Source: Small Island Developing States
13 December 2018: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has conducted a review of Mongolia’s environmental performance. The Environmental Performance Review (EPR) finds that Mongolia is on track with implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
The Government of Mongolia requested the UNECE to conduct the EPR. The UNECE produced the EPR, the second conducted outside of the UNECE region, in cooperation with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The EPR takes stock of Mongolia’s progress in managing its environment since 1987, and addresses a number of issues, including air protection, biodiversity conservation and water, waste and land management, as well as national efforts to integrate environmental considerations into the forestry and health sectors.
The EPR finds that Mongolia is “among the frontrunners” in shaping its national targets and setting up policy frameworks and institutional mechanisms for SDG implementation and follow up. Mongolia has integrated the SDGs into its key policy document, the 2016 Mongolia Sustainable Development Vision 2030, and has demonstrated awareness and ownership of the SDGs among its public officials.
Although Mongolia has an “extensive legal framework on environmental protection,” that is consistent and coherent, implementation and enforcement of this legislation is often delayed. The country has a clear green development policy objective but has not applied the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) tool to evaluate environmental impacts of future sectoral policies.
Mongolia is successfully advancing a community-based approach to natural resource management.
On air pollution, the EPR describes air pollution as a major area of concern, with particulate matter the main pollutant in the country and no regular monitoring of emissions of power plants and heat-only boilers that are major polluters. Government policies focus on the capital city and insufficiently address air quality in other regions. The EPR recommends a more efficient air quality monitoring network and efforts to monitor the emissions from major stationary air polluting sources and fine particles. The report also raises concerns related to the impacts on human health of asbestos, chemicals and noise, among other challenges.
On biodiversity protection, Mongolia’s terrestrial protected area system covers 29.9 percent of the country’s territory. The EPR states the country is “successfully advancing” a community-based approach to natural resource management, with 18 percent of the country’s forested areas managed by local communities and three protected areas managed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Challenges to the country’s biodiversity efforts include wildlife migration corridors in the country’s unprotected landscapes; wildlife competition with domestic livestock; and a lack of financial, human, operational and technical capacities.
On disaster risk management (DRM), the Government of Mongolia has developed policies and plans for disaster risk reduction (DRR). However, urbanization-related challenges, such as unplanned expansion of human settlements, have resulted in a lack of access to basic services or location of settlements in flood pathways. The report recommends strengthening disaster resilience and using available resources for DRM.
Among Mongolia’s successes, the report highlights the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the reintroduction of Przewalski’s horse to its homeland and the expansion of eco-schools. On challenges, the EPR highlights increased mining activities, which have impacted the environment and workers’ health. According to the EPR, coal and gold mining have degraded an estimated 100,000 hectares of land, and only a very small part of degraded land has been restored. Artisanal miners still use mercury, even though Mongolia banned its import and use in 2007.
The report makes a number of recommendations related to SDG implementation and monitoring, including to operationalize the National SDG Committee under the Prime Minister and to ensure regular preparation of reports on SDG implementation. Other recommended measures include to: conduct a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for all regional, national and sectoral policies, development programmes and plans; conduct training courses to raise awareness on SEA; develop an action plan on rehabilitation of abandoned and damaged mining areas; develop policies to create opportunities for artisanal miners to transition to other areas of employment; and ensure the independence of environmental inspectors.
The report highlights also outline Mongolia’s progress on SDG target 17.14 (enhance policy coherence for sustainable development) and SDG target 11.4 (strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural
and natural heritage).
UNECE launched the report in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 13 December 2018. [Publication: Mongolia: Environmental Performance Reviews] [EPR Webpage] [EPR Highlights] [UNECE Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Albania EPR]