Please click Display Images or Download Pictures to properly view this newswire
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Rio turns up heat on Mongolia over mine impasse
By Barry FitzGerald
October 22 (The Australian) RIO Tinto has turned up the pressure on the Mongolian government to resolve the impasse over a $US5.4 billion ($6.1bn) development of the underground resource at the Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold mine, saying the ball was now in the government's hands.
Speaking from London, Rio's copper chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said negotiations had reached the point where it was for the "government to decide if they want to proceed".
He acknowledged it was not an easy decision to make for the developing country. "And that is why we have been very patient, and we have been negotiating for 18 months in good faith," he said.
"We fully understand the situation and now is the time for them to decide what they want to do. The ball now is really with the government."
The long-running stand-off on an investment agreement covering the underground (stage two) development has held up work since August last year.
The sticking point remains what both sides have described as "shareholder issues'' without elaborating. It is taken to mean that the government wants improved terms to its 2009 agreement, or at least an offset for project cost overruns.
"I hope that commonsense will prevail in the end. But it is not one of those processes that you can rush. We need to take some time and we need to be patient,'' Mr Jacques said. "We have been very clear that for us to restart there are four conditions … And that as soon as those conditions are met, then we would restart.''
The interrelated financing package and "shareholder issues'' are the conditions yet to be met.
The mine in Mongolia's southern Gobi desert is a joint venture between Rio's 51 per cent listed Canadian subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources (66 per cent mine partner) and the government (34 per cent).
It is currently producing from an open-cut after expenditure of $US7bn but 80 per cent of the resource has to be accessed by an underground development.
Mr Jacques was relaxed about copper's recent retreat to below $US3 a pound.
He said that while the industry faced oversupply in the next two or three years, with associated price volatility, the longer term outlook was "very attractive".
That is because the supply outlook was challenging given the time it takes to bring world-class mines into production, with an additional 8 million tonnes of annual production capacity needed within 10 years compared with current annual demand of 18 million tonnes.
Rio's focus in the past 18 months has been on cost reduction rather than volume growth.
This year the company will produce more copper but with 25 per cent less people and $US800 million in costs taken out.
Rio Tinto has withheld $US4.2 billion needed to push ahead with giant Mongolian copper venture
By Amanda Saunders
October 22 (The Sydney Morning Herald) Rio Tinto is leaving $US4.2 billion in financing needed to move forward its troubled Oyu Tolgoi project in limbo until the miner can get greater clarity from the Mongolian government.
Rio copper boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques told Fairfax Media on Tuesday that the miner had not requested a formal extension to a lapsed deadline for project financing because the ball was in the Mongolian government's court.
"Either they want to do it or they don't want to do it," he said. "If they want to do it, we can move with pace, but it is really their call now."
Rio has been in a long-running stand-off with the Mongolian government over their joint venture, the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, and let a September 30 project financing deadline pass for $US4.2 billion ($4.8 billion) to fund the underground expansion.
Mr Jacques said the miner was considering submitting a formal extension request to the 15 commercial banks in the lending consortium financing the next development phase.
"The main reason why we have not submitted a formal request yet is that we want to understand where the government of Mongolia is coming from," he said.
"Because after 18 months of conversation with the government, there is a deal on the table. We believe it is a well-balanced deal, it is beneficial for all parties.
"Now really the ball is with the government."
Mr Jacques, who took the helm of Rio's copper division 18 months ago, was confident the commercial banks would sign off on a formal extension. The lapsed September 30 deadline was an extension on an initial deadline of March 31.
The first stage of Oyu Tolgoi is in operation but the much bigger second stage – the underground mine – is where the bulk of the project's value lies.
"We all agree that 80 per cent of the value is sitting underground," he said.
"However, we will do [develop] it only if it is value accretive for our shareholders. The government fully understands that."
The lending consortium fronting $US4.2 billion for the second phase also includes development banks, who Mr Jacques says are open to an extension until at least Christmas.
Led by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, the line-up also includes the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Australian government's Export Finance and Insurance Commission.
Rio controls the Oyu Tolgoi project through a 66 per cent stake held by its Turquoise Hill subsidiary. The Mongolian government owns the other 34 per cent.
Tax issues, as well as compensation for cost blowouts associated with the first phase of Oyu Tolgoi, are among the key stumbling blocks.
"We will only deploy this level of capital if the investment environment is the right one," Mr Jacques said.
"If there is no stability about taxes, or if we have concerns about a few other issues, then it could be very difficult to convince our shareholders to deploy another $US6 billion in the country."
In June, the Mongolian government slapped Oyu Tolgoi with a bill of about $US130 million in unpaid taxes. But they later settled for a $US30 million payment.
Mr Jacques, who was this week made chairman of the International Copper Association, said Rio had to be patient.
He said there had been good progress on Oyu Tolgoi since he took the top job.
"They may need more time – what we are talking about here is the GDP of the country for the next 30 or 40 years. It's a very big decision for them, and that's why we need to be patient."
He stressed that copper is not a short-term game, and Oyu Tolgoi has been 17 years in the making, and so far cost $US7 billion in investment.
"There is no short-term fix as far as copper is concerned. It's a long story to get there, but when you have the right assets in your portfolio ... you print money."
He pointed to the largest copper mine in the world – Escondida, which Rio owns in a joint venture with BHP Billiton – as an example of the long lead times on copper projects.
"We all love Escondida but it took us more than 20 years to get there," he says.
MMC exports 54% of total 8.7Mts #Mongolia coal exports to China in first 3 quarters
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (MONTSAME) A 64 percent of the country's total coal export was made through the Gashuunsukhait port, to China, mostly by those companies exploiting Tavan tolgoi deposit, in the nine months of this year.
An overall volume of the coal exported through it to China stood at 8.7 million tonnes of coal, a major part of which belonged to the "Energy Resource" LLC., for example, only in three quarters it passed to the south neighbor 4.7 million tonnes of coal.
In the same period, the "Erdenes Tavantolgoi" state-owned company, which started exporting coal since last year from the West Tsankh deposit, supplied 3.9 million tonnes to the Chinese market. Doubling its export against the same period of 2013, this company intends to achieve an export of six million tonnes of coal this year.
It is estimated that, when the strategic investor at Tavan tolgoi deposit is chosen, the exports as well as the incomes will increase. The National Statistics Office informs that Mongolia's coal export has amounted to 13.5 million tonnes and has shown increase of nearly two million tonnes, compared to the same period of 2013. However, the income decreased USD 150 million due to the decline in coal prices.
Draig Resources: Quarterly Report
October 20, Draig Resources Ltd. (ASX:DRG) --
• Two exploration licences were maintained; and
• Cash balance of $2.25 million at the end of the quarter.
2 EXPLORATION LICENCES
Exploration licenses 13581X and 13879X continued to be maintained throughout the reporting period. This included the commencement of remote satellite imagery work to determine if there is a correlation between surface geological features and underlying coal seams.
3 SUMMARY OF EXPLORATION LICENCES
Name of Licence
Interest at Quarter End
Change in Interest during Quarter
Administration expenditure for the quarter was $0.206 million.
The cash balance as of 30 September 2014 was $2.25 million and there was no debt.
Other potential opportunities for the Company continued to be analysed during the quarter.
Gold retains overnight gains on safety bids
October 15 (CNBC Asia) Peter Akerley, President & CEO of Erdene Resource Development, outlines the factors that are fueling the rally in gold prices on Thursday.
MSE News for October 20: Top 20 +0.05% to 15,622.24, Turnover ₮163.7 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 20 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 53 thousand and 222 shares of 15 JSCs were traded costing MNT 163 million 714 thousand and 256.00.
"Mongolian Development National Corp" /44 thousand and 886 units/, "E-trans logistcs" /3,930 units/, "Khokh gan" /1,566 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /1,500 units/ and "APU" /396 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Mongolian Development National Corp" (MNT 157 million and 101 thousand), "Sharyn gol" (MNT two million 346 thousand and 500), "APU" (MNT one million 474 thousand and 150), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT 875 thousand) and "Makh impex" (MNT 616 thousand and 400).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 564 billion 105 million 793 thousand and 692. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,622.24, increasing 8.06 units or 0.05% against the previous day.
MSE News for October 21: Top 20 +0.18% to 15,651.03, Turnover ₮47.6 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 65 thousand and 954 shares of 15 JSCs were traded costing MNT 47 million 587 thousand and 359.00.
"Hai Bi Oil" /57 thousand and 800 units/, "Mongolia Telecom" /4,818 units/, "Sharyn gol" /1,660 units/, "E-trans logistics" /789 units/ and "Gobi" /186 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Hai Bi Oil" (MNT 22 million 599 thousand and 800), "Sharyn gol" (MNT 11 million 268 thousand and 700), "Mongolia Telecom" (MNT six million 119 thousand and 060), "Talkh chikher" (MNT one million and 800 thousand) and "Gobi" (MNT one million and 488 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 569 billion 263 million 751 thousand and 461. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,651.03, increasing 28.79 units or 0.18% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, October 21 Close
October MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM FX auction: CNY38m sold at ₮302.6, accepts US$5.8m MNT swap offers
October 21 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on October 21st, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of 10.8 million USD as closing rate of MNT 18451.51-1853.51 and 82.8 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 302.40-302.81 from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 38.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 302.60.
On October 21st, 2014, The BOM has received USD SWAP agreement ask offer of 50.0 million USD and MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 5.8 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
BoM issues ₮140.2 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -15.6% to ₮404 billion
October 20 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 140.2 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Fuel Reserves at 37 Days' Worth, Prices Stable Says Mining Ministry
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Mining reported on Tuesday that petroleum reserves are to cover 37-day needs if a consumption is routine.
The reserve of AI-92 petroleum will cover 54 days, of A-80—53 days, of diesel is enough for 24 days, and of TC-1 – for 18 days.
Today, petrol stations sell AI-92 and Mongol-93 petroleum for 1 660 togrogs per liter, A-80—for 1 550 togrog and diesel—for 1 709 togrog.
The prices are stable in recent months, say experts.
INS Article №4: Achieving Macroeconomic Stability (Part 1)
By Khashchuluun Ch., Executive director of NCPSS and Board member of INS, Cameron McRae, President of INS
October 20 (Institute for National Strategy of Mongolia) --
INS Problem Statement
After 3 years of record economic growth, huge inflows of foreign investment and strong national currency, the economy now looks to be in poor shape with poor macroeconomic fundamentals.
Why is economic growth so important and what are the economic fundamentals that need to be achieved to get sustainable and diversified growth of the Mongolian economy for the broadest possible impact for Mongolians and Mongolian organisations?
In Mongolia leaders focus on GDP growth. From 2011 to 2013, economic growth climbed by 17.3%, then 12.3% and by 11.6%. However in 2014 economic growth fell to 5.3%, which was lower than 2010's rate when the GFC plagued so many economies.
While 2011-13 economic growth was impressive other measures now tell a worrying story.
· The economic growth rates have fallen each year
· prices rose by 14.9% this last year on already high inflation rates
· the 2013 Government budget deficit exceeded 10% of GDP (according to the World Bank April report)
· Mongolia still runs a trade deficit
· Mongolia's foreign currency reserves have dropped and currency value has fallen 30%;
· Public debt (as estimated by IMF), reached 67% of GDP (June 2014).
· Non-performing loans and past-due debts in banking sector reached 1 trillion MNT; a huge future headache for the sector.
There are many signs that economic slowdown has caught up with Mongolia. Mining factors should be looked at separately from the rest of the economy when trying to understand how the economy is growing and diversifying. This is because of the large portion of GDP that mining holds and its almost exclusive role in exported commodities.
Leaving out the mining sector and real estate development, many other sectors are ailing:
· in spite of huge price increases, volume of wholesale and retail trade grew by very small margin and in country side, sales are actually falling;
· railway freight and passenger turnover for January-July 2014 fell by 7% and 12% accordingly from last year;
· restaurants and cafes reported 14% drop in sales,
· catering is down by 62% and hotels revenue fell by 21%.
