UN75 Initiative. 2020 and Future

Consultative meeting with the representatives of the Government of Mongolia

31 August 2020
UN75
UNRCO

The consultative meeting is officially inaugurated by the UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia Mr.Tapan Mishra by graciously welcoming all the representatives of the government of Mongolia, including Her Excellency Ms.D.Sarangerel, Minister of Environment and Tourism, His Excellency Mr.S.Zulfikar, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection, heads of agencies and departments. 

As he highlighted in his opening remark, “On the occasion of UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020, the UN Secretary General has launched the “UN75 Initiative” which is one of the biggest ever global conversations on the world's next 25 years of future development, under the theme “Building the future we want”. While all of the UN member countries invited to this initiative of global dialogue and nearly all of them have taken part, Mongolia also graciously welcomes this initiative. Since Mongolia became a fully-fledged member of the United Nations on October 27 in 1961, it has been actively participating and contributing to its activities. I am very pleased to see Mongolia’s strong commitments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals throughout the country first through the Sustainable Development Vision 2030and now through Vision 2050.

Our response will determine how fast the world recovers, whether we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and how well we handle the global trends shaping our future, from climate change, health risk due toCOVID-19 global pandemic, to new technologies. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, who also had been Minister of Health, has done very well in terms of preventing community transmission of COVID-19 pandemic at domestic level along with efforts made by people of Mongolia, which shows that together we would be able to overcome challenges coming ahead. The UN75 initiative seeks to engage in dialogue with all segments of society, including UN colleagues, government agencies, private sector, civil society, academia, think tanks, youth, local communities, herders, elderly people, people with disabilities, and media, based on its core development principle of “leaving no one behind”.

It is vital that peoples’ voices are heard at this crucial time for the world and therefore it is crucial to have the government agencies been engaged in this dialogue in terms of further disseminating and promoting UN75 initiative to wider public. We value the great potential of the government of Mongolia as well as those local communities and herders whose voice is often not well heard at international level dialogue. In fact, the UN Agencies in Mongolia are considered as the key trusted partners to the Government of Mongolia in terms of achieving the SDGs by 2030 and its ambition and promise of leaving no one behind. We have an ambitious joint development agenda and expected outcomes, which have been agreed between the Government of Mongolia and the United Nations in Mongolia as stipulated in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). You are the leaders and ultimate decision makers on setting the national development policy and you are also one of the key players in international relations, therefore we need your precious comments and recommendations on the next 25 years of development plan.”

The Minister H.E. Ms. Sarangerel highlighted that “After the WWII, the UN was established in 1945 and WHO in 1948. Mongolia is one of the UN’s 194 member countries and it became its member on Oct 27 in 1961. Like the rest of the countries around the world, which has gained their national freedom and independence, Mongolia has a long history of striving to proclaim this achievement around the world and recognized by other nations. Next year will be the 60th anniversary of Mongolia’s full-fledged membership to the UN. We need to be deeply aware of this initiative and work together on this initiative launched by the Secretary General of the UN. The UN is a very important international organization for the government of Mongolia and especially for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, as we need to join our forces together in order to overcome the challenges facing the global and national communities. As we all know, the earth's average global temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial level, whereas it is 2.2 degrees Celsius in Mongolia, which is a threefold increase. That is why Mongolian many glaciers and snow-cap peaks are melting down and thousands of rivers, streams, and springs had been drying out. Only 7.9% of our territory is covered by forest, yet we need to conserve them as much as possible, as these are protection of our river basins. Mongolia is one of the countries with a shortage of water resources, whereas we are not efficiently protecting and conserving our groundwater. These are circumstances, which we cannot resolve in silo but only through cooperation with international communities, in specific with the UN. We have an immediate necessity of closely cooperating with international organizations, exploring, and introducing them with the best international practices.  Therefore, I encourage all the representatives of the government agencies, all sectors and every single citizens to actively engage in these UN75 initiatives and come up with substantial and concrete development ideas and proposals, which can be favorable for both Mongolia and the globe. We sincerely appreciate all the efforts and contributions being made by UN and Agencies in Mongolia. In fact, vaccines are identified as one of the ten wonders of mankind. As you know WHO has already declared that the global seven billion population cannot be entirely protected against this pandemic without vaccination. Mongolia cannot manage to cover its entire population by prospective Covid-19 vaccination without potential assistance expected from the UN and WHO. As of today, the total number of the global level confirmed COVID-19 cases is over 21.8 million. At global level, 267’000 people are newly infected in the last 24 hours of the period. The total number of the global death toll has already surpassed 781’000 and last night 5985 people have just passed away. COVID-19 cases are confirmed in more than 216 countries and territories around the world. Mongolia has only imported cases of coronavirus and so far there are no confirmed cases of community transmission. This is the result of a lot of hard work, which enables us to convene today and talk about development goals. In this respect the contribution of the UN, in specific contribution made by RC Mr.Tapan Mishra is enormous. The concept of one world and this UN75 initiative of encouraging global communities’ collective voice on the prospective sustainable development vision of the next 25 years are very important and we need to raise our substantial comments. The 76.8% of Mongolian overall territory is more or less affected by desertification. The economic victim should not be the environment, because our existence depends on it. We appreciate this global initiative and on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, I hope that counter measures against the global climate change, including advanced mitigation and adaptation measures, would be part of this UN75 dialogue. We also believe that UN’s expected measures on assisting the youth of the poor and developing countries’ communities to efficiently learn English language would be considered an important contribution for timely communication among both developed and developing countries. Required improvement in the health sector is an inevitable core concept of our development agendas. Another important issue is challenges facing social media networks. The UN’s leadership is important to coordinate and protect this platform from negative intrusions, which tends to justify their actions under the name of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I am also totally agree with gender equality issues, especially violence against women and girls, which was identified in the preliminary analysis of the first phase, report of UN75 the global dialogue. I am glad that the UN75 initiative is being carried out as ambitious as it tries to cover voices of all representative groups of society. I would like to emphasize that the input by the representatives of the government of Mongolia must lead this initiative at national level. Thank you very much for your attention.”

