Gender and Land Rights Database


Prevailing systems of land tenure

Women appear to have benefited less than men from the privatisation of state-ownership. This is largely because the assets (including livestock and equipment) distributed as part of the privatisation process were registered in the name of the head of household who were men in 90 percent of cases. There have been cases of women herders, head of household with young children receiving less than their share from the distribution resulting in increased poverty (10).

The Law of Mongolia on Land, 2002 identifies three main types of tenure

  • Ownership

- According to Article 3.1.2, "to own land" means to be in legitimate control of land with the right to dispose of this land

- Article 5.1. Any land other than that given into ownership by citizens of Mongolia shall be the property of the government.

- Article 5.2. Land, excluding pastureland, land for common tenure land and land for special government use, may be given into ownership to citizens of Mongolia only.

  • Possession

- According to Article 3.1.3, "to possess land" means to be in legitimate control of land in accordance with purpose of its use and terms and conditions specified in respective contracts

- Article 27.1. State owned land shall be given for possession for the purpose, and according to term and conditions stipulated in this Law, on the basis of a contract. Land may be given for possession only by a license.

- Articles 27.2, 27.4 and 30.1: Possession of land is subject to issuance of a valid license, given only to Mongolian citizens, companies and organizations as well as entities with foreign investment. This possession is given for duration of 15 to 60 years which can be extended for no longer than 40 years at a time.

- Article 30.2: In the event of death or announcement of death of the possessor of land or if the land possessor is announced as missing, the legitimate heir, if he/she wishes, may transfer the land possession license to register himself/herself, and may possess that land until the original expiration date of the license.

  • Use

- According to Article 3.1.4, "to use land" means to undertake a legitimate and concrete activity to make use of some of the land's characteristics in accordance with contracts made with owners and possessors of land

- According to Article 6.2, the following types of land, regardless of whether they are given into possession or use, shall be used for common purpose under government regulation:

> pasturelands, water points in pasturelands, wells and salt licks

> public tenure lands in cities, villages and other urban settlements

> land under roads and networks

> lands with forest resources

> lands with water resources

According to Article 6.3, foreign countries, international organizations, foreign legal entities, foreign citizens and stateless persons may become users of land for a specific purpose and a specific time period subject to contract conditions and in compliance with the law.

- Article 11.1: Agricultural land includes pastureland, hayfields, crop lands, lands for cultivation of fruits and berries, fallow lands, lands under agricultural constructions and other land for agricultural production.


The special case of pastureland:

Under the land law, pastureland can only be possessed collectively, private ownership of pasture land being constitutionally prohibited.

Article 54 of the land law defines responsibilities of local authorities in the preservation and use of pastureland. It requires that soum and aimag governors, in cooperation with relevant professional organisations and taking into consideration land use traditions, rational land use and conservation requirements, carry out land management activities to ensure the preservation and rational use of national pastureland (13).

The “open access” regime to Mongolia’s pastureland, codified in the 1994 Land law resulted in overgrazing in the most fertile areas as there were no limits on access to land (13). Allocation of pasture land to herder communities is increasingly seen as a remedy to overgrazing (14).

In 2010 the Mongolian Parliament prepared a proposal for a new legislation on pastureland uses. Concerns have been raised that this draft legislation relies on top-down approaches with an emphasis on strengthening of state organisations and their activities and does not adequately address the weaknesses of the framework for pastureland (16).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography