Institutionalizing pastoral risk management in Mongolia
Results from a study implemented three years after completion of the FAO project Pastoral Risk Management Strategy, TCP/MON/0066
Risk management attracted attention during the 1990s as one of the activities that can make rural livelihoods more sustainable. Risk is high in the more marginal and uncertain environments inhabited by pastoralists, and its management is a necessary condition for the survival of households and groups. Herders were especially at risk in the former centrally-planned economies during the period of economic liberalisation. Here government had hitherto taken responsibility for most risk, protecting pastoral livelihoods through a range of economic and social measures, but suddenly ceased to do so as part of the economic reforms adopted from 1989 onwards. Herders in these countries found themselves bearing the whole economic and ecological cost of risk almost overnight.
The aim of the present study is to discover more precisely how far the risk management agenda developed initially by the two FAO/TCP projects in Mongolia has been implemented, what specific institutional reforms it has encouraged, how the agenda itself has developed and changed, and what has determined its successes and failures. The objective is to document some of the institutional and policy dimensions of a pastoral risk management strategy, some of the results such a strategy can achieve, and ideas about its further development. This report is not comprehensive. It does not cover all aspects of pastoral risk management or all key actors (for example the innovative programmes of USAID in the Gobi are scarcely covered, nor those of several non-governmental organisations), but it does follow the adoption of the key concepts and practices of risk management by the Mongolian government and major donors. In particular the report emphasises the institutional dimensions of risk management, because these are often undervalued with the result that the most technically sophisticated and brilliant schemes are sometimes dismal failures.
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