6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are?


TARGET 14. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into policies, eliminate air pollution in urban areas

* Difficult to achieve
Achievable with more effort
On-track
Fully achieved

Climate change is already a real fact in Mongolia. The country’s annual mean air temperature has risen by 2.10C between 1940 and 2007, as compared to the global mean air temperature rise of 0.70C in the last 100 years. Mongolia, as any other country in the world, has been subject to global warming. The vulnerability of the country’s economy, livelihood and traditional nomadic culture is potentially very high under future climate changes.

Mongolia ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol in 1993 and 1999 respectively, and is committed to tackling climate change by supporting global efforts in reducing GHG emissions. In this regard, Mongolia has been implementing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) created under the Kyoto Protocol since 2004. It currently has five CDM projects and programs in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency that have reduced 76,950 tons of CO2 emissions so far.

Deforestation has intensified, covering 70 percent of total territory of Mongolia, and a number of rivers, lakes and springs are shrinking. Diversity of grasses in the pasture is deteriorating, and it has negative impact on livestock breeding sector, and herders as well. Intensified development of mining and quarrying industries in Mongolia in the recent past years serve as a major cause for environment deterioration. This calls for special attention to ensure environmental sustainability, and rehabilitation of the environment damaged as a result of the development of mining and quarrying industries.

Percentage of the forest areas: According to the information from the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, 12.5 million hectares (mha), or 8 percent of Mongolia’s total land area is covered by forest.In order to achieve this target, to increase the proportion of forest areas up to 9 percent by 2015, current covered areas of forest fund needs to be increased by more than 1.6 million hectares. It is not feasible to reach the target by reforestation action on these areas in the remaining period due to climate condition, current condition of forest fund, funding difficulty of the country, and constraints in time and finance.

Specially protected areas: The Government of Mongolia has continuously taken measures to expand the network of specially protected areas to improve knowledge, study ever changing evolution legitimacy, ensure ecological sustainability, reduce loss of biodiversity, create a condition for natural restoration, and protect the natural, historical, cultural singularity and topology of natural beauty. Although the proportion of special protected areas increased from 3.6 percent in 1990 to 13.1 percent in 2000, in the next decade there was no further increase. According to MONE, 15 areas with 1.3 million hectares (mha) of land were announced by the State Great Hural as protected areas in 2012. The proportion of special protected new areas increased to 17.4 percent in 2012. Around 10.3 percent of the total area is under local protection. Thus, the target to increase the proportion of special protected areas up to 30 percent by 2015 is achievable if the government increases the areas under State or local protection.

Adoption of policies on specially protected areas by the Mongolian Parliament such as the Law on State’s specially protected areas of 1994, Law on specially protected areas buffer zones of 1997 and National program on Special Protected Areas of 1998, have established a legal environment for regulating the establishment of specially protected areas and developing management for special protection.

Air pollution: In the past 3 years, the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere of Ulaanbaatar has increased substantially. Currently apart from Ulaanbaatar, air pollution has become an issue in aimag centers and in large settlements as well, thus requiring serious attention.

In recent years, a number of activities have been undertaken to reduce air pollution in the capital city. These include implementation of necessary projects to revitalize the ger districts into housing, reduction of local air pollution, provision of energy efficient products to households located in “Air quality improvement zones”, and development of regulations and standards to promote citizen involvement as well as providing information on air quality to the public.

In the zones of air quality improvement, the Mongolian Millennium Challenge Account and Clean Air Fund have provided 120 thousand improved stoves, 21,000 ger coverings, 5,100 chancels, 15 thousand tons of processed coals and other fuel substitutes, 1,500 insulators, 1,000 smoke filters, and other energy efficient products at discounted price or free of charge. For example, 80-90 percent discount was provided for citizens and households to encourage them to buy improved stoves, and 40 percent discount was provided to 7,500 households to buy processed coals and other fuel materials.

Still, in 2012 the average daily concentration of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere in Ulaanbaatar city during winter was 2.6 times and 3.1 times higher than the target level for 2015 respectively. Thus, the target to reduce air pollution in urban areas, especially in Ulaanbaatar, is also unlikely to be met. Even though it has been targeted to reduce CO2 emission to 4 tons per person by 2015, it is highly unlikely that this target will be achieved in the near term. This is because with the development of Mongolian economy and industrial sector, there is an almost inevitable tendency for fuel combustion activities and for CO2 emissions to increase. However by taking concrete actions for reducing GHG emissions, it is possible to decelerate the GHG emissions growth.

TARGET 15. Reduce the shrinking process of rivers and streams by protecting and rehabilitating their sources

Difficult toachieve
* Achievable with more effort
On-track
Fully achieved

Due to climate change and global warming in past years there has been an increasing negative trend of intensified permafrost melting, drought of headstreams, decrease, drought in surface run offs, dropped and dried mineral headwater.