Employment and real wage statistics are worrying
· Compared with 2012, the number of unemployed seeking jobs has increased from 39 thousand to 55 thousand and the number of new jobs being created has halved
· 69% of unemployed are young people aged 15-34 years
One of our largest privately owned airlines, Eznis, collapsed this year and it is feared that continued economic slowdown will bring bankruptcy to more sizable businesses.
In 2011 and 2012 Mongolia grew its mineral/oil exports significantly but these have shrunk back with coal and other mineral revenues falling drastically in 2013 and 2014. Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold concentrate sales are now playing a positive role but are a solitary light on the horizon.
The World Bank highlight GDP growth rates with and without mining in the following chart. When the mining sector is excluded the rest of economy growth rate (blue line) is increasingly stagnating and close to negative growth rates.
Mining and non-mining economic growth in Mongolia (2014, Word Bank)
It is clear that economic diversification policies are not yet contributing strongly and without a strongly performing mining sector overall growth rates will not be high. The potential of the agricultural sector is yet to be truly leveraged – either domestically or internationally.
Parliament only talks about "macro-economic stability" once or twice a year (when next year's budget and monetary policies are discussed). For most ordinary folk, "macroeconomic stability" is not something usually discussed – until prices of your favorite products rise, value of national currency falls and jobs of family members or friends suddenly disappear.
High GDP growth rates do not guarantee "macroeconomic stability". Mongolia does not have "macro-economic stability" when it has huge budget deficits, high levels of debt, rising prices, falling living standards and shrinking employment.
Growing the economy through high levels of government funded economic activity is not a sustainable formula – when the mining sector remains stalled and with FDI now at low levels.
Attracting genuine investors with foreign money is needed – because Mongolia does not have the national savings pools in place. These investors (and lenders) closely look at "macroeconomic stability" conditions as a guide to their decision-making. The European Union's fundamental Maastricht treaty provides guidance on four policy measures that are regarded as critical:
Condition 1 – Low and stable inflation is essential
Taming inflation and keeping value of the national currency is, therefore, a key policy goal for maintaining economic growth and creating more jobs. The stability of prices (controlling inflation) and national currency is a major obligation of the Central Bank of Mongolia.
· When prices rise at a higher speed than incomes, companies and households will purchase less products, technology or make less investment simply due to lower real income. They just can't afford to invest or grow more.
· Lower purchases means that less is produced, shops and retailers have lower sales, households became poorer and businesses investments are lower due to reduced earnings and cashflows.
· High inflation rates also act to depreciate the national currency
· The Maastricht criteria capped inflation at 3%. Currently, Mongolian inflation is estimated to be around 14.9% – this means that purchasing power of all Mongolian companies and households fell by 1/7 in one year.
Condition 2 – low Government debt relative to size of GDP
Low debt levels means the Mongolian government has flexibility to use its tax revenue to address domestic needs instead of paying domestic and foreign lenders. Between 2003 and 2012, Government debt was small; meaning international creditors knew that national debt can be repaid easily by tax revenue.
However, since 2012 the government incurred foreign debts which exceed 2.4 billion US dollars; for a country with less than 10 billion of US dollars GDP. The future burden of repayment is now significant and is the responsibility of future governments.
It is now critically important to contain total government debt and maximize the benefit of this debt on GDP growth, jobs and increasing the tax base. Otherwise, the repayment of the principal, which starts from 2017, will slow down execution of the national development strategy. The external cost of additional government borrowing has increased significantly in the past two years. Very clear strategies for debt management are now needed.
· Reducing Mongolia's sovereign risk profile and improving its credit rating will reduce the cost and increase availability of debt finance. If the country's debt continues to increase, investors and banks will evaluate sovereign risks as very high and lend only at extremely high interest rates – if such lenders can be found at all.
· Future lenders will want to see extreme clarity and discipline of government spending and only wise government support for major value-creating industries is needed.
· The debt management strategy should also give guidance on the best form of finance – DBM, bonds or public private partnership (concessions).
Condition 3 – low budget deficits
Fact – Government budget surpluses and small deficits prevent growth of the national debt. The Maastricht criteria capped the government budget deficit at 3% of GDP; for 2013 the World Bank estimates Mongolia at a budget deficit of 10% of GDP.
So Mongolia has high public debt and runs high budget deficits – both as a % of GDP. If this continues there will eventually be catastrophic consequences for the government and the economy, which is called "default". Default happens when a country can't repay its debt anymore and no one is willing to extend loans on reasonable commercial terms.
In order to prevent a default a very good planning of all tax revenue and government expenditures is needed; tax revenue can only grow in a growing economy so rapidly stimulating the private sector is vital for national prosperity.
Should a default occur – it will require an "exit strategy" – requiring major sacrifices in living standards, lower wages and income for most of the population; everybody will have to pay for the policy and budgetary decisions made by a small group of bureaucrats or politicians.
Countries like Greece have faced default – but Greece was a member of EU and it was saved by Germany; Mongolia is not a member of EU and can't expect someone else to pay-off our debts or deficits.
Condition 4 – currency stability;
A stable exchange rate allows importers and exporters to develop long-term growth strategies and reduces investors' needs to manage exchange-rate risk. Currency stability also reduces the threat posed by governments who raise debt in a foreign currency (such as the Chinggis bond). A devaluing currency is a major threat to project developers and governments who borrow money in a foreign currency.
The Maastricht criteria permitted fluctuation of exchange rate at most 2.5%. Currently, the MNT has depreciated almost by 30% since early 2013; and this makes current economic situation, already hit hard by inflation, much worse.
In Mongolia, all of the diesel and gasoline fuel, 100% of machinery, most of spare parts, important industrial inputs, raw materials and most of consumption goods such as electronics, clothing and food is imported. Any industrial production involves large number of imported materials and technology, so depreciation of the currency leads to high input costs and hardships for Mongolian based industries.
Recently Mongolia's government has spent significantly more to stimulate the economy, as the non-mining private sector has struggled, but this is not sustainable and cannot continue.
The author has highlighted macro-economic issues that are a cause for serious concern and immediate action by the parliament. Ensuring Mongolia's citizens and business organizations understand the need for government to address these issues urgently is critical.
Article 4 will continue this analysis and look at what can be done to rectify the situation.
Mogi: Justice Coalition parliament faction leader N. Batsereg (MPRP) was just nominated for Minister for Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development this morning
Parliament committee to discuss petition for PM's resignation on Wednesday
October 21 (news.mn) The Standing Committee on State Structure has scheduled a review of a petition calling for the resignation of Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag for Wednesday's committee meeting.
The petition calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister was initiated by the MPP caucus in parliament, and MP J.Batzandan and Deputy Speaker L.Tsog voted in favor of it.
Signatures from 28 MPs were collected for the petition.
Under the Constitution, parliament and relevant standing committees should discuss such proposals within two weeks of their submission.
Parliament should issue a final decision on proposals within one week of their review. In the case that a standing committee or parliament takes a break on the issue, revision may be delayed.
The Democratic Party caucus in parliament announced during a press conference that the caucus would not approve the resignation of Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag.
Cooperation agreement between DP and MPRP causes political row
October 21 (news.mn) Democratic Party leader Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and MPRP leader, former president N.Enkhbayar, signed a cooperation agreement extension through 2020 on Saturday, October 18th. The two parties held a press conference on Monday announcing the extended agreement comprised of 14 articles.
On the same day of the DP and MPRP announcement, leader of the Democratic Party of Ulaanbaatar, and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul and Chair of the Ulaanbaatar Citizens' Representatives Khural D.Battulga held a press conference claiming the agreement is illegal.
The agreement includes several issues, such as the involvement of the DP and MPRP in the 2016 parliamentary election, partnering on policy and activities. The partnership of the two parties in the 2016 and 2020 elections will be decided at the National Consultative Committee meetings held at that time.
The DP and MPRP will also decide whether or not to ally as a coalition in the 2016 election, dependent on the political situation during the election season.
Leader of the Democratic Party of Ulaanbaatar city, E.Bat-Uul said during the press conference opposing the decision, "This is an illegal agreement. The National Consultative Committee of the DP did not hold a meeting. The Democratic Party of Ulaanbaatar does not agree with the decision. The Democratic Party of Ulaanbaatar will review the issue in a commission meeting and will file a lawsuit. The thing is, the agreement says that it will be effective as soon as it signed."
The statement from E.Bat-Uul and others in opposition to the cooperation agreement extension says that members of the Democratic Party of Ulaanbaatar are shocked by the agreement signed between the leaders of the DP and MPRP.
E.Bat-Uul added, "The agreement casted local media, and was even designed to seem like it was signed with the Justice Coalition. In fact, it seems like a political concert. This is pure political concert - not a politically ethical move - as it was signed in a secret way, violating party rules."
The MPRP suggested building the cooperation agreement extension last April to guarantee cooperation and strengthen trust between the party and the Democratic Party (DP). The DP's executive council then issued a decision to build the cooperation agreement with the MPRP on May 28th.
The DP and MPRP will follow guidelines to form a joint government in the case that the DP and MPRP do not win dominant seats in parliament in the 2016 election. The DP is also to build a cooperation agreement with the Civil Will and Green Party next Saturday.
The DP leader also noted discussions with Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) leader M.Enkhsaikhan on cooperation last spring.
2015 Budget Bill Expects 7.1% GDP Growth Next Year
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag introduced a draft law on the 2015 budget at a plenary meeting of the parliamentary session on Tuesday.
Comparing to the previous version of the bill on the 2015 budget, the draft law on the budget that is introduced this time reflects the reducing of total deficits. It has been formulated under a prediction that the economic growth of the 2015 budget will be 7.1%, and the unemployment rate will be seven per cent.
Moreover, the bill reflects an extra source of finance of MNT 500 billion for augmenting the sizes of salaries and pension. For instance, balanced revenue of the master budget will be MNT 7.1 trillion, whereas the expense will be MNT 7.6 trillion, to the balance is bound to have a deficit of MNT 478.4 billion. 80 per cent of the budgetary expenses is made from current expenses, which shows an increase of MNT 833 billion or 15.7% against the budget clarification of 2014. But the tax environment will be stable in 2015, the Premier underlined.
The tax pressure over the national economy is expected to decline in next three years, reaching 23.7%. The Premier also pointed out that parliament should back an issue of a long-term credit source of USD 1 billion to be given from China. The President of China Xi Jinping has promised to grant the loan to Mongolia during his visit here.
The Premier emphasized that a condition will be created to finance vital projects and measures with capitals of bonds to be issued next year from the capital city.
Premier Reports on Economic Situation to Parliament
Ulaanbaatar, October 20 (MONTSAME) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Mongolia increased by 5.3% in the first nine months of this year against the previous year. The GDP growth was affected by almost 40% increase of the industrial sector which reached MNT 4.8 trillion.
The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag said it in a report on the national economic situation by first nine months at a plenary meeting of the parliamentary session last Friday.
The mining industry rose by 45%, the processing industry--by 27%, energy and water supply sectors--by 21% each, a number of livestock--by 13%, and a size of harvesting--by 6.6%, he continued.
By first nine months of this year, the external trade turnover reached USD 8 billion, increasing 1.8% against the same period of 2013. The export increased 30%, whereas the import decreased by 16%, so there was almost no deficit in the external trade, the Premier said.
The price of coal, which makes 90% of the export products of Mongolia, declined at the world market by 31%, causing a problem to the national economy and the state budget, he said. "Although the coal export rose this year by 2.5 million tons against the previous year, the expected revenue from it cut by almost MNT 300 billion, so a number of budgetary and financial regulations are required," he added.
