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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

[BREAKING: SGK approves government restructuring bill, slimming cabinet to 13 ministries]

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- BREAKING NEWS -

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

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Mogi: a few changes to names and duties of the merged ministries during parliament debate, which went on into the night yesterday. Ministry of Infrastructure Development (merged from Ministry of Roads & Transportation and Ministry of Construction & Urban Development) changed to Ministry of Roads, Transportation, Construction & Urban Development. Duties of Heavy Industry will transferred from Ministry of Industry & Agriculture to the newly merged Ministry of Geology, Mining & Energy. Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be renamed Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Economic Cooperation, reflecting the expanded role of the ministry and its minister’s title will become Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister.

Now to see what kind of changes to ministers the PM will submit.

Mongolia's parliament endorses gov't restructuring bill

ULAN BATOR, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's lawmakers on Tuesday approved changes in government structure in a bid to clear up overlapping functions and cut off excess staff.

The parliament passed by 73.9 percent of votes a bill diminishing government ministries from the current 16 to 13, with 11 regulatory agencies and 19 implementing agencies.

According to the bill submitted by Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag, Ministries of Finance and Economic Development will be merged into the Finance Ministry; Ministries of Mining and Energy into the Geology, Mining and Energy Ministry; Ministries of Construction and Urban Development and Road and Transport into the Ministry of Infrastructure Development.

Furthermore, the government will appoint a first deputy prime minister and deputy prime minister.

The bill suggests that the foreign minister be a deputy prime minister and that the foreign minister widen foreign cooperation, strengthen economic relations with its neighbors and other foreign countries, and regulate and coordinate foreign relations and collaboration of all ministries.

In connection with it, the first deputy prime minister will be in charge of current deputy prime minister's duties and responsibilities, according to the bill.

Link to article

 

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Canrim Resources: September 2014 Monthly Letter

October 7, Canrim Resources Pte Ltd. --

To the Shareholders of Canrim Resources Pte Ltd.,

September was filled with positives for both Mongolia and Canrim. The economy continued to show signs of improvement and Canrim took full advantage of this to conduct high level meetings with several multinational mining and exploration companies, in addition to meeting with relevant Mongolian officials.

Having previously discussed our proprietary geological database, a main ingredient for achieving success in acquiring and developing actionable minerals projects, we continue to grow this archive and position ourselves for both the submission of license applications and secondary market acquisitions.

MRAM having supposed to begin accepting applications for new license areas during the week of September 25th, they subsequently delayed this process due to a technical glitch in their online and processing systems. We look forward to this issue being resolved for we are fully ready to participate in this process where Canrim will submit applications for multiple licenses.

We also continue to meet with several significant multinational minerals exploration and development companies in both Mongolia and Singapore who are either actively investing in Mongolia or are closely watching the improving investment climate. Such conversations will only accelerate as relationships are built with potential joint venture partners or acquirers, leveraging Canrim’s expertise as a credible, diligent, in-country partner who can contribute licenses and operational expertise, a world-class geological team and co-operate on near term production deals.

Mongolian Economic Update:

1.    September 12: FTSE considers Mongolia for possible inclusion in Frontier Markets Index in 2015;

2.    September 14: First Russia-Mongolia-China meeting held during Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States Summit;

3.    September 22: Mongolian Energy Corporation announces issuance of up to HKD 3.5 billion in debt;

4.    September 25: Sino Construction offers to acquire all ordinary shares of Guildford Coal;

5.    Bank of Mongolia reports second month of increase in FX reserves;

We look forward to updating you again on our progress and developments in Mongolia. If you would like to learn more about Canrim Resources, I encourage you to contact us directly at Canrimresources@gmail.com. Our team will be delighted to speak with you.

Sincerely Yours,

Ranjeet Sundher,

Director and CEO

Canrim Resources Pte Ltd.

About Canrim Resources Pte Ltd.