Deputy Minister H.E Mr. S.Zulfikar forwarded the greeting of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection to the UN Resident Coordinator. He underlined the importance of the UN policy and strategy, which is now focused on sustainable development and human development concept. In 2020 the government of Mongolia reviewed achievements and challenges encountered in the past and formulated development opportunities and vision of the next 30 years in its document called Vision 2050. Climate change impact and environmental degradation were considered as one of the most pressing challenges during the process of formulating this document. Also, members of the National Security Council have identified potential internal and external risks. We are commemorating the UN75 initiative in this critical time of globalization, where no one country, organization, or even an individual can be free of its influence, as they have become more interdependent than any other time. Such influences also accompany negative sides of it such as economic over-exploitation, which sometimes can be harmful for the environment. In this respect, we value the leadership position of the UN in coordinating these factors. The criteria of educational and health components are the core of our social protection policy, which is the platform of human development concept embedded in the policy of our government and Ministry of Labor and Social Protection. Our labor market statistics present some hidden dilemmas, for instance, our employers in UB capital city did offer 113’000 open employment positions in 2019, and on the other hand, around 120’000 people were actively seeking jobs. In reality, around 63’000 people got employed and approximately 57’000 people have not managed to be employed. This particular statistics might have implications, where salaries offered were not sufficient or skills and expertise required by employers did not match with those candidates and jobseekers. Employment is a foundation of sustainable social protection based on its social insurance and social welfare systems and social protection is the key platform of sustainable human development. In order to identify the root cause of this issue, we analyzed this dilemma of labor market versus labor supply capacity by visiting and organizing meetings with the vocational training centers in three weeks of period. I agree with the Minister of Environment and Tourism in terms of importance of formulating any development vision by ensuring involvement of all segments of society like the way UN75 initiative is being organized. We saw the benefits of such a multi-stakeholder consultation approach by involving all groups of society, as we successfully amended our Constitutional Law and formulated Vision 2050. Our government, especially the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, is committed to finding the most suitable solution on these issues and we are ready to cooperate with the UN.”

The participants are invited to watch three series of promotional videos about the UN75 initiative, relations of UN and Mongolia and the UN75 online and offline (JotForm) surveys. The main concept and objective of the UN-75 consultative meeting and purpose of engaging with the wider public, in specific CSOs and NGOs and media organizations are introduced by Ms. Doljinsuren Jambal, the Development Coordination Officer, UN Mongolia RCO.

Ms.Sengelmaa Dashnyam, Communication Consultant, UN RCO Mongolia, introduced and provided guidance on the UN75 online and offline survey options and accordingly the participants were able to access the online survey in Mongolian language by having their cell phone photo cameras screened over the QR codes prepared for instant access to the survey link. Those without cell phones were also able to fill out the UN75 survey on paper printed versions.

Moderator introduced the main guidance of the group discussion and the three guiding questions along with facilitation documents, including concept note and major development trends identified as a result of the preliminary analysis made in the first phase of the global survey of UN75 dialogue. 