The Premier said the inflation rate is slackening, the currency rates against Togrog are stabilizing thanks to a sustainable policy. For instance, the inflation rate has gone down from 14.9 to 13% in the last three months. In addition, a number of the unemployed decreased 10% this year against the previous year.
It is expected that the real economic growth will increase by 6.9% by end of this year due to possible investments from the "Chingis" bonds and the Development Bank of Mongolia, and joint programmes of the government and the Bank of Mongolia, the Premier emphasized.
Cabinet Backs in Principle President's Bill on State-Provided Day Care
Ulaanbaatar, October 19 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Saturday backed in principle a draft law, initiated by the President on babysitting (Mogi: day care), after having discussed the governmental proposals.
- The cabinet backed a concept of a bill on prevention of crimes and conflicts, and obliged the Minister of Justice to work out the related draft law based on this concept.
- The cabinet also backed in principle a draft concept of the law on rights of the disabled. It was considered as necessity to have the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare approved this draft.
CLIENT UPDATE: NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN MONGOLIA – GOVERNMENT RESTRUCTURE AND NEW PERMITTING REGIME
October 21 (Allens) --
In brief: The Mongolian Government has been particularly active in the first half of October, introducing changes to Ministerial responsibilities and a draft Law that, if enacted, would reform the nation's permitting regime. These developments will be of interest to existing and prospective investors in Mongolia. Partner Igor Bogdanich (view CV), Consultant Manduul Altangerel and Associate Tess Fitzgerald report.
On 7 October 2014, the Plenary session of the State Ih Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia adopted laws and resolutions that change the structure of the Government of Mongolia. Notably for foreign investors in Mongolia, the reshuffle affects the powers and functions of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While the Prime Minister is to assume responsibility for general investment policy, the new Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation will be responsible for policy and regulation of foreign trade and investment, leaving the Ministry of Finance responsible for policy regarding negotiations between concessionaires, the State and the private sector.
The Prime Minister of Mongolia, Mr Altankhuyag, publicly announced his plans for the restructure to the Parliament in early September, citing as his main objectives improving efficiency, eliminating overlapping functions and excess positions and improving the state budget.
The restructuring affects the following Ministries:
· the Ministry of Economic Development, which is being folded into an expanded Ministry of Finance (with certain functions going to the new Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation);
· the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will become the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation;
· the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation, which have been combined into the Ministry of Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development; and
· the Ministry of Mining and Ministry of Energy, which now form the combined Ministry of Mining and Energy.
The Government has further announced that new Ministers will be appointed to lead the restructured Ministries, with the appointments to be announced in coming days.
DRAFT LAW ON PERMITS
Another development that will be watched closely by domestic and foreign investors alike is the proposed new draft Law on Permits. On 10 October 2014, the Plenary Session of the State Ih Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia voted to table a draft Law on Permits in Parliament. Together with the draft Law on List of Permits (which is to be separately drafted and considered by Parliament), this law will replace the current Law on Business Permitting upon its entry into force. The current draft seeks to streamline the process to apply to all permits by introducing three categories of permits (ie Exclusive, Special and Regular permits), with the same application review period, validity period and granting authority to apply to permits within a given category. We understand that the draft Law on List of Permits will set out in detail the specific activities that will require permits. It is reported that currently Mongolia's permitting regime includes more than 900 different types of permits, which would be reduced to 300 permits under the proposed new law.
Key aspects of the proposed new regime are set out in the following table.
Application review period (from receipt of application)
Validity period (and extensions)
Business activities, possession and use of goods and items that pose risks to the national security, public interest, environment and public health, or that relate to possession or use of public property or rights of limited resources
Government or Cabinet Member
Within 45 days
Business activities, possession and use of goods and items that pose risks to public interest, environment and public health
Ministry or Aimag or Capital city level Governor or persons authorised by such authorities
At least five years
Business activities, possession and use of goods and items that pose risks and hazard to a limited degree, or that requires common regulation at a certain level in the interest of the public good
Agency or soum or district level Governor or persons authorised by such authorities
Within 15 days
1. At least five years
2. Without expiry
(Either single or multiple extensions, depending on permit)
The Economic Standing Committee of the Parliament is scheduled to commence preparing the draft Law on Permits for discussion by Parliament this week. It is expected that the draft Law on Permits will be considered and enacted shortly afterwards.
Mongolia looks to ramp up meat supplies to Russia following Putin visit
Russia is looking to import signification additional meat supplies from Mongolia
By Vladislav Vorotnikov
October 20 (Global Meat News) Mongolia is ready for a 10-fold increase in beef exports to Russia, following recent preliminary agreements reached during a September visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the country.
With the current annual supply volume standing at 10,000–11,000 tonnes (t), Russian industry participants expect Mongolia will aim to achieve exports of 100,000t-110,000t, allowing it to become at least one of the largest suppliers of this type of meat to the Russian market.
Previously Mongolia was a large exporter of beef to Russia, but deliveries were banned in 2010 after several outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the country, and Mongolia was not able to restore supplies even when the ban was lifted.
"Mongolian businesses are very interested in achieving a rapid increase in beef supplies to Russia," said Alexei Alexeenko, assistant manager of Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor. "The Mongolians are ready to supply our market with products to the maximum possible level."
Representatives from the regional departments of Rosselkhoznadzor said the first shipments of beef from Mongolia were almost ready.
"Slaughter [of cattle for the supply to Russia] is already in progress and Russian veterinary specialists are controlling compliance with all our hygiene standards," said Roman Krupennikov, head of Rosselkhoznadzor's border veterinary control department for Irkutsk Oblast and the Republic of Buryatia.
Russian market participants say Mongolian beef may partly replace supplies from Brazil and other South American countries as it will offer more attractive prices, due to lower outlay on logistics.
"The amount of 100,000t is about 15-20% of the total volume of Russian beef imports," said chairman of the Russian Meat Union Moushegh Mamikonian. "Today about 80% of beef imports to Russia come from Latin America. Mongolia is located much closer to Russia, so it is much more profitable to work with this country. In particular, for companies located in the Urals, supplies from Mongolia would be more convenient in terms of logistics.
"Deliveries in such volumes will be a good step in the diversification of import flows. At the same time, pastoral [rearing of cattle] provides meat with less fat and, in terms of food hygiene, this is an obvious advantage of the Mongolian products," he added.
At the same time, representatives from the Russian National Meat Association (NMA) doubt that Mongolia can become a large beef supplier to Russia in the years ahead. According to the NMA's head Sergei Yushin, Russian meat-processing plants use mostly boneless beef and Mongolia may not provide the products the country's plants are ready to work with.
At the same time, the NMA's head of the department of animal husbandry and veterinary medicine Eugene Lapinsky said there were still concerns about the veterinary control over beef from Mongolia, as the contamination of beef from that country with various infections is high.
Mongolia-Russia Food Fair 2014 in Ulaanbaatar Aims to Boost Meat Trade
October 21 (infomongolia.com) The Mongolia-Russia Food Fair, which will bring together the leading companies of the Russian regions and Mongolian manufacturers, will be held in Ulaanbaatar from October 31 to November 02, 2014.
The Fair is aimed to establish business contacts with Mongolian companies, familiarity with the products and services organized by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ulaanbaatar, affiliated Ministries of Mongolia, Mayor's Office and Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Mongolia-Russia Food Fair will become a traditional event in the establishment of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Mongolia. This year, the Food Fair in Ulaanbaatar acquires special significance. Due to the embargo on meat and meat products from countries that are subject to retaliatory sanctions of Russia, Mongolia can be a leading exporter of meat to Russia.
To recall, the issue on abolition of restrictions on the supply of animal products from Mongolia on Russian market was discussed during the working visit of the President Vladimir Putin to Mongolia held in September 2014. The head of state promised to pay particular attention on this matter.
T. Naran: With no profit, coal companies are operating just to keep customers
October 20 (Mongolian Economy) T. Naran, Director of the Mongolian Coal Association, talked about the current situation and future estimates in the sector.
Q; The price drop in mining products on the global market has hit Mongolia's economy. How does it look for Mongolia's coal sector? Will exports increase?
A; Nationwide, coal export did not decrease, because Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi is exporting. Companies such as Energy Resources LLC and rural owned Tavan Tolgoi have experienced some decrease, compared to last year—because the price of coal has fallen in the Chinese market. In addition, the cost for transportation expenses is quite high for Mongolian companies. Even so, some companies are still exporting even though they're not profiting.
Q; You mean they are operating just to keep their customers?
A; The companies have a deficit because mining product prices have dropped. Nevertheless, the amount of supply is increasing. Companies are operating just to keep their customers and waiting for the situation to get better. Currently, about 10 million tonnes of coal is exported. A tonne costs about USD 30. Apart from Energy Resources, companies agreed to sell direct from the mines. In other words, the companies are not able to bring their product across the border. This is because transporting by trucks is too expensive. Buyers come from Gantsmod and Sekhee border points to buy coal.
Q; Will prices increase in near future? How is the price decrease related to the Chinese market?
A; China's coal usage has not decreased. However, its supply has increased. In other words, in addition to domestic supply, the amount of coal from foreign companies has risen. Prices have fallen due to high competitiveness.
Q; Is Mongolia's debt to China's Chalco nearing its end? And how has this affected business for Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi?
A: The debt to Chalco is a difficult situation. Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi has partially stopped its export. The company is selling its exploited coal directly from mine. To transport a tonne of coal from Tavan Tolgoi to the border costs about USD 20. The expense is high, because there is no railway. If customers come to the mine to buy coal it costs USD 35. Coal costs around USD 10-30 at the eastern seaports in China. But for Mongolia, it costs USD 20 just to transport from Tavan Tolgoi to China's Gantsmod border point, a distance of about 270 kilometers. That's a big distance. Although the price has fallen, other companies are competing to deliver their products to China. Other countries, in order to support their coal sector, are trying to decrease their transportation expenditures.
Q; Presidents from China and Russia paid official visits to Mongolia recently. They both said Mongolia needs to hurry up the construction work of railways. What gauge could be beneficial to Mongolia, according to the coal sector associates?
The international standard is the narrow gauge, with commercial and trade intentions. If Mongolia wants to sell its mining products, it should go for the narrow gauge. It is our goal to deliver our products to a third market. Consumers are the king. China's market means the world market. It is the second biggest economy after the US. Xi Jinping's visit gave Mongolia a great opportunity. Mongolia cannot lose this chance. We have no other option than suiting and delivering what customers want. We can't afford to say "Buy or leave." Secondly, Mongolia is a tiny supplier, compared to others supplying China. Thus, it has no choice than following the characteristics of the big market.
Q; According to various experts, 2016-2017 is considered the revival cycle of the mining sector. Do think the assumption is realistic?
A; There are quite a few studies on that. Some studies on coal prices are there as well. One study suggested that 2014 would be the lowest fall for mining. This means, next year the coal price won't dip lower than this year's. If this is the case, then good for us. But it won't be as good as 2011 or 2012. If you want to make money from the coal market, you better have good fundamentals and research. Good management is crucial.
Addressing Mongolia's Human Resource Challenges: Interview with BizNetwork CEO
October 21 (Mongolian Economy) If you haven't used Biznetwork.mn, then you've at least heard about it. Mongolian Economy talked with N. Javklan, founder of Mongolia's first and largest employment website bringing together employers and employees. N. Javklan holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Institute of Finance and Economics, and just finished his Masters in Public Governance at the Academy of Management.
In 2009, N. Javklan—previously a human resource manager for Anod Bank and an IT manager at the Education Evaluation Center—launched Biznetwork.mn, which has grown under his successful leadership to the industry leader it is today.
How did you come up with the idea of becoming the online link between the demand and supply chain of the labor market?
When I was a human resource manager, I used to give job vacancy advertisements to newspapers. Within this process, there were a lot of slowdowns and difficulties. There was a lot that needed to be done, such as making sure if an ad reached those who were interested, paying attention to lay-out, and preventing mistakes. And job seekers needed come to the office to fill out an application. The beginning of our operation was to reverse these difficulties. We have so far succeeded because of the room and the need in society.