Canrim Resources Pte Ltd. is a Singapore-incorporated holding company, controlling several subsidiaries established for the purpose of developing minerals-related business activities in Mongolia. With over 50 years management experience in Mongolia’s resource sector, as well as offices in Singapore and Ulaanbaatar, Canrim Resources Pte Ltd. has positioned itself as a strong player in the Mongolian minerals sector, seeking to execute on transactions of minerals licenses in both the primary and secondary markets, in addition to select infrastructure projects. Mongolia remains one of the most under-explored geologically attractive regions in the world and is strategically positioned near to the commodity consuming nations of China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

[BREAKING: PM proposes cutting ministries from 16 to 13, current account shows surplus first since ..., FX reserves rise for 2nd month]

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

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Mogi: Deputy PM will become First Deputy PM, Foreign Minister will serve as Deputy PM, moving a step up to oversee foreign trade, foreign investment aspect over all ministries

PM Submits Proposal to Cut Ministries to 13 from 16

October 2 (news.mn) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag submitted draft laws to make amendments to the law on the structure of government, and the law on formation of the government to Speaker Z.Enkhbold at 11:00 a.m. today.

Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag made a statement about the drafts during a press conference.

The reform government has operated with 16 ministries since its formation. Now the government will merge six ministries under the proposed restructuring plan.

According to the draft law, the Ministry for Roads and Transportation and Ministry for Construction and Urban Development will be merged into an Infrastructure Development Ministry; the Mining Ministry and Energy Ministry into a Ministry of Geology, Mining and Energy; the Economic Development Ministry will be absorbed by the Finance Ministry; and the Invest Mongolia Agency of the Economic Development Ministry will be merged into the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Mongolia. (Mogi: not exactly true, it will remain an agency but overseen by foreign minister now instead of economic development minister)

The government will be restructured with 13 ministries, 11 regulatory agencies and 19 implementing agencies.

Link to article

 

PM Proposes Reducing Number of Ministries from 16 to 13

October 2 (InfoMongolia) On October 02, 2014, Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag submitted a draft bill on amendments to the Law on Government to the Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold.

In his speech at the Opening of 2014 Autumn Plenary Session of the Parliament, Speaker Z.Enkhbold pledged to revise the issue of restructuring in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet despite of agenda sequences.

Accordingly, Premier N.Altankhuyag introduced the draft bill stating, “In order to intensify the development of Mongolian economy, organize Government Action Plan implementations, and provide socio-economic development, it has become necessary to re-consider the government structure by the means of not duplicating the functional roles. Therefore, I propose to unite some Ministries and offer the following suggestions:

-       To unite the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development, and rename as the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia;

-       To unite the Ministry of Mining and the Ministry of Energy, and rename as the Ministry Geology, Mining and Energy of Mongolia;

-       To unite the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation, rename as the Ministry of Infrastructure Development of Mongolia;

If the draft bill is approved, the Government of Mongolia would functional with 13 Ministries, 11 Regulatory Agencies and 19 Implementing Agencies”.

Currently, the Government of Mongolia is functional with 16 Ministries and 31 Regulatory and Implementing Agencies, where two Implementing Agencies were newly established as the Marshal (Takhar) Authority and Invest Mongolia.

Link to article

 

Mongolia’s PM Proposes Thinning Cabinet, Cutting Ministries

By Michael Kohn

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov proposes to parliament cutting number of ministries, cabinet positions to 13 from 16, according to the government’s website.

* Ministry of Economic Development to be folded into Ministry of Finance

* Ministries of mining, energy to be combined as Ministry of Geology, Mining and Energy

* Ministries of transport, construction to be combined as Ministry of Infrastructure Development

* Additionally, Foreign Affairs minister to also serve as PM’s deputy

(BFW)

 

Mogi: Current Account showed a surplus in August, $125.7m compared to $-152m, first since at least 2012

Mongolia Jan.-Aug. FDI Drops 60% Y/y to $640m: Central Bank

By Michael Kohn

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia inbound FDI fell to $640.2m from $1.57b yr earlier, central bank says in statement, citing preliminary data for first 8 months of 2014.

* 2014 current account deficit at the end of August $819.7m vs $2.18b yr ago: statement

* Link to central bank statement

(BFW)

 

August FX Reserves +0.84% MoM, -50.07% YoY

October 2 (Bank of Mongolia) The Bank of Mongolia has changed its’ policy regarding official foreign exchange reserves reporting. The statistics will be published with an one-month lag /previously published with three-months lag/ on the first business day of the following month. Policy is in effect since July, 2014

date

Gross Reserves

Monthly, %

YTD, %

YOY, %

2014.8

1360.68

0.84

-39.5

- 50.07

2014.7

1349.3

2.4

-40

-55.2

2014.6

1317.5

-17.9

-41.4

-57.6

2014.5

1604.5

-11.9

-28.6

-52.6

2014.4

1821.7

-6.2

-18.9

-48.1

2014.3

1943.3

-11.5

-13.5

-48.8

2014.2

2195.3

-10.2

-2.3

-45.3

2014.1

2446.3

8.8

8.8

-40.1

2013.12

2248

-2.7

-45.5

-45.5

2013.11

2309.6

-3.3

-44

-13.7

2013.10

2389.2

-10.8

-42.1

-10.7

2013.9

2679.6

-1.7

-35.1

-7.7

2013.8

2725.5

-9.5

-33.9

-0.9

Link to release

 