The target to increase the percentage of protected headwater for river formation up to 80 percent by 2015 has not been achieved yet and requires more effort. However, the target for the number of protected headstreams and water sources (by incremental records) was achieved in 2012.

TARGET 16. Reduce the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015

Difficult toachieve
Achievable with more effort
* On-track
Fully achieved

The target to reduce the proportion of population without access to safe drinking water sources to 40 percent by 2015, is not only completely achieved by 2012, but exceeds the target. The proportion is declined from 45 percent in 1990 to 27.4 percent in 2010.

However, there is considerable variation across aimags. In 2010, the proportion of population without access to safe drinking water was 86.5 percent in Bayan-Ulgii aimag, whereas only 3.4 percent of the population in Ulaanbaatar was without access safe drinking water.

The implementation of the target to reduce the proportion of population without access to improved sanitation to 60 percent by 2015 is slow. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in Khangai region and Ulaanbaatar city.

Improved data for this indicator suggests that people who migrate from rural areas and settle in ger districts do not have access to improved sanitation in short-term. The target for reducing the proportion of population without access to improved sanitation can be achieved if the housing programme is intensified and implemented by the Government in the remaining period.

TARGET 16. Improve the housing condition of population by 2015

Difficult to achieve
Achievable with more effort
* On-track
Fully achieved

As shown by the 2010 Population and Housing Census data, the implementation of the target to increase the proportion of population living in comfortable housing with connection to engineering facilities to 30 percent by 2015 was slow. Nevertheless, this target is likely to be attained as a result of the recent intensive efforts to provide affordable housing to the people.

The proportion of population living in housing with connections to engineering service networks is 30.5 percent in urban areas, 14 percent in rural areas. The proportion of population living in houses and apartments with connections to engineering service networks is low in Zavkhan, Gobi-Altai, Khuvsgul, Arkhangai, Bulgan, Uvurkhangai and Bayan-Ulgii aimags of the Western and Khangai region compared to other aimags. Overall only 2.4 percent of the population lives in houses connected to engineering facilities in the Western region.

In order to implement Mid-term targeted program “New Redevelopment” and the Government’s Action Plan for 2012-16, the Government approved 135th resolution “Several measures to improve citizen’s housing”. The Government has also decided to establish a State Housing Corporation to be fully owned by the state. The main responsibility of the Corporation, under the supervision of Prime Minister, will be to provide opportunities to purchase housing at relatively cheap prices, and to develop low rent public housing units for targeted community such as government officers, young couples with or without children, disabled and elderly who cannot afford to purchase housing.

Three. Activities and challenges to reduce carbon dioxide emmission

In order to create new market mechanism to trade carbon, the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism has agreed to cooperate with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) to implement projects that decrease house plant gas emission. The cooperation was appreciated by the IGES, and it started to provide information on best practices and initiatives on new market mechanism, decreasing coal thermal plant gas emission and implement projects in area of air pollution projects’ feasibility and calculation to reduce carbon dioxide emission.

Increase in energy consumption is one of the key factors to increase plant gas emission. For instance, total gas emission was 14,519 Hz in 2005, but in 2006 it became 15,628 Hz and increased by 7.6 percent. According to gas emission estimates conducted in 2006, total house plant emission consist of 65,4 percent from energy field, 41,4 percent from changes in land utilization, agriculture and 13,3 percent from forestry. Small amount of emission is from manufacturing – 5.6percent, and solid waste – 0.9 percent. The most absorbent of emission is forest, and it absorbs 13.3 percent of emitted gas. Thus, any method to reduce carbon dioxide emission shall consider both reducing emitter and increasing absorbent, and undertake targeted measures to accelerate reduction of amount of carbon dioxide.

It is possible to reduce CO2 by producing energy by waste recycling CO2– 459,000 tons per year, heating 1000 houses by introducing energy save technology into construction CO2 -7800 tons, providing ger’s covering to improve warmness in ger district CO2- 80,000 tons per year. Also it is possible to reduce CO2 by building Wind Park in Sainshand by 174,000 tons, in Salkhit by 180,000 tons, In Choir – 180,000 tons per year. Promoting natural gas industry contributes CO2 reduction by 25,440 tons; improving energy efficiency of apartments in Ulaanbaatar city makes CO2 reduction by 100,000 tons and building 250 MB wind energy station in Oyu Tolgoi makes CO2 reduction by 1,411,964 tons per year respectively. These efforts require investment worth USD983 million and to reduce CO2 by 2,687,689 tons per year.

For more information: Full report

1.29 years
remaining
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG7
  1. Target 14: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes, eliminate air pollution in urban areas, especially in Ulaanbaatar
  2. Target 15: Reduce the shrinking process or rivers and streams by protecting and rehabilitating their sources
  3. Target 16: Reduce the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015
  4. Target 17: Improve the housing condition of population by 2015