The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Mongolia on December 22 signed three grant agreements totaling $4.8 million for projects to promote gender equality, provide affordable sanitation for low-income communities in the capital, and build sustainable tourism in Mongolia’s northern region at Khuvsgul Lake National Park.
The three projects are financed from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) funded by the Government of Japan, which over the past 17 years has supported more than 42 projects in Mongolia dealing with poverty alleviation, livelihoods, and the environment, according to ADB.
Signing for the Government of Mongolia was the Minister of Finance Mr. B. Choijilsuren, while ADB Country Director Yolanda Fernandez Lommen signed on behalf of ADB. Additional co-signatories and witnesses included Ms. S. Tungalagtamir, Director of the Population Development Department of the Ministry for Labor and Social Protection, and Mr. Ch. Batsansar, Director of the Special Protected Area Management Department of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The gender project will promote the national agenda for gender equality in key development sectors. Over 1,400 central and local government officials, civil society, and media practitioners will receive training in gender policies, while an innovative media campaign will help sensitize the general population on gender equality.
“Gender inequality is a significant constraint on economic growth and poverty reduction,” said Ms. Fernandez Lommen. “Realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
At Khuvsgul Lake National Park (KLNP) in Khuvsgul Aimag, the JFPR funding will support the design phase for a proposed 4-year project for tourism and conservation. The park encompasses more than 1 million hectares of snow-capped mountains and Khuvsgul Lake, which supports 70% of Mongolia’s and 1% of the world’s freshwater. The park is one of the most visited destinations in Mongolia, and tourism is bringing much needed economic benefits, but sewage and litter are damaging the lake system. The technical designs will address tourism, livelihoods, and conservation in a sustainable and integrated manner, for subsequent implementation. The project will also build upon a JFPR-funded grant launched in 2015, which is piloting community-based tourism around Khuvsgul Lake.
The third grant project will develop and pilot systems for the collection, transport, and treatment of waste, including affordable toilets for communities, in two pilot districts of Ulaanbaatar — Bayanzurkh and Chingeltei. About one quarter (over 750,000 people) of Mongolia’s population resides in peri-urban communities termed ger areas, on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. Many ger areas have little or no access to sanitation and water, and suffer from poor sanitation, disease, and low quality of life. The project will benefit around 6,000 people in 1,500 households. It will complement the long-term support provided by ADB and other donors to improve urban infrastructure and services in Ulaanbaatar, and will provide a model to scale up on-site sanitation in Mongolia.
“These projects are aligned with ADB’s broader strategy to help diversify the national economy, create jobs outside of the mining sector, and ensure opportunities for all, including people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Ms. Fernandez Lommen.
Established in May 2000, the JFPR provides direct grant assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in developing member countries of ADB while fostering long-term social and economic development.
“The JFPR forms a part of the strong working relationship between the Governments of Mongolia and Japan, and ADB,” said Mr. Hiroshi Fukasawa, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia. “The Government of Japan has been supporting the implementation of important projects in various fields that benefit the people and environment of Mongolia since the introduction of JFPR in Mongolia in 2002, including the projects for which these agreements have just been signed.”