 

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

GoM Proposes Taking 20% Stake in Centerra's Gatsuurt Gold Project as Strategic Deposit

September 25 (Cover Mongolia) Cabinet meeting held today determined the government stake to take in Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Gatsuurt gold deposit in making it a “strategic” deposit, and has decided to submit the bill to parliament.

The government will take a 20% stake in “Erdenes-Gatsuurt,” a joint venture company to be created to hold Gatsuurt deposit’s special permit. Erdenes MGL will contribute the government’s portion of $100,000 needed to establish such a foreign invested company or $20,000.

Erdenes-Gatsuurt LLC, becoming a “state-involved” company, will be mandated to resolve project financing issues on its own, without “overburdening the shareholders,” during the exploitation of the deposit, most likely meaning that the government will not be providing financing for the project, perhaps in a similar fashion as OT.

Gatsuurt deposit has a registered resource of 27.6Mts of ore, 75.9 thousands kilograms of gold.

Finance Ministry to Transfer SCHCD's Securities Clearing and Settlement Functions to MSE

September 25 (Cover Mongolia) Government of Mongolia issued a resolution during a cabinet meeting held on September 18 announcing the following decisions regarding Securities Clearing House and Central Depositary LLC:

  1. To appoint Ministry of Finance as the shareholder of Securities Clearing House and Central Depositary LLC (SCHCD).
  2. To transfer central depositary and share registry functions of SCHCD into a state-owned entity to be newly established.
  3. To assign the duty of establishing the entity in Clause 2 of this Resolution to Minister for Finance Ch. Ulaan.
  4. To assign the Ministry of Finance the duty of restructuring SCHCD with the roles of securities clearing and settlement functions.
  5. To transfer full ownership of the legal entity in charge of securities clearing and settlement to the Mongolian Stock Exchange.
  6. Clause 2-5 to take effect once the legal entity set out in Clause 3 is established by government decision.

[Guildford targeted for takeover, GoM bond auction fails again, MIAT connects UB & SG, and Mongolia on Clinton's bucket list]

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

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Jump to: Overseas Market - Local MarketEconomyPoliticsBusinessUlaanbaatarDiplomacy - Social, Environmental and Other

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

GUF trading -1.85% at A$0.053 Thursday morning

SGX-Listed Sino Construction Launches All-Share Takeover Bid for Guildford Coal

September 25, Guildford Coal Ltd. (ASX:GUF) --

Sino Construction:

Highlights

·         Sino Construction offers to acquire all ordinary shares in Guildford

·         Sino Construction offers 1 Sino Construction share for every 4.5 Guildford shares

·         The offer values each Guildford share at approximately 6.13 cents

·         The offer is a 13.5% premium to the closing price of Guildford shares on ASX yesterday

Link to full release

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Local Market

MSE News for September 24: Top 20 -0.25% to 15,857, Turnover 8 Million

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Wednesday, a total of 4,628 shares of 18 JSCs were traded costing MNT seven million 995 thousand and 850.00.

"Genco tour bureau" /1,074 units/, "Hermes center" /1,000 units/, "Merex" /1,000/, "Tavantolgoi" /855 units/ and "APU" /284 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Tavantolgoi" (MNT four million 437 thousand and 095), "APU" (MNT one million 050 thousand and 800), "Gobi" (MNT 970 thousand and 600), "Mongol keramik" (MNT 504 thousand) and "Baganuur" (MNT420 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 593 billion 148 million 789 thousand and 643. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,857.24, decreasing 40.53 units or 0.25% against the previous day.

Link to article

 

MSE Conducts Custodian & Securities Service Masterclass with LSE

September 23 (MSE) In scope of introducing custodian service to Mongolian capital market, MSE conducted Custody Services Masterclass at MSE on 19th of September 2014, specifically for banking specialists. 

