Mongolia is experiencing rapid economic and social changes. Its recent economic growth – largely fuelled by the extractive sector – has resulted in increased income for the Government of Mongolia and the country’s private sector.
This increased income presents significant opportunities for economic diversification, improvements in education, infrastructure development and strengthening of social programmes.
As Mongolia moves towards Middle Income Country status, it is vitally important that the benefits from this growth are directed to include poverty alleviation measures, including improved access to health and education for citizens, to create a better life and a brighter future for all of Mongolia’s children.
Despite these rapid economic changes, Mongolia still faces many challenges, including persistent poverty and growing disparities between rich and poor and between urban and rural communities. Mongolia is not yet on target to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction, access to water and sanitation, gender equality etc. Nationally, almost 40% of the population lives below the poverty line and 50% of the rural population lives in poverty. A major household survey (MICS) conducted in 2010 revealed that infant mortality in rural areas is double that of urban areas. Children in the poorest households are three times more likely to be underweight than those in the wealthiest households. While two-thirds of the national population has access to sources of safe water, only less than a quarter of the poorest Mongolians can be confident that the water they drink will not cause illness and disease. Two-thirds of the urban population has access to safe sanitation, but in rural areas this number falls to 36% and among the poorest households, just over one in ten people have access to adequate sanitation facilities.
Clearly, the challenge for all who seek a safer, better future for Mongolia’s children is to ensure that economic growth, and the wealth it provides, delivers benefits to those most in need.
Component 1 of UNICEF Mongolia Country Programme 2012-2016 Social Policy, Investment and Advocacy for Child Rights – focuses on ensuring that children’s needs and rights are fully recognised as national priorities, with a commensurate allocation of financial resources to meet these goals. This component covers issues such as promotion of evidence-based pro-poor policies, greater investment for children, sound use of data analysis, advocacy and partnerships, knowledge management and communication for development activities designed to inform and engage people about practices that promote children’s growth and development.