Monday, October 26, 2015

[Gatsuurt bill submitted; Japanese to manage new airport; Mongolia to send workers for Tokyo 2020; and ADB extends $2m to education, health]

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Monday, October 26, 2015

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Overseas Market

CG closed +6.38% Friday to C$8.34

Bills submitted on fixing government stake in Gatsuurt, taking Noyon Mountain into state protection

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government S.Bayartsogt Friday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold draft resolutions of parliament on fixing a size of the state's shares in the Gatsuurt deposit and on taking some territories in the state special protection.

Located in Selenge aimag's Mandal soum, the Gatsuurt deposit has been determined as one of the biggest deposits explored in a gold area of Northern Khentii by the metallogenic zone of Mongolia. Having a high level of gold ore ingredient, the deposit is projected to boost the regional development and infrastructure. The deposit's reserve might increase as well.

To be involved in the state protection, the Noyon Mountain is in Selenge aimag's Mandal soum. By protecting the Mountain the state wants to save the eco-system of the Khentii Mountains' forests,  cultural and historical heritage pieces, the draft initiator said.

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KCC last traded C$0.02 on October 13

Origo Partners confirms agreement with Kincora Copper on US$2.5 million note renegotiation

October 23 -- The Company notes the announcement made by its investee company, Kincora Copper Limited ("Kincora"), and confirms that Kincora and Origo have reached agreement for the renegotiation of Kincora's obligations under the US$2.5 million 8.7% note held by Origo (the "Existing Note") which became payable as of 19 July 2015 (the "Agreement"). 

Under the terms of the Agreement, the Existing Note, and Kincora's outstanding obligations thereunder including payment of principal, shall fall away and Kincora will issue a new note (the "Replacement Note") to Origo in the principal amount of US$2,500,000. The Replacement Note shall become due and payable on 21 October 2016 and shall bear an interest rate of 8.7% per annum, payable on maturity in cash or shares of Kincora, at Origo's election. 

The Replacement Note is also convertible during the term of the Replacement Note at Origo's election as and when Kincora undertakes an equity financing of not less than US$500,000, with conversion being on the same terms as any such equity financing. 

Kincora has also agreed to place US$500,000 in escrow during the term of the Replacement Note, which can be called upon by Origo at its sole discretion.

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AKM closed +7.14% Friday to A$0.015

Aspire Mining: Notice of Annual General Meeting, 26 November

October 23, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --




To receive and consider the annual financial report of the Company for the financial year ended 30 June 2015 together with the declaration of the Directors, the Directors' Report, the Remuneration Report and the Auditor's Report.










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EGI closed -5.38% to US$0.26

Entree Gold Files Updated Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Ann Mason Project

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 23, 2015) - Entrée Gold Inc. (TSX:ETG) (NYSE MKT:EGI) (FRANKFURT:EKA) ("Entrée" or the "Company") has today filed a National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") technical report entitled "Updated Preliminary Economic Assessment on the Ann Mason Project, Nevada, U.S.A." (the "Report"), with an effective date of September 9, 2015 on SEDAR at The Report relates to the updated Preliminary Economic Assessment ("2015 PEA") for its 100%-owned Ann Mason copper-molybdenum porphyry deposit in Nevada announced on September 9, 2015. A copy of the Report has also been posted on the Company website.

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.03%, ALL +0.01%, Turnover 4.1 Million Stocks

October 23 (MSE) --

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MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 +1.28%, ALL +0.84%, Stocks ₮990.8 Million, UID ₮961.2 Million, T-Bills ₮9.39 Billion

October 23 (MSE) --

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Historic low ₮1,997.26/USD set September 11

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, October 23 Close


































































































Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,996), Khan (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995), Golomt (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995), XacBank (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,995), State Bank (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995)

MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

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BoM issues 195 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +14.6% to ₮666.9 billion

October 23 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 195 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

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Zoljargal & Enkhbayar: bringing about change in their own special ways...

October 26 (Mongolian Investment Banking Group) --

Mongol Bank steps away from conventional policies…

Mongol Bank Governor, Mr. Zoljargal, is preparing to have his monetary policy discussed in Parliament.

He has been a key figure in the Mongolian economy during the current slow down, and this next performance should be memorable.

His main argument is that fiscal and monetary policies need to be coordinated in order to create economic stability.

He's calling this new approach a "new economic balance".

This might not sound ground breaking on the international stage, but it would certainly be a change of pace in Mongolia.

If Zoljargal gets his way, the fiscal expansionary policy would be discontinued, creating a ceiling for the Government's external and domestic debt.

He has also suggested freeing the input prices of the agriculture and tourism sectors as he hopes to make non-mining sectors more competitive.

His aim is to create institutional capacity while leaving the rest up to free market principles.

These statements, in addition to comments that he has made over the past 3 years, would suggest that Zoljargal is drifting further towards the Austrian school of economics.

Mongolia's development over the long run will likely be supported by this transition. However, this move will create further economic hardship for the average Mongolian in 2016.

Politics and Pardoning: Could Enkhbayar get the green light?

The short answer: we don't think so.

At the outset of parliament's fall session the Pardoning law took center stage, and it continues to dominate domestic media today.

In some ways, this is contradictory to the intense fight against corruption that was started at the outset of President Elbegdorj's current term.

However, a tradition of pardoning first time offenders and those with light criminal records seems to have been established during Mongolia's short 25-year history of democracy.

In addition, political interest groups and factions as well as parties have suffered heavy blows with civil servants and political figures imprisoned and charged due to Elbegdorj's heavy hand against corruption.

This year, however, as the super coalition of the DP and the MPP was dismantled, something changed among Mongolia's politicians… We suspect that the Justice Coalition (controlled by the former President Enkhbayar) initiated the Pardoning Law to allow for Enkhbayar's corruption charges to be dropped.

The result:

The Justice coalition pushed for and had the legislation passed in a closed session on August 11th. However, Elbegdorj, using his veto authority was able to partially block the legislation from being finalized on August 17th.

Since then, the Pardoning Law has returned to the parliament's agenda twice. In both cases the Justice Coalition has taken a 5 working day break in order to postpone the passage and continue to push for the legislation to be discussed in closed session.

Not surprisingly, passing such a law would be a good opportunity for each political party to save a fallen comrade. This is especially true for the Justice Coalition.

Having this law passed would allow for the Justice Coalition to have their leader to be properly reinstated into the sphere of Mongolian politics, right before the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Elbegdorj's vocal stance on the issue is encouraging the public to be heavily involved in the matter. Likewise, there is mounting public pressure parliamentary sessions discussing legislation to be kept open to the public.

However, regardless of the venue or level of transparency on the issue we expect the legislation to be passed over the next month.

The outcome of such legislation will be an added layer of uncertainty to the upcoming elections, and further scrutiny from foreign investors.

If you have any comments or questions about the content this week don't hesitate to get in touch.

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Politics & Legal

Parliament Agenda for Oct 23: Plenary Session

October 23 ( At 09AM:

1. Draft law on conflict and affiliated other drafts

·         Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

·         Introduction by MP Ts.Oyungerel

2. Amendments to draft law on border and affiliated other drafts

·         Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

·         Introduction by MP Ts.Nyamdorj

3. Amendments to draft law on value added tax, amendments to draft law on budget, amendments to draft law on custom tariff and custom taxes

·         Introduction by Minister of Finance B.Bolor

·         Introduction by MP L.Erdenechimeg

4. Revised draft law on waste management and affliiated other drafts

·         Introduction by MP Ts.Oyungerel

·         Introduction by MP S.Oyun

5. Draft law on medical care and service

·         Introduction by Minister of Health and Sport G.Shiilegdamba

·         Introduction by MP S.Odontuya

6. Amendments to Criminal Procedural Law, Amendments to Prosecutor's Office Law, Draft Resolution of State Great Hural on measurements to implement Criminal Procedural Law and Prosecutor's Office Law

·         Introduction by MP N.Altanhuyag

·         Introduction by MP Z.Bayanselenge

7. Draft law on international agreement

·         Introduction by Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren

·         Introduction by MP S.Oyun

8. Revised draft law on legal status of the Mongolian Red Cross Society

·         Introduction by MP N.Enhbold

·         Introduction by MP A.Bakei

At 02PM:

President of Bank of Mongolia N.Zoljargal`s statement on Zoos Bank JSC

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Parliament approves draft new wording of Law on Household, Industrial Waste for first reading

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) The State Great Khural discussed on Friday morning the draft new wording of the Law on Household and Industrial Waste, initiated by 13 MPs. The initiators' presentation was given by Ts.Oyungerel MP.

Noting that the Constitution gives the Mongolians right to live in healthy and safe environment and to be protected against environmental pollution and ecological imbalance, Ts.Oyungerel said the currently effective law on waste is not capable of regulating the nowadays problems such as the soil and air pollution and hazardous living environment, caused by rapidly increasing amount of waste.

While developing the draft new wording, the bill initiators have taken the UN policies and recommendations on handling waste into their consideration and prioritized a principle to form legal environment that meets the international development perspectives of public law, she said.

Bill give more emphasis on the improvement of citizens' environmental education and perceptions, reducing waste and on waste recycling, concerning the articles of Mongolia's international conventions and agreements, and their recommendations. The new wording outlines details about cross-border waste transport, collecting, demolishing, recycling, importing and exporting of waste, as well as the matter of promoting waste- recycling and -treatment facilities, Ts.Oyungerel MP underlined.

The draft new wording has six chapters and 40 articles, and has been approved by the Standing committee on Environment, Food and Agriculture. The standing committee conclusions were introduced by S.Oyun MP.

An issue of running the first reading of the draft was backed with 75.0 percent approval. The draft was returned to the Standing committee for preparation.

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Erdenes TT agrees to transfer former Macmahon employees to TTJVCo

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) "Erdenes Tavantolgoi" JSC called a press conference Thursday in concern of the current situation with the staff. It has been agreed to transfer 203 personnel, working in East Tsankhi mine, to "TTJVCo" company, without any changes in their salaries and working conditions, said acting executive director of the company B.Batbileg. "We will not draw back this decision", he stressed.

The staff of the Erdenes Tavantolgoi's East Tsankhi, worked under management of an Australian company, demonstrated a stay-down strike on October 19, protesting against their transfer to management of a Chinese company. Head of the Labor Union S.Erdene had announced the strike was due to the company's cancelling of the collective bargaining. "In case the company does not accept our notice, we will run public demonstration", he had been warning. The strike involved 130 workers.

After this press conference, the stay-down has stopped. However, according to the workers, the labor union and Erdenes Tavantolgoi have reached no agreement on this matter. The stay-down will advance after a while, they said.

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Project on decentralization policy to be implemented with Swiss financing

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) A project on supporting a decentralization policy will be implemented between 2015 and 2017 with a financing from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The project has been formulated and its unit of staffers has been formed, said G.Ganbold, the Deputy Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government and the project's director, at the "Responsibility, monitoring and implementation" weekly online meeting on Friday.

The decentralization project aims to help the Ministries, administrative and local units to work out more coherent, complex and appropriate policy based on precise budgetary and financial researches divided into territorial regions.

By the PM's order, a working group has been set up to render a technical support to the formulation and a monitoring of the decentralization policy, Ganbold said. This group held its first meeting to present the project's purposes and to discuss a role, duties and participation of the working members.

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Appointment of Mr. Luvsanchultem Vanjildorj as MDP's CEO

/26.10.2015, ULAANBAATAR/ Mongolian Development Partnership (MDP), the joint venture founded by major Mongolian real estate developers, appoints Luvsanchultem Vanjildorj, a seasoned finance and investment executive, as CEO in charge of establishing Mongolia's first real estate investment trust (REIT) and expanding service export potentials for the real estate developers.

The decision was made at a MDP board meeting in October, 2015 following a selection process finalised by the board members, represented by Zag Group, Tsast Group, Orchlon Construction, Gandirs and Green Recourses Construction as well as CHMM and Buyanpel.

Luvsanchultem Vanjildorj, with 15 years of finance and investment management experience in real estate, infrastructure and mining developments, currently holds the title of Director of Finance and Investment at Zag Group, while he concurrently serves as Executive Director for Alchem Global Private Limited of Singapore and a board director of London based Ferro Mongolia Resources.

He is a buy-and-sell side investment expert. In his previous role at MCS Holding, Luvsanchultem was responsible for designing a high profile financing structure for InterMed private hospital project, and debt financing for Mandalgobi-Tavantolgoi 220kV electricity transmission line. He has closed a number of private placement deals including for Zest Undur and delisting of SBB, whilst successfully identified and structured reverse take-over deals for Nova Trans, Cascade Mining on AIM market at the London Stock Exchange and Khandgait Mining on Venture market of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

While working for the Asian Development Bank, as an Economics officer, he was in charge fully/partially of producing the Mongolia Chapter of ADB's flagship annual report, Asian Economic Outlook, which required extensive macroeconomics analytical and projection skills. He initiated ADB's financing for CHPowerplant No5 in Ulaanbaatar. 

Luvsanchultem holds Master of Commerce degree from the University of South Australia, and Bachelor of Accounting & Economics from the National University of Mongolia.

If you require additional information please contact Gerel Orgil via 88779173.

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MIAT Mongolian Airlines Selects Zela Aviation as GSA

October 22 (Cyprus Traveller) Zela Aviation, one of the major aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI) service providers in Europe, will act as General Sales Agent (GSA) for MIAT Mongolian Airlines for handling air passenger transportation services on ACMI. 

Andreas Christodoulides, chairman at Zela Aviation, stated: "We are honoured to work alongside with MIAT Mongolian Airlines on this project. Our relationship started over a year ago working on a successful long term ACMI lease. MIAT offer an extremely high standard of service as an IATA Operational Safety Audit certified airline and we look forward to a long and successful partnership." 

Cyprus-based Zela Aviation is an air charter broking company active in most areas of the air transport industry, and works with many leading EU independent tour operators and a range of airlines. 

MIAT Mongolian Airlines operates from its base at Chinggis Khaan International Airport serving flights across across Asia and Europe (Moscow and Berlin) plus seasonal flights to Frankfurt. 

MIAT Mongolian Airlines flights from Berlin to Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, are the only direct flights between Western Europe and Mongolia.

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Tourism ministry ties cooperation with Xilingol Aimag of China

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism M.Khurelsukh received October 21 the Governor of Xilingol league of Inner Mongolia region of China. After discussing the tourism cooperation between the three eastern aimags of Mongolia and Xilingol league of China, the sides signed a cooperation protocol.

They agreed that the soums of Eastern aimags, sharing borders with China, have many similarity with the Xilingol aimag in cultural ways. The protocol outlines 14 issues of tourism cooperation, including the organization of another business meeting on exchanging permanent missions in Ulaanbaatar and Xilinhot, designating tour routes between Erenhot and Zamyn-Uud, organizing China tours through Mongolia's eastern aimags and more, and collaborating on presenting joint tourism products and services of Mongolia and Xilingol, as well as further strengthening of cross-border tourism relations.

Present at the meeting were also a head of the Ministry's Department for Tourism Policy Management B.Margad and a head of the Department for State Administration and Management O.Sumiyabaatar, along with other officials from Mongolia and China.

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China, Russia, Mongolia boost cross-border tourism

HOHHOT, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- China, Russia and Mongolia have signed a string of cross-border tourism cooperation agreements as part of the efforts to push the construction of the economic corridor among the three countries.

The ten cooperation projects, worth 1.4 billion yuan (220 million U.S. dollars), were signed by government authorities and enterprises during the first China-Mongolia Expo which opened in Hohhot, capital of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on Friday.

They include cross-border tourism route development, tourism personnel training as well as hotel and resort zone construction. The trilateral cooperation involves a tourism route which links Hohhot, Ulaan Baatar, Ulan-Ude and Irkutsk.

"Cross-border tourism is an important part and platform of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor," said Wei Guonan, head of the Inner Mongolia Tourism Administration.

In 2014, Inner Mongolia received 810,000 tourists from Mongolia and 630,000 from Russia, statistics with the administration show.

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8,100 types of products can be exported to Japan under EPA

October 23 ( The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren made a statement on the benefits of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe`s visit.

PM Shinzo Abe held detailed talks with President Ts.Elbegdorj on the relations between two countries. Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is ready to be implemented from the beginning of next year which is the first free trade agreement for Mongolia. During the visit, two parties discussed on such agreement, stated by the Minister.

In scope of the EPA, 8100 types of products are enabled to be exported to Japanese market from Mongolia at discounted price, while 5900 types of goods set to be imported from Japan to Mongolian market at customs' discounted price. However, it will be fully implemented for five to ten years after the agreement become valid, noted by the Minister.

Japanese side expressed that they will support and assist our country for conducting consistent economic policy. One evidence was that the Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren and Japanese Ambassador to Mongolia T.Shimizu signed Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on new project railway of east route for Tavan Tolgoi and to encourage the Japanese side's involvement in construction works.

Japanese side will conduct research prior to December, 2015 on how effective the project is and how much beneficial it is for the economy.

New International Airport of Ulaanbaatar in Hushigt, Tuv aimag is being constructed by the Japanese soft loan and Mongolia to cooperate with Japan on the management of this new airport.

Shinzo Abe said during the Nikkei forum held in May, 2015 that Japanese side to focus on the Asian infrastructure development and to invest US$ 110 billion in this sector over the next five to 10 years. We should take this opportunity in our country. Today we negotiated to use Japanese leading technology on coal gasification.

In addition, PM Shinzo Abe discussed with the President, PM and Speaker of the State Great Hural on developing regional cooperation.

Mongolia nominated for Human Rights Commission of UNICEF while the election will be held in next week. In accordance with that event, Japanese side expressed their willingness to support, said by the Minister L.Purevsuren.

