“GENDER MAINSTREAMING FRAMEWORK FOR MONGOLIAN FINANCIAL SECTOR” 

OPEN FORUM

Opening remarks by Ms Elaine Conkievich, UNDP Mongolia Resident Representative

8 February 2022, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed partners, and colleagues,

Thank you very much to the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association for organizing the "Gender mainstreaming framework for Mongolian financial sector" Open Forum event. 

This is an excellent opportunity for us to discuss current situations of Gender mainstreaming in the Mongolian financial sector and the Gender Framework and Proposed Roadmap till 2030 in this sector with Mongolian financial institutions, development partners and government to come together and discuss the way forward for gender aspects of financing sustainable development in Mongolia. 

The UN Joint Programme "Rolling out an Integrated Approach to SDG Financing in Mongolia" aims to improve the alignment of financial resources with national development policies, formulate an integrated financing strategy, and build the capacity of key stakeholders for implementation of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and their financing strategies. 

One of the financing strategy goals is to contribute to gender equality through financing decisions; therefore, the integration of gender-responsive financing practices in the financial sector will have a significant role and contribution towards promoting gender equality in Mongolia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated existing gender inequalities Globally we continue to see that women are experiencing the more significant effects of the pandemic. The sectors that are overrepresented have been hit hard by the pandemic, such as retail, tourism, and services.

According to COVID impact assessment on women and girls in Mongolia, jointly conducted by UNDP, ADB and the National Committee on Gender Equality in 2020, the pandemic has dramatically set back progress on sustainable development, exposing, and exacerbating inequalities among people. The pandemic and economic crisis have aggravated debt and other vulnerabilities and disproportionately impacted women, youth, the poor, and those informally employed.

We recognize the private sector's critical role in boosting women's economic recovery amid the pandemic and a post-pandemic world. Our agencies work closely with the private sector through the UN Women's Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and the UNDP Business for Gender Equality Programme-Gender Equality Seal for the Private Sector. These complementary initiatives provide a solid framework and concrete tools for companies to move from commitment to action.  

There is a multitude of opportunities to enhance gender equality through the financial sector and financial decision-making by implementing gender-responsive budgeting and gender-responsive financing in the private sector.

In parallel and complementary to the gender-responsive budgeting initiative by the World Bank-funded by the EU (European Union), the UN Joint Programme on an Integrated Approach to SDG Financing in Mongolia, implemented by UNDP and UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund), has been working to support this development of a gender-responsive financing framework including with the private sector.  

We conducted a gender baseline study in the financial sector and the Current Situation of Gender mainstreaming in the Mongolian financial sector and key findings from the Baseline Study and Gender Framework and Proposed Roadmap till 2030 which will be presented today by International Consultants of UN Joint Programme.  

Based on the gender baseline study, sample gender policies, and tools are developed that commercial banks and financial institutions can implement to create a more gender-responsive financial system. For financial institutions, gender-responsive financing is not only the morally right thing to do, but it is an untapped market and business opportunity. For example, according to the 2021 Census of Establishments in Mongolia conducted by NSO, 37.2% of companies had female CEOs. These female entrepreneurs face specific challenges compared to their male peers, particularly with the lack of collateral for financing as the household properties are mainly under the name of the male family members.  

Due to these specific challenges, women cannot fully access financing or access financing on favorable terms. Therefore, addressing the specific challenges women face, there is an opportunity to develop a whole market segment catering to the needs of women and women entrepreneurs.

Gender-responsive budgeting from the public finance perspective and gender-responsive financing from the private sector financing perspective, together create a gender-responsive financing framework, and are being incorporated into the overarching draft integrated national financing strategy of Mongolia, which is currently being developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance.  

These works build on the cooperation and progress achieved by our partners. In addition to the GRB (Gender Responsive Budgeting) work by World Bank, there are various efforts by development partners such as ADB's work on helping CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) implement gender equality programs at national, sectoral, and local levels and EBRD's work on promoting women entrepreneurs in Mongolia. 

The Central Bank of Mongolia started publishing gender statistics of the financial sector in April of 2020, and it was the first effort to understand gender issues and situations in the financial sector, which will help monitor how the financial system is progressing on the gender equality front. Now, with the UN Joint Programme also working with financial regulators, including central bank, Financial Regulatory Commission on developing Mongolian gender responsive-SDG finance taxonomy; we expect that this taxonomy will help direct private capital towards long-term, environmentally and socially sustainable gender responsive-activities.

There are currently 3-4 commercial banks that offer unique loan products to women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses, providing more favorable financing terms to for their businesses.

Based on this progress and achievements, we need to cooperate more closely to create gender-responsive financing across the entire financial system and a more gender-responsive society as a whole. 

UNDP remains committed to advancing gender equality and inclusion and look forward to continuing our cooperation and partnerships.  

I look forward to our collaborations and joint efforts in accelerating the financing and achievement of SDGs in Mongolia. 

Thank you very much for your attention.

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