Update on REDD+ in Mongolia
When most people think of REDD+, they think of tropical forests. However REDD+ is a mechanism in which all forested developing countries can participate. Mongolia, a country with significant boreal forest cover, is now engaging in a number of activities to develop a National REDD+ Roadmap.
From 16-29 November 2011, a UN-REDD Programme team visited Mongolia to provide technical assistance and training on REDD+, and to conduct consultations with regional and local stakeholder.
During the mission, the UN-REDD Programme team worked closely with Mongolia’s National REDD+ Taskforce. The Taskforce was established by Government decree in September 2011 to guide the development of the National REDD+ Roadmap. It now has 20 members and includes a broad range of representatives from different government sectors, the private sector and civil society.
Two sub-national or local consultation events also took place in Baruunharaa, Selenge province, located 200 kilometres north of the capital, Ulaanbaatar - which has been identified as the source of more than 60 per cent of legally and illegally harvested timber in Mongolia. More than 50 people attended the regional workshop in Baruunharaa, held on 20 November 2011, from both regional and local government forest units, as well as from many forest user groups (FUGs).
The following day, a direct consultation session was held in a rural area with representatives from three community-based Forest User Groups (Khurgalag, Baingal Eej and Ulziit Ovoo) based in Mandal soum. The purpose of the consultation was to briefly introduce the concept of REDD+, and to understand the capacity and governance challenges facing FUGS in Mongolia. To date, FUGs have proved to be highly effective in controlling forest fires in their areas through community monitoring and controlling access to forest areas. The FUGs expressed a need for additional funding and assistance to help them improve forest law enforcement.
At the request of the Forest Agency, a representative from FAO held a two-day specialized training session on 28-29 November 2011 in Ulaanbaatar specifically on REDD+ Monitoring and Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV), with financial support from UNDP Mongolia. The training was widely attended by more than 50 people from government (national and provincial), academia, development partners and NGOs. Day 1 focused on the international policy context and technical requirements of REDD+ implementation; while Day 2 shifted the focus to the Mongolian context, with break-out groups discussing existing relevant technical capacities, institutional arrangements, national circumstances and drivers of – and solutions to – deforestation and forest degradation. The discussions initiated at this event mark an important step in building context-specific capacity for REDD+ implementation in Mongolia.
“The permafrost is changing and more trees are being blown over by the wind. The rivers are drying up and there is less surface water.”
-Observation from a participant at a recent UN-REDD Programme workshop, when asked whether or not they had observed any changes in climate recently.
Alarmingly, the impacts of climate change are already apparent in Mongolia, with the country experiencing an increase in average annual temperature of more than 2°C over the past 70 years. According to the "Mongolia: Assessment Report on Climate Change 2009", Climate change models predict that the Gobi Desert, located in the south of Mongolia, will continue its inexorable creep towards the boreal forests in the north. Recognizing the importance of adaptation for Mongolia, the UN-REDD Programme mission was also arranged to coincide with the German Agency for International Cooperation's ‘Second Conference on Climate Change Adaptation’ held in Ulaanbaatar on 17-18 November 2011, where the UN-REDD Programme and UNDP Mongolia gave a presentation entitled, focusing on how REDD+ can assist Mongolia with climate change adaptation.
The UN-REDD Programme team is supported by the UNDP Country Office in Mongolia. The Programme's work in Mongolia is funded by the Government of Japan through the UN-REDD Programme’s Tier 2 programme.