As a signatory to both the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, in 1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997), Mongolia is fully aware of the causes and potential impacts of climate change. Mongolia is therefore striving to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while maintaining its path of economic development. The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC has taken a number of decisions to encourage developing country Parties to take climate change mitigation actions related to the forestry sector. These measures relate to ‘policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries’, known as “REDD+”. The COP decisions set out a process by which the voluntary actions of developing country Parties may be rewarded through results-based payments.
Although still largely a poor country, Mongolia has recently experienced rapid rates of economic growth due to advances in the exploitation of mineral resources. However, there is a risk that the benefits of this boom will be unequally distributed among Mongolia’s people. Moreover, unless astutely managed, the growth may have negative impacts on the environment and the natural resource base. Compounding this, climate change threatens to reverse socio-economic advances. Recognizing these inter-related challenges, the Government of Mongolia has recently committed to a green development path, notably through the creation of the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism (MEGDT), and the preparation and approval of the Green Development Policy and Mid-Term Programme. REDD+ has the potential to contribute to green development by protecting global environmental resources (forest carbon stocks and biodiversity), helping to reverse land degradation, promoting the improvement of rural livelihoods and aiding adaptation to climate change.
Mongolia’s vast land area includes approximately 13 million hectares of forest – an area roughly the size of Nepal. These forests can be categorised into two broad zones: northern boreal forests and southern Saxaul forests. The northern boreal forests cover approximately 10.9 million hectares, and are being lost at an annual rate of 0.74%, or just over 80,000 hectares. The southern Saxaul forests cover 1.9 million hectares, and are estimated to be lost at the alarming rate of 6.5% per year.
Mongolia is the first country with significant boreal forest cover to become a partner country of the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (UN-REDD Programme). Mongolia has significant potential to reduce its forest carbon emissions, and enhance and sustainably manage its forest carbon stocks, through the implementation of REDD+ activities.
Support the Government of Mongolia in designing and implementing its National REDD+ Strategy and in meeting the requirements under the UNFCCC Warsaw Framework to receive REDD+ results-based payments.
Mongolia became a partner country of the UN-REDD Programme in June 2011 and has quickly taken steps to start implementing REDD+ readiness activities. A Roadmap sets out how Mongolia will implement its REDD+ Readiness activities and develop a comprehensive National REDD+ Strategy in Phase 1 of REDD+. The Roadmap has four main outcomes, as follows:
- National REDD+ management arrangements established while ensuring improved stakeholder awareness and effective stakeholder engagement;
- National REDD+ strategy prepared;
- Forest reference emissions levels and forest reference levels developed; and
- National forest monitoring system and safeguards information system developed.
This National Programme Document (NPD) describes how the UN-REDD Mongolia National Programme (here onwards called ‘National Programme’) will contribute to the objectives of Mongolia’s National REDD+ Readiness Roadmap. The overall goal of the National Programme is to support the Government of Mongolia in designing and implementing its National REDD+ Strategy and in meeting the requirements under the UNFCCC Warsaw Framework to receive REDD+ results-based payments.