The Masterclass has been presented by Bruce Lawrence, Senior Advisor of London Stock Exchange group, and given detailed information about the Corporate Actions.  

In addition, the previous training provided about the risks, obstacles that may face to Custodian Service in Mongolia, and the international investors' requirements to products and services.

Link to release

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Economy

Early morning USD rates: Khan (Non-Cash Buy 1,830 Sell 1,842), TDB (Non-Cash Buy 1,830 Sell 1,841), Golomt (Non-Cash Buy 1,831 Sell 1,843), XacBank (Non-Cash Buy 1,830 Sell 1,844), State Bank (Non-Cash Buy 1,830 Sell 1,842)

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, September 24 Close

 

9/24

9/23

9/22

9/19

9/18

9/17

9/16

9/15

USD

1,839.30

1,838.97

1,838.99

1,838.84

1,838.75

1,842.61

1,843.84

1,844.12

EUR

2,365.16

2,364.82

2,364.02

2,370.36

2,369.69

2,388.02

2,386.21

2,386.29

CNY

299.80

299.58

299.58

299.58

299.27

300.04

299.81

300.22

GBP

3,013.51

3,001.75

3,004.63

3,028.29

2,996.61

3,005.30

2,984.07

2,997.16

RUB

47.97

47.59

47.61

47.88

47.85

48.07

47.60

48.49

September MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:

 

Link to rates

 

BoM issues 156 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -0.24% to 415.7 billion

September 24 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 156 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

GoM 5-Year 10 Billion Bond Auction Fails to Attract Bids

September 25 (BoM/MoF) Auction for 5-year-Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Government Bond was not sold due to absence of both competitive and non-competitive bids.

Link to release

 

GoM Treasury Auction: 25.03 Billion 28-Week Bills Sold at Average 16.171%

September 24 (BoM/MoF) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Face value of 25.02 billion MNT /out of 25.03 billion MNT bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.171%.

Please find expanded information from Table.

Announced amount /by MNT/

40,000,000,000

Received bid amount /by MNT

25,020,000,000

Sold amount /by MNT/

25,020,000,000

Weighted average yield

16.171%

Maximum yield of fulfilled bids

16.500%

Minimum yield of fulfilled bids

15.750%

Link to release

 

Expansion strategies for the new banking market

By L. Byambaa

September 24 (Mongolian Economy) --

What is today's banking market?

Mongolia's current banking sector has been fundamentally cemented to the point where it now plays the main role in the financial sector. Banks currently supply the majority of private sector, business, and citizen demand. The amount of the sector's active assets has increased regularly over the past decade, last year reaching 119 percent of Mongolia's GDP—near equivalent to the international average. 

Year-to-year loan amounts have been on the rise in general, despite a temporary decrease in 2009 after the financial crisis. According to statistics by the Bank of Mongolia, loan growth has been around 40 percent a year since 2004. As of the first half of this year, the total loan amount has reached MNT 12.4 trillion. 

Yet the statistics also show Mongolia's banking sector to be fast approaching market saturation, in terms of the aforementioned indicators, the number of banks per citizen, and the number of bank clients and card holders. 

Clearly there are too many banks in such a small market. Over the past years, four banks have dominated, comprising 77 percent of total market share as of 2013. An analysis of this issue reveals that the individual banks are differentiated only in terms of their access to corporations or citizens. But in terms of their strategic play and position in the market, there is little difference between each bank.

The saturation of any business sector means that its growth percentage is reduced, expansion is insubstantial, and potential organic growth is slight. For the banking sector, it is doubtful that its loan issuance percentage can maintain 40 percent growth. As a result of the sector's current focus and outdated loan requirements, new borrowers are unlikely to be created.

Given the condition of loan saturation and lessened growth, banks' must rely on a more competitive strategy. If a bank could determine the appropriate strategy and take advantage of market opportunities, it would enjoy a greater likelihood of continuing its growth successfully into the future.

What strategy do banks need to use?

As the market becomes saturated, banks need to come up with an answer on how to expand their business. On the one hand, expansion can be achieved by increasing a conventional product, service, or service customers. But expansion can be similarly achieved by introducing a new product or business line to the market.

To increase the conventional product and service customers, and expand the market and partners' circles, banks will have to reach out to companies that were unable to receive loans in the past, or they will have to increase the credit ability of their existing clients. Expansion aimed at increasing credit ability can include mitigation of risk, formation of financial history and deposit, improvement of governance, and so on.

