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d-d-mongoliaMongolia, like other REDD+ countries, is facing unique challenges in managing its forests.  Located immediately south of Siberia, the country has 18 million hectares of forest, of which nearly 12 million hectares are boreal forest (taiga) along its northern border with Russia. Forest fires, pest infestation and unregulated logging activities predominantly drive forest cover change in the country. These drivers interact in a complex manner together with secondary drivers such as grazing to gradually degrade and turn some forests into other land types – while natural regeneration and reforestation efforts also slowly reverse this trend at the same time.  Since 2004, the Government of Mongolia estimates that 47,000 hectares (0.43%) of closed boreal forest have been lost or degraded annually.    

With the support of the UN-REDD Programme, Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism has conducted two important studies that guide the development of Mongolia’s REDD+ national strategy as part of the UN-REDD Mongolia National Programme.

The first study looks into identifying key drivers of forest cover change, as well as the underlying causes of these drivers through socio-political, economic, technological and ecological perspectives.  The second study assesses Mongolia’s current policy, legal and institutional framework against the internationally agreed requirements for operationalizing REDD+ (i.e., four REDD+ elements, referred to in UNFCCC CoP decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71, and information streams in accordance with UNFCCC CoP decision 9/CP.19).  The study aims at identifying specific actions for integrating REDD+ into the country’s existing policy, legal and institutional frameworks.

On 19 November 2015, more than 70 representatives from national and sub-national government, civil society, academia, the private sector and international development organizations, gathered to provide their final feedback on the key findings and recommendations of the two studies. 

Building on the previous consultation process, many participants expressed their support for the findings and recommendations of the study on drivers, while suggesting additional underlying causes and pointing to existing weaknesses and how such weaknesses should be addressed. One such recommendation was to further highlight the impact of grazing in natural regeneration and reforestation efforts.  

The outcome of the second study highlighted Mongolia’s strong existing institutional and human capacity to meet the internationally agreed requirements on REDD+.  The participants expressed a need for a final report to provide concrete and specific recommendations on capacity development and a step-wise approach to meeting desired capacity levels. 

The final reports of these studies are expected to be released in January 2016 to coincide with the official start of the UN-REDD Mongolia National Programme.

More information on REDD+ in Mongolia is available here.