Disaster Management Reference Manual (May 2022) – Mongolia – Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country with more than 3 million inhabitants unevenly distributed over its territory. It is very sensitive to climate change, which exacerbates the already significant natural hazards. It has seen temperatures warming at nearly three times the rate of the global average over the past 70 years. Hazards include drought, floods, dust and sand storms, forest fires, earthquakes and dzuds – a hazard unique to Mongolia where severe winter conditions follow summer drought and cause mortality mass of cattle. This is devastating the livelihoods of herders, and the proportion of Mongolians whose primary livelihood is herding has dropped from 50% to 25% over the past three decades. Additionally, disastrous dzuds have led to an alarming increase in internal rural-urban migration, as former herders move to informal settlements on the outskirts of the capital. Thus, climate change, migration, urbanization and environmental degradation are related issues.
The severe and successive dzuds that Mongolia experienced from 1999 to 2001 prompted Mongolia to reform its approach to disaster management. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was created in 2004 by combining other agencies. During a disaster, NEMA provides administration, coordination and direct assistance. Mongolia also emphasized early warning, preparedness and mitigation efforts. Increasingly, early action is being taken to reduce disaster risk. A key element of this is the use of risk maps produced by the National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring in coordination with partners. A good example is dzud risk maps, which are used to determine when to provide forecast-based funding to those most at risk to avoid the most devastating effects of disaster.
Mongolia is also stepping up community-based disaster prevention efforts. In 2015, the government adopted the National Community-Based Disaster Reduction Program to create a legislative framework. It included targeted efforts for vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, children, the elderly, and people with low incomes. All cities in Mongolia have a local disaster risk reduction strategy and the country has met the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. In 2020, Mongolia was praised for its progress in disaster risk reduction. Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction Mizutori Mami said“Mongolia’s efforts to strengthen coherence between national and local governments, sensitize all local authorities on the establishment of a disaster risk reduction strategy by the end of 2020 as well as the development of national program to make settlements resilient are an excellent example of global best practice.”
The United States views Mongolia as an important partner and welcomes being one of the “third neighbours” with whom it maintains relations beyond its land borders. Additionally, NEMA and the Mongolian Armed Forces alongside U.S. Armed Forces units undertake an annual disaster management-related exercise, the GOBI WOLF Series, to rehearse disaster responses and implement new best practices at as the fields of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) evolve. .
Mongolia’s Third Neighbor policy is the cornerstone of relations with countries other than Russia or China, both of which have historically had a great influence on the country. He initiated the policy shortly after the transition to a market economy in the 1990s. The country has since experienced significant economic development largely due to the increase in mining, the main component of national income. However, the third neighbor policy is essential for more than economic growth as it enables Mongolia to build various global security partnerships, including disaster management.