The banking sector might be seen as privileged—without competition in the financial sector—but in reality, this not the case. Most companies have a rational financial structure, and reduce their financial risks by having funds from two sources: loan and investment. Companies would find it hard to expand or run their operations cost-effectively by using only loan sources. If a company can attract increased investment, then its potential to receive loans can be increased to the same extent.

At this moment, most businesses in Mongolia are subject to bank loans. The main constraint of continuously receiving loans is in the insufficiency of their deposit assets—a company's assets that are deposited in a bank when receiving a loan—and of their own assets. For citizens, loans for consumption, apartment purchasing, or small businesses comprise the majority of loans that are issued. In the future, property deposit registration and citizen loan history are expected to play larger roles in increasing the opportunity to receive a loan.

Banks also must adopt a new strategy to introduce new products and services. In addition to loans, many businesses need opportunities such as direct investment, bonds, leasing, and short-term financing, to name a few. In order to expand a bank's market volume, a new type of service such as office leasing has to be actively sought out to supply their clients' financial demand. The corporate bond market likewise should be developed in the future. This includes the introduction of products and services other than loans. For example, Mongolia's commercial banks have already expanded into selling insurance products throughout the sector.

To introduce a new business line, there are a number prospects, including evolving into a custodian bank or investment bank, investment consulting services, underwriting, and so on. A legal setting for the formation of such institutions is already established in Mongolia. Banks additionally have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as mining, infrastructure finance, construction, agriculture, and trade.

The market demand has developed rapidly in Mongolia to the point where there are signs that the banking sector is approaching market saturation. To survive among the competition and to continue to expand business into the future, Mongolia's banks must face the necessity of formulating and applying new strategies.

Link to article

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Politics

Mongolia seeking to consolidate 16 ministries into 11 - reports

September 24 (news.mn) An unconfirmed report about the restructuring of the reform government has raised numerous speculations among politicians and the public.

The only thing that remains clear is that the restructuring process will be made in the scope of the "From Big State to Smart State" policy initiative of President Ts.Elbegdorj.

Speculation is circulating around news that the Government has agreed to merge ministries with the same direction and role, and restructure a government with 11 ministries instead of 16.

According to an unconfirmed source, 10 ministries, including the Economic Development Ministry, Finance Ministry, Ministry of Roads,Construction and Urban Development, the Energy and Mining Ministry, Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection, Labor Ministry, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science,Culture, Sport and Tourism, will be merged into 5.

But it is still unknown which ministers will remain in Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag's Government .

The current so-called "Reform Government" runs with 16 ministries and 19 ministers.

The Democratic Party stresses that a government made up of 11 ministries is good enough.

Link to article

 

Mongolian MPs Learn from Canada's Experience in Resource Management

September 22 (Natural Resource Governance Institute) Earlier this month six Mongolian members of parliament (MPs) and three parliamentary staff members toured western Canada to learn about Canada's experience managing its mineral and oil booms and busts. During the visit, the MPs met with tax and public finance officials from British Columbia and Alberta, provincial and federal legislators, leaders of Canada's First Nations (indigenous communities), and representatives from industry who work with mining-affected communities.

The British Columbia mining booms of the 19th and 20th century and the current boom in the Alberta oil sands in many ways mirror what Mongolia is going through now. With trillions of dollars of unexploited mineral and oil resources, Mongolia has been dubbed the "Saudi Arabia of Central Asia. "Yet the challenges of transforming these underground assets into development cannot be overstated.

Falling commodity prices, conflicts with local communities, and systematic cost overruns have squeezed mining investment globally, which could jeopardize Mongolia's planned sector expansion. Unclear conflict resolution mechanisms and imprecise mining laws have led to disputes between companies and the government. And there have been concerns that mineral revenues placed in a "human development fund" were consumed rather than invested for the future.

Still, the economy is expected to grow by 9.5 percent in 2014. Mongolian parliamentarians are working hard to establish a legal framework that leverages this growth and ensures that mining revenues are maximized and used for national development.

Former minister of education and current sitting MP for the opposition Mongolian People's Party (MPP), Mr. Yondon Otgonbayar sat down with NRGI economic analyst Andrew Bauer to discuss the situation in Mongolia and the Canadian study visit.

NRGI: Mongolia is going through a major mineral boom at the moment. What are the biggest opportunities and challenges that Mongolia faces in managing this boom?

