Mongolia moves forward on rangeland protection

Press releases, 18.06.2019

With 57 percent of Mongolia’s rangelands already degraded, of which 10 percent are beyond recovery, the future for hundreds of thousands of herder families hangs in the balance. 

The urgency of situation was a call to action for the more than 850 people who gathered at Parliament House on May 7 to discuss ways to improve the current regulatory environment governing rangeland use and protection. Among them were 720 herders and representatives from all 21 aimags and 331 soums in Mongolia.

Participants of National Consultation
Participants of National Consultation ©SDC Mongolia and FAO

The national consultation - jointly organised by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Food and Agriculture, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - invited feedback from herders and national and international agencies on the new draft Law on Rangeland, particularly in relation to the unsustainable use of rangelands.   

The participants agreed on the necessity of the new law, with emphasis placed on the need to ensure the fair collection and use of grazing fees at the soum level, and the importance of the adoption of a holistic approach to rangeland protection that took into consideration the impact of irresponsible mining practices, road construction and tourism. 

Many highlighted the opportunities that existed in organic, environmentally sustainable farming and the intensification of livestock production, coupled with improvements in veterinary services to bolster access to domestic and foreign markets. 

At stake were the livelihoods of at least 200,000 herders - or 70 percent of Mongolia’s rural population - as well as the continued supply of water and food, the survival of ecosystem biodiversity, and the future of country’s endemic flora and fauna. 

The outcomes of the event, together with the results of a survey conducted during the consultation, were incorporated into final draft recommendations that were endorsed by the majority of participants. 

SDC Mongolia Director Gabriella Spirli, who was among the high-ranking officials who opened the consultation, said it was a milestone event that cemented Mongolia’s position as a world leader in the promotion of rangeland and livestock sustainability. 

‘We are grateful for the support from herders and the agencies involved for this well run and important consultation,” she said. “We look forward to the submission of the draft law to Parliament as a crucial next step in preserving Mongolia’s rangeland for the benefit of current and future generations.”