Leaders of Mongolian Government Place Flowers to Zorig Memorial
October 2 (infomongolia.com) On October 02, 2014, family members, friends and state representatives led by President Ts.Elbegdorj, Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold and Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag have placed flowers to the monument of S.Zorig.
Sanjaasuren ZORIG (April 20, 1962 - October 02, 1998), who was assassinated on this day, today is commemorated as the “Golden Magpie” of Mongolia’s Democracy and leader of the country's 1990 democratic revolution after which one-party rule in Mongolia was ended.
Wreaths Laid to Statue of S.Zorig – Montsame, October 2
Remembering S.Zorig – news.mn, October 2
Leader of democratic revolution S.Zorig remembered – UB Post, October 2
Head of Government Proposes to Reduce Number of Ministries of Mongolia from 16 to 13
October 2 (infomongolia.com) On October 02, 2014, Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag submitted a draft bill on amendments to the Law on Government to the Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold.
In his speech at the Opening of 2014 Autumn Plenary Session of the Parliament, Speaker Z.Enkhbold pledged to revise the issue of restructuring in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet despite of agenda sequences.
Accordingly, Premier N.Altankhuyag introduced the draft bill stating, “In order to intensify the development of Mongolian economy, organize Government Action Plan implementations, and provide socio-economic development, it has become necessary to re-consider the government structure by the means of not duplicating the functional roles. Therefore, I propose to unite some Ministries and offer the following suggestions:
- To unite the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development, and rename as the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia;
- To unite the Ministry of Mining and the Ministry of Energy, and rename as the Ministry Geology, Mining and Energy of Mongolia;
- To unite the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation, rename as the Ministry of Infrastructure Development of Mongolia;
If the draft bill is approved, the Government of Mongolia would functional with 13 Ministries, 11 Regulatory Agencies and 19 Implementing Agencies”.
Currently, the Government of Mongolia is functional with 16 Ministries and 31 Regulatory and Implementing Agencies, where two Implementing Agencies were newly established as the Marshal (Takhar) Authority and Invest Mongolia.
Premier Proposes Changes in Government Structure – Montsame, October 2
Government restructuring plan announced – news.mn, October 2
Six ministries specified in government restructuring plan submitted to Parliament – UB Post, October 2
Minister of Economic Development Submits Bills
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar MP Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold a draft law on developmental policy and planning.
Mongolia approved some 480 long-, middle- and long-term policy documents between 1991 and 2013, over 190 of them are still in force, being formulated as the state policy, programme, basic guidelines and planning. Due to poor correlation and duplication of the goals and purposes, not every document has been realized successfully, therefore, a legal environment is required for the developmental planning, Batbayar MP said.
It is also vital to create a legal environment for arranging and classifying the valid development documents, to keep their continuation, and to focus them on united purpose of the development, he said.
The same day, Mr Batbayar submitted also a bill on fortifying regional centers of medical treatment and diagnosis. This bill aims to improve the medical services and adequacy in western region by providing Khovd aimag’s regional diagnosis medical center with the latest hi tech and facilities and by training medical doctors.
Minister of Finance Submits Bills and Draft Amendments
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Finance Ch.Ulaan MP Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold some draft laws and draft amendments to some laws.
He presented bills on the 2015 budget, on the 2015 budget for the Human development fund (HDF), on the 2015 budget for social insurance fund, on the 2015 budget framework of the master budget, also draft amendments to the laws on 2016-2017 budget assumption, on budgetary stability, and on budget.
The same day, he also submitted a draft amendment to the law on regime of parliamentary session.
Parliament Holds Closed Session
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The autumn session of parliament is to discuss Thursday a draft of the parliamentary resolution on measures for implementing state policy on railroad transportation and a draft law on amending the law on Government. The discussions will take place in a closed regime.
A discussion of whether to consider the first draft began at the spring session of this year, "now we will focus on it in a closed regime, after this, the factions will gather, after which the Standing committee on state structure will decide whether or not to discuss the draft on amending the law on the government structure and a draft on amending the law on the government composition," commented the Speaker.
Since the Premier has asked to urgently discuss the drafts concerning an amendment of the laws on governmental structure and composition, "the session will consider them regardless of the line-up of the agenda," he said.
The closed session will continue after the meeting of the Standing committee on state structure, he added.
MSE Drafts Act on Regulations of Futures and Options Exchanges
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) As a preparation for conducting Futures and Options exchanges contracts, the Mongolian Stock Exchange is developing a draft act on regulations of these exchanges, in compliance with global standards.
Mongolia does not have a Central Counterparty Clearing, a main professional organization for the Futures and Options exchanges. So, in accordance with the strategic partnership agreement with the London Stock Exchange inked this September 9, the latter will give professional assistance on establishing this organization in Mongolia.
MSE plans to run the draft act presenting discussions themed "Financial Risk Management and Contract FX", with ten public and 20 private entities, starting from October 1. The discussions already ran at state-owned “Mongolian Post” and “The fourth Thermal Station” companies on Wednesday.
Aero Mongolia launches public flights to Oyu Tolgoi airport
October 2 (Oyu Tolgoi) - Twice weekly flights will connect local people to Ulaanbaatar –
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - Oyu Tolgoi’s Khanbumbat Airport received its very first commercial flight today (Wednesday). Aero Mongolia has launched a twice weekly service from UIaanbaatar to the airport, located in Khanbogd soum of Umnogobi aimag.
The first flight, carrying senior Government officials and business representatives, touched down on the Gobi’s first international standard runway before a special opening ceremony.
The launch of the flights, served by Dutch made Fokker-50 aircraft, marks solid progress in Oyu Tolgoi’s plans to share the mine’s infrastructure with local people and communities.
CEO of Aero Mongolia U.Sagamdoldoi said “Eleven years have passed since our company launched its first flight. We are proud to have provided air transport to Oyu Tolgoi since the project began. Thanks to the mine, there has been a considerable increase in the number of passengers flying to the South Gobi. Local people have often asked us to open new flights so we are delighted that, because of the construction of Khanbumbat, we have been able to do this.”.
Ivan Vella, Chief Operating Officer of Oyu Tolgoi, said: “When we opened Khanbumbat Airport two years ago, we always had a day like today in mind. While we need the airport to bring our workforce to and from Oyu Tolgoi, we always had the intent that this key piece of regional infrastructure would be shared and bring tangible benefit to the community.”
After the ceremony at the airport, the dignitaries visited a local herder Ts.Suvdanshagai’s family and the Demchig monastery.
Flights between Khanbumbat and Ulaanbaatar will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Aero Mongolia has opened a representative ticket office in Khanbogd.
Mongolia and Japan Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Cultural Ties
October 2 (infomongolia.com) In the frameworks of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of cultural relations between Mongolia and Japan, a group of Mongolian art performers led by State Prize Winner D.Sosorbaram have participated in the Opening of Japanese Arts Festival held at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo on October 01, 2014.
Mongolian troupe of 21 performers were comprised from “Bilguun Undraga” Cultural Center, “Domog” folk band, traditional long-song singers R.Bolormaa and G.Enkhbaatar, dancers D.Enkhgerel and D.Bayarbaatar, and contortionist G.Nyamgerel presenting traditional dances as well as shaman dance and religious mask dance called Tsam, and music performances with Mongol Tsuur and Morin Khuur.
At the beginning of concert, Japanese Buddhist monks performed their traditional singing, played Tsuur instrument and shown Tsam dances.
The concert was seen by 1,500 viewers, whereas His Highness Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Leaders of the Mongolia-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group, Satsuki Eda and Motoo Hayashi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shinsuke Sugiyama, Prime Minister Sh.Abe's mother Yoko Kishi as well as many other politicians and authorities from cultural, public, business and other sectors were present.
Following the concert, His Highness Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako held a meeting with Mongolian delegates expressing their gratitude on hosting such talent performance and Prince Naruhito mentioned his visit to Mongolia, when he played a violin with Morin Khuur Ensemble.
Moreover, Mongolian performers are scheduled to stage in Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Fukuoka, Oita, and Tokushima Prefectures and in Osaka and Izumisano cities of Japan on October 02-17, 2014.
Mongolia-Japan Joint Concert Takes Place – Montsame, October 2
Mongolia and Japan joint concert takes place – UB Post, October 2
Speaker Z.Enkhbold urges a discussion of government restructuring
October 2 (news.mn) During Thursday's plenary session meeting, parliament scheduled a discussion of a resolution on measures to implement the State Policy on Railway Transportation.
This issue, which had been submitted to parliament, is now being discussed in session meetings behind closed doors.
Speaker Z.Enkhbold urged parliamentarians to discuss the issue of restructuring the government, as Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag submitted the issue to parliament for immediate discussion.
Head of MPP caucus in Parliament S.Byambatsogt expressed his support of the discussion, stressing, "It is appropriate for the Parliament to discuss the issue to restructure the government to make it smaller and more capable."
Today's session meeting was also scheduled to discuss the resignation of Economic Development Minister N.Batbayar, but it was delayed due to the issue of government restructuring.
Mongolia-China border briefly closed for four days
October 2 (news.mn) China briefly closed parts of its border with Mongolia as China marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, celebrated for four days between October 1st and 4th.
Both sides close their borders briefly during national celebrations and holidays according to the Mongolia-China border treaty.
Night trolley service halted
October 2 (news.mn) Mongolian Electric Transportation Company announced changes to its contract with the City Transportation Authority, halting night trolley services starting October 2nd.
Mongolian Electric Transportation Company halted the night trolley service, which was launched in July under the “Night Eco Transportation” project, to undergo winter preparation measures and maintain the normal operations of Mongolian Electric Transportation Company.
The night trolley service will resume after February 16, 2015.
Public buses on the “ШҮ 7 буудал-МУБИС” (7 Hotels - National University) and “ШҮ Нисэх-МУБИС-Ард кино театр” (Airport-National University-Ard Theater) routes will be available on the night trolley routes.
103 students poisoned from meals containing chemicals
October 2 (news.mn) A total of 103 students of a school in Bayan-Ulgii Province were poisoned from eating school meals and hospitalized on September 3rd.
The results of food samples analyzed at the Natural Studies Laboratory at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences showed that the food eaten by the students contained the chemical acetyl.
The General Agency for Specialized Inspection said, "The acetyl chemical compound is typically found in petroleum products including benzene and diesel fuel. Flour used in the meal that poisoned the students might have been contaminated with acetyl during loading or shipping. The Provincial Specialized Inspection Department and Bayan-Ulgii Police Department have launched an investigation of the incident."