Yondon Otgonbayar: This mining revenue presents Mongolians with a great opportunity, which, if we are able to turn this into a base for development, would create a brighter futurefor the country. The challenge is quite big, because right now the economy is becoming very resource-dependent. The volatility of mining revenues is currently affecting the national economy. Also, we have to learn how to avoid Dutch disease and dependency on revenues from mineral resources.

What must parliament do to address these challenges?

We have to enact a series of laws regulating the mining industry. On the one hand there are laws in place at the moment. The problem is that the Mongolian parliament keeps changing these regulations pretty often, which creates a lot of problems for foreign investors. Parliament probably has to learn to be strict on [enforcing the current rules]. Because of this mining boom, nationalism is on the rise. Sometimes it generates wrong policies, rather than long-term and sustainable policies.

How can civil society work with government and parliament?

We have to admit that Mongolia is not going through a unique experience. Many nations have been in similar situations and made their own mistakes. They have learned their own lessons. So international institutions like NRGI could help Mongolia with knowledge about good practices and mistakes so that we can learn from these experiences. Many people, especially resource nationalists in Mongolia, do not believe in investors. They believe they have come to take out our resources. Sometimes they question the intensions of foreign governments, believing that they are basically looking after only the interests of their own investors. International institutions, like NRGI, which are not dependent on extractive industry funding, are important because they can bring impartial and sound advice.

We're here in Western Canada. We've been in British Columbia, and now we're in Alberta. One is mining-dependent. One is oil-dependent. What have you learned personally from this study visit for Mongolia?

Quite a few things. Of course, Canada is a very different country than Mongolia. It is a federal country. In Canada they also have [special treatment of] First Nations, whereas in Mongolia you don't have indigenous groups. Most enriching for me were three basic ideas. First of all, I was quite interested in the management of the Alberta Heritage Fund. In my opinion, it presents a model that we could apply in Mongolia. Soon we'll discuss a natural resource fund law. This experience is therefore quite useful to us.

Secondly, you might have noticed that I was trying to emphasize in one of our last meetings that we should learn a lesson from Canada that government cannot run companies, especially in the mining sector. Unfortunately we do have that practice in Mongolia, and so far it was not successful, or at least was not a good experience for Mongolia.

Thirdly, although Mongolian law introduces quite a number of clauses regarding the interests of the local population, in Canada we saw that it was embodied in agreements defining the responsibilities and benefits of local populations located near mines. I believe that in future Mongolian legislation, we have to see to it that locals have their own rights clearly defined under the law, and companies would also respect the rights of locals for their own development in mining.

Link to release

 

MPP leaders attend British Labour Party conference as observers

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) A delegation of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) is participating in a conference of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom.

The delegation includes J.Monkhbat, the MPP secretary-general; S.Byambatsogt, a head of the MPP faction at parliament; and N.Nomtoibayar MP.

The British Labour Party's conference is held in autumn every year and is participated by representatives of political party, trade unions, socialist associations and by foreign delegates as observers.

In frames of the conference, some 400 sub-meetings have run under specific directions such as politics, economy, youths and women's affairs. All participants are allowed to give their voice on the matters.

The MPP leaders will be there until September 27. 

Link to article

 

The Need for a Responsible Government

By D. Bekhbayar, Editor-in-Chief

September 24 (Mongolian Economy) Should the current government, headed by N. Altankhuyag, resign? Mongolia's current situation clearly reveals its main economic indicators have dropped, a number of businesses have shut down, and the number of unemployed is on the rise. Citizens are fast running out of cash. The currency rate against the USD exceeds MNT 1,800 and foreign trade has dropped by more than 70 percent this year.

For foreign investors, the market is risky. The debt chain has increased and debt management issues are apparent. Even the construction sector, a leading industry for Mongolia last year, is in sharp decline. Ongoing construction projects are rarely found, as there are just a few potential apartment buyers in Ulaanbaatar and materials are expensive.

In other countries, if the economy had deteriorated like Mongolia's, government officials would have already handed in their resignation. We have seen in media reports, many times, that government officials around the world are forced to resign.

According to other nations' experiences, if the government's decisions leads to such a negative impact on citizens' lives, then citizens may demonstrate against their government and protest until its resignation.

But in Mongolia, the situation is different. Its government is acting like it is innocent and did not make any mistakes. Government officials explain that the current difficulties are due to a global economic crisis, but is that the case?

