UNICEF in Mongolia
UNICEF has worked in Mongolia for over 50 years. Over this period, the country and its people have experienced dramatic transformations that have brought about different challenges – a transition from a centrally planned to a market economy with strong democratic values and institutions; from a low-income to a lower-middle-income country; from a recipient of development aid to a leader in the promotion of multi-lateral diplomacy and human rights.
In response to Mongolia’s increasing capacities, development and economic growth, UNICEF has gradually re-focused its work in the country to better accompany and support the Government in ensuring that every child reaches his or her full potential. In practice, these shifts entail a sharper focus on equity to reach the most disadvantaged children and a more explicit upstream approach to connect policy development with equitable service delivery for children at local level. They also imply a gradual transition from direct service delivery to provision of technical support for strengthening policies, legislations, norms and standards, connected with improving child outcomes at local level.
While the scope of the UNICEF programmes may have changed over time, the organization’s core mandate has not: UNICEF is in Mongolia to reach every child.
The current UNICEF programme in Mongolia has a strong emphasis on influencing social policies, systems and budgets for children, strongly connected with delivering results for children at the local level. Key strategies include provision of high level technical expertise in child related areas, generation of high quality data and analysis and sustained advocacy to develop child sensitive policies, programmes and budgets. Investment in networking and leveraging national and international stakeholders around child priorities are other important strategies, as well as brokering of international knowledge by facilitating horizontal cooperation as a way to connect Mongolia to global innovation and best practices for children.
The country programme has a sharp equity focus, implementing a twofold approach that includes a) data generation and equity-based analysis and b) convergence of integrated programmatic efforts towards two of the most lagged-behind geographical focus areas in terms of human development and child indicators -- Khuvsgul province and the Nalaikh district of Ulaanbaatar. The approach is based on the identification of key barriers and bottlenecks affecting the most disadvantaged and development of integrated programmatic responses to target these, coupled with policy advocacy with central and local authorities for better planning and budget allocation for the most vulnerable. In addition, the pilot projects implemented at the local level provide evidence to develop standards and package interventions for national level replication.