Making the move to a middle-income country
October 2 (Mongolian Economy) N. Enhkbayar, former advisor to an executive director at the World Bank in Washington DC.
N.Enkhbayar graduated Mongolian State University of Agriculture with a Bachelor’s in Economics. He joined the Mongolian Ministry of Finance in 2002 and worked as specialist, senior analyst and became deputy director of budget policy. He left the Ministry of Finance after 16 years for further study abroad.
He won a scholarship from the International Monetary Fund and went to Japan to study Government Public Finance Policy. Until 2011, he worked as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Mongolia for three years and later went to the US to work at the World Bank as an advisor to an executive director. N.Enkhbayar’s contract has expired since the time of this interview, which took place in July.
What has been the attitude like towards Mongolia from the World Bank Group? What kind of experiences and knowledge have you had so far?
For the past years, the International Financial Corporation has expanded well. It has solved annual USD 100 million financing, mainly for private sector, particularly in banking, finance, construction installation, infrastructure, hotel, and trade. For the World Bank, it mostly offers technical assistance and soft loans dedicated to social development such as poverty, education, health, and the environment.
The major change to emerge within the past year is that Mongolia’s statistics now determine it as a middle-income country, since the World Bank revised its analytical classification of the world’s economies based on estimates of gross national income in 2012. Before then, Mongolia used to get only development assistance as it was a low-income country. The International Development Association issued soft loans under a long-term or 40 years agreement to Mongolia. But the updated classification does not mean direct credit rate change. Mongolia must gradually move from a development-assistance country to a lender country. This transition will happen not in a year but within a three-to-four year period.
Currently, Mongolia’s status is classified as a ‘blend’ category. In other words, it means that Mongolia is still a country that takes development assistance. On the other hand, the new classification gives access to Mongolia to take loans under commercial terms for the first time. For instance, in addition to technical assistance, the blend category allows the condition to take commercial loans for certain big projects within a shorter term, between 15-20 years. But it has a higher interest rate than aid. IBRD loan is a commercial loan with many alternative structure and scheme, and loan interest to be calculated by the following methodology “LIBOR+0.6 to 1.3%” depending on the market condition. However, compared to the loans of commercial banks, this loan has a much lower interest rate and offers conditions that are more flexible. Thus, it is a great opportunity for a country like Mongolia that has a number of development issues.
Now that Mongolia has access to loans with better terms, this must be a good opportunity for policymakers?
This credit permit was just given to Mongolia because it has not been long since Mongolia was categorized in the above classification. To give credit permit, the World Bank approves three-to-five years of partnership strategy. We had this document delivered at the Directors’ board meeting and renewed in 2013. By then, the World Bank approved priorities of partnership with Mongolia until 2017. The World Bank financial year does not match the calendar year. The 30th of June is the time when the financial year ends, starts another from the next month. The World Bank 2015 financial year started July first. This means that Mongolia has already acquired the right to obtain commercial loans from the International Financial Corporation. However, it takes another two-to-three years to choose and discuss about a project as well as have the related documents prepared. It’s still not that easy.
What’s your perspective as you assess Mongolia’s economy from the World Bank headquarters in the US?
The international market has a direct impact on Mongolia, which exports 98-99 percent of all raw materials. For a country with a mining-based economy, accompanied by a weak development of industry is connected with the foreign market in many ways. Currently, commodities’ prices on the international markets are falling. According to international analysts, major metals’ prices are not expected to rise in the next two to three years which won’t bring any good to Mongolia. We don’t need to get excited about the rise of commodities. Thus, we should only rely on appropriate foreign trade policy within two neighbors as we get foreign currencies and flow from foreign trade. In the long term, the most efficient policy is to diversify the economy.
What other opportunities need to be explored for the benefit of Mongolia’s economy?
Recent studies talk a lot about second deficits. The monetary policy is in a hard situation, while the budget and the foreign trade both have a deficit. There is no way out of foreign currency appreciation in this case. Taking precautionary measures are very important. You can earn and save money when the mining sector rises. But now when the mining sector sees a fall, there is no money. Thus, it’s necessary to look at which sector generates growth and which one creates the balance. We’ve forgotten some sectors. If it’s real national policy, you cannot just keep your eyes in one direction in only mining and infrastructure. Especially at a time when the economy stays slow, it’s important to promote subsequent sectors retaining jobs. For instance, agriculture is the major sector that holds an economy in any crisis time by preventing food shortage and pressures on people’s backs. What will happen if the agriculture sector which solves public food needs sees a downturn? You need to hold up the base sector which prevents a fall rather than only looking at mining.
International Monetary Fund analysts visited Mongolia and asked policymakers to revisit their economic policies. What exactly did they advise?
Recently, the International Monetary Fund handed an analysis about Mongolia’s foreign debt to the World Bank. Annual Debt Sustainability Analysis brought up major indications of macroeconomic policy. Not only Monetary Policy, but also debt of Mongolia has become an issue to worry about. Quite some time passed since economic policies brought inconvenient consequences. It’s been almost a year since international organizations delivered their recommendations to Mongolia. But today, problems have not calmed. It means that current difficulties will deepen. I assume the IMF told Mongolia that it may see a bigger fall unless policymakers revise the past two years of economic policies. Those are the main signals given by the international financial institutions. Now we have to listen it and act immediately.
Mongolian and North Korean Parliamentarians Discussed on Joint Exploitation of Rason Special Economic Zone
October 2 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian delegates led by Deputy Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) R.Gonchigdorj have conducted a working visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on September 27-30, 2014.
During the visit Mongolian parliamentarians were received by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam and held bilateral meeting with the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly Ahn Dongchun, who was invited to visit Mongolia at his convenient time.
The bilateral meeting was held in a warm atmosphere, where parties discussed on joint exploitation of the Rason Special Economic Zone of North Korea in order to open a sea-outlet for Mongolia, besides exchanged views to broaden collaboration in other sectors including agricultural as well as cooperation in regional and international spheres.
Mongolian delegates comprised of MP D.Ganbat, MP O.Baasankhuu, MP M.Batchimeg, MP O.Sodbileg and other officials were introduced with a popular tourist destination of Wonsan, Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, National Academy and Institute of Koryo Medicine, Pyongyang Maternity Hospital and Okryu Children's Hospital in Pyongyang.
Ulaanbaatar and Moscow Agreed to Sign Cooperation Program for 2015 - 2017
October 2 (infomongolia.com) It was previously reported that Mongolian delegates led by Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul are conducting working visits to London and Moscow these days.
So on October 01, 2014, Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Erdene BAT-UUL held a bilateral meeting with the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Semyonovich Sobyanin, where Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Russian Federation, Sh.Altangerel was also present.
During the talks, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin noted that the history of friendly relations between Moscow and Ulaanbaatar has more than half a century, and has also expressed his interest in strengthening partnerships between the cities.
At the meeting, the two Governors discussed the prospects of broadening bilateral cooperation and agreed on the drafting and signing of the Cooperation Program for 2015 - 2017 between the Moscow and Ulaanbaatar Municipalities.
The priorities of cooperation will focus on trade and economic ties. In particular, Sergey Sobyanin proposed Mongolian agricultural producers with an opportunity to actively enter the consumer market of the Russian capital. These primarily include livestock products. An agreement between Moscow distribution companies and Mongolian agricultural producers will be signed in the near future as negotiated.
Moreover, Mayors S.Sobyanin and E.Bat-Uul have agreed that the main areas of cooperation between the two capitals will be the exchange of experience and joint projects in urban development, housing and utilities, health care, education, culture and other spheres.
Afterwards, Mayor E.Bat-Uul thanked his counterpart for the warm welcome and invited Mayor S.Sobyanin to visit Ulaanbaatar at his convenient time.
Fire at Shangri-La Hotel raises questions about emergency services in Ulaanbaatar
By M. Zoljargal
October 2 (UB Post) The fire which broke out on Tuesday afternoon at the 24-story Shangri-La Hotel proved the urgent need to improve the resources of fire departments in Ulaanbaatar.
It took nearly 40 firefighters almost two hours to extinguish the fire, using six fire trucks lacking ladders tall enough to reach the higher floors of the building.
There were 23 people stuck on the roof of the building and fire fighters helped them exit the building safely. No injuries were reported.
The building’s seventh floor is believed to be where the fire began, which quickly spread to other floors, leaving most of the building’s facade burnt.
“The fire was caused by electrical problems according to a preliminary investigation. Firefighters couldn’t reach the top floors, as our fire truck tower ladders are only 35 meters tall and could only reach the 12th floor with high-pressure water hoses,” T.Dulamdorj, Chief of National Emergency Management Agency, told journalists at the scene.
“The city administration should definitely take this issue into consideration and secure helicopters for fires occurring in tall buildings similar to this, as this case clearly proved a shortage of required facilities and equipment for a city with a growing number of tall buildings,” added the chief.
The building was at 80 percent completion and scheduled to open in December. However, Chief Dulamdorj suggested that the material used for the facade was very flammable and caused the fire to spread quickly. He assured that information will be provided about whether or not the material had passed the standard tests required by local emergency and safety organizations.
A final assessment of the fire will be provided within five business days according to Chief Dulamdorj.
L.Bold discusses issues facing LLDCs at UN General Assembly
By Ch. Khaliun
October 2 (UB Post) Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold took part in the 13th meeting of ministers of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), held during the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly.
The ministers met to discuss the challenges and problems LLDCs face and ways to approach gaining the cooperation and support needed from the international community.
The ministers met to discuss the challenges and problems LLDCs face and ways to approach gaining the cooperation and support needed from the international community.
As a landlocked developing country, Mongolia has initiated a number of projects within the U.N. and World Trade Organization in order to attract international interest in enhancing the competitiveness of LLDCs. Last year, Mongolia initiated and set up the LLDCs Think Tank in Ulaanbaatar, charged with conducting pertinent surveys and research, and issuing policy recommendations. Mongolia will continue working toward the development of the LLDCs Think Tank into an official U.N. system organization, Minister L.Bold stated.
The Minister held a meeting with Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, to discuss collaboration.
Minister L.Bold thanked Gyan Chandra Acharya for providing support in hosting the high-level international workshop “WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation: Implications for LLDCs” in Ulaanbaatar, and for his personal participation in it.
Acharya re-affirmed that the Prime Minister of Mongolia is invited to the second U.N. Conference on LLDCs to take place in Vienna in November 2014.
