 percent of combed cashmere were exported to Italy, and 99.9 percent of washed cashmere was exported to China. The Customs General Administration reported that the above-mentioned goods accounted for 81.1 percent of the total export.


Shaping Sustainable Cashmere: Mongolia (TV show) www.nhk.or.jp

Mongolia's nomads are raising an increasing number of cashmere goats. The goats' soft undercoats provide the raw wool for luxury cashmere fabric, and is an important cash income. But this rise has also triggered serious environmental problems. Because goats pull grass out by the roots when grazing, nearly 80% of Mongolia's land is threatened by desertification. We follow the NPOs, companies and nomads working to restore the plains, and realize a higher standard of living.
Shaping Sustainable Cashmere: Mongolia
June 9, 2023
8:30 - 9:00 / 13:30 - 14:00 / 18:30 - 19:00 / 23:30 - 0:00
June 10, 2023
5:30 - 6:00 (Tokyo time)


Discovering Mongolia: Unique journey with challenges and promise www.theubposts.com

Isaac interned with our newspaper in the past two weeks and wrote his first impressions about Mongolia. We hope our readers will enjoy reading about what Mongolia is like in his eyes, celebrating Children’s Day in Magic Mongolia NGO and his awe for the architecture through history.
As I found myself 9,600 kilometers away from home, I embarked on an adventure to explore the unique and captivating country of Mongolia. Landing in Ulaanbaatar, I was immediately struck by the breathtaking views of the city nestled amidst beautiful mountains. Mongolia, a destination buzzing with excitement, has a plethora of distinctive features that make it truly one-of-a-kind.
One of the first things that caught my attention was the sight of cars with wheels on both the left and right sides. This unusual phenomenon stems from the country’s history and influence from neighboring countries. Mongolia, situated between China and Russia, has adopted a mixture of right-hand drive and left-hand drive vehicles. It was fascinating to see such a diverse range of vehicles navigating the streets, representing the multicultural influences present in Mongolia.
Another prominent feature of Mongolia is the architectural influence from the communist era. As I strolled through the streets, the old buildings stood as a reminder of the country's past. The utilitarian design and grand facades of these structures added a unique charm to the cityscape, offering glimpses into Mongolia’s history. The blend of Soviet and Mongolian architectural styles created an intriguing juxtaposition, showcasing the country's evolving identity.
These buildings, with their distinct characteristics, serve as witnesses to Mongolia’s socialist era, reflecting the ideals and aspirations of the time. The functionalist approach of the Soviet architectural style is evident in the geometric shapes, large windows, and austere exteriors of many buildings. These features were intended to prioritize efficiency and practicality, emphasizing the collective over the individual.
At the same time, Mongolian architectural elements, rooted in the country’s rich nomadic heritage, add a unique flavor to the cityscape. Traditional Mongolian designs, such as the ornate wood carvings and vibrant colors seen in the intricately decorated temples and monasteries, blend harmoniously with the socialist-era structures. This fusion of styles creates a captivating visual narrative that reflects Mongolia’s complex history and cultural heritage.
Walking through the streets, I couldn’t help but appreciate how these architectural remnants provided a tangible link to the past, allowing me to immerse myself in Mongolia’s story of transformation. The architectural influence from the communist era not only adds character to the city but also serves as a reminder of the challenges and triumphs that shaped the nation. It is a testament to Mongolia’s ability to embrace change while retaining elements of its cultural identity.
As the country moves forward, these buildings offer opportunities for revitalization and repurposing, allowing them to contribute to the modernization efforts while preserving their historical significance. By striking a balance between preserving the architectural heritage and adapting to contemporary needs, Mongolia can create a cityscape that seamlessly merges the past and the present, becoming a living testament to its journey of evolution.
Sukhbaatar Square filled with joyous spirits as Mongolians commemorate Mother and Children’s Day in grand fashion
During my visit, I had the chance to explore the Terelj National Park and stay in a traditional Mongolian dwelling known as a GER. This unique accommodation provided an authentic glimpse into the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongolian people. The GER, also known as a yurt, is a circular tent made of felt and wood. It was a peaceful retreat surrounded by stunning landscapes, allowing me to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature. The simplicity and harmony of the ger perfectly encapsulated the beauty of the Mongolian countryside.
Of course, no trip to Mongolia would be complete without indulging in traditional cuisine. I had the opportunity to try traditional dry curd, known as “aaruul” in Mongolian, which is a staple in Mongolian cuisine. Made from dried curdled milk, it had a distinct flavor and texture. The Mongolian diet is also known for its focus on meat, particularly mutton, reflecting the country’s pastoral heritage. From hearty stews to flavorful dumplings, Mongolian cuisine offers a range of dishes that are both delicious and satisfying.
One of the highlights of my trip was experiencing Mongolia's strong equestrian tradition. Riding a horse through the vast Mongolian countryside was an unforgettable experience. It allowed me to immerse myself in the country’s rich nomadic heritage and connect with its natural beauty. Horses have played a vital role in Mongolian culture for centuries, serving as a means of transportation, a source of livelihood, and a symbol of freedom. Exploring the rolling hills and open plains on horseback gave me a profound appreciation for the nomadic way of life.
On June 1, I had an opportunity to witness the vibrant celebration of Mother and Children’s Day in Mongolia. The atmosphere was filled with joy and excitement as families gathered to honor the vital roles of mothers and express their love for children. The streets were adorned with colorful decorations, and various events and activities were organized throughout the city.
