Nashida Sattar, UNDP Deputy Representative

Opening remarks at the “WOMEN'S POLITICAL LEADERSHIP FORUM: REPRESENTATION AND MONEY"

Good morning and greetings to the:

·       Distinguished Deputy Speaker of the Parliament,

·       Members of the Parliament,

·       Heads of governmental agencies,

·       Leaders of political parties,  and guests and speakers!

A warm welcome to you all participating in today’s Forum to share your views, beliefs, and personal experiences.

The United Nations is supporting governments around the world to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Under this framework, UNDP is implementing the project “Promoting gender equality in public decision-making and women's empowerment in Mongolia” with the support of KOICA until 2024.

In line with the SDGs, particularly SDG 5 in achieving gender equality, SDG 10 in reducing inequality, and SDG 16 in promoting inclusive institutions, the project aims to improve the legislative environment to address the issue of underrepresentation of women in political decision-making, to strengthen the mechanisms to support women in overcoming structural and other barriers in choosing a political career, and to raise public’s awareness around gender equality.

Today, we gather here at the WOMEN'S POLITICAL LEADERSHIP FORUM: REPRESENTATION AND MONEY to discuss why women's participation at the decision-making levels is not increasing in Mongolia, how money is a key factor, and the opportunities and best practices for creating a fair, equitable, and competitive political environment in the near future.

Politics is not exclusively a men’s arena, rather it is a space for representatives of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities to come and make decisions together. Unfortunately, money has a strong influence on the selection of these representatives.

Politics is a competition and the competition must be fair. The uncontrolled and unlimited use of money to win the competition encourages injustice. As such, the countries around the world are seeking to make their political environment more fair, competitive, respectful of human rights, and inclusive. 

30 years have passed since Mongolia elected its highest governing body through open and competitive elections in 1990. However, women’s representation in parliament is still mere 17 percent. This is eight percent lower than the world average and four percent lower than the regional average. The money spent on politics and elections continue to lack oversight. It is noteworthy that the 76 members who won the 2020 parliamentary elections spent 3.6 times more money than the 530 unelected candidates.

There are ways to address this issue by: changing the electoral system to further increase women's representation in political decision-making; fostering gender awareness among political parties; increasing the political partys’ willingness to nominate and appoint women; providing financial incentives for parties that nominate women; and to share the election campaign costs for female candidates among other.

Currently, the Mongolian parliament is working to revise the Law on Political Parties. We hope that the mechanisms to utilize public funding to improve gender equality within the revised bill are adoped. There is also an anticipation that the Law on Elections may also come under review. When that opportunity arrives, I hope everyone gathered here today will voice their opinions to change and improve the current system, to reduce election-related costs and introduce new ways to raise funds for elections, and to increase the regulatory mechanisms on costs.

I would like to thank the representatives of the Mongolian People's Party, the Democratic Party and the National Labour Party and other political parties, civil society organizations, and researchers who are serving as today’s moderators and panelists.

Thank you for your attention. 

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