Development Dialogue 8: “Sustainable Urban Development in Mongolia”:Opening remarks by Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative

Jun 16, 2014



UN House, Ulaanbaatar - 16 June 2014

Opening speech by Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative

  • H.E. Mr. Bayarsaikhan, Minister of Construction and Urban Development
  • Honorable Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City, Mr. Bat-Uul
  • Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General, Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific
  • Distinguished Guests

I am truly happy to welcome you all to the 8th Development Dialogue of UNDP to discuss with you how Mongolia can achieve Sustainable Urban Development.

I would like start out by thanking Minister Bayarsaikhan for co-hosting this event with us. UNDP’s cooperation with the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development has been growing very fast and we see this Dialogue as an excellent opportunity to start exploring new avenues and ideas for expanding our collaboration. 

I would also like to very warmly thank Mr. Bat-Uul for accepting our invitation to speak in this event. As the Mayor of the city which holds close to half of the population of Mongolia, he is an extremely important voice in this Dialogue on urbanization. Thank you sir for joining us today.

I am especially happy to welcome today Mr. Haoliang Xu. He is on an official visit to Mongolia and has already had very productive meetings with several key Ministers. This Dialogue is an opportunity both for us and for him. With his keynote speech we look forward to getting a better understanding of how urban and human development interact and learning about experiences from other countries on how fast growing cities such as UB have taken a path towards more sustainable, healthy and people-centered development.  On his side, I hope that this Dialogue will provide him with ideas and examples for sustainable urban development from Mongolia that he can share with others in the region and beyond.  Welcome sir!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Why a Development Dialogue on sustainable urban development?

The answer is quite simple: over 60% of all Mongolian’s now live in cities. When we talk about challenges or opportunities for human development, the discussion is increasingly about urban challenges and urban opportunities. When we talk about Ulaanbaatar:  on the one side, we talk about traffic, air pollution and ever expanding informal settlements. On the other side, we all realize UB is not just a bundle of problems, it is in fact a powerhouse of economic, political and cultural activity. This is true for all cities. The issue at hand is how to ensure that energy and that potential is translated into more livable, healthy, inclusive and sustainable cities, where crossing the street every day is not a nightmare but living in the city is a dream come true! 

And for me, this Dialogue is a dream come true! By profession, I myself am a city planner. I’ve been in Mongolia for 4 years and have seen how fast this country and this city have been changing. What an honor to have such distinguished speakers, panelists and participants to discuss urban development – in a country and on a topic for which I so much care!

Thank you all for coming!

A special thank you to the panelists who are here to share their views with us, as well as my UNDP colleagues– both from our Regional Office in Bangkok and those in our office here in Mongolia – who have been the driving force behind this Dialogue.

I wish you all a fruitful meeting.

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