“Mongolia is ready to expand its cooperation with the international community in the peacekeeping mission area,” L.Bold stated, addressing conferences and events on the pertinent topic.
L.Bold attended a ministerial dinner on “Strengthening the Partnership: A Fresh Dialogue on U.N. Peacekeeping,” held on September 25, and a summit on international peacekeeping operations.
Afterwards, Minister L.Bold participated in an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Meeting, and addressed the developments in Ukraine and the seventh Ministerial Meeting on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Afterwards, Minister L.Bold participated in an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Meeting, and addressed the developments in Ukraine and the seventh Ministerial Meeting on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Minister L.Bold had a meeting with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Executive Secretary, Lassina Zerbo. Zerbo welcomed Mongolia’s initiatives on the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security and the nuclear-free status of Mongolia, and noted that the CTBTO is interested in organizing a regional workshop in Ulaanbaatar with the Mongolian government.
NUM students protest for fair administrative decisions and student’s rights
By M. Zoljargal
October 2 (UB Post) A group of delegates from several student unions at the National University of Mongolia (NUM) has protested against problems that have risen for students due to recent university reforms.
The students demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Education and Science on Monday and demanded Minister L.Gantumur to resolve the issues as their previous demands to the NUM administrations failed to initiate any action.
The ministry’s Chief of Division for Higher Education, P.Erkhembulgan, received the demands and promised to have it discussed at the NUM’s managing board meeting, which was scheduled on Tuesday.
The students reported that the university administration has failed to consider interests and rights of students when it reformed the new rules, which are affecting studies and students’ convenience.
First-year students are studying according to a curriculum that hasn’t been approved by the Ministry of Education and Science. Another problem is that many of the NUM administrators are also teachers, which makes it hard for students to find and meet the administrators to have their problems resolved.
Students are facing financial losses as well due to faulty online student information system of the NUM.
“NUM students choose and confirm their curriculum, teachers and classrooms at Sisi.num.edu.mn within a given time from the university administration. However, many students end up missing the deadline as the system website frequently freezes and are obligated to pay 11,400 MNT to choose their curriculum after the deadline,” said Z.Otgonzaya, deputy head of the NUM Student Union and Student Congress.
“NUM students choose and confirm their curriculum, teachers and classrooms at Sisi.num.edu.mn within a given time from the university administration. However, many students end up missing the deadline as the system website frequently freezes and are obligated to pay 11,400 MNT to choose their curriculum after the deadline,” said Z.Otgonzaya, deputy head of the NUM Student Union and Student Congress.
The reform caused a problem for both students willing to stay in dormitory this academic year and the university finance, explained the student delegates.
A merged academic management office of the NUM became responsible for dormitory registration and supply following the reform. However, the students complained that the registration system has become bureaucratic with too many stages to pass since the merge.
A total of 250 beds are vacant at the NUM dormitory after a month since the new academic year started and the NUM is running an approximately 100 million MNT deficit because of it, reported student representatives.
NUM teachers demand dismissal of Director A.Galtbayar
Teachers of the NUM has reported to journalists about their demand to dismiss the NUM’s Director A.Galtbayar from his position as they believe the university reform is violating the Budget Law, Higher Education Law as well as other related regulations.
The teachers have handed their demand to Minister L.Gantumur and said that if it is not addressed, they will present it to the Prime Minister. The teachers held a press conference on Monday, on the same day as the student protests.
They criticized that the director simply reshuffled the university officials in the name of reform and is operating the university without comprehensive policies that are based on proposals of staff and surveys conducted by teachers and students.
The teachers revealed that a survey has been taken where 80 percent of the NUM teachers opposed the reform, which wasn’t considered by A.Galtbayar.
About the unapproved curriculum for the first-year students, teachers said that students are forced to restudy what they have learned in general education schools.
“First-year students are restudying the same subjects they passed in general education schools at the NUM, paying course credit payments. These students will choose their major from the next academic year, but each program is accepting only 25 to 30 student according to grade records. Students might not have a chance to choose their intended major due to this reformed system,” said B.Bold-Erdene, Head of Association of the NUM Teachers.
Ulaanbaatar public transportation restructure starts
October 2 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar City Authority ran a 10 day trial in late August to boost service quality and sufficiency of public transportation in Mongolia. During these 10 days, buses in Ulaanbaatar operated on a shortened route which was followed by widespread criticism from the public.
Deputy Ulaanbaatar Governor N.Gantumur spoke to Undernii Shuudan about traffic congestion and public transportation issues in the capital city.
You were talking about merging state owned BUS-1, BUS-2 and Tsakhilgaan Teever public transportation companies during the meeting of city administrations. How effective do you think this will be?
There were many companies in city development and road user companies before, and these companies were merged into Ulaanbaatar Corporation. This work was performed effectively and one of the things that prove it is the green area development which has increased in the city significantly.
Such as these, we are going to merge public transportation companies and make it a comprehensive and unified system.
Before we merged the companies, we have studied experiences of developed countries and conducted surveys. I hope that merging bus companies will be quite an effective work. We will organize the system starting from October 1.
When will the new smart bus system launch?
The smart transportation or electronic system will be put into action from next April 1. Thus, Mongolian transportation system will meet the world standard. In relation to this project, buses will operate on shortened routes, because we have concluded that the public was satisfied with the 10 day experiment. Many people supported this project and the main reason was the 500 MNT day ticket.
Even though most were satisfied with the work, it brought losses. Will you continue the system regardless?
It is true that we had losses. But people have to understand that this was just an experiment. In other word, even though there are financial losses, the experiment was successful.
Also, introduction and promotion of the project to the public was insufficient, so we have to work on this intensively.
Will there be any increase in bus ticket price, which was 500 MNT during the trial?
The ticket price will be increased but we will try to make it flexible.
What do you mean by flexible? Could you clarify that?
When we transfer into an electronic system, there will be different options for ticket price. There will be a general set service. For example: family set and etc. Thus, we will work without losses.
University and college students travel in public transportation for free but students of general education schools pay 200 MNT. Since you are already reforming public transportation, shouldn’t general education school students also travel for free?
This issue has to be resolved within the law. The law states students can travel for free so this issue has to be discussed by Parliament.
One of the problems we often face is the road issue. Roads are being built in several directions. How many roads will open before winter?
By September 30, roads in Nisekh and Yarmag will be ready to use, Bayankhoshuu Avenue road is expected to launch by October 30. Bio-Nisekh road will open in November.
In total, 72 kms of roads will open.
What’s planned for the road sector next year?
We have planned to restructure many roads next year, especially roads in Tolgoit, the road to Zuslan and a big repair work from Bayanzurkh Checkpoint to Nalaikh District.
It has been a long time since the Street Project’s launch. In relation to this, four-way intersections were built in many roads. Will the project continue in the future?
We can’t give answers on this because the project is organized by the government and ministries. But the Street Project is essential in Mongolia because it will decrease traffic congestions considerably.
The railbus has started operating last June. It seems to be rather unprofitable. How will you reduce losses?
Approximately 40 to 100 people travel by railbus per day. In order to serve as many as we can, we have to build railways in different directions. In other word, automobiles and railbuses will be operating on the same level. This will increase passengers.
J.Chinburen: Alcohol, virus and improper diet is killing Mongolians’ liver
October 2 (UB Post) Dr. J.Chinburen, Head of the Liver, Bile Duct and Pancreatic Surgery Department at the National Cancer Center (NCC) of Mongolia, gave an interview about liver diseases in Mongolia.
Liver cancer has become a silent epidemic among Mongolians. What percentage of the total patients in Mongolia is affected by liver cancer?
Expansion construction of the NCC hasn’t been ongoing for four years. It’s unfortunate that 40 percent of cancer patients are affected by liver cancer. Some 1,800 people are diagnosed with liver cancer, which is six times more than the world average index for liver cancer. Around 3,600 people are already affected.
I get embarrassed of this statistic whenever I have to show a presentation at major international summits and conferences. People at the conference are shocked by Mongolia’s liver cancer rate and inquire as to why politicians aren’t developing or executing any policies to prevent it. Though I want to answer, I’m left speechless. Mongolian politicians should look at issues from a broad perspective. For instance, the Mongolian government is spending three to four billion MNT to resolve issues of four to five people. Instead, why can’t they use that money to finish the construction work of the NCC? Since I’m a doctor, my foremost urgent worry is this. I’m no politician. I don’t see things from their perspectives. This is reality.
From Mongolia, how many people travel abroad to get liver transplantation a year?
On average, around 1,300 Mongolians go to a Korean hospital for treatment a year. Mongolian patients mostly visit Anam Hospital of Korea University. They pay a billion KRW in discounted prices at this hospital. Research shows that majority of Mongolian patients seek treatment from this hospital.
Why is the rate of liver cancer so high in Mongolia?
It’s a cancer that originated due to health system error at a certain period. Our seniors know this very well. People used to reuse injections on different people after boiling them. They used to reinsert needles into people even those that were crooked. Physicians used to conduct traditional acupuncture improperly. They cleaned needles with spirit which spread C virus to many people. In the 1960s and 1970s, Hepititis A virus from germs spread widely.
This type of virus can be cured. At the time, A virus spread rapidly due to a flood that overfilled houses and wells with dirty water and broke out Hepatitis virus and infections. According to statistics of the time, a certain survey indicated that some 70 percent of the total population was infected with Hepatitis. Infected people were treated in hospitals and received injections but B virus was transmitted through the injections. Currently, when survey is conducted on people with B virus, they say they got jaundice twice. They say they got infected again few months after receiving treatment. This means that B virus was transmitted to them when they were getting injections at hospitals.
If older people are infected with B virus, the chances of them suffering from chronic infection is five percent. However, if it’s treated it can be cured. The infection becomes chronic if children aged five or under are infected. It’s important for pregnant women with Hepatitis B or C to not transmit the virus to their child. Mongolia is executing antenatal care and public health work excellently.
During the previous government, especially Former Minister of Health S.Lambaa did many works for the health sector. Even investments were sufficient. Perhaps Mongolia’s economy was good at the time. Works were conducted well from all sides. At the time, many works were implemented for public health and projects and programs, including Tuberculosis Program, were executed efficiently.
Hepatitis B and C are more severe than HIV. Although Mongolia worked well for the public health, it does nothing for medical aid and lags at everything. For example, pregnant women must be tested for Hepatitis B and C. Many tests must be conducted on the child if the mother is infected. Doctors provide many advices but whether patients actually do as they are advised is unclear.