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Gobi Cashmere takes advantage of EPA, reopens branch in Tokyo

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) Anticipating of the Agreement's entry into force, Mongolian companies have been preparing their products for export to its highly developed partner in trade.

This document--the Economic Partnership Agreement--was signed by the Prime Ministers of Mongolia and Japan last February for liberalizing and facilitating trade in goods and services between the two countries.

Gobi Corporation, for example, has restored its branch in Japan, and opened last month its representative office in Arakawa district of Tokyo, the COO D.Naranbaatar says. Mongolia's factories can send off 1-2 million pieces of cashmere clothes to Japan, if our government provides some incentives.

In the first nine months of 2015, Mongolia exported some 13 thousand pieces of cashmere clothers worth a half million US dollars. These products are currently imposed 10.1 percent import tax, which will be eliminated gradually. In this case, the Mongolian cashmere will have an advantage over similar products from China.

According to the General Customs Authority, Mongolia's import to Japan in the first nine months of 2015 reached 14.3 million USD, of which a half was made up by copper concentrate test export, which began last August. Aside from the copper concentrate and cashmere goods, Mongolia is exporting animal gut, other by-products and vodkas. "Mongol Chevro" and "Mongol Bazalt" companies are studying possibilities to commercialize their products on Japan's market as well. Last June, "Deed Ongo" (Supreme Color) company made a deal with Japan's "Super Region" company to supply clothes worth five million JPY.

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UNDP Mongolia Procurement Notices

Procurement notice

Terms of Reference/ Related document


Procurement Notice: seeking qualified service provider-legal entity (firm/NGO/institution) with a team of experts to conduct Corruption risk assessment of the extractive industry in Mongolia.



12 PM, 4-Nov-2015

Request of Proposal: for seeking qualified service provider-legal entity (firm/NGO/Institution) with a team of experts to develop a training module for local governments and small and medium mining companies to enhance their knowledge and skills of responsible mining in Mongolia.



4 PM, 23-Oct-2015

Sale Announcement: Land Cruiser 105



11 AM, 29-Oct-2015

Request of Proposal: for seeking qualified service provide-legal entity (firm/NGO/Institution) with a team of experts to conduct a study to review mechanisms for collecting, managing and utilizing revenues from Mining.


RFP/15/008 rev. 01

11 AM, 23-Oct-2015

Procurement Notice: for National Consultancies under the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN):

1. Policy and Institutional Expert 

2. Environment and Public/Private Finance Expert

ToR -  Environment and Public/Private Finance Expert


ToR - Policy and Institutional Expert 

12 PM, 4-Nov-2015

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100 businesses to attend "Big City Sale" event, October 29, Chinggis Square

October 23 ( Prior to 376th anniversary of the capital city, "City Sale" event will take place on October 29 at Chinggis Square for the third consecutive year. Delegates from participant companies today have delivered information to the media.

The event will officially open at 11:40 am, Chinggis Square on next Thursday.

More than 100 business entities operating in the city have requested to take part and to sell their products at 10-70% discounted price.

Moreover, individuals creating and selling cashmere and food products are enabled to attend the event without rental fee.

"NVTS" domestic egg producing company's tent was most crowded last year. This year, the company plans to sell its products at four tents. Also, they would cook omelet for 10000 visitors

Last year, more than 300 thousand people bought products worth MNT 1 billion.

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Deputy Mayor attends 6th Asia-Pacific Urban Forum in Jakarta

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) The UB city's Deputy Mayor in charge of urban development and investment affairs S.Ochirbat has taken part in the Sixth Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-6), which ran this October 19-21 in Jakarta of Indonesia.

With 850 delegates from 50 countries and international organizations, the APUF-6 ran three main and 18 sub-meetings to consider problems cities are faced with, and to share experiences gained in cooperation at regional and international levels. Opening remarks were made by Ms Shamshad Akhtar, a Head of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and by Mr Basuki Hadimuljono, the Indonesian Minister of Public Works and Public Housing.

The Asia-Pacific Urban Forum is a multi-stakeholder meeting organized every 4-5 years by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in order to provide a platform for urban policy actors in the region to discuss emerging and critical urban development issues. The forum thereby facilitates the sharing of experiences, good practices and approaches which encourage the formation of new stakeholder partnerships. A crucial aim of APUF is the catalyzing of regional and global processes and development objectives.

This year, the APUF-6 themed "Sustainable Urban Development in Asia-Pacific: Towards a New Urban Agenda" has taken place at a key point in the development of international urban policy: APUF was held closely following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and one year prior to the Third United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat III). The discussion of persistent and emerging issues, related to sustainable urban development in Asia-Pacific and in particular priority areas for the implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda, were therefore be core focus areas of the forum.

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Ride connecting bus for free within 30 minutes

October 23 ( In scope of "Smart Ulaanbaatar" program, public transportation payment system has been upgraded and switched into electronic version.

According to the updated planning, total of 1015 transportation vehicles including 18 articulated buses, 40 trolley bus, 918 big and 39 medium sized buses are serving via main 75 routes in the city.

New system empowers passengers to ride next bus within 30 minutes without the charge. In other words, if passenger sit the second bus within 30 minutes, it will be free, but if passenger sit the third bus, passenger will be pay the regular fee of bus (MNT 500).

However, the discount is only available for passenger who owns smart card.

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Statues of UB #14: Statue of Tumbash

October 23 ( According to the research conducted in 2014, Ulaanbaatar has total of 153 monuments and statues. However, most of us do not recognize and understand all of them even through we are passing by them everyday. Thus, we constantly deliver information of the monuments and statues.

Today, we introduce you the "Tumbash" bronze complex commissioned in 2011 known as located in Sansar micro district. Tumbash is a symbol for four animals, a pigeon, a hare, a monkey and an elephant. Many Mongolians spend their childhood by hearing the Indian fairy-tale describing four animals living peacefully and happily together with the respect to the older.

There is no information except the Statue of Tumbash made by bronze and erected by MNT 250 million. The creator and the place where it crafted have remained undefined too. Therefore, we aimed to deliver you the information that you might not be familiar with.

First: Word 'Tumbash' means friendly four animals.

Second: In Buddhist religion, Buddha represents him by the eldest animal, a pigeon and a hare, a monkey and an elephant represent his closest followers.

Third: Pictures and sculptures of these four animals are popular in Balba families and Tumbash is considered as symbol of peace like Statue of Liberty believed as symbol of freedom in USA.

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Abe reaches engineering, economic agreements with Turkmenistan, Mongolia

ASHGABAT, October 23 (Kyodo) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov agreed Friday to cooperate on infrastructure development and natural gas plant projects totaling ¥2.2 trillion in the resource-rich Central Asian country.

Abe and Berdimuhamedov also agreed to urge North Korea to follow United Nations Security Council resolutions banning the development of nuclear weapons, and affirmed tie-ups in human resources development in Turkmenistan for advanced industries using Japanese-style engineering education, according to a joint statement issued after their meeting in Ashgabat, the capital.

Given that Turkmenistan has the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, the leaders welcomed participation by Japanese companies in building gas processing and chemicals plants, the statement said.

With Turkmenistan the source of more than half of China's natural gas imports, the country aims to diversify exports through the advanced processing of gas, especially at a time when prices have slumped.

Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit Turkmenistan. He is on the second leg of a six-nation, weeklong tour that will also take him to four other Central Asian states.

Observers say the trip is intended to counter China's growing influence in the resource-rich region with its economic might.

On Thursday evening, Abe visited Mongolia and agreed with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg to advance economic cooperation between the two countries on the back of a free trade agreement signed earlier this year.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Ulan Bator, Saikhanbileg said Mongolia completed legal procedures the same day, paving the way for the FTA, signed in February, to take effect possibly this coming spring.

Abe welcomed the move, saying Japan "would like to cooperate for Mongolia's development." The Japanese government won Diet approval for the FTA during the regular Diet session that ended last month.

Saikhanbileg said he and Abe also agreed to cooperate on infrastructure development in Mongolia, including developing the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, a major project in the country's south.

Referring to bilateral security cooperation, Abe said he won Mongolia's backing for greater overseas roles for the Self-Defense Forces under new security laws.

Abe called for continued strategic dialogue involving the two countries and the United States.

"Sharing basic values, Japan and Mongolia are important strategic partners," he said.

Given that Mongolia has diplomatic relations with North Korea, Abe asked for Ulan Bator's cooperation in addressing Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

The abduction issue has prevented Japan and North Korea from normalizing diplomatic relations.

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With Mongolian stopover, Abe sought progress on North Korean abductions

TOKYO, October 24 (Nikkei Asian Review) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to Mongolia on his Central Asian tour highlights his unusually deep connection to the country, aimed in part at bringing answers to decades-old questions surrounding Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

Abe swung by Mongolia for five hours Thursday. President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj welcomed him to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, thanking him for visiting as promised. During a Sept. 27 reception at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations in New York, the president had asked the prime minister to include Mongolia in his Central Asia tour. Abe replied that he would look into it, though an overnight stay could be difficult to fit in.