How many people use the employment website in Mongolia, based on your data?
There are over 160,000 jobs announced or repeated each day on our website. For job seekers, over 1,000-1,200 people send a daily application to employers, while there are 80,000 people actively registered, who've created their CV profile.
What jobs are trending lately?
This year, we have more sales and marketing jobs in high demand. This explains to us that companies pay more to their service and sales when the economy is bad. Generally, some jobs are in high demand due to economic and social conditions of a country. For instance, there was more need of human resource managers in 2012 when the economy was growing rapidly. Back then, companies were focusing more on human resources.
Looking at the latest study from the Labor Exchange Central Office, all kinds of low-wage workforce jobs are in high demand. Why not have these types of job announcements on your website—not just mid- and high-level job offerings?
One hundred percent of job announcements belong to the mid and high level classification. Employers don't place low-wage job listings—these kinds of job seekers apparently don't have much internet usage. Those job announcements are mostly published in newspaper advertisement. Though we have high demand for low-wage jobs, the Mongolian labor market cannot supply it all.
We have many foreign experts coming to Mongolia to work. Do you do listings for this niche area?
We don't have any CV's of foreigners registered. Since we began, we have been targeting to supply the necessary Mongolian employees to entities operating in Mongolia. Foreign invested companies operating in Mongolia come to us quite a lot. Recently, a Hungarian company who plans to establish their office in Mongolia asked our help to choose representatives in Mongolia. Most foreign companies who come to us are more interested in labor market research. Particularly, issues such as defining wages of people being hired from Mongolia.
How would you grade an applicant's general ability to fill out a CV?
I see it as the part they struggle with the most. We teach students CV-writing skills during our 'How to Job Hunt' training seminar that we've run over the past two years. After one training session, we see changes in over a 100 people's CV. On our website, of people who filled out their CV, more than 60 percent are qualified to send their applications to employers. Yet 30 percent of applicants registered on our website are graded as not qualified enough, based on a poorly filled out CV. These people fill out many applications at many different places and they say that are never called for an interview. They don't call you because you fill out your CV deficiently, and this gives the employer an impression of someone who's underdeveloped and has no goals.
What other issues do employees and employers currently face?
For someone who stands between every employer and employee, those people who say that they cannot find jobs are short of skills in terms of filling out a CV and in their self-expression. Sometimes, they don't even know what they want to do. For the companies that say the same thing as not being able to find employees, they lack experience and strategies in selecting and keeping employees to work fruitfully and stably for them in the long term. However, big groups have already come to a solution. If we look overall at the overall 40-50,000 entities in Mongolia, approximately only 1,000 of them has solved this issue. It shows us that the human resource policy of most companies is not that good. They sometimes complain about finding good employees in Mongolia. In my opinion, I doubt whether bosses can hire foreigners when they can't hire and sustain locals.
Basically, Biznetwork is acting as the human resource manager for thousands of companies. So, what can you tell us about the general workforce skills of Mongolians?
The workforce is getting younger and better. For example, some bosses happen to be not qualified or decent enough for their potential employees in some cases. After job interviews, some applicants say that their knowledge and skills are just too precious and that they would regret working under such bosses. Thus, there is no chance for leaders to hire good experts and expand their operation without first developing themselves. Likewise, those who are seeking jobs must start writing their CVs without a single mistake, because that's the first and foremost thing you show to employers.
The first requirement of jobs all around the world is the approach. There are number of companies who are willing to teach and train people, who have a great desire of working for their future hires. The big companies of Mongolia have been paying attention to their human resource policy. The right people with the right approach always tend to hire and be hired before others.
Almost every employer asks for work experience. Is this better than a person with a good attitude?
People don't value a person who cannot value themselves. It is common to leave that work experience section empty or say no experience. But even the events and things you organised as a student can qualify as experience. Rather than writing many years of experience, experience is more related to someone who has self-respect and value.
Would job offerings or examination announcements from the Civil Service be advertised through your organisation?
We have contacted the Civil Service Council. As we often talk about public, private partnership (PPP), we wish to collect job advertisements from both public and private enterprises in one place and open access to people. There is always the need to create the opportunity for people to seek jobs with their own capabilities, independently.
What is the average monthly salary offered on the ads you announce?
Over MNT 2 million is offered for administrational jobs. For regular jobs the average is between MNT 800,000 to MNT 1.2 million. Employers and employees often negotiate the salary. In terms of salary information, organisations are becoming more open. Although both sides want to know this information, it is often a secret. I think this sort of information will be completely open within two years.
What conclusions can you make about job offerings?
Big companies don't have any significant HR problems. Such companies have stable policy management to keep their employees for a long time. On the contrary, companies with no certain HR policy make mistakes right from the beginning. Maybe companies that have HR issues might start to consider focusing on the issues within themselves.
UBTZ Commences Trial Railbus Run for Ulaanbaatar-Darkhan
October 21 (infomongolia.com) The Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC (UBTZ) authorities decided to stop Railbus service in Ulaanbaatar from October 01, which was running since June 06, 2014 on the ground that the expenses exceed the incomes and following some studies, the UBTZ Chairman issued an Ordinance to utilize this public transportation between Ulaanbaatar and Darkhan city of Darkhan-Uul Aimag.
Accordingly, the Railbus is running for experimental period of one month on daily basis and launched its first travel from UB to Darkhan with a 5 minute stopover in Zuunkharaa on October 20, 2014.
Railbus Timetable for Ulaanbaatar-Zuunkharaa-Darkhan
Departs the UB Railway Station at 09:40 am - 5 minute Stopover in Zuunkharaa Station at 12:02 pm - Arrives in Darkhan city at 01:33 pm.
Railbus Timetable for Darkhan-Zuunkharaa-Ulaanbaatar
On the same Departs the Darkhan at 01:54 pm - 5 minute Stopover in Zuunkharaa at 03:24 pm - Arrives in Ulaanbaatar at 06:12 pm daily.
Tickets from Ulaanbaatar to Darkhan and contrary costs 20,700 MNT (adult) and for children between 5-12 years old ages is 8,900 MNT. Moreover, tickets between Zunkharaa and Darkhan and contrary is 15,500 MNT (adult) and 6,900 MNT (child).
"Sporty Ulaanbaatar" Bicycle Parade Gathers 1,000 People
Ulaanbaatar, October 20 (MONTSAME) Last weekend on October 18 a "Sporty Ulaanbaatar" event gathered all generations of people at the central square of the city. Some 1,000 of them organized a bicycle parade.
The action ran in frames of the campaign "Alcohol or Sport?" initiated by the Mongolian Union of Youth in 2012. Before beginning the parade, the Union representatives presented their project of building 21km bicycle road, jointly with the "Street" project. They also said it will now become possible to ride bicycle on ice of the Tuul river.
In support of this action, Orkhon aimag held the same parade a day after commissioning its new bicycle road.
Other matches such as football and basketball, tug-of-war, volleyball, traditional games, chess tournament and marathon ran on the "Sporty Ulaanbaatar" event.
Elbegdorj on Mongolia Hosting 2016 ASEM : This Is Manifestation of Trust and Confidence in Mongolia
October 18 (president.mn) The 10th ASEM Summit concluded in Milan, Italy. Mongolia has won the right to host the next, 11th ASEM Summit. President Elbegdorj answered the questions of media reporters and journalists accompanying the Mongolian delegation to ASEM Summit in Italy.
- It has just been announced that Mongolia is to host the 11th ASEM Summit. Please share your feelings and impression at this moment.
- This is indeed a splendid moment. To be chosen a host country of ASEM Summit testifies how highly Mongolia is regarded internationally. This is a great news, great joy for the Mongolian people, we must congratulate and thank our people. Every Mongolian citizen has contributed to the good name and high reputation of Mongolia. The success of the people of Mongolia is acknowledged, and Asia and Europe accord trust and confidence in Mongolia.
Fifty three countries have joined the ASEM. This 10th ASEM Summit is being attended by heads of state or government of 43 of 53 of its members. The scope of the Asia-Europe Meeting encompasses over 60% of the world's trade. It is a great responsibility for us to host and organize ASEM summit in 2016. The 11th ASEM Summit is special because it marks the 20th anniversary of establishment of this organization.
- What are the dates of the 11th ASEM Summit?
- We discussed the dates with the leaders of European and Asian countries. UN and other major international meetings usually take place in autumn. For Mongolia the most suitable time falls at the end of July. So we agreed to organize the ASEM Summit in the last week of July of 2016.
-People are interested in many organizational matters?
- ASEM Summit is not only a meeting of the heads of state and governments. A series of other meetings including Parliamentarians' meeting, business engagements and forums, public and NGO meetings take place prior to the Summit, and a number of documents are adopted and decisions are made. Starting from tomorrow, we shall form working groups at the government, line ministries and relevant organizations to ensure effective preparation. People are indeed very happy. I receive numerous phone calls from Mongolia – Prime Minister, Speaker and many others call. The news of Mongolia's hosting the ASEM Summit is being received as the news as if we were to host Olympics or World Soccer Championship. I am sincerely happy for the fact that all heads of state of all 53 members have unanimously supported Mongolia's hosting.
Mongolians all together shall mobilize all efforts to successfully host this important meeting, bringing together Asia and Europe. We Mongolians did connect these two continents in the past. Eight centuries ago, Mongols established our great empire and established new order in the two continents. Now, eight hundred years ago, we have another such opportunity. It is not an issue of one or two presidents or prime ministers coming to Mongolia. It is a matter of couple of dozens, 53 heads of state and governments coming to Mongolia and discussing global affairs in Mongolia.
- Not an easy task, isn't it?
- It is not easy to organize such a meeting of such a scale. We all know of the loads of work to do to ensure preparations for a visit of just one President or Prime Minister. Because this is not easy, we shall cooperate with the European Union and other countries to study experiences. We shall also work with regional groups. We can do it, we will. We did make a very courageous step when submitting our candidature. Frankly speaking, I didn't expect such a great support. We must repay this trust and confidence in us b hard work. We will act all together – the government, the businesses, the public, and we will and can do it.
-Why, do you think, Mongolia was given the right to host ASEM Summit? How will Mongolia benefit from it?
- Of course, other Asian countries did want to win this right. And, importantly, the discussion, the decision to give Mongolia this right was not sudden. This is a result of many years of hard work in our international relations, this is a result of a hard work of our working groups. It also sets a performance criterion for Mongolia. Since Mongolia is capable to host such a large international summit, we will be able to host major international sports and cultural events too, and such opportunities will open up too. This, in its turn, will strengthen international trust and confidence in our businesses, NGOs, general public. Therefore, the value, the significance of such important international summits are truly enormous for Mongolia.
Lecture by President Elbegdorj at Central European University: "Mongolian Transition to Democracy and Lessons"
Budapest, Hungary, October 19 (president.mn) --
Central European University
October 18, 2014
Ladies and Gentleman,
It is an honor to be with you here tonight at the Central European University. This renowned institution stands witness to the region's transition to democracy since its founding in 1991. This campus is a rich source where the values of the open society continue to stem from.
In this regard, I would like to congratulate our good friend George Soros for spearheading this effort worldwide, for his unwavering commitment to education and lasting prosperity for all.
These lectures aim at promoting open debate, discussion and exchange of fresh and innovative ideas about the very nature of democracy. Indeed, the definition and evolution of democracy is an extremely timely subject on global agenda. Therefore, I commend the University – and its President John Shattuck – for launching this initiative.
I would like to begin my lecture with a brief introduction of my country and history.
Mongolia is a country of rich and ancient heritage, unique culture and astounding natural beauty. It is a land of free and brave, peace-loving and hard-working people. We inherited from our forefathers great lessons and lasting traditions of statehood while enriching the history of our nation and building for a better future for the generations to come.