Due to poor medical aid and services, Mongolia is facing many problems. It’s already the 21th century but why are some mothers delivering their baby on the floor? Seven years have passed since the initiation to build a dental center. All of these factors are increasing diseases.
What do you think about the government enforcing policy for resolving this issue?
Vaccination for B virus has been conducted efficiently since 1990. Since 1991, probability of new born babies becoming infected with B virus became low. This applies to children who didn’t have cancer through mother-child transmission. C virus was common when donated blood wasn’t tested for B and C viruses. This was a systematic error.
The government must develop policies and take measures to improve health of those who suffered from systematic errors. Free of charge projects and programs should be issued for this area.
Liver cancer is common in Mongolia because B and C viruses aren’t treated or cured. If cancer infected patients are provided with medical care, people will not get serious diseases of liver cirrhosis. If there isn’t cirrhosis, there will not be cancer.
Strategically, B and C viruses should be treated.
Lately, the Ministry of Health is partnering and discussing with NGOs on importing medications for treating liver viruses with low costs. How significant is this?
They are discussing about importing medications against liver viruses to Mongolia and establishing agreements to provide medications with cheaper prices with producer companies. This specific medication is sold for 80,000 USD in the USA, 60,000 USD in England and for over 50,000 USD in France. This is the cost of a course treatment for a year. It’s an excellent newly produced medicine with 90 percent effectiveness. Around 12.5 percent of Mongolia’s population is infected with Hepatitis C. If we say that this percentage is accounted with Mongolia’s population of almost three million people, 375,000 people have Hepatitis C.
Approximately 60 percent of these people require treatment, meaning that treatment issues for over 200,000 people need to be resolved. The government will have made a huge accomplishment if they can negotiate to import the liver cancer medication for less than 20,000 USD. Deputy Minister of Health J.Amarsanaa, who’s discussing this and cooperating with NGOs, is working very well. This work needs to be executed but it’s taking too long. They’ve discussed it for a year. The big government apparatus can be slow but health issues can’t. There’s too much delay.
Other countries are competing to providing their people with the world’s best medication but Mongolia is still sticking to last century’s medication. Medication list of approved drugs for Mongolia’s use is already out but we’re still not purchasing them. Why can’t Mongolians use scientific achievements? Furthermore, Mongolia doesn’t have any laboratory capable of analyzing medicines on their type.
Many people get liver transplantation each year and a lot of money flows out to foreign countries. Is it possible to get organ transplantation domestically?
Some 150 Mongolians get liver transplantation because of liver cirrhosis. From my knowledge, 40 people got transplantation at an Indian hospital in the last six years. Each patient had to pay at least 100 million MNT. The total cost of 40 patients would be at least four billion MNT. This huge amount of money went to a foreign country.
Another related issue is that a healthy person or relatives of the patient getting liver transplantation is donating their liver. People face a serious issue for settling transplantation surgery costs. They have to go through a difficult process of selling their apartments and collecting money from relatives.
A national team of surgeons was made to introduce liver transplantation surgery in Mongolia. Only four to five surgeries are conducted a year by bringing Korean surgeons to Mongolia. This is a very unfortunate and pitiful state. This year, fewer than twenty people got liver transplantations in Mongolia. I’m dissatisfied with this. The NCC cuts some 250 livers a year. We’re considerably experienced. Success is just around the corner if surgeons work together.
My team and I are passionate about performing liver transplantation by ourselves. When the expansion construction for the NCC is completed, we plan to conduct liver transplantation.
Source: Zuunii Medee
Mongolian chess players win World Youth Chess Championships
By B. Tungalag
October 2 (UB Post) Mongolian chess player D.Munkhzul captured a gold medal in girls’ U8 category of the World Youth Chess Championships and Ye.Tugstumur won silver in the boys’ U8 category.
Among 51 players in the girls U8 category, D.Munkhzul earned eight wins, one draw and two defeats, and seized the gold with 8.5 points.
D.Munkhzul, who is seven years old, is the youngest Mongolian chess player to have earned a World Championship title.
Among 64 players in the U8 category, Asian champion and Candidate Master of FIDE Ye.Tugstumur won silver medal after round 11, with eight wins and three draws.
The World Youth Chess Championships took place in Durban, South Africa from September 20 to 29. Over 1,000 boys and girls from 90 countries competed in this year’s championships.
Darkhan-Uul Province opens new puppet theater
By B. Baatar
October 2 (UB Post) The opening ceremony of a puppet theater in Darkhan-Uul Province took place at the Youth Theater on September 29.
The theater was established within the frame of “Mongol Child” project, which was carried out by Governor’s Office of Darkhan-Uul Province and NGOs.
The puppet theater has 77 seats and is equipped with all necessary audio and video facilities for theatrical productions. Currently around 15 people are working at the theater, including professional artists.
The puppet theater was first established in 1992 but was closed after three years due to financial issues.
SOS Smile delivers healing happiness to UB hospitals
October 2 (UB Post) Have you heard of hospital clowning? It’s a new approach to patient care in UB children’s hospitals. When one imagines clowns, a circus typically comes to mind, but hospital clowns have been brought to the 10th complex of Bayanzurkh District by SOS Smile.
Hospital clowning seems to be such a nice job, one which gives happiness and peace to young patients who are suffering from illnesses and undergoing long hospital stays.
SOS Smile’s hospital clowns, better known as “clown doctors”, are youth volunteers. They were blowing colorful balloons and joking at the entrance hall of the 10th complex nursing kindergarten, when Undesnii Shuudan arrived to interview them.
A volunteer clown doctor and student of the Polytechnical College of Mongolia and Korea, U.Purevsuren, said that she had asked leave from her lesson to come and volunteer. She enjoys what she is doing and loves working with children.
A head of the SOS Smile program, Berit Austen was wearing a dress with a big pink ribbon, dressed like Minnie Mouse. Berit has worked as a clown doctor for 10 years at a hospital in Denmark. She says she enjoys the work in Mongolia and that children’s laughter makes her happy.
Children seem to forget their illness when they see colorful balloons in the hospital halls and funny clowns. Some seem timid at first, but soon they are playing with toys brought by the volunteers.
One seven-year-old boy was crying and afraid of getting injections, but with the arrival of the clown doctors, he was busy playing with toys without a single teardrop in his eyes.
Clown doctor and social worker of the National Center for Maternal and Child Health, N.Erdenechimeg, spoke about the program and how the work of Clown Doctors is made possible.
Making someone happy, especially a child, is a great job. Many people can’t do this kind of work. How did you come upon the idea for hospital clowning?
Clown doctors from a hospital in Denmark visited the National Center for Maternal and Children’s Health in 2012. We requested cooperation and conducted clown training, and volunteers joined our cause. We have been performing since September 2013.
Currently, 12 people are volunteering together. More than just being circus clowns, we strive for donating happiness to little patients who are fighting to overcome disease.
Can people call to have you visit a specific hospital?
Precisely, we are community that tries to give positive energy to disabled and hospitalized children. We have rules and regulations to follow for communicating with children and working in hospitals.
Our community is non-profit so we do not charge a fee. Our program is financed by the SOS Smile program, including clothes, appliances and toys.
How much time was spent establishing your program?
We advertised online. Now, we have 12 volunteers, including teachers, students, psychologists, social workers, businesspeople, and retirees. We meet once in a month and discuss activities for the following month. Even though we are employed with other jobs besides being clown doctors, we ask for time off from our jobs and schools to make children happy.
How many places have you visited?
We have been offering our services for the last 10 months. We organize meetings with children and youth and delivered smiles to the National Center for Maternal and Child Health, the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center, and the Central Infant Sanatorium.
If someone makes a request, we are ready to help them for free. Our people are trying their best to make children happy.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
Seniors celebrated at Mongolian National Art Gallery
October 2 (UB Post) Celebrating the International Day of Older Persons, the Mongolian National Art Gallery and Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism organized an exhibition featuring over 60 creations by 50 artists on view through October 5.
In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 the International Day of Older Persons. In 1992, the Government of Mongolia designated October 1 the Mongolian Day of Older Persons. The theme of this year’s 24th commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons is “Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All”.
Older people can set great examples for the youth, as they contributed to the development of the country. The population of Mongolia has grown to 2.9 million, and 10 percent of the population are older people.
The painting “Buteeliin Hiid”, by an artist named Batjargal, touched my heart. In it, a woman is depicted as a goddess we may imagine in Buddhism. Staring at that painting, I experienced the physical and inner beauty of the subject. The artist’s portrayal of her as a goddess sheds light on his view of the strength of women.
I also admired a painting called “Summer”, by the artist Tsagaanderem. Looking at it made me feel like I was in the countryside, staring at a beautiful landscape. Whenever I visit natural places in my country, I feel like I get energy from them. In the gallery, I obtained that same energy just simply by staring at a masterful painting.
I recommend that everyone visit this art exhibition. The creations are very simple, but give people a strong feeling from the beauty that lies within them.
"UB Dialogue" book published
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of Strategic Studies have published a book about the first international scientific conference of the "Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian security", which ran this June 17-18 in Ulaanbaatar.
The book's presentation took place on Wednesday in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This international measure had run in several phases under concrete topics, it has discussed 21 reports. Present had been 35 scholars and researchers from Northeast Asian countries (Mongolia, China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and Russia), also from the USA, the Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. The gathered had considered that Mongolia has sufficient potential and a reputation to organize the Dialogue on urgent issues of the Northeast Asian region, and had agreed to host this conference every year.
Turkish Ambassador visits elders in Tuv aimag
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Republic of Turkey to Mongolia Mr Murat Karagoz visited Thursday an elders center in Tuv aimag.
The tour was dedicated to the international Day of Older Persons and upcoming Turkish Eid al-Adha (Festival of the sacrifices). The Ambassador shared opinions with the center's director Tumurchudur on professional trainings and possible aid from Turkey on expert exchange, and gave presents to some 120 elders. Addressing them he said," An old age is an important part of life which carries different meanings for everyone. The elders are honored people as they are a bridge from 'yesterday' to 'today', passing the culture and traditions to younger generations". Then he expressed a hope that his tribute for the elders would bring them "happiness and faith in life".
Premier's proposals go further
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag called a press conference on a new structure of the government offered by the amendment.
In addition to creating 13 Ministries out of existing 16 in order to avoid a duplication of some directions, he said the new cabinet will have the First Deputy Premier and the Deputy Prime Minister. The Minister of foreign affairs is to act as the Deputy PM in order to expand the external cooperation, enrich the foreign ties with economic contents, widen the economic relations with the neighbour and other countries, and to arrange the inter-Ministry collaboration. Duties of the current Deputy PM will be transferred to the First Deputy Premier, Altankhuyag said.