Abe's itinerary had already been set. But last-minute changes allowed him to fulfill his pledge, making Abe the first Japanese prime minister to visit Mongolia twice while in office.

Top-level visits between the countries have been unusually frequent under Abe. In addition to the prime minister's two trips, Mongolia's president or prime minister has come to Japan four times since Abe returned to office in 2012. Abe made the rare gesture of inviting Elbegdorj to his home during the president's 2013 trip. The Japanese leader also sent in July a video message aired during a celebration of Mongolia's 25 years of democracy. Bonds of trust between the two countries are firmer than ever, Abe said.

Collaboration nation

Abe's push for stronger ties is motivated partly by Mongolia's long-standing relations with North Korea. One of his key foreign policy goals has been to resolve lingering questions surrounding the fates of Japanese abducted by the North in the 1970s and '80s and secure their safe return.

Mongolia has already proved cooperative on this front. A March 2014 meeting between the parents of abductee Megumi Yokota and her daughter, Kim Eun Gyong, took place in Ulaanbaatar. Covert visits by high-ranking national security personnel and members of the prime minister's staff to Mongolia earlier this year are widely believed to have been attempts to make progress on the abductions.

Mongolia appears to be leveraging its ties to North Korea to strengthen economic relations with Japan. In February, Mongolia and Japan signed the Central Asian country's first economic partnership agreement. Mongolian measures paving the way for implementation were completed Thursday, coinciding with a meeting between Abe and Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg. The Japanese leader agreed in that meeting to launch a feasibility study for a large-scale rail infrastructure project in the country, per the Mongolians' request.

Some within the government warn against harboring hopes for major developments on the abduction issue. No timeline has been set for a North Korean report on a reinvestigation begun more than a year ago into the whereabouts of abductees. But Abe will do everything in his power to make progress, a source close to him said. The prime minister's edging toward Mongolia appears to betray his mounting urgency to solve the problem.

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N. Korea looking to import meat from Mongolia

News comes as Japanese PM asks Mongolia for help on abduction issue during state visit

October 23 (NK News) North Korea is looking to expand its food trading partners by importing meat from Mongolia, according to local media reports.

A North Korean adviser to the Ambassador met with Mongolia's Head of General Agency for Specialized Inspection Sh. Radnaased to discuss the issue this week.

"I am pleased that DPRK expresses interest in meat import and cooperation with us, and we are willing to provide necessary assistance such as supplying an information related to the veterinary quarantine and hygiene," Radnaased said in comments carried by mongolia.gogo.

North Korea still struggles with food security, with its agriculture sector unable to produce sufficient protein, according to a 2013 report UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Recent NK News analysis on Chinese data also showed that North Korea is importing less food from its neighbor this year.

"Recently, when North Korea import products, commercial products including TVs are becoming more important. The importance of food including cereals is decreasing compared to before," Choi Yongho, research fellow at the Korea Rural Economic Institute told NK News.

"In addition, I suppose as the standard of living increases, the demand of meat … also gets higher," he added.

The news comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brought up North Korea during his second state visit to Mongolia during his tenure.

During his trip Abe asked Mongolia to help with solving the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

According to the NK NewsKCNA Watch data tool, North Korea and Mongolia exchanged numerous delegations over the past year and signed a memorandum of understanding in April.

Despite the increasing interactions, the ITC Trade Map shows limited trade between the two countries. The majority of North Korean exports to Mongolia throughout 2014 appear to be unspecified pharmaceutical products.

The two countries are also looking to cooperate on Mongolian coal exports, using North Korea's Rason port.  Mongolia has a thriving coal industry, but its lack of coastline and undeveloped rail infrastructure limit its export options.

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Japan, Mongolia reach deals on TT-Sainshand railway, airport management, Tokyo 2020 workforce

Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) After signing a memorandum of Mutual Understanding, the Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg and his Japanese colleague Mr Shinzo Abe called a press conference.

Mr Saikhanbileg expressed a satisfaction with successful expanded talks within the second visit of Mr Abe to Mongolia, and noted that the Mongolia-Japan strategic partnership and cooperation have been developing in all spheres.

As a result of the official talks, the parties signed an intergovernmental Memorandum on cooperating in joint project on constructing eastern branch railway in Tavan tolgoi and on related infrastructure. They also talked about a credit support from Japan, boosting small and middle-sized productions and realizing a two-phase project on environment protection, Saikhanbileg said.

They also reached a principal agreement on implementing a management at the new international airport of Ulaanbaatar being erected in Khoshig Valley, together with a Japanese consortium.

He added that Mongolia is ready to send its workforce to Japan for having it involved in a construction that is underway to get prepared for the 2020 Summer Olympics, in accordance with a proposal from Japan.

Mr Abe expressed a satisfaction with starting his visits to Asian countries from Mongolia, and said Japan and Mongolia are strategically-important partnership in the region. A realization of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and a project on construction of the new international airport have forwarded since his visit in 2013, this is an expression of how bilateral ties are strengthening, he added.

"The PM Saikhanbileg has affirmed his support to the peaceful policy of Japan. We have concurred to step up the bilateral talks and cooperation in the politics and security spheres," Mr Abe said. He expressed a willingness of his country to help Mongolia make its policy self-supporting by a steady policy on economy.

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What benefits has Shinzo Abe's visit brought to Mongolia

October 23 ( Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had made the second state visit of his tenure to Mongolia.

It is historical event for two countries that Prime Minister of the powerful nation, the third in the world and the second in Asia with economic capacity, made the state visit to our country for the second time during his tenure of 4 years. It is surely the sign that Japan provides an attention on cooperation with Mongolia.

Previously, Japanese Prime Ministers used to make the official visit to our country every 7-8 years.

·         1991, Prime Minister T.Kaifu

·         1999, Prime Minister T.Obuchi

·         2006, Prime Minister J.Koizumi

·         2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Despite just four hour – visit paid to our country, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brought few good news to us.


Our country established the economic partnership agreement for the first time, with Japan. The agreement expected to boost investment and business sectors will be effective from 2016. During the visit, PM Shinzo Abe discussed about the agreement with Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold.

As soon as the agreement is effective, 8100 types of products will be exported from Mongolia to Japan markets at a discounted price. In return, 5900 types of products from Japan to Mongolia will be traded with less customs fee added. But, the agreement is expected to deliver its full benefits 5-10 years later.


First of all, it should be cited that Japanese Prime Minister signed intergovernmental MOU to cooperate on the railway project of East Tsankhi of Tavan Tolgoi project and other relative infrastructure projects. Mongolian side initiated the establishment of MOU.

Japanese side agreed to consider Mongolia's interest to develop feasibility studies on above-mentioned projects, and to study potential benefits of the projects prior to December 2015.

That Japanese side agreed to confirm whether to involve in the railway project prior to next year will certainly benefit Mongolia's negotiation with the consortium of Japanese, Mongolian and Chinese companies. But we request Mongolian side to deliver enough information about the project to Japanese business entities, said PM Shinzo Abe.


For last two weeks, MPs have been discussing the draft laws of 2015 state budget amendments and 2016 state budget. They are usually looking for approaches to reduce the budget deficit.

PM Shinzo Abe stated that Japan would lend JPY 200 million in order to help reducing the state budget deficit. But the loan conditions and interest rate remained unknown. The loan set to be aiming for developing small and medium sized enterprises.


Japan will host 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is confirmed that Mongolian construction workers would participate in construction and infrastructure development activities of Olympic Games. Japanese side initiated the idea. It is a great opportunity for Mongolian vocational training students with basic Japanese. But number of workers to participate in the event development is not certain currently.


Mongolia had nominated for temporary member position of Human Rights Council of UNICEF while the election will be held in next week. In accordance with that event, Japanese side expressed their willingness to support.

In return, Mongolia agreed to support Japan, which nominated itself for one of five permanent members of Security Council of UN.


During the visit, two sided discussed the incident that North Korean capture Japanese citizens many years ago. Also, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that other countries should unite against North Korea, which regularly threatens to launch a nuclear bomb.

Delegates from North Korea and Japan held the meeting in Ulaanbaatar, 2012. Japanese side expressed its gratitude that Mongolia works as intermediary between two countries.

Also, Mongolian and Japanese sides yesterday approved the plans of the works to be done in regards to two phase project of environmental protection, potential partnership with Japanese consortium on newly-constructed airport management services, and joint regional project within the scope of 'Energy" initiative.

Moreover, Japanese side got involved in "Khaan Quest" international military operations for the first time in Mongolia in last June, which confirms that two countries consistently work on ensuring security issues.

Finally, to emphasize the quote of Japanese Prime Minister: "Mongolia should adopt self-sufficient development policies and Japan is always willing to help", he said.

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Expo to improve China-Mongolia cooperation: Xi

HOHHOT, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The first China-Mongolia Expo will serve as an important platform to improve economic cooperation and cultural exchange between China and Mongolia, President Xi Jinping said in a letter sent to the expo, which opened on Friday.

