…is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, with an area almost as large as Western Europe but with less than 1/10 the population. Much of its land is covered by grassy steppe with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south.
To this day, at least 25% of the population lives a nomadic life, dependent on this vast open land for survival. However, climate change in recent years has rendered their lifestyle difficult to maintain. Extreme weather events including droughts, flash flooding and harsh winters are more common. Unsustainable agriculture and development practices further accelerate the deterioration of the country’s land and water resources and ecosystem services.
In the past 30 years, nearly a quarter of the land in Mongolia has turned to desert and thousands of lakes and rivers have dried out.
For the communities like Kharkhiraa and Turgen in the west and Ulz river basin in the east of Mongolia, getting fresh vegetables and fruit is now no longer a problem.
Twelve greenhouses have been built for vegetable production, which helps the herders to strengthen their adaptability to climate change. The production increased their income and for the first time in their life, they now enjoy the delicious taste of strawberry.
A number of climate change adaptation technologies to save water and protect soil were introduced in places like Bayandun, Bayan-Uul, Chuluunkhoroot, Choibalsan soums of Dornod aimag, Norovlin soum of Khentii aimag and Ulaangom, Turgen, Tarialan, Naranbulag and Khovd soum of Uvs aimag since 2014. Techniques including greenhouse farming, drip irrigation systems, strawberry planting and preserving, and reducing soil erosion through agro-forestry have been introduced to local communities.
B. Batmunkh and his wife B. Namjil, citizens of Dashbalbar soum, Dornod aimag, participated in a series of vegetable garden trainings organized by the project. The family used to grow only potatoes, but after the trainings, they learnt to grow many other vegetables, such as pumpkin and watermelon. They are now familiar with organic farming techniques, including proper irrigation schemes, use of organic fertilizers and agro-forestry.
Upstream users and downstream users in the Turgen/Kharkhiraa river basin used to have a lot of disputes regarding water usage. Now, things have changed. The project facilitated the establishment of Water User Groups in three soums in Uvs aimag, which helped the local community to plan on water use and set up joint monitoring.
Two traditional rain and snow melts catchment facilities were constructed in Turgun soum with total volume of 3000m3 and the potential to provide 10 thousand heads of livestock with drinking water for 2 months during the extended dry season.
Pilot design and engineering drawings for two small-scale water harvesting structures were initiated in Ulz river basin in June, 2015 with co-financing of 45 million Tugriks (USD 22,000.00) by Dornod Aimag Environmental Protection Agency. The size and capacity are expected to be 24.25 km2 drainage basin, 8.29 km long with 7.7-12.2 m3/sec water flow for irrigation of tree, vegetable, and fodder fields, as well as providing access for livestock and wildlife to watering and haymaking areas.
UNDP-supported vocational training has enabled women to run small businesses such as felt and wool processing, dairy processing, and organic farming. Kh. Narantuya, a community member of Turgen soum, Uvs aimag made an additional income for her daugther’s tution fee by selling wool products.