Some duties will go to other agencies and Ministries, he went on. For example, the Deputy Premier and Foreign Ministry will be in charge of external trade, foreign investments and external economic cooperation, while the Ministry of Finance will regulate affairs of general policy on credit and assistance, a development of economic free zone, concession, the partnership policy between the state and private sector and actions against air pollution. These matters are currently related to the Ministry of Economic Development.
About forum "Monetary and financial relations of Mongolia and China”
By N. Khaliun
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The first forum themed as such took place on September 30 in the “Agreement” hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.
It was organized by Mongolia's Academy of Sciences, the Institute for International studies and the Chinese Central University of Finance and Economics. Opening remarks made O.Chuluunbat, Vice Minister of Economic Development, vice president of the Academy of Sciences T.Dorj and a trade advisor of Chinese embassy in Mongolia.
The Forum brought together more than one hundred representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, Mongolian Stock Exchange, Trade and Development Bank, the media, scientists and researchers from the two countries.
Reports were given by a senior economist the Monetary Policy and Economic Analysis Department of Mongolbank B.Bayardavaa “An implementation of monetary policy in Mongolia and "Monetary and financial relations of Mongolia and China”, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor of Chinese Central University of Finance and Economics “A macro level dynamics of China’s stock market”.
After that, there were discussions on topics such as “The current state of monetary and financial relations between Mongolia and China, their prospects”, “A reform in System of International Reserves, internationalization of the Yuan” and “Cooperation of the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia with Chinese banks”.
Khanbogd honours senior Oyu Tolgoi employees with honourary citizenships
October 2 (Oyu Tolgoi) Khanbogd, Mongolia – Three of Oyu Tolgoi’s senior employees have been presented with honourary citizenships by the people of Khanbogd.
Last Friday, during the Khanbogd Market fair, Ivan Vella, Oyu Tolgoi’s Chief Operating Officer, D.Garamjav, Chief Geologist, and T.Munkhbat, Deputy Director of Resource Strategy and Innovation, were presented with the awards to mark their contributions to the development of the soum.
D.Garamjav and T.Munkhbat were part of the original exploration teams at Oyu Tolgoi, while Ivan Vella has been with the business since 2011 and is a regular visitor to the Khanbogd soum centre as part of his overall responsibility for managing the Oyu Tolgoi site.
Ivan Vella said: “This is a huge and humbling honour for me, and for everyone within the Oyu Tolgoi family. Khanbogd is my home and I will take this honour with me wherever I may go in the future. The people of Khanbogd have consistently acted as wise counsel to our business, helping us to plan our development in a way which can bring benefits for the whole community and make us into the successful and sustainable business we are today.
“We will continue to work closely with the local community to maintain our trusted partnership and ensure the value of the mine is felt by everyone.”
Chairman of the Citizen’s Representative Council of Khanbogd soum, Mr. Kh.Nekhiit said "The management of Oyu Tolgoi is strongly focused on cooperating with our soum.
“Ivan Vella,who previously managed Oyu Tolgoi’s Procurement department, has done a lot to strengthen the local supply chain and develop our economy. Today, he manages the mine site and helped us to establish Galba park and celebrate the soum’s anniversary. On behalf of the local community, the Citizen’s Representative Council awarded him the title Honourary citizen of Khanbogd soum.
“I believe that cooperation and partnership between the company and our soum will expand further, for the benefit of all.”
The full title of the honours bestowed is: “declaration of honourary citizenship of Khanbogd for great accomplishments, for the sake of development and people, that have left bright imprints in our soum history”.
US embassy reports
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) Staff of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mongolian partners, and Mongolian counterparts joined Tuesday the US Ambassador to Mongolia Ms Campbell to reflect on and celebrate more than two decades of U.S. assistance to, and partnership with, the Mongolian people.
Since 1991, USAID assistance, valued at over USD 230 million, has helped Mongolia through the initial years of its economic independence. USAID launched its first program in Mongolia with a grant to provide emergency assistance to the country's power plants, with other early activities focusing on emergency food supply, economic reform, and advancing civil society. Over time USAID provided further support for infrastructure, economic and judicial reform, public financial management, and development of a market economy. In recent years, USAID assistance has focused on supporting Mongolia's long-term, sustainable development by strengthening governance and building an enabling environment for business and economic growth.
U.S. Government assistance has been in near constant transition to meet Mongolia's needs as the country has grown and strengthened as an independent nation. In support of Mongolia's own goals, U.S. assistance objectives in Mongolia remain a strengthened democratic society, a productive market economy, and a government that provides for the welfare of its people. The Embassy, representing several of the varied U.S. Government agencies that provide international assistance, is moving towards a commercial and development partnership, and the Embassy will continue to support activities that contribute to these objectives.
At the same time, Mongolia also made significant strides in its democratic development as underscored by transparent and peaceful local and national elections. Over the years, Mongolia has shown strong economic growth and commitment to democracy. Mongolia's success makes it a model to countries in the region that embrace democratic values and are tackling complex social transitions and economic challenges, and this success suggests Mongolia is on the path to move toward graduation as a donor recipient country.
In recognition of way that the U.S.-Mongolia relationship is evolving from that of donor/recipient relationship to a commercial and development partner, Ambassador Campbell announced that USAID in Mongolia will make another transition. USAID's presence is being changed from that of the USAID Representative Office to that of a single USAID Development Adviser.
This decision is a vote of confidence in Mongolia and an acknowledgement of the tremendous progress it has made. Ambassador Campbell remarked "We are very proud of what the Government of Mongolia has accomplished in partnership with USAID."
It is also notable that while the USAID role in Mongolia is transitioning to a smaller presence, other U.S. Government programs are not just remaining, but also growing. As just one example, the U.S. Peace Corps program that provides volunteers in rural areas and in Ulaanbaatar has nearly doubled the number of volunteers in the last two years.
U.S. Government resources, including USAID resources, will be focused on facilitating private-sector business incubation, public-private partnerships, and rule-of-law capacity building and institution strengthening. As Mongolia matures, U.S. assistance and partnership will also continue to transition to support our maturing relationship and to promote continued economic engagement. The United States takes it role as Mongolia's "third neighbor" very seriously and that is unchanging.
Month begins to protect environment
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The environmental protection campaign of 2014 announced on Thursday, at the Ministry of Environment and Green development, the official start of Month for environmental protection to run October 1-November 1.
Under a "Water-Smart consumption-Rationale saving" logo, the action aims at providing the public with correct information about Mongolia’s water reserves, consumption and pollution, and at improving coherence between state policies and their implementation, coordination of different sectors, as well as at improving a cooperation of NGO’s, scholars, experts, and the public.
The campaign is joined by the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Water Management Authority, Ulaanbaatar Environmental Authority, Administration of Tuul river bank, Environmental Measurement Laboratory, Center for Pure Water and Environment Protection, and “Mongol Us” state-owned company, along with media.
Boxer D.Otgondalai to compete for gold in Asian Games
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) An international master of sports and boxer of the national selected team D.Otgondalai has been qualified to fight for gold medal in the 17th Asian Games in Inchoen, South Korea.
Having a bye in the first bout, Otgondalai beat opponents from Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan in the preliminary rounds. In the semi-finals, he defeated a Japanese Olympic bronze medallist Satoshi Shimizu on Thursday.
In the final bout on Friday, he will fight with Charly Suarez, a rival from Philippines.
D.Otgondalai: I cannot afford to lose now – UB Post, October 2
Ministry of Mining receives feasibility study of major gasification plant
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Mining received Thursday a preliminary feasibility study from China's Sinopec company on a project of building a brown-coal gasification plant to process 50-60 million tonnes of brown coal and produce 15 billion cube meters of synthetic gas a year.
The project was developed in frames of the discussion during the Prime Minister’s visit to China in 2013, when he touched upon matters on processing brown coal, widely spread in Mongolia, and producing coal products.
The estimated cost of the project is USD 30 million. The project will commence a coal processing in 2018. The executive team is planning to extract the brown coal from several coal beds in Dundgovi and Dornogovi aimags.
Sinopek Limited, also known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, is the biggest state-owned oil company in China. To question "will be coal exported to China unprocessed or be used in production of value-added product?" the vice-minister of Mining O.Erdenebulgan replies that all works will be done in Mongolia, "this project is to be much greater than Oyu Tolgoi in terms of investments and production capacity".
The domestic market will consume five percent of the annual 15 billiion tonnes gas, the rest will be exported, according to the project.
Why join APEC?
By D. Jargalsaikhan
October 2 (Mongolian Economy) President Elbegdorj has repeatedly requested Russia and China to support Mongolia in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). The requests were made during the recent presidential visits and after the trilateral summit that took place in Dushanbe following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference last week.
APEC was established 25 years ago in response to the growing interdependence of economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, almost every country that has a coastline on the Pacific Ocean is an APEC member. APEC has a total of 21 member countries, which are home to 2.8 billion people and account for approximately 57 percent of global GDP and about 47 percent of world trade.
APEC is working highly efficiently in promoting regional integration and their member countries have been implementing carefully planned, step-by-step actions to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers upon mutual agreement. The member countries are working to support open and free trade, promote investment, ensure alignment of reforms in economic structure, and boost free exchange of people, goods, and services.
In 1989, the real GDP (PPP) per capita of APEC member countries was 7,969 USD, which doubled in 2011 to reach 14,271 USD. In comparison, GDP per capita increased only by 30 percent from 5,857 to 7,678 USD in non-member economies in the same period of time.
APEC conducts its operations as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. In order to open up its economy and promote economic growth, member economies implement actions plans individually and collectively. The action plans and their progress are proposed to and approved by Senior Officials Meeting, Ministerial Meeting, and Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
Approximately 80 percent of Mongolia’s international trade and 80 percent of investment are accounted for by APEC member countries. Besides Mongolia, about 10 other countries such as India and Colombia applied for APEC membership many years ago. However, APEC refused to greatly increase the number of member countries in 1997 and stopped accepting new members for 10 years until 2010.