The expo will help promote China-Mongolia relations to a higher level, and will also improve cooperation among northeast Asian nations at large, the president said.

China highly values the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, and is ready to integrate China's "Belt and Road" initiative with Mongolia's Steppe Road plan based on mutual respect, benefit, and win-win cooperation, Xi said.

In his congratulatory letter, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj also lauded the role the expo will play to bilateral pragmatic cooperation and the Mongolia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong said at the opening ceremony, that recent years have witnessed deepening political mutual trust, closer trade and economic cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The biennial event is the biggest exchange program between the two countries in recent years. Delegates from China, Mongolia, Russia and Malaysia attended the expo in Hohhot, capital city of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

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Women MPs meet with S.Korean colleagues

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) Members of parliament D.Oyunkhorol and D.Sarangerel Thursday met with Ms Kim Young Joo, a member of the National Assembly (parliament) of the Republic of Korea and chairwoman of the Labor Party Congress (LPC).

Oyunkhorol wished them a nice stay here and underlined women MPs' "big role in developing the Mongolia-S.Korea friendly relations and cooperation". She noted that the S.Korean women parliamentarians have actively participated in the 19th Annual Meeting of Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) which took place in 2011 in Ulaanbaatar, and expressed a willingness to expand the cooperation between women MPs.

In response, Ms Kim emphasized she is visiting us in order to enrich the bilateral friendly relations, to boost the collaboration between the two countries' organizations for women, and to share experience in ways the women play a role in politics.

The National Assembly member Ms Kim is visiting Mongolia by invitation of Ts.Tsogzolmaa,  president of the Mongolian Union of Social Democratic Women, until October 24.

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Foreign Minister Purevsuren visits Italy on 45th anniversary of ties

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren started an official visit to Italy on Friday, invited by his Italian colleague Mr Paolo Gentiloni.

The visit is coinciding with the 45th anniversary of the Mongolia-Italy diplomatic relations. Within the visit, Purevsuren will meet with Mr Gentiloni; Pier Ferdinando Casini, a head of the Standing committee of the Senate on foreign policy and migration affairs; A.P.Pekkia, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism.

He will also leg Milan to see the EXPO-2015 and to get acquainted with experience of Italy in organizing the 2014 ASEM Summit and the EXPO-2015.

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Asia-Pacific Security Conference Held in Mongolia

October 23 ( The 10th General Conference of the "Council for the Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific" (CSCAP) is taking place in Ulaanbaatar. The conference began on 21st- and concludes today (23rd October). The event is being organized under the theme: "Confidence Building in Asia Pacific Region: The Security Architecture of the 21st Century". The "Strategic Research Institute" of the Mongolian National Security Council, which is the Secretary Authority of the CSCAP, is organizing the general conference this time. Approximately, 150 representatives from 20 countries are participating in the general conference. During CSCAP, the panelists will discuss the current situation and urgent problems in the Asia-Pacific Region, the structure of the regional security, the regional energy sector, transportation development, humanitarian aid and disaster prevention etc.

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Health, Education

ADB, Japan Extend $2 Million For Education, Health Services

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, October 23 (ADB) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Finance signed today two technical assistance grant agreements for  $2 million to help Mongolia increase access to health services for disadvantaged groups and quality education services. 

The grants are being provided by the the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction—a financing facility set up by the Government of Japan in 2000 to provide relief and support to the poorest communities—and will be administered by ADB. First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Fukasawa Hiroshi, was witness at the signing ceremony. 

$1 million will go to support the management and rollout of ongoing education reforms aimed at addressing equitability issues in the sector, and another $1 million will go to help increase access to health services for disadvantaged groups living in ger areas in Ulaanbaatar. 

"Mongolia has made significant strides in improving the accessibility of its health and education services, but there are still constraints facing some groups and this assistance will help the government ensure quality services are made available to those in need," said Sangay Penjor, Director of the Urban and Social Sectors Division in ADB's East Asia Department. 

The education assistance will boost the capacity of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Institute of Education, sector reform teams, education departments and laboratory schools in nine districts of Ulaanbaatar and six aimags (Dundgovi, Khentii, Khuvsgol, Orkhon, Uvs and Zavkhan) to carry out municipal, aimag and national level research on school factors which influence equity of access to quality education. It will also develop measures to enhance equity of access to quality education. 

The health grant will help increase the availability of primary and hospital health services to meet growing needs in ger areas of Ulaanbaatar city. This will be followed up in a later ADB-assisted project to build 10 additional family health centers and establish district hospitals in ger areas. The project will also improve the social health insurance system to increase access to services. 

The education technical assistance project will be carried out over 2 years through to July 2017, while the health project has an estimated completion date of August 2016. 

In Mongolia, ADB-approved assistance totaled $218.8 million in 2014, including 4 sovereign loans of $168.5 million; nonsovereign loans of $40 million; and 15 technical assistance grants totaling $10.31 million.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

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"Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care" conference takes place in Mongolia

October 23 ( The Office of Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund /UNFPA/ Mongolia is organizing the "Emergency obstetric and neonatal care" national conference in the State Palace, Ulaanbaatar on October 23, 2015. 

This high level consultation meeting is aimed to further strengthen quality and coverage of the maternal and child health initiative including emergency obstetric care services in Mongolia, where representatives and delegates from Ministry of Health and Sports, Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, City Department of Health, National Center for Maternal and Child Health as well as Health Centers from 9 Districts of Ulaanbaatar and Arkhangai, Uvurkhangai, Tuv, Selenge, Bulgan, Orkhon, Darkhan-Uul, Umnugovi, Dundgovi and Bayankhongor aimags are attending the conference.

The opening remarks was delivered by Speaker of the Parliament and his speech Mr. Z.Enhbold highlighted, "In the scope of implementation of Millennium Development Goals, Mongolia has been sustainably implementing projects to Improve maternal health and Reduce child mortality. According to statistics, 40,000 live births were counted in 2000 and after 14 years, the number of newborns was increased two-fold. The total population of Mongolia reached 3 million people in 2015.

The Parliament of Mongolia adopted the MDGs as development benchmarks in 2005 and then as the framework for the MDG-Based Comprehensive National Development Strategy (CNDS) of 2008-21.

Mongolia recorded a decline in under-five mortality rate from 97.2 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 18.9 in 2012. In terms of the actual number of infant deaths, there has been remarkable decline of 76.1 percent from 4,789 deaths in 1990 to 1,143 in 2012.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) peaked in 1993 at 259 per 100,000 live births before declining to 143.5 in 1997. It has declined steadily since then despite a slight fluctuation between 1997 and 2000, an accelerated decline in 2001-06, and again a slight decrease in 2007-10.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) was high in the early 1990s after which it declined in 2001-06 due to introduction and implementation of Maternal Mortality Reduction Strategies (MMRS) between 2001 and 2010. The Government has formulated and implemented the national program on "Maternal and Child Health for 2011-15". This program has contributed significantly to achieving the MMR target by 2015 as outlined in MDG 5".

At today's National Conference, a keynote speech was also delivered by Ms. Tania Patriota, Officer in Charge, UNFPA Mongolia.

UNFPA Mongolia Representative T.Patriota noted, "Exactly a month ago, on behalf of the world's more than 7 billion people, Heads of State, and Government Representatives adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centered set of universal and transformative Goals and targets for the next 15 years. During this gathering of world leaders, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon proudly launched the "Global Strategy for Women's, Children's, and Adolescents' Health 2030", calling all countries to further improve the health of hundreds of millions of women and children around the world, and in so doing, to improve the lives of all people for the next 15 years.

Like Mongolia, many upper-middle-income countries are now looking for the efficient use of domestic resources, and in particular, many health and population development Ministries are now focusing on strengthening their allocation systems to make them mother-and child friendly; creating budget lines specifically on maternal and child health; including essential health services in the health insurance packages, and strengthening reporting and tracking mechanisms.

We all know that there is no one-size-fits all solution. Ensuring sustainable financing for maternal and child health programmes requires longstanding commitment and action; therefore, UNFPA stands ready to provide guidance to support the Mongolian Government towards this result".

Link to release


Call for Applications: Study of the U.S Institutes for Scholars and Secondary School Educators, Summer 2016

October 22 -- The U.S. Embassy in Mongolia is pleased to invite candidate applications for the Summer 2016 Study of the U.S Institutes (SUSI) for multinational scholars and secondary school educators. SUSI are intensive post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty, other scholars, and secondary school educators the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American society, culture, and institutions. The main goal of the program is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States in academic and secondary education institutions abroad.

The programs will take place at various colleges and institutions throughout the United States over the course of 5-6 weeks beginning in June 2016. The U.S. Department of State will cover all participant costs, including international, domestic, and ground transportations, books, cultural, housing and subsistence, mailing, and incidental allowances.

Interested applicants can visit Embassy's web page or for general information regarding the program.