The roots of our statehood go back more than two millennia and two centuries to the origins of the Hun Empire. Building upon the legacies and power of the Huns, Mongols had built the largest land empire in the history of the mankind.
In the Great Mongol Empire, Mongols governed by a written law called the "Ih Zasag," which is translated as "the Great Order." Then, as now, Mongols promoted free trade and conducted an open foreign policy. The Empire actively engaged with nations near and far in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It was an era when the Mongols strove to establish a new world order, thus, justice, peace and cooperation in their relations with other states and peoples.
Through periods of prosperity and decadence, ruling and being ruled, Mongolia entered the world of the twentieth century. Modern Mongolia restored its freedom and true independence at the dawn of the 20th century. These were turbulent times around the world, and in early 1920s Mongolia took on communism which reigned the country for 7 decades.
Mongolian Ambassador Holds Morning Tea with Diplomatic Women in Singapore
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Singapore B.Delgermaa held a "Morning Tea" meeting with women diplomats and Ambassadors and spouses of Ambassadors accredited to this country.
She treated her guests with the Mongolian national meals, gave understanding about Mongolian traditional living, presented our long-songs and artworks of a unique guest--an Australian professional photographer Sealey Brandt. The latter displayed an exhibition of the photos taken during a 2000-km horse-back travel through Mongolia.
Some 14 women Ambassadors and spouses of Ambassadors were at the meeting.
Cabinet Appoints New Consul General of Mongolia to San Francisco
October 20 (infomongolia.com) At the Cabinet meeting held on October 18, 2014, it was resolved to recall the incumbent Consul General of Mongolia to San Francisco, USA, Mr. Nyamdorj ANKHBAYAR due to end of term of service.
The new Consul General of Mongolia to San Francisco, CA to succeed was appointed as Mr. Otgonbayar MASHBAT.
O.Mashbat graduated from the School of Law, National University of Mongolia (NUM) in 1992-1996, obtained Master Degree at NUM in 1996-1998 and Master Degree at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey City, CA, USA in 2005-2007. His job career started as an Assistant to the Chairman of Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee at the Parliament of Mongolia in 1996-1998. An Expert, Senior Researcher, Vice Director and Secretary at the Institute for Strategic Studies, Mongolia in 1998-2013. Since 2013, he worked as Advisor to the Foreign Ministry of Mongolia.
O.Mashbat Appointed as General Consul – Montsame, October 20
Mongolia's First Ambassador to Principality of Andorra Accredited
October 20 (infomongolia.com) The first and non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Principality of Andorra Mr. Mundagbaatar BATSAIKHAN has presented a Letter of Credence to the Archbishop of Urgell and Co-Prince of Andorra, Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia in the Episcopal Palace on October 16, 2014.
At the ceremony, Ambassador M.Batsaikhan conveyed greetings from the state head of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj to the Co-Prince of Andorra and expressed Mongolia's interest to develop bilateral relations in all appropriate sectors with recently established a diplomatic relation - Andorra.
Following the ceremony, Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Principality of Andorra Gilbert Saboya Sunye received the newly accredited Ambassador M.Batsaikhan and parties exchanged views on\ opportunities to broaden bilateral cooperation and to support each other to promote the two states. Also, new envoy handed a congratulatory letter to the Head of Government Mr. Antoni Marti Petit on the occasion of National Day celebration.
Mongolia has established the diplomatic relations with Principality of Andorra in New York City on November 21, 2011.
The Principality of Andorra also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, with population of 85,000, is a monarchy headed by two Co-Princes - the Spanish/Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell and the President of France.
Newly accredited Ambassador of Mongolia to the Principality of Andorra, M.Batsaikhan is the resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the French Republic and concurrently as the Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the UNESCO.
Ambassador to Andorra presents diplomatic credentials – Montsame, October 20, 2014
Mongolia Immigration Stops Issuing Visas to Ebola-Affected African Countries
October 20 (infomongolia.com) On October 20, 2014, Mongolia Immigration Office announced not to issue any type of visas for uncertain period and confirmation of personal letters of invitation to those nationals, where the epidemic of Ebola virus disease is ongoing and also warns its citizens not to travel these territories and invite foreign citizens.
An epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is ongoing in certain West African countries including Liberia, where 4,262 cases occurred and 2,484 deaths are registered as of October 13, 2014, Sierra Leone (3,410/1,200 as of October 14, 2014), Guinea (1,519/862 as of October 14, 2014), Nigeria (19/7 as of October 14, 2014).
Moreover, the disease is occurred in the United States (3/1 as of October 14, 2014) and Senegal (1 case registered but an outbreak ended on October 17, 2014 declared by the WHO) and in Spain (1/0 as of October 14, 2014). If no new cases are detected, the WHO will declare the end of the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria on October 20, 2014.
As of today, about 20 foreign nationals from above countries have applied to enter the territory of Mongolia and following a narrow inspection, two citizens of Nigeria were returned from the border port, says the Immigration Office spokesman.
Mongolia Issues Measures to Prepare for and Prevent Ebola
Ulaanbaatar, October 19 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Saturday resolved that Ch.Saikhanbileg, a head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government, and N.Udval, the Minister of Health must ensure preparedness for preventing Ebola virus infection in Mongolia by setting up special chambers in several concrete spots such as border checkpoints.
Other related obligations were given to the Deputy Premier and the Minister of Health to provide these spots with all necessary uniforms, medicines and facilities, to found a treatment and diagnosis reserve in case of possible case of the virus. The Minister of Foreign Relations and Economic Cooperation must limit visa requests from those countries with the virus alert. The Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development and the Minister of Health were also told to obtain from airline companies information about the people who traveled or transited to the risky countries and to deliver it to the border special inspection sections, and to provide the media with necessary information.
President Inaugurates Research Center for Mongolian Studies at Eotvos Lorand University
October 19 (president.mn) On the sidelines of a working visit to Hungary, President Elbegdorj solemnly inaugurates the Research Center for Mongolian studies at the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest.
Eotvos Lorand is one of the oldest universities in the country and was founded by the archbishop Peter Pazmany in 1635 in the city of Nagyszombat. The university has eight faculties including Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Faculty of Special Education, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Informatics, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Elementary and Nursery School Teachers' Training and Faculty of Science.
Eotvos Lorand has a total of 26 thousand students and over 7000 students graduate from the university in 130 different programs annually. The Department of Mongolian and Inner-Asian Studies at the Eotvos Lorand University is 70 years old.
Mongolia has been widely studied and discussed in the Department of Mongolian and Inner-Asian Studies. During his visit to Eotvos Lorand University, President Elbegdorj awarded with the Order of Polar Star of Mongolia to the scientists and teachers of the University for their contribution and effort to Mongolian studies. Moreover, two students of the University were awarded the Government Scholarship of Mongolia and a total of 15 thousand euros were given to the University from the Government of Mongolia to support activity of the Research Center for Mongolian studies.
Mongolian Practice on Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Discussed in Geneva
Ulaanbaatar, October 20 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's practices and policies on nuclear weapons were discussed during an international seminar in Geneva on October 17, on which the best practices in disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons were presented.
The seminar ran in a scope of the 131st session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly. Parliamentarians of the union along with scholars and the experts participated in the seminar and discussed the best policies of 2013 on disarmament operations. Among the policies were Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free policy, and the achievements and practices of the law enacted in 2000.
The participants noted that Mongolia's "free of nuclear weapons" status suits the country's characters, and is a result of the state's creative and mindful policies on the matter. The policy assists to strengthen the country's security and to establish trust and sustainability in the region, they stressed.
Representing the country, the Ambassador-at-large J.Enkhsaikhan from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken part in the event to present the commitments of Mongolia on securing its nuclear-weapon-free status.
Mongolia-China 1990-2010 bilateral documents compilation published
Ulaanbaatar, October 20 (MONTSAME) A compilation of archived documents has been published on the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the People's Republic of China, in accordance with the decision made by the PRC's Minister of foreign affairs Yang Jiechi during his visit to Mongolia in 2011.
The decision was on developing a compilation of bilateral documents archived. The cooperation to develop this booklet started when the Central Archives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and China held in 2010 a first consultative meeting in Beijing and signed a joint protocol after discussing mutual visits, cooperation and exchange of archived documents.
The Mongolian version of the compilation has been made with assistance from Minister counselor at the Mongolian Embassy to China T.Battsetseg, advisor to the Department for Policy-Planning and Strategy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. G.Tomorchuluun, advisor to the Department for Neighboring Countries and state honored figure of culture Ya.Ganbaatar and the head of Central archive of the ministry B.Sarantuya along with the archives specialists O.Gaadarmaa and J.Khaliun, and was published at Admon Print LLC.
The Chinese version will come out within this year, conducted by the Central Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC.
Russia and Mongolia: from Slump to Strategic Partners
By Mark Golman, PhD in History, Chief Research Fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".
October 21 (New Eastern Outlook) After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the victory of the democratic revolution in Mongolia in 1990, Russian-Mongolian relations went through three stages. First, in 1990-1993 there was a period of decline, caused by a set of objective factors (the difficulties of transition to a market economy and democracy in both countries), subjective factors (sharp turn of Russia and Mongolia to the West), and a number of other circumstances. It was very painful and characterized by a deep slump in relations in all areas, especially in trade and the economy, as well as cultural, scientific, and military areas, and Soviet aid stopped: previously 30% of the Mongolian annual budget was subsidized, the trade turnover between the two countries decreased by 40% in 1991-93, and by 1998 by a factor of 6.5.
As a result, Mongolia experienced a severe economic crisis, from which in 1994 it was able to recover through an emergency donation of foreign aid and the successful implementation of radical economic reforms.
The conclusion in 1993 of a fundamental Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between Russia and Mongolia marked the beginning of the second phase of our relationship – the stage of recovery and stabilization: political contacts at different levels were greatly expanded and intensified, by 1999, the trend of falling trade turnover was halted at 190.8 million dollars, and at the beginning of the XXI century it stabilized at 200-300 million dollars.
The turning point was the state visit of President Vladimir Putin to Mongolia on 13-14 November, 2000. The "Ulaanbaatar Declaration" was adopted, which defined the main directions of our multifaceted cooperation in the XXI century and marked the beginning of the third, essentially modern stage of our relationship. This was characterized by the gradual development of good-neighbourly relations in a strategic partnership, a milestone for which was the adoption of the "Moscow Declaration" during the visit of then President of Mongolia Enkhbayar on 4-9 December, 2006.
Finally, the strategic nature of Russian-Mongolian relations was secured as a result of signing the "Declaration on strategic partnership" in Ulaanbaatar following the visit of then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on August 25, 2009.
It should be noted that all three declarations define the strategy of the partnership, namely: deployment of cooperation in all areas and at a higher and more large-scale level, all-round strengthening of political relations, enlargement and differentiation of trade, investment growth, development and implementation of long-term programs and major projects for the economy, science and culture, maximum expansion of cross-border cooperation and regional integration, modernization and technical updating of existing joint ventures, etc. We also note that the above declaration, together with the Treaty of 1993 and more than 130 intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements concluded since 1993, serve as a stable legal basis for the development of bilateral relations and the work of a multi-level cooperation mechanism, the central component of which is an intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation, operating since 1992, and the Subcommittee on border and Regional Cooperation established in 1996.
A new, after the visit of Medvedev, and powerful impetus to deepen and intensify the strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and Mongolia was the working visit to Mongolia of President Putin on September 3, 2014.
It was timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the joint victory at Khalkhin Gol, which in itself was of great political importance, because, as stated by Putin, "the common historical memory, heroic pages of the past, is certainly a good foundation for building modern Russian-Mongolian relations in the spirit of mutual respect, trust, and friendship."
The visit was brief – only 6 hours, but very intense.
Suffice it to say that if in 2009, 5 agreements were signed, then as a result of negotiations between Putin and the President of Mongolia Elbegdorj, face-to-face and in expanded composition, 15 intergovernmental, interdepartmental, and sectoral agreements were signed.