Currently, Mongolia has expressed an interest to join APEC at all levels and has made individual engagements with each member country for support. Mongolia has an expectation that other countries would support our bid at the next APEC summit to be held in Beijing next month providing that President of China initiates discussions around our potential membership for the organization. However, it is more likely for APEC to discuss about the timing and procedures of accepting new members rather than talking about Mongolia. The main reason why many countries are seeking APEC membership is that they have no choice but to boost their trade and investment relations with neighboring countries and expand their market in the globalizing world we find ourselves in. APEC provides the opportunity for countries to conduct relations with their neighboring countries based international norms rather than historic relations and conditions.
There is a saying in the East – “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Although Asia does not yet have the conditions for a union to be formed as in Europe, countries have become keener on working together and several organizations for regional cooperation have been established. APEC has seen some success as a regional organization that has been working most efficiently, utilizing the benefits of information technology, collectively discussing common issues, and regulating their operations for alignment.
APEC leaders had a meeting in 1994 in Bogor, Indonesia, and committed to achieve open and free trade and investment in industrialized economies in the Asia-Pacific by 2010, and in developing economies by 2020. Every member country has been reporting their progress ever since the Bogor meeting. Furthermore, member countries have been making dozens of proposals and initiatives that are actively supported by others. The initiatives include supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) enter international value chain, promote cooperation between universities, facilitating free movement of academics, ensuring food safety, improving the quality of infrastructure, building capacity in infrastructure development (e.g. member countries using the same connection when using electric vehicle charging cable), supporting women entrepreneurs, developing the internet economy, and operating e-training centers.
One might have noticed that there is an APEC line at the customs areas of international airports. Currently, more than 100,000 business delegates from APEC member countries use an APEC business travel card (ABTC) to travel without visas to member countries, which really helps the private sector.
By joining regional integration and becoming a member of an organization like APEC, Mongolia can expand its market and achieve sustainable economic development in the long term. As our economic cooperation is expanded, we will face the need to keep our traditional culture and heritage, and establish a product brand based on our uniqueness.
Mongolia became an associate member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (PECC), an organization initiated by APEC, and acquired full membership in 2008. Through this membership, Mongolia has the right to take part as observer in every meeting or summit except for APEC summits.
Becoming an APEC member will consolidate the conditions for Mongolia to conduct the relations with the two big neighbors on international norms. Furthermore, APEC membership will substantially support Mongolia’s public governance institutions strengthen, prepare the workforce, and operate on international standards. Also, it will greatly help our private sector expand their business operations at regional level. This is why our president is seeking for APEC membership.
Project starts on Mongolia’s network of managed resource protected areas
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) An inception workshop “Mongolia’s network of Managed Resource Protected Areas” project to be implemented between 2013-2018 with support of Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme at Ministry of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia was held Thursday.
The inception Workshop aims to define common understanding about expected outcome and goal of the project among the main stakeholders which was followed by discussion of existence legal environment for local protected areas, and revising of project log frame. Around 80 representatives gathered at the workshop including government, non-government agencies, international and development partners, academia, research institution and community groups and shared their comments and provided the recommendations.
Opening remarks were made by D.Lundeejantsan MP; B.Tulga, the Vice Minister of Ministry of Environment and Green Development; Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative; T. Erdenechimeg, National Project Director and Head of Protected Areas Administration Department, Ministry of Environment.
Project pilot areas are: Gulzat local protected area (LPA) (Sagil, Buhmurun soums of Uvs province), Khavtgar LPA (Batshireet soum of Khentii province), Buffer zone of Toson Khulstai National Park (Tsagaan Ovoo, Bayan Uul soums of Dornod province and Norovlin soums of Khentii province) and the project will support the transformation of community areas into centers of conservation excellence.
Further project will promote process of identification, designation, and establishment of improved management regimes and will assist in aimag and soum governments to integrate protected areas management objectives in their planning processes and efforts of each sites will be directed towards empowering rural communities to alleviate threats identified during the project design phase.
“Mongolia’s network of Managed Resource Protected Areas” project will contribute for achieving MDG 1 to reduce poverty and MDG7 and ensuring environmental sustainability, as well as advancement of human development sustaining the integrity of Mongolia’s diverse ecosystems to secure the viability of the nations’ globally significant biodiversity.
Ulaanbaatar film festival approaches
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) The film festival will open October 8 at Tengis movie theatre, aimed at contributing to the development of Mongolian film industry, establishing international relations in this sector, presenting world famous films.
This year’s action will be run under four themes: “The World’s Best Films”, “Turkish Movie Day”, “Day of Film Arts Foundation of Berlin International Film Festival”, and “Mongol Kino (Mongolian Film) Program”. During the festival, award winning 12 films from film festivals of Cannes, berlin, Venice, Toronto, Goetheburg, Tokyo, and San-Paulo will be presented, and opportunities to meet the artists of the films will be available.
Ulaanbaatar film festival’s line-up will include winner of over ten global prestigious awards such as best-director award at 2013 Tokyo Festival and audience award at 2014 Gothenburg Festival “Of Horses and Men” by Benedict Erlingsson from Iceland, 2013 Venice Festival audience award winner at “Beautiful Life” by Jean Denizot from France, 2014 Cannes International Film Festival’s Best-Script award winner “Leviathan” by Andrey Zvyagintsev the Russian famous director, 2013 Berlin festival’s “Silver Bear” award winner “Harmony Lessons” by Emir Baygazin from Kazakhstan, 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s winner of four awards “Warriors” by French director Thomas Kaley.
BoM: Preliminary Balance of Payments for 2014
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) Current account deficit stands at USD 819.7 million which is decrease of 62 percent from the previous year. This is triggered by USD 1318.0 million or 129 percent decrease in deficit of international trade accounts of goods, thus showed surplus of USD 298.4 million.
Capital and financial accounts showed surplus of USD 140.5 million which is decrease of 85 percent or USD 803.0 million from 2013. This is due to 60 percent decline of foreign direct investment to Mongolia which equals to USD 926.4 million.
Hence, surplus of portfolio investment had financed the deficit of other investment. Decreases in other investment were caused by following factors: USD 266.7 million increase of trade credit receivables, and decrease of USD 116.7 million on net external loans.
Stock exchange news for October 2
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 151 thousand and 893 shares of 17 JSCs were traded costing MNT 59 million 888 thousand and 395.00.
"Hai Bi Oil” /107 thousand and 719 units/, “Merex” /12 thousand and 529 units/, “Remikon” /10 thousand and 042 units/, “Mongol shiltgeen” /7,970 units/ and "Hermes center” /5,100 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Hai Bi Oil” (MNT 42 million 118 thousand and 129), "Mongol shiltgeen” (MNT four million 989 thousand and 220), “Gobi” (MNT two million 162 thousand and 700), "Talkh chikher” (MNT two million and 160 thousand) and "Remikon” (MNT one million 305 thousand and 460).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 573 billion 249 million 454 thousand and 971. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,669.30, decreasing 75.85 units or 0.48% against the previous day.
Students in the U.S. cap Mongolia’s ‘brain-drain’
By B. Dulguun
October 2 (UB Post) The first-ever Mongolian American Career Fair, organized for Mongolian students studying abroad who are interested in pursuing careers in Mongolia, will be held for two days in Chicago, Illinois, from October 11 to 12.
The Mongolian American Career Fair is the first networking opportunity for both Mongolian companies and students, organized by a group of Mongolian students who study and work in the USA. These students represent various student and non-profit organizations such as the Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA), Mongolian Student Non-profit Organization in America (MSNOA), Association of Mongolian Students in America (AMSA), Mongol Volunteer, and Human Prosperity. The Ministry of Labor and Embassy of Mongolia in the USA are supporting and cooperating with these young, active Mongolian students in organizing this event.
According to UNESCO statistics from 2012, 1,247 of approximately 10,000 Mongolian students enrolled in higher education abroad were situated in the USA. The number of Mongolians returning to Mongolia from overseas has grown in recent years, and they’re striving towards improving Mongolia’s development. This fair may be a big boost for Mongolia’s development, as it will provide Mongolians studying in top American schools with information about internship opportunities in Mongolia during their university years, and could lead to finding employment after they graduate.
Ten companies so far, including Khan Bank, Labor Exchange Central Office, Daily News and Starcom MediaVest, will be presenting their internship and employment opportunities at the event. A full list of participating companies is available on Mongolian American Career Fair’s official website, careerfair.oyutan.org.
Attendees will have the opportunity to review employer information, including products and services, working conditions and open positions, learn more about their organizations, be nterviewed by potential employers in person, and attend workshops to build professional and job hunting skills.
The UB Post spoke with a member of the organizing committee of the Mongolian American Career Fair, Maralmaa Munkh-Achit, to learn more about the event and its inspiration.
Can you tell us who is sponsoring the Mongolian American Career Fair?
For sponsorship, we are funded mostly by donations and registration fees from the participating companies. There are also different levels of corporate sponsorship that companies can choose from, and each one offers certain advantages.
Are many Mongolians residing in the USA interested in returning to Mongolia for work? Do you get many hiring notices from employers in Mongolia?
The reason we decided to organize this event in the first place is because we noticed that many Mongolian students and young professionals are interested in returning to Mongolia to work, but often don’t really know how to apply for careers or network with companies. So we are hoping that this event will be the bridge that will connect the two. It is not a secret that Mongolia needs a more educated and skilled workforce, and we wanted to help the companies find their prospective employees through this fair.
Is there a particular industry looking for skilled and career-ready employees from the USA? Which industries are most favored by Mongolians in the USA?
It is hard to pick only one industry, but there are some popular industries such as business, computer science, engineering, economics and finance that are more popular now. Mongolian students in the U.S. are majoring in various fields, which is why we think it is important for us to have as many companies as we can to help our career fair participants.
How many people have registered for the career fair so far?
We are expecting about 200 students to come to the fair. Mostly, recent graduates or undergraduates have registered so far. However, any Mongolian living in the U.S. is welcome to come. The registration will continue until October 1.
How will the career fair benefit Mongolians living in the USA and participating companies?
Through this career fair, we want to end the “brain drain” that is happening to Mongolia. Instead of losing our most brilliant professionals to other countries, we can bring them back to their home country. For the participating companies, they will have an opportunity to meet with the brightest students and professionals living in the U.S. and recruit them for their company. As for the participating individuals, this is a chance to “sell” yourself to the top Mongolian companies and secure employment when you return to Mongolia.
I would also like to encourage everyone who can to come and participate in this event. Not only can you find your future company or employees at this fair, you can also meet and network with fellow Mongolians.
You can visit the official website,www.fair.oyutan.org, to get more informationandregister for the career fair.
