Development Dialogue 6: Harnessing Culture for Development in Mongolia

  • Date: 14 February 2014, UN House, Ulaanbaatar
  • Partner Agency: Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Mongolia
  • Donor: UK Embassy


Increasing global acceptance of the concept of human development, and discussions at various international forums on sustainable development and human rights, has begun to focus attention on culture as an asset essential to a country’s economic growth and development.

Culture fosters sustainable development in two ways: as an enabler and as a driver.

Culture is an enabler when it is recognized as a ‘way of doing things’ that is determined by the particularities of a place and community, and government policy incorporates the values and belief systems of a people that contribute to social exchange. It regards natural resource management as shaped by culture and recognizes the importance of cultural diversity and the inclusion of local knowledge in development policy. This view is of direct relevance for Mongolia where the challenge is to create a sense of community among people with a nomadic lifestyle.

Culture as a driver of development takes a more ‘instrumental’ view and regards culture as a resource, or a combination of assets, goods and services of a people that can directly contribute to economic growth, employment generation, and poverty reduction. Cultural heritage, cultural and creative industries, sustainable cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure can serve as strategic tools for revenue generation and employment. Cultural and creative industries represent one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the global economy and Mongolia is particularly well placed to benefit from this through promotion of sustainable eco-tourism, traditional art, music, and its nomadic culture.


A number of relevant issues arise in this context.

  • How can we create a sense of community in Mongolia, where the nomadic lifestyle creates a cultural community distinct from a geographical community?
  • What are the unique features of Mongolian culture that can contribute to development?
  • How can these features be fostered or encouraged?
  • What are the elements of Mongolian cultural industries, such as ecological tourism, art, music (e.g. moin khuur, khumi singing, etc.) that can be harnessed to contribute to economic growth and employment?
  • In what ways can creative industries or innovations be encouraged in Mongolia as a means of diversifying the economy?
  • How can the youth be encouraged to contribute to growth of culture and creative industries?
  • What should the government do to include culture in development policy as well as promote the growth of cultural industries? What can other development partners do? What is the role of the civil society, the academia, and the media in fostering culture-led development in Mongolia?


Dialogue will be organized as a Panel Discussion. The five panelists will be from among youth groups, artists, civil society, Parliament, private sector, aimags, etc to have wide national representation. The panel discussion will be followed by an open exchange of views among participants.


9:45                 Registration and Tea/Coffee

10:00-10:10     Welcome Ms.Sezin Sinanoglu,UNDP Resident Representative

10.10-10.20     Presentation Ms. Beatrice Kaldun, Chief of Culture Unit,                                     Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO Beijing Office

10.20-11.20     Panel Discussion: Moderated by H.E. Ms. Oyungerel, Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism


  • Mr. Yo.Otgonbayar, Member of Parliament
  • Prof. J.Dolgorsuren, Dean of the School of Theater and Performing Arts, Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture (MSUAC)
  • Dr. D.Gansukh, Chairman, Tourism Research and Training Center, Ulaanbaatar
  • Ms. Sh. Baigalmaa, General Manager for Regional Development. Oyu Tolgoi
  • Prof. D.Bandi, Director of Hustai National Park

11:20-11:50        Open Discussion

11:50-12:00        Closing remarks  by H.E. Ms. Oyungerel, Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism

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