The most important of these are the long-awaited abolition of the visa regime, the agreement between the Ministry of Roads and Transport of Mongolia and JSC Russian Railways on a strategic partnership for the modernization and development of the Ulaanbaatar Railway (UBRR), the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia and the Ministry of Economic Development of Mongolia on cooperation in the development of Russian-Mongolian economic ties, the Memorandum of Understanding between JSC Aeroflot and the airline MIAT – Mongolian Airlines aimed at broadening cooperation in the field of civil aviation and air routes network, etc.
All of these documents outline the main directions of bilateral cooperation in the coming years. President Putin even suggested that in the near future a "roadmap" be developed for further cooperation, aimed at the creation of new industries, promoting trade and investment, as well as the expansion of humanitarian contacts. Both leaders stressed the importance of the agreement on the UBRR. It envisages the electrification and the construction of a second track on the Trans-Mongolian Railway – Sukhbaatar-Sainshand-Zamyn Uud (1,100 km), as well as the construction of branches in a northerly direction (545 km) and to the west (215 km) with access to Russia and to the adjoining railway line Kyzal-Kurachevo, in which regard the construction of these branches is scheduled to finish in 2020.
Thus, the expectations of the Mongols to expand the railway network and, consequently, increasing transit traffic from Russia to China (planned to increase to 100 million tonnes annually) are justified, in this case there has been some breakthrough.
The issue of trafficking has figured prominently in these negotiations. Here there has been a lot of progress. The parties agreed to increase the volume of trade from the current level of 1.3 billion dollars up to 10 billion by 2020, which would mean reaching by this time the same level of trade with China and Mongolia.
It was decided to use the national currencies in mutual settlements. President Putin has promised that in the near future, the Russian government will remove existing restrictions on imports of Mongolian meat and animal products. "Mongolia has good opportunities" he said "to significantly increase the supply of animal products to the Russian market in compliance with health standards." It should be noted that, according to experts, the importation of Mongolian meat to Russia has a number of advantages over the importation of frozen meat from Latin America. Mongolian meat is 2 times cheaper. It comes in live weight by rail and by road directly to the meat-packing plants in Ulan-Ude, Chita, and Irkutsk, and may be sold freshly refrigerated. The cost of transporting is minimal, which is reflected in the selling price, and finally – it is the most environmentally friendly, because almost all year round cattle graze on broad meadows and are cultivated without preservatives, biological additives, antibiotics, etc.
Thus increased trade with Mongolia and, of course, the removal of restrictions on the supply of Mongolian meat and animal products may solve many problems of food security in Russia.
President Elbegdorj generally offered to begin negotiations on the supply to Russia of Mongolian goods as a MFN for 20 years.
Speaking at a press conference President Putin said that "we have accumulated considerable experience working in the mining industry" and gave the example of "the success of the joint venture Erdenet for the production of copper and molybdenum, and Mongolrostsvetmet for gold mining.
Both of these companies provide up to 20% of Mongolia's GDP.
Their complex technological renovation is being planned."
President Putin noted that Russia covers, and will continue to cover 7% or more of Mongolia's electricity needs. All of this, in our opinion, speaks to Russia's interest in strengthening its participation in the development of mineral resources in Mongolia.
With regard to the humanitarian sphere, the parties agreed to establish new joint schools and training centres, to expand cooperation in such areas as culture, sports, and the media. In particular, the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Mongolian National Public Radio and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise International News Agency Russia Today. An agreement was also signed between the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia and the national company Rosneft on collaborating on the training of citizens of Mongolia in the company's partner universities.
Thus, one of the global leaders in the field of hydrocarbon production, Rosneft not only covers most of the needs of Mongolia in petroleum products and supplies fuel to Chinggis Khaan International Airport, the main airport of the country, but also contributes to the training of highly qualified specialists with higher education, in particular by financing activities at the very popular branch of one of the leading universities of Russia, Plekhanov Economic University.
The Russian President's visit attracted attention in the West. The newspaper "Washington Post", for example, wrote: "It should be noted that Mongolian-Russian relations as compared to Mongolian-Chinese relations have always been more direct, more honest, and friendly. The visit of President Putin emphasized that the bilateral relations in the future will become more positive." It remains to wait and hope that this will actually happen, and friendly strategic ties between the two countries will gain another boost to engender new projects and accomplishments.
World Bank: How Telecommunications Changed the Lives of Herders in Mongolia
· In 2005, only 1% of residents in Mongolia's countryside had telephone connections.
· A World Bank/IDA-supported project helped Mongolia provide quality and affordable telecommunication and Internet services to the rural people.
· The project changed the lives of Mongolian herders in an unprecedented way.
Ulaan Uul, Mongolia, October 20 (World Bank) – In the world's least densely populated country, where three million people are spread over 1.5 million square kilometers, half of them clustered in the capital of Ulaanbaatar and one third still living a nomadic life, just think how hard it would be to send a message to a herder somewhere in the hills, or hear from someone in a ger (Mongolian term for tent) in the next valley.
As Mongolia increased its wealth, so did its people's demand for information and communication technologies (ICT) surge. As a result, the ICT market grew over 25% annually in the early 2000s. But in the countryside, where companies found it hard to make headway into the sparsely populated rural areas and provide access to services outside of the main population centers, "teledensity" (the number of telephone connections per every hundred individuals living within an area) was as lean as 1% in 2005.
The World Bank/IDA-supported Information Communications Infrastructure Development Project (ICIDP) helped the Government of Mongolia use a public-private-partnership approach to fill the gap. "Best practice cooperation between the Government and the private sector helped deliver competitive, quality and affordable telecommunications services to remote rural communities, transforming the lives of herders and other rural inhabitants", says Peter Silarszky, who led the World Bank's support for the project.
"This project allowed us to work closely with the private sector, to complement each other. This was one of the first times that this public-private-partnership happened in Mongolia. This kind of synergy was unprecedented," says J. Bat-Erdene, former Vice Chairman of Information Communications Technology and Post Authority of Mongolia, now CEO/President of Telecom Mongolia.
In the remote Darhat Valley in Northern Mongolia, herders were packing for the spring migration. "I called my son who lives in the town to come to help us with his transport truck," says Tsorj, a herder. "Having a phone is the most important thing. I can call relatives who live in the town and nomads in the next valley. It's also very useful for keeping track of missing animals," he says.
The project has changed the lives of herders like him and Purevjav.
Purevjav, 70, has witnessed tremendous changes in Mongolia. In the past 20 years, the country has transformed into a vibrant multiparty democracy with a booming economy growing at double-digit rates today.
His children didn't further their education and became herders like him. "But their children need to go to school. So they moved to towns and cities. Our family is now split up between the countryside and town," he says.
To stay in touch with the rest of the family, Purevjav makes calls. "We call our children in the town, tell them what we need, such as feed for animals or medicine for us," he says.
"Before, we used to ride into town to get the doctor and climb over that steep pass," Tsorj says, as he points at the mountain pass in front of his ger.
Now, just a phone call away, the doctors come to them. "We are able to call in medical emergencies, call for an ambulance," he says.
Link to release (include videos)
Mongolia becomes 61st country to join Google Street View, first from Central Asia
October 21 (news.mn) In the scope of the "Smart Ulaanbaatar" program approved in 2014, Ulaanbaatar has launched Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Culture Institute, and Google Art projects in collaboration with the world's leading search engine and internet-related services and product developer, Google, to promote the city, strengthen its economic competitiveness, and develop tourism.
Based on work conducted by Google over a two-year period, Google Street View will officially be launched in Mongolia during a ceremony at Chinggis Khaan Square on October 22, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Google Street View allows users take a virtual "walk" online through cities around the world, such as New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and soon, Ulaanbaatar, and view scenes of documented streets, avenues, squares, museums, restaurants, and buildings on Google Maps.
Nearly 8 million kilometers of panoramic scenes in 4,000 cities in 60 countries across the world have been captured by Google Street View. Mongolia is the first country in the Central Asian region to be part of the Google Street View project.
Mongolia to Reserve 12,000 Tonnes of Meat This Winter
October 20 (Mongolian Economy) In spring, Mongolians particularly those in Ulaanbaatar, see the highest rise in meat price as supply shrinks and herders stop selling meats whilst young animals are born. Government will aid shortages by reserving meat when there is plenty in the market and selling it back to the people when there is a supply shortage.
To meet the needs of a growing Ulaanbaatar, reserve-meat preparation has been planned regularly for several years. The meat the Government buys from herders between late November and early December is saved over winter and rereleased in early spring at an affordable price.
For the past years, Darkhan-Uul and Orkhon provinces, both having larger cities, also started reserving meat and selling it in spring. This year, Darkhan Meat Foods, and Erd Meat, companies will supply reserved meat to these provinces. Each one of them will prepare, 1000 tonnes of meat supply.
In the cities, companies have not been chosen for reserved meat preparation. A reserved meat manager tender has opened but the Makh Market made complaints claiming the unfairness of the tender request. The tender will now be released again for the second time from the 14th of this month. Companies chosen will have to prepare 12, 000 tonnes of meat.
Leave No One Behind: Think, Decide and Act Together Against Extreme Poverty
This article is written by Thomas Eriksson, the Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme in Mongolia.
October 17 (mn.undp.org) Globally, the number of extreme poor has dropped by 650 million in the last three decades, a level of progress humankind had never seen before. Similarly, in Mongolia, poverty has been significantly reduced. But still there are more than a billion people living in extreme poverty around the world and poverty in Mongolia remains too high at 27.4 percent.
On 17 October each year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, people of the world are invited to demonstrate solidarity with people living in poverty.
People living in poverty face a multifaceted reality. It is not simply a lack of adequate income; it is a cruel mix of human deprivation in food, decent housing, health, knowledge, dignity and rights as well as obstacles to participation and lack of voice. It is a lack of freedoms, opportunities and choices.
Economic growth alone will not produce jobs and cut poverty unless it is inclusive and equitable, and unless the needs of the poor and marginalized are at the centre of development priorities. When men and women have equal opportunities and freedoms, economic growth accelerates and poverty declines more rapidly. It therefore makes good business sense to invest in eradicating poverty.
Eradicating poverty is neither quick nor easy. Many think that the solution is to give cash hand-outs. To eradicate poverty is to provide people with choices and opportunities and to allow for equal participation. It is a people based change agenda addressing the social, cultural and economic conditions that created poverty in the first place. The agenda starts from the perspective of the poor and building their resilience and reduce their vulnerabilities; promote employment and decent work for all; provide equal access to education, health care and social services; invest in gender equality; and implement social protection programmes targeting the most vulnerable. This agenda also require a focus on the long term agenda of climate change to mitigate its impact and help people, especially the poor, to adapt.
Mongolia has recorded among the highest economic growth rates in the world in recent years. Mongolia's economy has grown at an average annual rate of 8 percent since 2000 and in double-digits for three consecutive years in 2011-13. Mongolia is now classified as a middle-income country and a country with medium human development. Despite this extraordinary progress, poverty continues to be high and the share of the bottom quintile in national consumption has not changed since 2000. Disaggregation of data also reveals wide disparities across income quintiles and regions on most Millennium Development Goal indicators. There is evidence that there is a rapid concentration of wealth in a very small segment of society. Inequalities are also observed between rural, urban and peri urban settings.
To give a practical example: Water, sanitation and heating are vital components of sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty. The poor and vulnerable in Mongolia, such as recent migrants to Ulaanbaatar living in ger districts, pay more for such basic services than the better off who live in apartments with centralized heating, water and sanitation which is subsidized. Studies show that ger district dwellers pay 16 times more per heating unit per square meter as compared to apartment dwellers. Many countries around the world have introduced free electricity, water, heating, sanitation for the population that consumes below a threshold level subsidized by those who consume much more. Such policy reverses the subsidy and has the power to lift people out of poverty.