President Ts.Elbegdorj speaks for Mongolia at UNGA
By Ch. Khaliun
October 2 (UB Post) Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj delivered a statement at the General Debate of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, sharing Mongolia’s position on various global issues.
President Elbegdorj touched upon the global issues of terrorist activities, the Ebola crisis, the situation in Ukraine, and climate change. The President noted that this session of the General Assembly has the important task of articulating a post-2015 development agenda based on the legacy of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He emphasized that Mongolia chose its development path 25 years ago – to embrace the rule of law, democratic governance, a market economy and an open society, and now Mongolia is sharing its democracy experience with Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Myanmar. He said, “Strengthening peace and stability in Northeast Asia is one of our national security priorities,” and spoke about the “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue” initiative.
President Elbegdorj also raised issues related to United Nations Security Council reform. He noted, “In a time of major geopolitical change, the U.N. system must reflect new economic and political realities. We need to accelerate the reform process, including the long-overdue expansion of Security Council membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories.”
In addition to the General Debate, Ts.Elbegdorj attended the Summit Debate on Prohibition of the Death Penalty as one of three presidents invited as the event’s main speakers. Deputy Secretary of the U.N. Jan Eliasson gave the opening speech, emphasizing, “We should run stable operations to eliminate the death penalty.”
The U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi presented how important national leadership is in the annihilation of the death penalty.
Prince Zeid noted that the death penalty is an outdated conviction which can’t be followed in the 21st century, and appealed to global leaders to take measurements to stopping this punishment. He also underlined the importance of political leadership in amending legislation and making decisive steps towards the abolition of the death penalty.
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice K.Shanmugan, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Rui Machete, Norwegian State Secretary Hans Brattskar, and French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius were present at the debate and exchanged their views.
Currently, 160 countries around the world have abolished capital punishment, and Ecuador, Guinea, Pakistan, El Salvador, Gabon, Poland and some U.S. states are taking positive measurements in the same direction.
Autumn Plenary Session of Parliament begins
By Ch. Khaliun
October 2 (UB Post) The 2014 autumn Plenary Session of the Parliament began at 11:40 a.m. on October 1, with an opening ceremony chaired by Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
In his opening remarks, Z.Enkhbold underlined the importance of agreements established during the recent visits of the state heads of China and Russia, he mentioned that many issues affecting socio-economic concerns are awaiting consideration in this session. He cited the government budget deficit reaching 605.8 billion MNT, poor living situations, the maturity date of the Chinggis Bond approaching, and discussion of the 2015 state budget as priority issues.
One of the issues at the center of public attention is the restructuring of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. On Wednesday, Z.Enkhbold pledged to resolve the issue of agenda item sequences if the Cabinet submitted its restructuring plan.
At the opening ceremony, President Ts.Elbegdorj, PM N.Altankhuyag, resident ambassadors, representatives of international organizations, as well as foreign and local guests were present, and 86.6 percent of Members of Parliament attended the ceremony.
Provision 3 of Article 33 of the Constitution of Mongolia stipulates that the President of Mongolia may attend the sessions of the Parliament at his own discretion.
The autumn session will discuss 26 issues and make some changes in the government, as the public expects. The official agenda includes government measures for the implementation of policy on railroad transportation, a draft of the 2015 budget, and a draft law on crime.
Following the ceremony, political party groups within Parliament held separate meetings.
Below is the list of agenda items in the order they will be discussed in the autumn session, approved by Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold on September 22.
List of agenda items:
1. Ratification on draft law on “Mongolian American Agreement on International Trade and Investment Issues to Ensure Transparency”
2. Parliament resolution on “Some Measures to Ensure the Implementation of Government Policy on Rail Transport”
3. The resignation of cabinet members
4. Parliament resolution on “Government Policy on Approval of the Road Transport Sector”
5. Draft on fire safety
6. Draft on the state budget for 2015
7. Draft on Human Development Fund budget for 2015
8. Draft on Social Insurance Fund budget for 2015
9. Parliament resolution on basic principles on approval of monetary policy in 2015
10. Draft on trade
11. Draft on tax legislation amendments
12. Draft on movable property and non-property collateral
13. Draft on state registration of legal entities
14. Draft on crime
15. Draft on violations
16. Draft on domestic violence
17. Draft on Mongolian language
18. Parliament resolution on approval of state education policy
19. Draft on amendments to procedures to comply with the law prohibiting the use of exploration in river headwaters, water reservoir protection zon,es and forested areas
20. Draft on control
21. Draft on Mongolian state elections
22. Draft on political party financing
23. Parliament resolution on approval of long-term development policy of Mongolia
24. Draft amendment on Minerals Law
25. Laws under debate in the Parliament session, other decisive drafts of Parliament
Mongolia to export coal by new railway next year
By B. Mendbayar
October 2 (UB Post) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag visited the embankment construction site for the 267 kilometer railway being built between Tavan Tolgoi and Gashuun Sukhait.
The Tavan Tolgoi-Gashuun Sukhait Railway is being constructed under the New Railway Project being implemented by the Mongolian Railway state-owned stock company. Funding of 200 million USD from the Chinggis Bond has been allocated for fundamental structures and construction that will be part of the New Railway Project, and 193.9 million USD has been issued.
Samsung C&T Corporation has been working as the general executor of the New Railway Project, and 12 domestic sub-executor companies and over 1,700 employees have been working on its construction. Presently, completion of the earthwork for the 267 kilometer railroad is at 76 percent and a bridge along its route at 50 percent.
The Prime Minister directed relevant officials to accelerate operations and engage both domestic and foreign investors for other means of funding of the New Railway Project, in order to launch the railroad in October 2015, as planned.
Once operational, the 267 kilometer railway between Tavan Tolgoi and Gashuun Sukhait would decrease the costs for the annual transportation of 30 million tons of coal by at least 50 percent, and reduce the negative environmental impacts currently resulting from vehicle transportation.
UB Air quality is degrading, says expert
October 2 (UB Post) Undesnii Shuudan spoke to Air Quality Department expert of the National Agency for Meteorology and Environment Monitoring of Mongolia, J.Bayarmagnai.
How does air pollution compare to the corresponding period of last year?
The city air quality is being studied at 14 posts including 10 of the National Agency for Meteorology and Environment Monitoring and four of the City Air Quality Department.
We examine the main sources of air pollution in four to six types of indicators. As of last year, the content of sulfuric gas declined by over 20 percent or eight mg per cubic meter and the content of nitric dioxide reduced by over 26 percent or 18 mg per cubic meter from the previous year.
The indicator of particulate matter was same as the previous year and big changes haven’t been observed. But the fine particulate matter decreased by over 21 percent or 27 mg per cubic meter compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.
Which air pollution indicator is more harmful to human health?
If the common pollutant indicators increase from normal levels, it is harmful to the human body. In other words, any substance, that is higher than its normal level is poisonous to human health. So it is not accurate to compare which is more harmful.
Is there any excessive amount of pollutant substances in the air today?
From the data collected in September, nitric dioxide is higher than its average level in areas near big roads and 13th khoroolol. A great amount of particulate matter was observed in ger districts, and road and construction sites. According to the data collection centers, particulate matters are above average in Zuun Ail and Khusug Center.
Is it true that the amount of harmful substances in air have declined in Ulaanbaatar?
We can’t say that it is harmful. Maybe this rumor was spread from the main pollutant substances. The fine particulate matters are very tiny and naked eyes cannot see them. For example, PM 10 is five to seven times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. Very small particulate matters exist in the atmosphere and the human respiratory system doesn’t filter the small pieces and this affects internal organs.
But bigger particulate matters, in other words, natural dust, is filtered through the human respiratory system and it’s affects are lower.
Can we understand that air quality is worsening year by year?
The air quality study started very early. But it used to measure sulfuric acid and nitric monoxide with old methods and we imported equipments to measure air pollution. Since then, the air quality monitoring capacity has increased.
The French and Mongolian governments work together in this area and supplied portable air quality monitors. Consequently, measuring air pollution and its affects has expanded.
According to comparative data, air pollution seems to be declining, but in air quality standard comparisons, air pollution is increasing.
Can we avoid being affected by air pollution?
All the emissions travel by air. The main reason for air pollution is dust from moving things such as cars, ger district, and hydro heating stoves and etc.
The fume from a ger spreads at a relatively lower altitude. But the fume from the thermoelectric plants scatters to the atmosphere because its chimneys are located higher.
In extreme winter climate, cold air is accumulated on the ground and becomes the main source of air pollution.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
“We are destroying earth, we are burning our home”
October 2 (UB Post) Eight courageous men of “Khureelen” (Institute) Project filmed a documentary featuring Mongolia’s beauty, as well as the wonder of life and animals in the countryside. These men who captured rare and incredible moments on film, won the highest prize of journalism in Mongolia, the Baldorj Prize.
They gave a very modest explanation for their extraordinary and brave journey of 30,000 km in extreme climate, fluctuation between minus 30 degrees and plus 30 degrees, to follow a lifelong obsession for animals.
The following is an interview with founder of Institute Project U.Ganbayar and general producer M.Buyanbadrakh, covering some interesting facts about their adventure.
After spending many months near animals while traveling across the wild, have your views on life changed?
Ganbayar: I realized humans are biological species.
Buyanbadrakh: Ganbayar has been taking landscape photos for many years and is much more experienced than me. After participating in this project, I concluded that I didn’t know beyond taking photos of marmots, ground-squirrels and birds sitting on windows. A group of people establish a surrounding. Humans think highly of themselves because we’re intelligent, dominators of the world, can fly to space, construct tall buildings, and produce electricity. The animal world is a parallel world that isn’t inferior or superior to ours. They have a leader, followers, couples, offsprings, work, competitions and selections. It’s regrettable that we claim they’re inferior to us and kill, persecute and destroy the animal world.
Is it true Institute Project received a 100 billion MNT financing?
Buyanbadrakh: Rumor spread that apart from support from the state, we received 100 billion MNT from large corporations. I can guarantee that we didn’t receive 100 billion MNT. Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Central Bank, Monnis Group and Khunnu Airlines provided financial support and promoted our project on TV programs to encourage us to capture good photos.
Many say we run tons of commercials during our broadcasting program. We only do it to show our appreciation to the above companies. The Ministry of Nature and Green Development and the Ministry of Education and Science understood and supported our motive and gave us allowances.
Initially, we planned to execute the project for three years and estimated approximately a billion MNT for horses, cars and technical equipment. We don’t have supporters that granted us a billion MNT, or even 100 million MNT. We began our journey after selling our cars and getting loans.
