Minister of Foreign Affairs is thrilled in visiting Joint UNICEF and Bayankhongor province projects.
Over the past 5 years (2017-2022), UNICEF Mongolia has invested over 5 million USD to support Bayankhongor province in health, education, water and sanitation and clear air programmes
The Joint Mission of the UNICEF Representative Mr. Evariste Kouassi-Komlan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Battsetseg Batmunkh to Bayankhongor was first since the UNICEF representative arrived in Mongolia in November 2021.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Battseteg Batmunkh was introduced to many results, innovative solutions and best practices achieved within the framework of the UNICEF Country Programme 2017-2022. UNICEF delegations also shared with the Minister the next plan for cooperation with the Bayankhongor province. UNICEF will continue working in Bayankhongor in the next country programme. In addition to the existing areas supported, UNICEF has included English learning for second-grade children targeting schools, community centers and public places in soums that have not the same English learning opportunities as their peers in the cities.
During the visit, the Minister Ms. Battsetseg has visited BAM 1020 - reference station for air quality monitoring; the kindergarten #5 that was fully renovated through building retrofitting, advanced mechanical ventilation system, kitchen and WASH facilities; a small-scale sewage system in a new settlement area in Bayankhongor soum and A ger kindergarten equipped with cooking heating and insulation products (CHIP) - UNICEF’s innovative and energy efficient package for ger households.
“I am thrilled that UNICEF had made such good investment in Bayankhongor over the past years”.
The Minister Battsetseg said, “I am thrilled that UNICEF had made such good investment in Bayankhongor over the past years”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversees the country’s foreign relations and foreign policy and is mandated to develop relations and cooperation with foreign states and international organizations in all spheres. The Minister Battsetseg has acknowledged the dedication and enthusiasm of UNICEF’s team and Bayankhongor government.
As such, MOFA signed the “Country Programme of UNICEF 2017-2022” and oversaw its implementation on behalf of the Government. “Today I am pleased to make a joint mission together with UNICEF and see on the ground how UNICEF has supported the local government of the Bayankhongor province. This joint mission provides us an opportunity to have insights on how MOFA can support joint efforts of UNICEF and local governments and institutionalize, localize and replicate best practices and innovative solutions at national level”. She also highlighted the importance of combatting air and environmental pollution, providing safe drinking water, constructing high technology for the fecal sludge management and proper meal service to children and improving education and health care services in the countryside. She emphasized that “UNICEF should further scale up tested solutions like CHIP and eco-friendly WASH facility in schools and in health centers nationwide within the new country programme 2023-2027”.
The Bayankhongor province has high level of air pollution affecting public health significantly. The provincial government made significant efforts to reduce air pollution and UNICEF supported the local Government to develop and approve the Smog Free Bayankhongor action plan 2019-2022 aiming at reducing exposure to air pollution through strengthening primary health care, air quality monitoring, improving indoor air quality in kindergartens and introducing energy efficient and affordable Cooking, heating and insulation products (CHIP) to replace coal-fired stoves with electric heating in gers and install ger insulation and ventilation.
The Governor of Bayankhongor Mr. D. Munkhsaikhan shared that the understanding and motivation for collaborative actions among different stakeholders has been important for achieving success. “By working with UNICEF, our capacities have strengthened for forging networks and partnerships and collaboratively design and implement local development programmes through joint funding. For instance, the consultation processes, that have brought together different stakeholders and community and youth engagement to combat air pollution, have led to the introduction of CHIP by over 500 households, around 10% of households living in gers in Bayankhongor soum with positive behavioral and social changes in the community. It shows willingness of people to transform to clean heating solutions and protect own health from exposure to air pollution.”
Mr. Evariste Kouassi Komlan, Representative of UNICEF, pointed out that “within the framework of the new country programme 2023-2027 UNICEF Mongolia will continue to work in 5 programme areas - health, education, child protection, climate change and WASH and social policy and transform its interventions from geographical targeting to nationwide that will include Bayankhongor”.