The theme of this year's poverty day, "leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty", points to two key issues. Firstly, to eliminate discrimination and exclusion based on poverty, gender or economic and social status and to focus attention on the most vulnerable. This is a human rights agenda. Secondly, it points to the need to include people living in poverty as equals in shaping their development agenda. Only by creating a partnership with people living with poverty will it be possible to create a world where all people can enjoy decent lives and have a place in their communities. In Mongolia, strengthened local governance is an important part of poverty eradication. The role of the Khurals at the most local level in listening to the poor, in engaging the poor and in truly representing the poor is crucial. This would be a genuine partnership with people living in poverty. It also requires engagement with the generations to come, the youth, what kind of country do they want to live in?
On this poverty day, UNDP urges Mongolia to take on the challenge of eradicating poverty. A national poverty eradication strategy focusing on the most vulnerable people in Mongolia integrated into the national development agenda is needed. This is a positive agenda for change. It has as its overarching objective the creation of opportunities that eradicate poverty, exclusion and inequalities for all Mongolians. Such focus should go hand in hand with an economic growth agenda. This strategy should take its starting point in a thorough understanding of the face of poverty in Mongolia and make poverty eradication everyone's business, not only something that the poor or the social workers should deal with. As there is no quick fix, it requires all sectors of society and government to work together. First and foremost what is needed is a true commitment to eradicate poverty from Mongolia.
Protecting Mongolia's parent-less children
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
By Philippa H Stewart
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, October 21 (Al Jazeera) - Most of the children at the Lotus Children's Centre, an orphanage located away from the dust and noise of the big city, have no idea how long they've been here.
Sitting on the steps outside their classroom overlooking the countryside that separates the children's centre from Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar, four boys aged between seven and 11 all shrug when asked how old they were when they arrived.
"I don't remember," seven-year-old Otgonbayar told Al Jazeera. "I have been here a long time, since I can remember. I don't know what happened to my family, I don't know anything about them."
Little is known of the backgrounds of most of the 80 children in the orphanage. Many were abandoned at birth, sometimes in hospitals, but often at bus stops or on the side of the road.
About 18 children are new to Lotus. Before they lived in an orphanage run by Catholic nuns that was closed down after disputes with the government.
They have the same answers as Otgonbayar when asked about their past, but speak French instead - a language learned from the nuns who used to look after them.
"When the orphanage closed, some of my friends went back to their families," said Batbayar, 11, who has stunted height caused by a lack of care when he was an infant.
"I can't go back, but it is good here. We go to school and there is the river and the grass."
Orphanage founder and director Didi Kalika told Al Jazeera when she arrived in Mongolia 21-years ago, economic instability and alcoholism among adults were major factors leading to the abandonment their children.
Definitive figures on the number of abandoned children are difficult to come by. Child rights advocates have said previously that thousands had been deserted by parents or orphaned in Mongolia, a northern Asian nation of nearly three million people.
Before the economic boom from mining in the early 2000s, children were often left to fend for themselves, or rounded up and put in prison cells.
The situation has improved dramatically thanks to the work of NGOs and new government initiatives such as the opening of a temporary children's shelter last year. However, kids with mental or health disabilities often fall through the gaps with no structures in place to help them, and few education options available, Kalika said.
"The abandonment has slowed down quite a bit as the economy has improved. When they had this mining boom, they [the government] did give money to families who had children and that has improved the situation somewhat," Kalika said.
"The mineral wealth payment meant a lot of people started looking after their kids who weren't before. Also, when the economy was up, companies invested in us."
As Mongolia's economy grinds to a halt, orphanages such as Lotus are concerned abandonment rates will spike again.
The lack of government social workers and nation-wide infrastructure to support abandoned, orphaned, and abused children means that often orphanages are put under pressure to provide care for families as well.
"A lot of the time they want us to do things with the kids and their families - like follow up if we send the kids home and deal with the families. It is too much because I already have 80 kids. The government do expect a lot of us without offering financial support," said Kalika.
"We need to deal with the kids here, we can't deal with families on the edge. We end up giving them food items and support to make sure they still look after the children once they go back home.
Kalika said, however, the government has imposed greater regulations to ensure the safety of children. "Before no one was doing anything and the NGOs stepped in ... Now we have to go through quite a few authorities to accept kids and we do get a number of inspections, so some of it is going in the right direction - I wouldn't say all of it."
No protection law
A major issue surrounding child protection in Mongolia is the lack of any law ensuring the rights of children. NGOs have been working to try to redress this, but the legislation is continually hitting delays in Mongolia's parliament.
World Vision, a Christian charity operating in Mongolia, is one of many NGOs working in the sphere of child protection. The charity is working on implementing a system of "mapping" all Mongolia's children, to make sure they are given follow up care.
Tansgmaa Tsog, public engagement manager from World Vision Mongolia, told Al Jazeera the lack of progress on the protection law was "frustrating", but the key issue is bringing child abuse into the open.
"For me it looks like there is a lot of family violence, but it is under shadows. It is kept in the family and it is not appearing in public, and we don't know how much it is happening.
RELATED: Mongolia's mines threaten herding
"We have set up a free child [help] line, so children can report abuse, and we are trying to develop the mapping system so there is a process in place if a child is the victim of abuse."
Because of the lack of a legal framework, however, charities such as World Vision are reliant on individual communities to step in and protect a child and make the abuse known.
Sometimes, in a bid to highlight issues, children's images have been shared on social media by caseworkers and others involved.
"Someone who was working on that case revealed what had happened [on social media] and it came to public attention and caused a lot of outrage. Now incidents like this can be better prevented," said World Vision in Mongolia's communications manager Enkhbold Byambjav.
"It is a double-edged sword - you have to be very careful about what's being posted. It could be done for the good of the public, but it might give the wrong idea to the wrong people."
'Urgent' need for law
The only government agency concerning children is the National Authority for Children, which advises on policy rather than implementing it.
Deputy director Tumurkhuyag Enkhtaivan told Al Jazeera the NGOs were relied upon to provide services while the authority tried to push policies through government. She said she hoped a child protection law would be passed in 2015.
"Previously children's rights have been very vague, there was no such concept. In the new law, children's rights will be specifically mentioned," said Enkhtaivan.
Parents and police will also need to play active roles once clear laws are established, Enkhtaivan added.
"We need to show parents they have a responsibility to their children. The passing of the law is urgent,"Enkhtaivan said. "We have to align all the laws and make sure that if a child is involved in crime, the police look at whether it is a form of child abuse and considers the rights of the child."
Names of children quoted in this story have been changed to protect their privacy
Welcome to School: Ensuring education for children with disabilities
October 21 (UNICEF Mongolia) Outside a ger tent, Davkhar's brow is furrowed in concentration. His nimble fingers fold the piece of paper in his hands, making a paper plane. He finishes, looks up and throws the plane. It flies for a few seconds before floating to the ground. After a few more test runs, he squats down to the ground and starts making adjustments to the plane. On the next attempt it flies further.
Davkhar is seven years old and has been disabled for most of his life. He lives in Nalaikh, 36 kilometers east of Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar, in a ger 'tent' with his parents and older sister, Tseenyam. Davkhar's father, Bayarsaikhan, works as coal miner during the winter months when the mine is operating, and his mother, Oyun, works in a clothes factory.
When he was just a toddler Davkhar was in a serious car accident. The car rolled and he was thrown from the vehicle through a window. His father Bayarsaikhan who was also involved remembers the aftermath vividly. "I was holding my boy, running to the hospital," he says. "I was in shock and didn't even realize I was also seriously injured until afterwards."
Following the accident Davkhar spent months in hospital. He had a serious spinal injury that required an operation to place a metal rod in his back to support his body. He also sustained a head injury that dented his skull, but luckily did not affected his brain function.
However his injuries still affect him. Davkhar occasionally has seizures, and one side of his body is weaker than the other. He tires easily and sometimes finds walking exhausting. The rod in his back needs to be replaced, and when he is older he will require further surgery to cover his dented skull.
Getting an education
Last year, Davkhar started school. Unlike some children with disabilities, who are sent to special schools, he joined a regular school, Golomt Primary School. "I enjoy going to school. I like to learn things and my favorite subject is maths," he says. "My teacher's name is Byambasuren. I like her because she teaches us a lot and is very kind."
Bayarsaikhan, Davkhar's father, says at first he was concerned when his son started school. "We worried that the other kids would hit him in the head and that he would get injured, but that hasn't happened," he explained. "When he first went to school, the other children were really curious about his head and asked to look at it but now that has stopped".
In class, Davkhar seems happy and relaxed. He chats to the children sitting next to him and laughs with them at a joke. When the teacher asks them to take out their books, Davkhar quickly follows her instruction, keen to learn.
Davkhar's teacher Byambasuren says when he first came to school she showed the other children his head, and explained his disability. "I warned the other students to be careful around him and protect him if others try to bully him, and they have," she says. "Davkhar has lots of friends and is a very bright and hardworking boy."
Gantuya is a Disability Officer at the local Children and Family Center. She says not all children with disabilities in Nalaikh go to school. "All children with disabilities want to go to school," she explains. "But they don't because school buildings are not accessible for them, teachers don't know how to teach them and some children live in remote and inaccessible areas."
"There is also discrimination from parents of students without disabilities. Some parents tell their children that if they play with children with disabilities they will catch their disability. And because the parents believe this, their children believe it too."
A training for parents of children without disabilities, in order to address this stigma and discrimination, is having a big impact on the community, according to Gantuya.
"One of our best success stories is 11 year old Tuguldur," she continues. "He is a very talented singer and is in a wheelchair. Before the training, other children excluded him because of their parents' attitudes. But then some of his classmates' parents came to the training and afterwards their attitudes changed completely."
"One of the mothers invited Tuguldur to come over to their house whenever he liked to play after school. She told her own children that she had been wrong, and that they should play with him, help him at school, and include him in whatever they are doing."
A long way to go
Both Davkhar and Tuguldur have been relatively lucky - not all children with disabilities in Mongolia have the same opportunity to go to school.
"Less than half of children with disabilities in Mongolia go to school," UNICEF Education Specialist Bolorchimeg Bor says. "This means that they are missing out on the life-long benefits that education can bring, such as a better job, social and economic security and opportunities to participate in society."
"All children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential, including children with disabilities. Providing inclusive education opportunities for all children in Mongolia, is key to ensuring all children achieve this," she says.
UNICEF strongly advocates for quality inclusive education to be provided to each and every child, because it leads to better learning outcomes for all children, not only those with disabilities.
"Inclusive education, where children with and without disabilities learn together, is vital to the achievement of high quality education for all children," Bolorchimeg Bor says. "It reduces inequalities, promotes tolerance, and helps build a more inclusive society."
Now Davkhar has started second grade at Golomt Primary School. "He wakes up hours early to make sure he is ready on time. He doesn't want to be late," says his mother Oyun. Davkhar wants to be a doctor. With the right support, there is every chance that he will achieve his dream.
Zetty Brake is the Communications and External Relations Officer at UNICEF Mongolia
Mongolia: Flying high for children's rights
Ulaanbaatar, 12 October 2014 (UNICEF) – Ulaanbaatar's skyline will change when a UNICEF branded hot air balloon flies over the city, departing from Chingis Square this afternoon.
The hot air balloon is part of Flying High With Kids, a project founded by New Zealander Andrew Parker.
Mr Parker will visit over 100 countries around the world over the next four years, increasing awareness of the importance of education and raising one million dollars for UNICEF's education programs. He will also visit 200 schools and meet more than 80,000 school children.
UNICEF Mongolia Representative Roberto Benes said while Mongolia has near universal primary and secondary education, one of the most excluded groups are children with disabilities.
"Less than half of children with disabilities in Mongolia go to school," Mr Benes said.