So far, how much money have you spent?
Ganbayar: Within a year, we spent 300 million MNT on rent, purchasing two cars, fuel and cameras. Our team members didn’t take a single dime home. We’re barely providing for our family. S.Tsatsral of Gamma Agency and I are selling our photographs while Buyanaa puts up advertisements on the website. We plan to repay our debt within 2014. Next year, we plan to get posters, calendars, books and postcards published with our work and produce souvenirs and logos.
It must’ve been difficult to set off this huge project and patch up a team. Did the team members know each other before?
Buyanbadrakh: Yes. Ganbayar initiated it. We gave ourselves a very big name, Rangers. It doesn’t mean that we wear green striped clothes, ride on motorbikes, chase away people camping near Bogd Mountain, burn down mining companies or pocket money. Animals are dying because of environmental degradation and pollution. The environment will not spontaneously recover in ten years if we sit around procrastinating. This is the fault made by humans so we should inform children on what sorts of wild animals live where. Based on their knowledge, children will love and protect animals. We decided to share, inform and show this by doing what we can.
During your journey, did you meet hunters?
Buyanbadrakh: The one who lectures hunters is our Head Photographer L.Bataa. During summer, we came across people doing illegal hunting. We could only lecture them since we’re no civil workers and couldn’t take any measure or fine them. Some get scared but those who aren’t intimidated demand to know who we are. They don’t take note of words spoken by people with cameras as their only weapon.
What do you think about animal slaughter?
Ganbayar: Hunters are presenting their guns to us and say they liked our TV program’s motto, “Let’s exchange hunting rifles with cameras”. There are many people who pledged to stop hunting and take pictures instead. They encourage us to sell their guns and use the bargain for our next journey.
Buyanbadrakh: I think it’s possible to hunt legally with limits, without threatening the wild population. Every country has hunting shops. Even Mongolia lets foreigners hunt and get revenue for the state budget.
Are you extreme animal lovers, to the level that you wouldn’t even hurt a fly?
Buyanbadrakh: Nature has a strict law of natural selection that only the strong survive preying on the weak. Carnivores function as cleaners. With or without us, nature will regulate itself, eliminating the ones it doesn’t need and keeps the ones that are needed. Humans are also a type of carnivore. We’re not monks in monasteries. We haven’t befriended animals so much as to sleep with hedgehogs.
Ganbayar: When Mongolians see animals, they either believe they’ll recover their spirit or chase them away. The more you chase them the more distant they become. While we were taking photos of wild horses, people in vans drove towards them, forcing them to scatter. Mongolians should stop scaring animals, disturbing the tranquility and clamor their habitat.
During your journey, was there anything that was very disturbing or painful to see?
We mainly travelled through the wild where there weren’t any people. The nature had kept its natural form. Near roads frequented by people, trash and cans were piled up. If we think of Mongolia and the earth we live in as home, we’re burning and ruining our home.
How difficult was the journey?
Buyanbadrakh: You will not face hardships while traveling by car. During the trip, we travelled 200 km on horses across tundra, cliffs, rocks, and muddy and swampy land for a week. Some of the crew did get fever, stomach ache, sore throat and sore legs, and even got bitten by a dog but nothing too serious. Our cameramen took care of their cameras more than themselves.
Ganbayar: There were times when I almost cried from spending minus 30 degree Celsius nights in tents and from almost freezing my fingers while taking photos during the cold weather. We almost had a car crash in Gurvantes soum, Umnugobi Province. Although desert roads seem to be formed of gravels, in the middle it has many loose sands. We were able to pull our cars because we had two. If we had only one car, we would’ve been stuck in a difficult situation 300 km away from people, without water, food or horses.
Mongolia has an official species catalogue showing the estimation the mammals and reptiles that exist in Mongolia. How many of them did you film?
Ganbayar: In the first ten months of our journey, we’ve filmed approximately a third of Mongolia’s total species. We captured some 50 of 138 species of mammals, over 100 of 487 species of bird, and three of six amphibians on film. Our work is progressing according to plan.
Were there instances when you couldn’t capture a moment? For example, due to technical difficulty?
Ganbayar: There were times when we slipped an amazing moment because the camera wouldn’t focus, clouds covered the sun and due to technical difficulties as well as our own faults. For example, after exhausting from a long journey on horses, we finally encountered two elks but didn’t get to capture them on film. We made a big mistake of tying our horses in a ravine behind a tree, which was apparently completely visible to elks that were coming down from Khangai Mountain peak. When the elks saw our horses, they went straight into the woods. Since wild animals are keen and vigilant, skills are crucial for getting closer to them. You need detailed calculations of wind direction, position of the sun, higher ground elevation and where the animal could escape to.
What will you do after this project?
Ganbayar: We’ll produce our own magazine and if possible, our own Mongolian geography and animal world channel. Mongolian channels have a monotone broadcasting system. They first report the same thing that happened in the State Palace of Mongolia from different angles and then run few folk songs, followed by Korean soap drama. Instead, why can’t we have channels exclusively engaged to sports, Buddhism, or even a channel for women and an animal related channels? There’s tons of work we can do if only we have the will to take action. Mongolia isn’t a country with debt that only makes project teams execute new ideas. We’re doing this project because we enjoy it.
Source: http://www.mongolnews.mn /1b5z
Mongolian National Burn Center left out in the cold
October 2 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Burn Center moved back to the first floor of the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center this week, after temporary accommodations at Munguun Guur Hospital.
The State Specialized Inspection Authority prohibited use of their original building, built in 1957, following an inspection three years ago. At the request of the Ministry of Health and relevant organizations, the State Property Committee issued resolution No.358 in 2011 to tear down the building.
This led to two challenges for the National Burn Center: renting new facilities and building a new hospital.
At first, the National Burn Center rented space at the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center. It moved to Mungun Guur Hospital for two years, where it was operating until last week, and paid one billion MNT for rent. The resettlements have put financial pressure on the state budget and the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center, financial losses that doctors and workers of the hospital feel that the Head of the Burn Center is responsible for.
After the City Governor issued a regulation on building a new hospital in 2011, the Ministry of Health announced a tender for the planning and plotting of the new building. EZT LLC was selected and established a contract with the Ministry of Health and began the planning process.
As of today, the old building still stands.
The first budget for the National Burn Center was set at 12 billion MNT, but was later increased to 30 billion MNT. The Ministry of Health said that the Building Development Center would evaluate the estimated cost of a new facility and it would be accurately reflected in the state budget.
Construction and preparation of a new hospital could take two to three years without further delays.
According to international standards for burn centers, there should be one burn center for every 50 thousand residents of a city, but Ulaanbaatar has one burn center for a national population of almost three million people.
The hospital used to conduct its operations with 150 hospital beds at its original facility, but it functioned with 80 beds while located at Mungun Guur Hospital. Not only people suffering from burns go to this hospital, but also people requiring hospitalization from frostbite.
It is unclear how the situation will be improved by moving back to the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center. We have to be thankful for the doctors who are working under these conditions and following their oaths.
One of the doctors at the burn center said that most of the people who are treated at the burn center don’t work in well-paid jobs, and the authorities don’t care about improving the resources for the hospital’s operation and speeding up the process of building a new hospital. But pain doesn’t distinguish between people who are rich or poor.
“Declaring bankruptcy is easy for banks and hospitals, but the results are a hardship for the public,” said the director of the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center, Z.Mendsaikhan.
While our ministries discuss their failures, the healthcare sector has already gone bankrupt.
Communication Roadblock Leads to Protests at Da Khuree
October 2 (UB Post) Some areas of Da Khuree Auto Market, located in the 17th Khoroo in Ulaanbaatar, were shut down on Wednesday, causing automotive businesses to protest and block the road.
The business owners and operators were frustrated that operations of some areas of the auto market were suspended when the first stage of planning for the new Auto trade Complex hadn’t yet been commissioned.
They began their strike on the road at 9:00 a.m. yesterday. When reporters from Unuudur arrived at the scene at 1:40 p.m, a huge commotion from Bayanzurkh police officers demanding that the salesmen clear the road was commencing.
Chairman of the Mongolian Automotive Trade Association P.Gantsooj clarified the situation, “Today, we’re suffering because the government is working erroneously and isn’t fulfilling its promises. The State Specialized Inspection Agency issued an order to shut down auto markets operating in the capital city on October 1. They probably made this decision consistent with plans for the new auto trade center. However, the trade center hasn’t become operational yet.
“When I spoke with the Deputy Head of Roads, Transportation and Infrastructure Department of the Office of the Ulaanbaatar Governor, N.Gantumur, on the phone, he said he didn’t know anything and would send officials after speaking with the District Governor. He also said the auto trade center would be commissioned on October 15. This shows that businesses are being victimized because organizations don’t have proper communication. If it isn’t time to launch the Auto Trade Complex, auto market operations shouldn’t be suspended. Basically, it’s the same as trying to move people into an apartment with only the foundation laid. During the Mongolian Auto Forum, Deputy Head N.Gantumur told me to wait until October 1, and that they’re working as fast as they can to make the Auto Trade Complex.”
He also reported that the salesmen would continue to protest until Da Khuree Auto Market is reopened. Da Khuree Auto Market has many sections inside, including Mungun Khuleg (Silver Knight) and diesel engine markets, where over 600 people run businesses. Mungun Khuleg was closed down on August 30.
“If they truly enforced the law, all auto markets would be shut down. We’re not saying we will not move to the 22nd traffic checkpoint in Songinokhairkhan District. Even if we go there now, the building doesn’t have a bank, restaurant, or even toilets. It looked like excavated land, covered in red dirt. I wouldn’t mind moving there now if it had adequate working conditions. We’re facing a loss at the moment. The project heads are also demanding four million MNT as a sales vehicle parking fee from tenants. Those capable of paying must have paid. But would people like me, who sell used cars and have only ten million MNT as turnover, have the money to rent a section of the trade area?” commented a salesman of Mungun Khuleg.
The first stage of Auto Trade Complex construction, the square area for open parking, was initially planned to become operational on October 1. This parking space adequate for 6,300 cars is currently at 30 to 40 percent completion. While this is reality, auto sales businesses operating within the capital shouldn’t be terminated or suffer financial losses.
Auto market traders aren’t protesting because they don’t wish to move to the 22nd traffic checkpoint. They are frustrated because the Auto Trade Complex wasn’t commissioned on time, and the abuse of their interests.
Source: http://mongolnews.mn /1bde