Bayankhoshuu in Songinorkhairkhan District transforms into an enchanting wonderland as Magic Mongolia 1 captivates children and parents with a day of unforgettable festivities on June 1
Among the festivities, I decided to visit Magic Mongolia, an inspiring NGO located in the ger district. This organization works tirelessly to bring happiness and support to underprivileged children in the community. Stepping into their center, I was greeted with warmth and enthusiasm by the dedicated staff and volunteers. The space was transformed into a haven of creativity and laughter, where children could explore their talents and express themselves through art, music, and play. It was heartwarming to witness the genuine smiles on the faces of the children as they engaged in activities that fostered their personal growth and well-being. Magic Mongolia not only provides a safe and nurturing environment but also offers educational support and health-care initiatives, making a profound impact on the lives of these deserving children.
Despite its many unique and captivating aspects, Mongolia faces several challenges and drawbacks. One notable issue is poor solid waste management, which has congested a significant portion of the city’s natural and artificial drainage systems. The inadequate operation and maintenance of levees and drainage structures, coupled with heavy sedimentation in rivers, further reduce the drainage system’s capacity. As a result, Ulaanbaatar is susceptible to flooding, and historical approaches of expanding flood control measures alone are insufficient to manage the growing risk. High-intensity rainfall, no longer the sole cause of flooding, adds complexity to the situation.
In recent years, climate change has exacerbated the challenges faced by Mongolia’s drainage system. The changing weather patterns and increased frequency of extreme weather events have amplified the risk of flooding in urban areas. While high-intensity rainfall plays a significant role in the increasing flood risk, the accumulation of solid waste exacerbates the problem by obstructing the natural flow of water.
The congestion of drainage systems not only results in flooding but also poses health and environmental concerns. Improperly managed solid waste can contaminate water sources, leading to waterborne diseases and harming ecosystems. Additionally, the stagnant water caused by inadequate drainage becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying vectors, further threatening public health.
To address these challenges, there is a need for comprehensive and integrated solutions that go beyond expanding flood control measures. Improving solid waste management practices is crucial to mitigate the risk of flooding. This includes implementing effective waste collection, recycling, and disposal systems to prevent waste from clogging drainage infrastructure.
Furthermore, enhancing the maintenance and operation of levees and drainage structures is essential to ensure their optimal functionality. Regular inspections, repairs, and sediment management can help restore the drainage system’s capacity and reduce the vulnerability to flooding.
In the face of climate change and the increasing complexity of flood risk, adopting innovative and sustainable approaches is crucial. Implementing nature-based solutions, such as green infrastructure and urban water management strategies, can help improve the resilience of cities like Ulaanbaatar. These approaches involve utilizing natural systems, such as wetlands and green spaces, to manage stormwater and enhance flood resilience.
Addressing the challenges of poor solid waste management and urban flooding requires a multi-faceted approach involving collaboration between government agencies, community stakeholders, and international partners. By prioritizing investments in sustainable infrastructure, Mongolia can mitigate the risks associated with flooding and create a more resilient and sustainable city for the future.
Moreover, Mongolia’s heavy reliance on mining as a major contributor to its economy poses various concerns. The tourism industry, which has the potential to contribute significantly to GDP and job creation, has not received enough attention and investment until recently. While mining generates significant revenue for the government, there has been a lack of diversification away from mining income, leading to an imbalance in the country’s economic sectors. Additionally, mining contracts negotiated through the government can be susceptible to corruption, which has tarnished the government’s reputation and eroded public trust.
Mining currently plays a dominant role in the Mongolian economy, and the government's heavy reliance on this sector has hindered efforts to diversify. The gains from mining are not distributed equitably, with marginalized groups such as those living in ger districts and nomadic herders not receiving significant benefits. Foreign corporations often lead mining operations, which can lead to conflicts over land ownership and pose a threat to the health of grasslands, rivers, and wells.
In contrast, the tourism industry has the potential to bring in foreign money and distribute wealth more equitably. As tourism operates primarily in the private sector, it is less susceptible to corruption and can provide employment opportunities for people from various backgrounds. Tourism spending has a broader impact on the local economy, benefiting goods, services, and experiences, and reaching a wider range of sectors compared to mining operations.
However, the Mongolian government continues to operate at a deficit and holds a low credit rating. Despite these challenges, Mongolia’s journey towards democracy and market-oriented reforms is still relatively young. The transition from a communist regime to a democratic society has brought both opportunities and challenges. Mongolia is navigating the complexities of modernization, with urbanization and shifting demographics influencing its social fabric. As the country continues to evolve, it is crucial to foster a balance between preserving traditional values and embracing the benefits of progress. By addressing these multifaceted issues with a forward-thinking mindset and collaborative efforts, Mongolia can pave the way for a promising future that honors its rich heritage while adapting to the demands of a changing world.
By Isaac Green