FAO in Mongolia

Programmes and projects

Based on an analysis of 1) the priorities of Government of Mongolia as expressed in the governmental priority setting documents, 2) the FAO corporate Strategic Objectives, and 3) the relevant outcomes identified under the UNDAF 2017-2021, the  CPF for Mongolia 2020-2021 will revolve around five Country Outcomes as follows:

1. Enhanced access to adequate, affordable, nutritious and healthy food for everyone

Food systems in Mongolia are going through a rapid transition but the food control is often undermined by fragmented legislation, multiple jurisdictions, and weaknesses in surveillance, monitoring and enforcement. There is missing reflection of risk-based approaches in food control and regulations/standards which are not in line with modern regulations/standards. Existing institutional set up to manage food safety along the food chain is weak due to lack of technical, operational and financial capacity.

Recognizing these trends, challenges and potential negative consequences, the Government, in early 2019, approved a national program ‘Healthy foods-Healthy Mongolian’ that aims to provide citizens with healthy and safe foods. Within this context, FAO will work with the GoM to enhance the access of Mongolian people to adequate, affordable, nutritious and healthy food. Through its interventions under outcome 1, FAO aims to achieve the following results:

  • Improve information and public awareness on food security and nutrition (Food balance sheets, SDG monitoring, FLW, consumer education, etc.)
  • Strengthen food security, safety and quality policies and governance (eg. food based dietary guidelines, food composition data, labelling, standards, cross-sectoral coordination)
  • Increase access of targeted population, in particular women and children in food insecure regions, to nutritious food and to information on good nutritional practices.

2. Promote sustainable improvements of crop and livestock productivity

Although Mongolia is self-sufficient in meat, wheat and potatoes, the crop and livestock productivity remains low and limits Mongolia’s ability to meet growing domestic demand.  While part of this is explained by overstocking of animals beyond carrying capacity of pasture, there are multiple causes that limit the production potential. Some of the factors include poor feeding and husbandry practices, weak institutional arrangements for animal health, genetic evaluation etc. Considering the expansive territory, extreme weather conditions, poor infrastructure and inefficient supply chains, there is great potential for enhancing sector efficiency through strategic deployment of ICT solutions. Adoption of e-agriculture solutions can offer strong potential for driving agriculture sector growth and raising incomes among the rural poor through increased efficiency of agricultural production and improved livelihoods. It can also play an important role in addressing several other pressing challenges including climate change, loss of biodiversity, desertification, promoting agricultural trade, etc. Government of Mongolia accords great importance and priority to leverage the potential of ICTs in achieving their agricultural vision and goals. Against this background, FAO Mongolia will work with stakeholders in Mongolia in pursuit of following results:

  • Promote and support good practices in (i) animal breeding, feeding, health, husbandry practices, (ii) pasture management, (iii) manure management, (iv) plant production, protection and health, (v) soil health and fertility, and (vi) public health; 
  • Strengthen national systems and institutional arrangements for animal health and livestock genetic evaluation, conservation and improvement programs;
  • Develop of a national e-agriculture strategy and pilot selected ICT solutions for enhanced monitoring and management of food systems.

3. Strengthen agricultural value chains including development of export-oriented livestock production

Mongolia has the human and natural resource base to produce sufficient ‘green’ livestock products and selected vegetables for import substitution; and a comparative advantage for producing ‘green’ livestock products for export. However, a number of factors limit competitiveness including complex eco-unfriendly supply chains with limited traceability / animal identification and registration, high processing costs due to obsolete equipment and high cost of capital, low quality meat and meat products, limited branding and poor employment practices. Technical support is also needed to implement the newly adopted livestock and legal framework animal health at each stage of the food chain and to enhance greening practices within the chain as well as to create and sustain jobs. Against this background, FAO will seek to achieve the following results:

  • Promote decent employment and income in the crop and livestock value chains;

  • Support building competitive Mongolian food brands that meet national and international quality/food safety standards;

  • Develop an international trade strategy for agricultural products.

4. Promote equitable and sustainable natural resource management

Approximately 90% of Mongolia is highly prone to desertification. 57% of Mongolia’s grasslands are degraded to some degree, and the annual cost of land degradation is estimated at $2.1billion.  Natural resource degradation in the country severely influences livelihoods, limiting availability of vital functioning ecosystem services and driving local poverty, migration and user conflict. Intensifying transboundary sand and dust storms fuelled by this desertification impose disproportionate costs to Mongolia and to neighbouring countries in terms of loss of soil organic matter/resources. Human and livestock footprints, livestock overstocking, increasing impacts from mining operations, and climate change have been considered as the most pressing drivers for such outcomes. 

FAO will also pursue this topic through specific technical assistance to obtain the following results:

  • Policies, regulatory frameworks, decision support tools and methodologies, operational guidelines and human and institutional capacities are strengthened for sustainable management of land, water, agrobiodiversity, and forests; 
  • Local communities and local decision makers are capacitated to apply sustainable management and restoration of productive landscapes;
  • Community and ecosystem-based disaster risk management and climate change mitigation and adaptation promoted.

5. Build resilient food systems

Mongolia is prone to recurring extreme weather events, such as droughts and dzuds (harsh winter conditions) which can lead to large-scale livestock deaths. Droughts severely affect national crop production, such as animal feed, and staple wheat, barley, oats, potatoes and vegetables, while dzuds can lead to widespread death of livestock, negatively impacting on livelihoods of large numbers of population. Early warning systems in Mongolia are nascent, and while the development of drought and dzud conditions is monitored regularly, response activities continue to rely mainly on rapid assessments for identifying needs and assessing disaster impact. Further strengthening and linking of early warning systems and available information is important to enable more effective response and to make more informed decisions with the goal of mitigating risk and enhancing resilience of food systems. Recognizing these challenges and consistent with FAO’s vision of building more resilient food and agriculture systems as being vital to end hunger and poverty and to make agriculture more productive and sustainable, FAO Mongolia will work closely with stakeholders in Mongolia in pursuit of following results:

  • Strengthen capacity for agro-climatic monitoring, vulnerability and risk analysis and develop policies, plans and interventions to enhance resilience of agriculture and dependent livelihoods to multiple hazards and climate change;
  • Promote innovative approaches to resilience building, particularly of smallholders such as climate smart agriculture practices, and risk-informed and shock responsive social protection systems;
  • Strengthen preparedness, including early warning early action, innovative financial mechanisms for community preparedness for coordinated and effective responses to and recovery from emergencies and crises that affect agriculture and food security.