The Embassy is accepting applications for the following seven programs:

1.    U.S. Culture and society;

2.    American Politics and Political Thought;

3.    American Contemporary Literature;

4.    American Foreign Policy;

5.    American Journalism and Media;

6.    Religious Pluralism in the United States;

Secondary School Educators (applicants for this program may include secondary school teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, ministry of education officials, or other related professional with responsibility for secondary education.)

Candidate descriptions and qualifications:

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UN Volunteers' Evening: - Sharing Information and Networking –

United Nations Volunteers in Mongolia, United Nations Youth Advisory Panel and Network of Mongolian Volunteer Organizations are pleased to invite you to an informal evening meet-up for volunteers and volunteer organizations to exchange information and network. Anyone who is interested in volunteering or is looking for volunteers is welcome to come.

Volunteers, come find out who needs your time and skills.

Organizations, please bring information where you need help most and how volunteers can contact you.

We will help each other with translating into English and Mongolian.


If you have any questions, please feel free to write to/call us: / +976 9515 5999 (Mongolian); / +976 9933 4053 (English).

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Nature, Environment

Rare wild snow leopards caught on camera

Watch when two snow leopards approach a hidden camera in Mongolia

October 23 (The Telegraph) A snow leopard mother and cub have been caught on camera in the wild in Mongolia.

The video was captured by conservation charity WWF.

The charity warn that if climate change is not addressed, a third of the areas in which snow leopards live, could become uninhabitable.

The mountains in which the leopards live, not only just provide a perfect habitat for the animals, but the habitats provide water to hundreds of millions of people across Asia.

The snow leopards are already on the list of endangered species.

Link to video


Khan Bank Foundation Sponsors Mazaalai-Gobi Bear Project

October 22 (Khan Bank) The Gobi bear, also known as Mazaalai, which is listed in the Mongolian and global Red Book, is a very rare species and inhabits strictly protected areas of Mongolia such as Segs Tsagaan Bogd, Ekhiin Gol, the oasis of Atas and Inges, and the Gobi desert. As of 1960, the population of Mazaalai was between 15 and 20 and only 22 remained in 2014 as a main example of endangered species.     

With the aim of raising awareness of  this species, Mazaalai-Gobi Bear project - initiated by Khan Bank's Bayankhongor Branch, the Environment and Tourism Department of the province and Khongor Nutgiin Duudlaga NGO - was successfully organized. Within the framework of the project, the Khan Bank Foundation sponsored the establishment of exhibition area, which is showing the real living conditions of Mazaalai through panoramic images, at the Aimag's Natural History Museum and organized public contests on drawing and creating anthem lyrics for the Mazaalai.

A four-day adventure tour was organized among the best participants of the contest to travel around 1,312 km across the territories, where the Mazaalai are living, and to become acquainted with the lifestyle of the Gobi bear. The project was implemented not only in Bayankhongor aimag, but it also marks the beginning of a nationwide campaign to draw public attention to the Mazaalai, collect funds to protect this endangered species and provide young generations with the knowledge of such very rare and endangered animals.

As a result of public engagement in protecting and increasing the population of other rare species including Koala and Panda bears, there is nobody who does not know about these animals, and all people understand that they should engage in activities to protect them. 

We strongly believe that we can reach such an achievement if we can join together for improving the protection of the Mazaalai, and establish a research and growth center that is needed to help and protect the endangered bear.

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Mogi: BS! Obviously the authors haven't seen firsthand the effects of climate change in Mongolia

Stanford/Berkeley study says Mongolia stands to benefit the most from climate change

October 22 ( A new study from scientists and economists at Stanford and Berkeley has taken a stab at determining how climate change will affect the world's economic activity. As part of their study, they look at which countries might benefit from climate change and which might lose out. As you might expect, countries in the Northern Hemisphere with cooler climates stand to benefit while the rest of the world will not. Here are some of the projected big winners (the Nordic countries) and losers (the Middle East):

Mongolia +1413%
Finland +516%
Iceland +513%
Russia +419%
Estonia +259%

Saudi Arabia -96%
Kuwait -96%
Oman -94%
United Arab Emirates -94%
Iraq -93%

Canada (+247%) is another one of the potential big winners while the US (-36%) stands to lose out...along with all of Africa, South America, India, and China. This quote by one of the study's lead authors, really grabbed me by the throat:

What climate change is doing is basically devaluing all the real estate south of the United States and making the whole planet less productive. Climate change is essentially a massive transfer of value from the hot parts of the world to the cooler parts of the world. This is like taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

Among other many things, anthropogenic climate change is an issue of discrimination.1 Rich, predominantly white countries caused the problem and can do the most to limit the damage, but climate change will disproportionately affect poor countries, poor people (even in rich countries), women, and people of color. The rich need to do something about it so that the poor will not suffer. The problem is, the world's wealthy have a long history of not being incentivized to help anyone but themselves. I hope this will turn out differently...or, as sometimes happens, the desires of the wealthy and the needs of the poor dovetail into action of joint benefit.

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Rising star Tsogtbaatar aiming for gold on opening day of IJF Junior World Championships

October 22 (Inside the Games) Mongolia's Tsendochir Tsogtbaatar is expected to be one of the leading contenders for gold on the opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Junior World Championships tomorrow as he seeks to improve on his silver medal in 2014.

The 19-year-old will be hoping to show his promise as one of the rising stars by taking gold in the men's under 60 kilogram division and will be able to call upon his experience at the Senior World Championships, which took place in Kazakhstan's capital city Astana in August, when he takes to the mat in Abu Dhabi.

However Tsogtbaatar, who is also due to compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam event which follows the Championships from October 30 to November 1, may need to upset the top seed and junior European champion Walide Khyar of France if he is to secure gold in the United Arab Emirates' capital city.

Both judokas are aiming to claim one of four gold medals on offer at the beginning of the five-day Championships, with the men's under 55kg event also due to take place as well as the women's under 48kg and 52kg events.

Junior world silver and bronze medallists in 2014, Larissa Farias of Brazil and Melisa Cakmakli of Turkey, will be expected to be among those challenging for the top of the podium in the women's under 48kg competition tomorrow.

The under-20 competition, which is due to take place until October 27, is the final IJF World Championships to take place this year following the cadet, kata, senior and veteran events.

A total of 560 judoka, representing 82 nations, are set to take to the tatami and each of the competitors discovered their potential route to the final following today's draw at the competition venue, the IPIC Arena.

Mohamed Meridja, IJF education and coaching director, delivered a welcome address on behalf of the governing body before United Arab Emirates Judo Federation vice-president Nasser Khalifa Al-Budoor welcomed competitors and coaches ahead of the World Championships and Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.

"I am proud to see you all here for the first of our two major events," he said.

"It is good to see you all and I hope you have a relaxing stay in Abu Dhabi and a successful competition.

"Thank you for your support and I wish you a good time in the United Arab Emirates."

With the event set to showcase judo stars of the future, Japan's Tomizawa Kana could be one of the main focuses of attention during the Championships with the women's under 52kg athlete being one of the youngest competitors at the age of 16, but the reigning Cadet world champion has the potential to cause upsets.

Following the completion of individual competitions on October 26, the team events will round off the Championships the following day.

To watch the latest action on Judo TV click here

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Art, Entertainment

"DAY OF SHEPHERDING" Painting Exhibition by Artist D.Enerel

October 23 ( "DAY OF SHEPHERDING" Painting Exhibition by artist D.Enerel, was opened on 21 October at 976 Art Gallery.

Exhibition displays over 30 portraits of sheep, modern works created using monoprint method. Shepherding person is treated in special way by Mongolian tradition. For artist Enerel, opening day was her shepherding day.

Opening solo show offered full of surprises: Guests sensed the traditional nomadic subsistence; milk tea, sheep head and airag was offered for the guests.  

The exhibition is open to the public until Noverber 11.

What: "DAY OF SHEPHERDING" Painting Exhibition by artist D.Enerel

Where: 1st floor of Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel, 976 Art Gallery

When: October 21 to Noverber 11 (10AM to 07.30PM during the weekdays and 12PM to 08PM during weekends.)

Tax: Free

Inquiry: 94051127; 99750959

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Classic national opera to be staged this weekend

Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) As this October has beed announced the Month of Historic Operas, the Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet is staging the opera adaptation of the classical short story "A Venerable Monk's Tears" by D.Natsagdorj, on October 24 and 25. The monk Lodon will be played by E.Amartuvshin, the audience prize winner of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2015.

The main music conductor is the State Honored Figure of Arts J.Burenbekh, the directors are L.Erdenebulgan, a State Honored Figure of Arts, and B.Tserendavaa. Tickets are being sold at the cashier of the Academic Theatre and website.

The opera was first staged on May 10 of 1986. The must-read classical short story about an unfortunate love story of a Buddhist monk has been written by Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj, one of the founders of the comtemporary Mongolian literature.

The translation of this story by scholar Simon Wickham-Smith can be found in his "Stories from the Steppe" book.

… When Geshe Lodon, who meditated on the world as being empty, who kept the monastic vows and who had preserved with his robes of yellow and red, came down the eastern terrace at Gandan, it happened that a young woman called Zi Bai-hua, or Tserenlkham, whose determined study of song was an education in the sharp heat of passion, was coming in the opposite direction, in a shimmer of white and black, down a muddy street out of the Western Traders' quarter of Urga. Zi Bai-hua's supply of opium was used up, and so she was going to sell a golden ring for some money. By chance, she saw Geshe Lodon, and the plan came like lightning to her that this must surely be one of the sangha and, knowing already that such people were lighthearted and easily lead, she went straight up to him and anxiously said, "Please, venerable monk, please, my old mother is sick and on the verge of death. Please come to our house and pray for her." And the monk said, "I am going to attend a ritual in the eastern monastery. I don't have time now. Ask another monk." But he saw how panicked she was when she asked him and, thinking that she would give a large offering, he set off with her in the direction of her home to say some prayers…

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On a golden wing and a Mongolian prayer

The Golden Eagle Festival is a spectacle of human and raptorial skill.

by Scott Elliott

October 23 (Australian Financial Review) "Surely this must be some mistake?" I ponder on approach to the office that supposedly houses my travel agent.

A fantastically brutalist example of Soviet‑era architecture in downtown Ulaanbaatar, the building is undergoing a major renovation and appears more construction site than travel bureau. I remind myself that Mongolia plays by its own rule book and therefore so should I. Forcing my way past a huddle of dust-covered labourers, I climb the dodgy, crumbling concrete staircase. Arriving on level two, I tentatively negotiate a heavy steel door, poking my head around it to discover the warm, greeting confines of a cosy little office.

In it sits Natasha, a friendly local with a bright smile who comes highly recommended by my work colleagues, a travel map emblazoned with the slogan "Mongolia, land of contrasts" proudly displayed on her desk.


Nowhere are these contrasts more pronounced than in Ulaanbaatar. The country's capital has transformed over the past decade from horses and goats roaming the main streets to a hyper-capitalist hotbed where the last vestiges of the Soviet era vie for attention among shining new skyscrapers and the ever present personality cult of the "man of the millennium", Chinggis (Genghis) Khan or the "Universal Ruler". Lucky for him it is a millennium – he died in 1227, giving him through to roughly 2227.

"Mine-golia", as it has been dubbed on the international energy resources stage, is enjoying an extraordinary mining boom, thanks to its mineral riches and proximity to Russia and China. It has one of the world's fastest-growing economies as a result.

I experienced the boom first hand, spending four months in Ulaanbaatar assisting with a World Bank project last year. Reporting directly to the Ministry of Mining, I was responsible for helping to improve the environmental safeguards for the country's burgeoning resources sector.

At the mid-point of my contract, longing to get out to the wide open steppe country, I made an appointment with Natasha to prepare an itinerary around the famed Golden Eagle Festival in the country's far west. There was a lot riding on this mini-break to the largest, most important, annual eagle festival in Mongolia. Having spent the previous two months in "UB", I was desperate to escape to the countryside. I'd also be hosting my girlfriend.

Despite my broken Mongolian and Natasha's basic English, and spurred by the pressure of my girlfriend's imminent arrival from Australia, a travel plan was hatched. I laid down the sizeable sum of 1 million Mongolian tugrik (about $600) and, with the mobile telephone numbers of my driver and guide tucked in my wallet, I was ready to go. Natasha later sent through a somewhat sketchy itinerary with flexible activities and the accommodation bookings.


Arriving at the Golden Eagle Festival several weeks later, in early October, my efforts pay off. We have flown from UB to the desert city of Khovd (population 30,000), then driven five hours to Ölgii, bedding down at the popular Blue Wolf Hostel. When our room proves to be double-booked for the second and third nights of our three-night stay, the owner simply moves us upstairs to his apartment.

For this two-day festival, more than 70 golden eagles and their handlers have assembled near Ölgii. These enormous birds of prey, weighing up to seven kilograms each, will be put to the test according to hunting techniques that originated 2000 years ago among the nomadic peoples of central Asia. Eagle-hunting expeditions were even noted by Marco Polo during his adventures with Kublai Khan about 1280, and this festival is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Event.

Even though we're in Mongolia, the participants are unashamedly Kazakh and Islam is the dominant religion in this region. The people who live in this section of the Altai Mountains have historically identified themselves as such and today the Kazakh are a small minority comprising about 5 per cent of Mongolia's population of almost 3 million. In 2014, the year I visit, the Golden Eagle event coincides with the Islamic holiday of Eid, excluding some of the more devout hunters from competing.


The spectacle is much like turning back the pages of history. Camels loiter near a rugged hillside as if preparing to tread the Silk Road, while men on horseback dart across the steppe cradling their prized eagles on their forearms. There's a carnival atmosphere as food-sellers grill lamb shashliks over open coals, spreading the aroma of barbecue and wood smoke across the plains, while merchants peddle intricately woven rugs among arguably the world's most bizarre assortment of amusement rides – including a rustic see-saw with ropes on either side.

But our introduction to eagle hunting had actually occurred the day before in a remote valley 30 kilometres north. Our guide, Zoya, and driver, Auskath, had arranged for us to visit the home of a champion hunter from the previous year. Getting to the encampment was an adventure in itself.

We follow a makeshift map with a handful of tenuous landmarks, including a crossroad of dirt tracks, an unnamed creek and a seemingly non-existent phone tower. The scene is framed by the Altai Mountains, the snow on the peaks contrasting strikingly with the fertile valleys of the Khovd River and the wide-open blue sky above.

Dozens of families have established their autumn camp on the riverbanks. The air is tinged with the thick smell of manure, thanks to their large herds of cattle. Many of the gers (yurts) boast an eagle perched out front. At the base of the valley, we're met by the stern presence of a herder on his motorbike. The ensuing conversation with our driver yields a disappointing result: our eagle‑hunting family has already departed for Ölgii and won't be returning until after the festival.

But we're in luck. The herder and his family are also eagle hunters and have a bird we can see. Auskath is not a tour driver by trade but his day job as the owner of a local construction company means he's resourceful and well organised, essential attributes for negotiating western Mongolia's roads. He also drives a Landcruiser, which is a real bonus as the long drive ahead of us will require traversing multiple rivers and boulders.


With Auskath behind the wheel, we follow our new friend to his encampment: a collection of three gers, a Russian 4WD Lada and a communal meeting area built of bricks. My girlfriend and I are invited into the brick building as the fireplace means it's warmer than gers.

Nothing can take place until we've been treated to airag (fermented horse milk) and pastries with dry yoghurt. The various sweet and salty pastries materialise from a pot of bubbling oil and taste like tart shortbread; the airag hits the palate with the strength of hearty sour cream. The patriarch of the family, a sturdy 84-year-old, comes out of his ger to see what all the commotion is about.

With Zoya translating, we're able to discuss the influences that have shaped the life of this remarkable man. Short of stature but huge on presence, Zoya is a schoolteacher who also works as a casual tour guide thanks to her fluency in four languages: Russian, English, Mongolian and Kazakh. She tells us the patriarch is truly a product of his environment. He was born in modern-day China before his family moved to Kazakhstan and later settled in western Mongolia.

Gesturing flippantly towards his grandchildren – engrossed on their mobile phones – the old man speaks about contentment. For him, happiness is derived from the rewards of hard work and daily interaction with the steppe landscape. Like a proud parent, he speaks of his love for his cattle, horses and the environment that supports them. When the conversation shifts to the purpose of our visit, a curious, bemused look engulfs his face.

He takes to his feet and beckons us outside. Basking in the sunshine is an enormous golden eagle, its eyes covered by an intricate leather hood. Like the rest of its species, the bird is dark brown, with lighter golden-brown feathers on the nape.

The eagle cuts an impressive figure despite being tethered to a wooden perch that resembles a milking stool. The old man explains that his family have always been eagle hunters, and traditionally the birds were taken as hatchlings from the same mountains near Ölgii where the festival now takes place. Only females are taken, as they are larger and supposedly more easily trained than males.

As the grandfather puts his bird through her paces, he talks to it like any other family member: gently but firmly instructing it, cursing it when it's disobedient and explaining that we've come all the way from Australia to see her in action. He constantly strokes it, pats it and, at one point, he even appears to be having a joke with the bird.


Over the next two days, these mountains provide the perfect vantage point from which to view the festival. On the first day of the competition, we join a handful of other tourists and ascend the rocky hill that serves as the launching pad for the birds.

Our climb is rewarded with a scene of dreamlike proportions, the Altai Mountains rising like sentinels above the golden steppe, while the long tendrils of the pristine Khovd River reach out towards us; the faint outline of spectators assembled in a neat rectangle to mark the competition arena.

The eagle hunters work in pairs and prizes include for the eagle that excels at hunting prey, the eagle most proficient at finding its owner over a long distance and "best turned‑out eagle", basically for the bird that looks the best.