"This means that they are missing out on the life-long benefits that education can bring, such as a better job, social and economic security and opportunities to participate in society," he said. "This needs to change."
UNICEF Mongolia's Education Specialist Bolorchimeg Blor said all children, including those with disabilities, deserve a quality education.
"Inclusive education, where children with and without disabilities learn together, is the vital in achieving this," Ms Bor said.
"Current attitudes towards children with disabilities, as well as a lack of resources to accommodate them at schools, compounds the challenges they face accessing education," she said.
"Progressive policies in inclusive education can make a positive change in the lives of children with disabilities in Mongolia, and ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential."
Mr Parker will visit Nalaikh tomorrow with his hot air balloon and then travel to Russia.
Mongolia Amends National Programme on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 20 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Saturday approved the amendments to the National programme on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), in accordance with the duties of Mongolia before the Stockholm Convention on POPs (2001).
Persistent organic pollutants are a group of persistent substances that significantly harm human health and the environment, cause cancers, affect genes, and survive in nature decades without decomposition. Mongolia ratified in 2004 the Stockholm Convention on POPs that was enacted in 2001 in order to protect people's health and environment from the threats. The first national programme on POPs was adopted in 2006, in observance of duties before the Convention. The POPs Review Committee has obligated the member- countries to renew the national programmes and to take required measures, due to the addition of ten substances to the POPs list.
In a scope of the obligation, a new national programme has been developed. It aims to improve the legal environment regulating the matters related to POPs, such as collecting and recycling of industrial chemical wastes, to establish an eco-friendly management of disposal, and to reduce harm to human health. As a result of the two-stage programme, the legal environment for disposal and recycling of wastes containing POPs will improve and the consumption of POPs containing products will reduce. Management for collecting, transportation, recycling, processing and preserving of toxic waste, electric and auto vehicle scraps will be improved.
NEMA Saved 2,791 People, ₮38 Billion Worth Property in Last Two Years
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (MONTSAME) In the last two years, 11.6% of techniques and facilities of the emergency service and 14% of all objects have been renovated, said Colonel T.Dulamdorj, the head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the "Hours of construction" weekly meeting on Monday.
He added that 91% of all servicemen have been provided with working uniforms and facilities, buildings are being erected for eight emergency units and for a mechanized store of state reserves, "in overall, our sector has made a real progress thanks to the technical renovation and introduction of modern system of delivering awareness of possible disasters".
Thanks to the improved working condition, lives of 2,791 people and a property of MNT 38 billion were saved from 7,558 disasters and accidents in the last two years, he went on. Moreover, some emergency servicemen served in the UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, he added.
The Colonel pointed out that Mongolia will have a highly skilled search-and-rescue team about which a recommendation was given by the UN consultative group of international search and rescue.
Video: Rangeland Management in Mongolia
October 15 (The Jornada Program, New Mexico State University) Mongolia is currently undergoing a desertification of their rangelands due to overgrazing and natural environmental factors. The Jornada has been asked to use their experience in rangeland management to understand their issues and implement a plan to help out the country before it gets out of hand.
Mongolia to Host 2015 Asian Youth Conference in Ulaanbaatar, May 18-21
October 20 (infomongolia.com) At the regular Cabinet meeting of the Government held On October 18, 2014, one of the issues resolved was ratification of hosting the 2015 Asian Youth Conference entitled "Youth and Unity: Youth Participation to Provide Equal Rights".
The event will be organized under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Mongolia and will be taking place in Ulaanbaatar on May 18-21, 2015.
The aim of the Asian Youth Conference is to foster the relationship of the youth participants that comes from different backgrounds and also to get inputs and ideas from the youths through discussions and activities that will be planned by the organizing committee, participants are also expected to forward a youth resolution to the Asian Youth Council.
The Asian Youth Council (AYC) is a non-governmental, youth-serving, regional organization in consultative status with the United Nations' Economic and Social Commission was formed on August 14, 1972. Memberships of the AYC comprised of national youth organizations in Asia. Member countries include Malaysia, Cambodia, China, Brunei Darussalam, South Korea and Mongolia. The AYC Secretariat is located in Malaysia. The Executive Secretary who reports directly to the AYC President and Secretary General serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Secretariat.
Asian Youth Summit 2015 to Be Held Here – Montsame, October 20
Mongolian Football Federation calls irregular session as FIFA bans president
October 21 (news.mn) The Mongolian Football Federation has appointed A.Ganbaatar as acting president of the federation, following the scandal involving FIFA's Ethics Committee.
FIFA's Ethics Committee issued a five-year ban on the former president of the Mongolian Football Association, B.Ganbold, resulting from charges of bribery.
The Executive Committee of the Mongolian Football Federation announced that their irregular assembly is scheduled to be held on October 22nd. The irregular assembly of the Mongolian Football Federation will be led by a provisional board with 11 members.
Mongolia Ends Tashkent Judo Grand Prix on Top
Ulaanbaatar, October 19 (MONTSAME) The Tashkent Judo Grand Prix tournament ran on October 16-18 in Uzbekistan where our national team has grabbed three gold, three silver and four bronze medals.
On the first day of the events, D.Amartuvhsin IMS won gold medal in the men 60 kg contest, beating at the final Diyorbek Urozboev of Uzbekistan, the same day, A.Tsolmon (women 52 kg) and D.Altansukh (men 66 kg) won silver medals, and G.Otgontsetseg--a bronze in the women 48 kg.
On mid of the tournament, the State Honored Sportsman S.Nyam-Ochir grabbed the "gold" at the finals in the men 73 bout. Other Mongolians Ts.Monkhzaya (women 63 kg) and O.Uuganbaatar (men 81 kg) captured bronze medals.
On the last day, a heavyweight B.Temuulen won a gold medal in the men +100 kg contest. He defeated an Austrian Daniel Allerstorfer at the finals.
At least one medal has been won by 42 from 24 countries. By its team results Mongolia led the tournament with ten medals. Mongolia was followed by Romania (two gold) and Uzbekistan (one gold, two silver and three bronze medals).
August 7 (Nomadic Boys) Whilst staying in Ulan Bator we set out to discover gay Mongolia.
Despite being a very traditionally conservative country, there was one, and only one, bar/club in the whole of Mongolia in its capital city, Ulan Bator: Hanzo Lounge & Night Club.
We met Zorig Alima, the very charming owner of Hanzo and picked his brains about owning Mongolia's only gay bar.
Hello hello Zorig! Tell us a bit about yourself:
Good morning Nomadic Boys. My name is Zorig, and I am a Mongolian from Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
I work full time for the Mongolian Railway in Ulan Bator and run Hanzo bar as a hobby.
I used to be a banker in Tokyo and I have travelled extensively to around 20-30 countries.
What do you think of gay Mongolia and Ulan Bator?
Ulan Bator is a fast changing city with 1.5 million people. However, as you may have observed, the gay life here and in the entire Mongolia is still fairly closed.
There were no gay bars in Mongolia up until 2004, and there are still no gay saunas, cafes, restaurants etc. There are a lot of things that still need to be developed here for the LGBT community.
How long have you owned Hanzo?
I have owned Hanzo since April 2012. We tried to open in December 2011, but due to difficulties getting liquor licences, the opening didn't take place until around April 2012.
Is Hanzo the first gay bar in Mongolia?
No, there were a few unsuccessful attempts before. But currently, Hanzo is the only gar bar in Mongolia.
What happened to the previous gay bars in Ulan Bator?
The first one was called City Life, which opened for a few months in 2004. City Life went bust because there were not enough LGBT people open in Ulan Bator to go to it. After City Life closed, there were no gay bars until "100%" opened in November 2011.
"100%" lasted until summer 2012, but its landlords terminated the lease because they did not want to have a LGBT tenant.
So, technically speaking, Hanzo is the third attempt at a gay bar in Ulan Bator.
What have you done differently with Hanzo to keep it going longer then the previous bars?
We didn't do anything different with Hanzo and there are still risks of the lease being terminated by the landlord. But to date, everything has been ok!
Did you have any problems when you first opened Hanzo?
Yes, there were many problems, partly with the police and partly with the LGBT society itself.
With the police, given that they had no idea about gay bars, the first impression they had was that we were promoting adultery. Also, as there were many transsexuals who would be involved with prostitution, the police's initial reaction was that Hanzo was promoting prostitution among other negative things. Because of this, the police would come into the place very often, disturbing all the clients.
Secondly, the majority of the LGBT society wanted to be in the closet and hide and they blamed Hanzo for being too open: these people felt that the openness of Hanzo was a threat to their safety.
So, frankly speaking, there were many problems when we first opened Hanzo.
Has this since changed or improved?
It has improved a lot, I would say. The police started to understand that being gay does not automatically mean sex, and there are many decent gay people. Instead of generalizing "homosexuals", they would consult with us on some of the issues, such as prostitution, and request our cooperation.
In addition, the overall Mongolian society has since became much more tolerant over the last few years.
Recently I read in a popular Mongolian magazine column an article about the "top 50 places you must visit in Ulan Bator", in which, Hanzo was one of the only two bars and clubs mentioned.
The quote was something along the lines of:
"Although people have a perception of it being a gaybar, we would vote for it as one of the very few underground places in Ulan Bator, where the most open minded people gather. Organising many unique and interesting events, and giving pleasant surprises of new music makes it ,the place to visit".
This also helped the LGBT community to start appreciating Hanzo's existence and not see it as a social threat to their safety.
How did the LGBT community in Ulan Bator (and Mongolia) meet and socialise before Hanzo existed?
Many years ago, we would meet at parks and public toilets and there were also monthly gay nights organised. It was a little bit difficult to find out where each one would be held, given that it kept changing venues.
As the internet started become more widespread, this changed things and the LGBT community were able to communicate and meet easier then before.
But in general, it used to be pretty hard to find "one of your kind".
Are you openly gay in Ulan Bator and with your family?
I am openly gay, or at least "half-openly" gay. My family knows I am gay and they support me and Hanzo.
My colleagues, I presume they all know I am gay, even though we don't really talk about it much. I don't come out randomly, but I don't hide it. That's why I said "half-openly" gay.
How is it to be a member of the LGBT community in Mongolia today?
It really depends on who you are dealing with. Given that many Mongolians have lived abroad, you would assume that they would therefore be open to gay people.
On the other hand, there are still some people who would blame gays for being "not reproductive" and we should instead be dedicated to increasing the population. These sorts of people also accuse us of enticing children into adultery. I just don't understand why people mix up homosexualism with paedophilia…!
Has this changed much over the years?
There are today around 3-4 supportive gay human rights organisations in Mongolia who have been lobbying to improve the legal environment for the LGBT community. There are also organisations for women and disabled people who support the LGBT community.
In addition, the LGBT community have become more and more visible. For example, a transsexual woman would do TV shows, or even the opening of Hanzo and the publicity it has drawn has helped make our community more visible in Mongolian society.
What advice to you have for LGBT tourists visiting Mongolia?
Mongolians are in general fairly open to foreigners. So I definitely advise getting to know one or two LGBT Mongolians before arriving via the phone app, "Jack'd" or join our Hanzo group on Facebook.
And finally, Stefan found this lovely hat at the black market. Can he join in at Hanzo's next big cabaret evening?
Ha ha!! Well, in fact there not many drag queens in Mongolia. So in order to have everything in place, you have no other choice than to do it yourself:
So, if you want to join our next cabaret show with that dramatic hat of yours Stefan, you are more than welcome!
We are open everyday except for the 1st day of every month (in accordance with Mongolian law). Our address is: Sambuuglin Orogon Choloo Street. We are located behind the Tengis Cinema bus station area. Walking along Sambuu Street, you will pass a large KFC and take the first turning on the right (it's a slightly hidden road which is pedestrianised). Then take an immediate right and walk under a kind of arch and on your right is Hanzo, under the Sky Karaoke.
Come on down and see an alternative side to Mongolia!
6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.