The promulgation of the new Constitution in 1992 marks the beginning of the emergence of local self-governing bodies in Mongolia. Citizens’ Representative Hurals (CRHs) – elected councils at sub-national level – have become a stable institution and played an important role in the consolidation of democracy. However, challenges remain in making them truly representative of local people, as a responsive and accountable institution. In addition, the turnover rate among CRHs’ members is high. In the 2016 Local Parliamentary Elections, 57.1 percent of the 8099 representatives at aimag, city, soum, and district levels were elected for the first time. This implies a continuous need for capacity-building of elected local representatives on their representative, legislative, oversight, and budgetary responsibilities.
The SRBM Project adopts a comprehensive three-pronged strategy for capacity development of local self-governing bodies, addressing simultaneously the interrelated levels of legal and institutional environment, the organisational capacity of Citizens’ Representatives Hurals (CRHs), as well as the individual competencies of elected CRH representatives. In addition, the Project assists the Parliament of Mongolia in translating recent laws and policies into concrete actions aimed at creating opportunities for meaningful citizen participation in decision-making, mobilising support of CRHs in awareness raising, and monitoring the implementation of recently approved laws. The Project builds on the foundation laid by the “Support to Participatory Legislative Processes” and “Capacity Strengthening of Local Self-governing Bodies” projects, which were both implemented by the Parliament Secretariat with support from UNDP and SDC from 2013 to 2016.
The Project aims to provide local self-governing bodies with the capacity and tools to fulfil their mandated representative, legislative, oversight, and budgetary functions in order to promote effective, inclusive and accountable local governance.
SRBM’s four overarching outcomes are as follows:
- Improved legal framework for local self-governance;
- Citizens' Representative Hurals have improved organisational capacity;
- National training programme for local elected representatives is institutionalized;
- Improved capacity of the Parliament Secretariat to support representative bodies.
- 8099 elected representatives of sub-national parliaments
- 2164 elected women representatives of sub-national parliaments
- 1613 chairpersons of public meetings at bagh level
- National and sub-national parliament secretariats
- Citizens at sub-national level
- Marginalised citizens
Activities and results
1. Improved legal framework for local self-governance
Provision of technical support to the Standing Committee on State Structure and Sub-Standing Committee of the Parliament of Mongolia in developing a conceptual framework for the reform of local government system in Mongolia:
- Technical support to the revision of the Law on Administrative Territorial Units and their Governance (LATUG);
- Issue based research;
- Creation of a space for dialogue and consensus building through different means such as regional and national forums / discussions;
- A comprehensive study to assess the LATUG implementation was completed in 2018. The study and conceptual recommendations are disseminated by leveraging various channels to feed into legal reforms related to local governance;
- Decision-makers at the national and sub-national levels deepened their understanding about key aspects of the local governance reform under discussion in Mongolia through exposure to local governance systems in several countries. Learnings were shared in legal reform debates at the parliament level.
2. Citizens’ Representative Hurals have improved organisational capacity
- Development and streamlining of standard procedures for improving quality and ensuring legality of CRHs’ decisions;
- Establishment of performance management framework for CRHs;
- Competitive small grant programme for CRHs for enhancing their oversight and representation functions with a focus on marginalised groups including women, youth, the poor and vulnerable;
- Further improvement and institutionalisation of local parliaments portal website www.khural.mn;
- Awareness raising of citizens about their elected representatives;
- The project developed and started streamlining the standard CRH meeting procedure as well as guidelines for implementation of the LGAP (Law on General Administrative Procedure);
- In 2017, small grants were allocated to 18 CRHs across the country to implement new ideas related to their oversight and representation functions. Six further grants were attributed to NGOs to collaborate with CRHs on various issues. The best practices and procedures established under the grant programmes were disseminated for replication by other CRHs;
- Beneficiaries of the 2018 small grant programme include 39 CRHs, out of which 19 carry out projects related to pasture management, and 6 NGOs;
- Cabinet Secretariat IT department staff members were trained in the administration of www.khural.mn. They are in turn providing technical assistance to local web administrators of CRHs to ensure normal operation of the website.
3. National training programme for local elected representatives is institutionalized
- Capacity building of elected CRH representatives through delivering induction training for newly elected representatives, leadership training, women leadership training, and thematic training modules on a demand basis;
- Development and update of training modules, including development of online training;
- Expansion and further capacity building of network of trainers;
- Institutionalisation of the training programme to ensure its long term sustainability;
- Following the local elections of October 2016, the induction training was delivered to 91.1% (7377 out of 8099) CRH representatives nation-wide. The induction programme is a two day training covering the following areas: legal framework of local self-governing bodies, CRH procedures, local budget and finance, protection of environment and land management, citizen engagement. It played a key role in providing representatives, among which a majority holds office for the first time, with the necessary understanding about their functions and the skills to fulfil those.
- In Fall 2017, the project implemented the first ever national induction training for chairs of bagh general meetings, thereby reaching out to more than 1550 leaders from the lowest administrative level in Mongolia.
- The leadership training, developed with an international expert’s support, was offered to all aimag CRH presidium members, district CRH representatives, as well as presidium members of soum CRHs from ten aimags. The leadership programme aims to enable elected representatives to let the others understand their aspirations and to lead their communities through changes needed. The training participants learned to identify their vision based on their past challenges and achievements, create their leadership stories, address local challenges holistically by putting them in a bigger development picture.
- The Women Leadership Training (WLT) was fully revised based on lessons learned from its previous roll-out. More than 2000 women representatives learned about how to lead change collectively and strengthened their leadership skills through practicing them on a real issue faced in their constituency. The WLT improved participants’ capacities, self-confidence and motivation, while creating opportunities for further team-building, e.g. via an online platform and local cross party working group of women representatives.
- A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2017 between UNDP and the National Academy of Governance regarding the institutionalization and maintenance of the national training programme. Subsequently, NAoG developed the contents for the refresher training for elected representatives, and held a Training of Trainers (ToT) for that purpose.
"The induction training made us clearly aware of the importance for the CRH to consult with citizens before making decisions. With this in mind, representatives of our CRH made the decision to postpone a session requested by the Governor concerning a mining-related proposal, in order to consult with the citizens beforehand."
Chairperson of Gurvanbulag soum, Bayankhongor Aimag, 2017
4. Improved capacity of the Parliament Secretariat to support representative bodies
Capacity development of the Parliament Secretariat’s staff for them to effectively undertake their new roles introduced by recent laws, such as the Law on Legislation, Law on General Administrative Procedures, Law on Development Policy and Planning, etc.:
- Training in legal analysis, cost-benefit analysis, impact assessment, legislative drafting, research, monitoring of implementation of laws, joint monitoring of implementation of laws by Parliament Secretariat and CRHs;
- Development of relevant procedures, guidelines, and tools for completing new responsibilities;
- Support of consultations on draft laws with CRHs and citizens and public awareness raising about legislative process;
- Organization of study visits to foster learning from international experience;
- Cooperation initiated between the Mongolian and Swiss parliamentary administrations has led to establish peer-to-peer support with a particular focus on parliamentary oversight and evaluation of laws.