Then, the participants are divided into three groups and engaged in discussion in accordance to the three guiding questions. Then they presented their comments, critiques, recommendations, and initiatives in respect to potential ways of resolving the following challenging issues in cooperation with multi-stakeholders, in specific with the government and UN agencies. Those issues were prioritized in accordance to their short-term timeframe with pressing needs, medium term, and long-term feasibility based on prerequisite of investment, infrastructure and establishment of respective legal framework.    

 

Three guiding questions:

1. What are the obstacles and challenges that hinder the global and national development vision? (for example, until 2045, in consideration of the following circumstances):

  • Negative impact of pandemic to socio-economic development
  • Global climate-change and environmental degradation
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Shifting demographics
  • Unpredictable new trends in digital technological development
  • Issues of investment required for the health sector
  • Dangers to peace and security
  • Breakdown of trust between governments and people...etc

2. How can global cooperation – particularly the UN – better manage these challenges? What can the UN do differently and how can the UN change and reform? How can the UN better work with other actors?

3. What are the potential impact of the engagement, cooperation and role of the government agencies in addressing the challenges you have identified?

 

OUTCOMES OF THE GROUP DISCUSSION:

 

Summary of report of each groups

Team # 1

The UN status of the global number one international organization needs further strengthening by reforming its structure and strategy. In specific, it is necessary for UN to establish the global parliamentary institution with permanent operation by including representations of its all-192 member countries.

As we made amendments to our Constitutional Law, which inscribes that Mongolian development policy and planning needs to be sustainable and consequently we endorsed a Law on Development Policy and Planning. Therefore, we will be pursuing an integrated policy inclusive to environmentally, socially, and economically favorable sustainable development. We also need to establish the Ministry on Economic Development and Economic Development Institute.  

Team # 2

Challenges of environmental degradation are the result of improper actions carried out by certain people. It is important to recycle waste and litters in Mongolia. Even though potential restructure of the UN is very comprehensive subject, we still need to raise our voice. Public negotiation, citizens’ participation, trust among society are important dimension of ideal platform of the good governance and accessible benefit of economic development. It is important to have the inter-sectorial and cross-sectorial coordination under integrated policy development.

Team # 3

This team has identified environmental and pastureland degradation as the main challenges facing the animal husbandry sector. They also highlighted trade policy issues, especially trade barriers imposed to the foreign trade of developing countries. The UN has great potential to coordinate this circumstance risen among developed and developing countries. The UN assistance is required for Mongolia, as it does not have any major institution specifically designated to domestic and foreign trade policy and planning. 

Team # 4

This team identified interrelations of emerging problems very much in the global context in relation to the human development. We must pursue reforms in our educational and health sectors in line with the development of fourth industrial revolution, where we might eventually have to cope with new labor market such as banking sector without tellers, educational sector without teachers, and transportation sector without many drivers etc. Many unskilled workers would be unemployed in near future. Just as all the other teams, this team also recommended the UN to rethink about its current preference over voice of those few donors, who provides major share in its funding and thus in return demand certain conditions. In other words the UN needs reform in its structure and decision making mechanism that can be more inclusive and based on the equal level playing field. Necessity of prioritizing human development has highlights by this team. Development policy aspect based on benefit of regionalization also attracts the attention.

Team # 5

This team highlighted the greedy nature of human sub-consciousness, which never seems satisfaction over what we have but solicit after material wealth by over-exploiting natural resources of our future generations, beyond what needed for this generation. All the other major challenges and recommendations of potential solutions were similar to challenges highlighted by other teams.

Conclusion

Each team has identified special aspects of development challenges but all of them also have certain common points. Many accumulated issues of knowledge, education, health, and mindset and attitude have relevance to the level of human development. The poor level of human development may implicate negative impact to economy, environment, and even development partners. All teams highlighted importance of the UN reform but mainly through potential introduction of new framework, where voices of the member countries with small economies heard and reflected in its development agendas on equal basis. In this respect, the UN needs to establish the certain new institutional structure. Such new subordinate institution with permanent operation under the UN may pursue more consultative and coordinating mechanism. Next major point with repeated highlights by all teams was the criticism about our current lack of inter-sectorial and cross-sectorial coordination and coherence. These decision makers and policy makers do understand the root causes of all of these identified problems and if you would cement such perception of these root causes embedded in your persuasion, then you can surely have substantial progress in Mongolia within about ten years.

Media Contacts

Sengelmaa Dashnyam
Communications Consultant
UN-RCO
Tina Puntsag
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Mongolia
Tel: 99993254
Tel: 11312217 2203

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