An expectant hush descends for the first event as a handler prepares to release his eagle from the mountainside, while the bird's owner waits on horseback in the arena below.

All eyes are fixed on the mounted hunter, resplendent in wolf pelt and glancing up to where his eagle will be launched. The event is timed from the moment the handler removes the leather hood from the eagle's head. The bird's owner erupts with a series of excited yelps.

Obediently, the eagle fixes its eyes on the source of the disturbance and takes flight. At the same moment, the owner begins to ride away from the base of the mountain. Within seconds, the giant bird of prey has climbed to more than 100 metres.

Like a streamlined dive bomber, the eagle suddenly pins back its wings and spirals to earth, pulling up only at the very last moment to land on the outstretched arm of its owner. It's one of the most astounding, primal spectacles you could ever hope to witness. However, like most close relationships, it's not always cordial.

At various points throughout the competition, the horses – clearly spooked by the swooping eagles – buck furiously to avoid being attacked. Some eagles simply set themselves free, rising high on a thermal current to assess the crowd before disappearing into the mountains.

On one such occasion, guide Zoya shakes her head in disappointment: "That eagle was not well trained," she assures us.

Most striking is when the eagles mistake members of the crowd for prey. One bird pins a hapless dog to the ground and claws at its head before the dog bolts across the steppe to avoid a repeat performance. It returns unscathed some hours later. It's no surprise that patrons with blonde hair are encouraged to tuck it away. (Stories of a Swedish woman being attacked many years before remain fresh in the minds of festival‑goers.)

Today, there are about 180 people in attendance. Western tourists represent only a small portion of this crowd but one gets the feeling that is about to change, not least because outfits such as Abercrombie & Kent are now offering high-end tours.

The lure of record prizemoney – reportedly worth thousands of US dollars, sponsored by the Mongolian government and a large tourism operator, Nomadic Expeditions – has ensured the event remains competitive. The winners also receive military-style medals and local celebrity status.


This year, an international television crew has turned up to document the festival's only female competitor – a teenage girl named Ashol-Pan, from a family of eagle hunters. Although she's barely big enough to hold the weight of her eagle, I later discover Ashol-Pan won one of the events.

Over the two days, plenty of other local traditions are showcased, including chaotic horse races, archery displays and the dramatic Kukhbar competition, a traditional nomadic game where men on horseback fight over a goat skin. The competitor who drops the skin or falls out of his saddle first is the loser. Energetic Kazakh music consisting of the dombra (a traditional guitar) and drums accompany each round, while local mounted police officers serve as the referees.

But the main event on the final day of the competition provides the key spectacle: Shyrga Tatu. Zoya explains only the best hunters and birds progress to the Shyrga Tatu. For this event, the eagles take flight from the mountainside, but rather than landing on the mounted hunter's arm, they must pinpoint a fast-moving lure the hunter drags behind his horse. This event most closely replicates these people's age-old winter hunting techniques, used to catch hares, wolves and foxes.

As the judges tally their final points, and we prepare to leave for the five-hour drive back to Khovd for our flight to UB, a story told by the 84-year-old eagle hunter we met a few days earlier comes to mind.

After many years of loyal service (the birds are kept for up to 13 years), tradition dictates that the eagle must be returned to the exact area from which it was taken. On a calm spring morning, the hunter will slaughter a sheep and place it on the mountaintop as a farewell gift.

The eagle is set free, allowed to gorge itself on the well-deserved prize until it can no longer fly. The hunter then quietly rides away and never looks back – his eagle nobly released back into the vast expanse of the Altai Mountains.

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A photography trip to Mongolia's Gobi Desert

October 26 ( It's not until I'm right in the thick of it, trekking through the lush green Eagle Valley in Mongolia's southern Gobi Desert, that I realise the truth. I am a terrible photographer.

This comes as a shock. People had always told me my travel snaps were great, hadn't they? They had lots of likes on Facebook. That was why I'd invested in a small but capable camera earlier in the year. That was why, when the opportunity to spend 12 days on a photography trip travelling through the wilds of Mongolia with creative holiday company Frui arose, I jumped at it.

But now that I'm here, surrounded by a dozen serious photographers, I'm suddenly acutely aware of how lacklustre my photos are compared with theirs, and how completely befuddled I am by words like "ISO", "shutter speed" and "aperture". As we hike across a brook, I fall into step with Simon Tupper, the blond-haired, blue-eyed English photography tutor, and put it to him bluntly: Why are my photos so terrible?

"Don't worry," he chuckles. "Mongolia's known for its epic landscapes but they can often end up looking flat and boring unless you add some foreground interest to give them a sense of scale." He helps me practise as we walk through rumpled fields upholstered with purple flowers, and I instantly notice a difference.

A picnic lunch awaits us at the end of the pass, and when we're done we jump into four ex-Russian military vans – our transport for the next 10 days – and travel for a bumpy five hours across dozens of kilometres of steppe. En route we stop to photograph romantic vistas dotted with wild horses, herds of sheep and goats, and Bactrian camels with comically flaccid humps.

When we arrive in Khongoryn Els, we venture out to some of Mongolia's most spectacular sand dunes to shoot their sculptural waves at sunset, before heading back to our ger (the Mongolian version of a yurt) camp for a vodka-soaked feast and slide show of the day's images – most of which look like they belong on the cover of National Geographic. I pretend to have accidentally erased my embarrassing shots off my memory card.

The next morning we rise earlyto ride a group of loping Bactrian camels across the dunes. It's exhilarating and uncomfortable but the real highlight comes when we return that afternoon to visit, in their ger, the nomadic family who own the camel herd.

Mongolia is a land steeped in rituals and etiquette, and it can be horribly easy to offend someone. So after a lesson on etiquette from our guides Tuya and Duuya (enter the ger with your right leg first; never ask a nomad how many animals are in his herd; never say thank you when you're offered food or drink), we try our best to get things right and not to bring shame on our group. We're offered yak cheese, airag (fermented mare's milk, an acquired taste), snuff and vodka, and learn to play the "finger game", the addictive Mongolian version of rock, paper, scissors. Afterwards we listen to the family, dressed in their traditional deel-embroidered tunics, sing haunting Mongolian folk songs, then politely ask if we can practise our portrait photography on them. They're willing subjects, especially since we've now developed a relationship with them,  something Tupper believes is the key to taking a good portrait shot. He shows us how to make sure our subjects are in the best light, and how to use the background of their ger and the camel-pocked landscape to give the shot context.

From here we drive east across the arid steppe towards Bayanzag, stopping to hike a mountain covered with ancient rock carvings of horses mounted by fierce warriors, huge rams with curled horns and Bactrian camels. When we arrive at our ger camp for the evening, we take a quick archery lesson, pulling back the Mongolian composite bows and imagining what it must have been like to be one of Genghis Khan's fierce archers, before we're bundled back into the vans and driven to the Flaming Cliffs. Tupper gives us tips on how to adjust our ISO (which by now I understand is what controls how sensitive your camera is to light), and we practise shooting the monolithic red sandstone formations and hear tales of how the world's first dinosaur eggs were discovered here in the 1920s.

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Just Back From: Mongolia

October 22 (Wild Frontiers) Tailor-made specialist Marianne recently spent two weeks exploring Mongolia. We asked her about the highlights of her trip, from staying in ger camps to climbing sand dunes and enjoying the magnificent views over the Gobi Desert.

If you'd like to visit Mongolia, take a look at our Mongolia holidays

Best view

Sitting high up on a rocky mountain side, the views from the Tövkhön Monastery in Central Mongolia stretch out as far as you can see over endless forested valleys. Behind you the peaceful monastery is home to a handful of chanting monks and hundreds of fluttering prayer flags.

Favourite ger camp

My favourite ger camp was Ursa Major in the Orkhon Valley in Central Mongolia, surrounded by rolling hills and valleys. As it's an eco-camp there is no running water so it is long drop toilets and no showers – but there is a hair washing ger if you wish to relax a little after a day's walking and riding. The gers are traditional and beautiful with the best quality stoves to keep you warm, the dining ger provides delicious meals and the hosts are incredibly friendly.

Best excursion

We chose the highest dune at Khongoryn Els to climb – I was told it was around 700m. After 45 minutes of hard scrambling and many rests up the incredibly steep dune our van was a little speck in the distance and we could see for miles across the Gobi. The dunes are known as the Singing Sand Dunes due to the noise the wind makes as it sweeps across the surface.

Any regrets?

I didn't visit the rest of Mongolia! I was ready to go back before I had left.

Tips for travellers

Be prepared to have no communication options once you leave the city and just enjoy the peace and silence. Phone signal appears every so often when you pass near a town and there is no internet. Roads outside of the main cities are tracks – be prepared for them being very rough.

Favourite moment

Watching the sunset from our beautiful ger camp in the Orkhon Valley in Central Mongolia. I also loved heading out into the steppe without a soul around and finding a herd of horses cooling off in a beautiful salt lake.

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