People often say current economic difficulties are not due to external factors, but are due to internal issues such as conflicts between political parties and factions among the ruling party; desperate fights for better positions; money and power; useless policy putting the parties' interests before the country's; corruption; red-tape; and a lack of education and experience.

In June this year, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) deputy managing director Naoyuki Shinohara and other officials visited Mongolia to meet officials and advised them to revisit their economic policy. The visiting officials recommended tighter expansionary monetary and budget policies in order to overcome short-term economic difficulties.

According to Mongolians who work at the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC, Mongolia is fast headed toward becoming the next Argentina – renowned for flirting with economic default. A new economic policy and responsible government is necessary to prevent this looming crisis.

There are two options:

To continue until the end of next year with the current government, or to see the resignation of the government. 

What would it be like to spend another two years with the current government? Confidence could possibly be restored if it confesses its setbacks and mistakes to the extent that it is reflected in further policy.

Prime Minister Altankhuyag needs to learn responsibility, as does his party – the Democratic Party of Mongolia (DP). We can see from today's situation, the government seems quite unsure of its ability to restore voter confidence. R. Amarjargal, member of parliament and member of the DP, doubts if his Government can do just that.

In an interview he said, "Political leaders should stand in the front with the shield to establish a government with mainly non-party representatives and preferably professional requirements. And this government should be the one to save the national economy by lifting up the economy, to revive it and to create the right way to do this.''

Former Vice Minister of Finance G. Chuluunkhutagt (Mogi: Gankhuyag Chuluun), however, said that the best way to get over this economic difficulty is through political agreements between the two parties.

We have the common ground, time, and opportunity to get rid of economic difficulties and lead the economy in the right direction for the short term, but if we can get a new government that works responsibly with experienced and knowledgeable professionals, and that is inclusive of non-party members as well, then stable long-term agreements may be reached.

The main role of a new government would be to revive the economy, to set policy in the right way, to define a development strategy, and to create system that subsequent governments comply with. However, every time a new government wins an election, they reject the concerns and past doings of previous governments because Mongolia doesn't have a sustainable strategic policy.

Mongolians care about the leaders of the future. The two major parties—the DP and the MPP—say their policies are divided into right and left wings; interviewed experts on a recent television show, however, say that the parties have almost no difference.

It's hard to differentiate between each party's policy and what they stand for. Common to each party is their need to hold power and get rich through public money and authority, by lying to their people. How can Mongolia really develop if this is the development policy we're stuck with?

Link to article

 

ABSENT STATE IN RURAL MONGOLIA? IF BY ABSENT, YOU MEAN UBIQUITOUS…

By Ariell Ahearn

September 22 (THE CHANGING MEANING OF WORK IN RURAL MONGOLIA) I have been reading Akhil Gupta's work recently as I am revising an article on rural public administration in Mongolia. In his 1995 piece on "Blurred Boundaries" he writes, "Does the ubiquity of the state make it invisible?" (Gupta, 1995: 375). I am struck by the same question in the context of Mongolia. Much of the academic literature portrays "the state" as absent, ineffective, or neglectful in rural areas. For example, research conducted in Bayanhongor reports, "the absence of formal or customary regulation of pasture use" (Fernandez-Gimenez, 2002: 29) and since decollectivization, "formal regulatory institutions vanished" (Fernandez-Gimenez, 2004). I think that this discourse is unfounded and misleading, because local administrators are many and very active, and there seems to be a lot of local variation in the way county governments operate.

In my three field sites of Olziit, Gurvanbulag, and Bayanbulag, there were significant differences in local government practices based on the individuals in administrative positions, but whether they spent their time avoiding the CCTV's aimed at regulating their own work by meeting in the local bars, or spent it helping herders fix their vehicles, they were real, active, and engaged regularly with herders. In fact, in my personal experience, I had more contact with local public administrators living in rural Mongolia than I did at home in rural upstate NY. I don't even know the name of my local representative in the township of Duanesburg! And he certainly doesn't come over to my parent's house once a month, or offer to help fix our car. But these sorts of interactions are commonplace in my field sites. For this reason, I feel there is a massive misrepresentation in the literature based on scholar's assumptions of how rural public administration works without doing more thorough investigative work. I wonder if the representation of "the state" as absent is due to 1) the definitions used to define the state or 2) inheritance of discourse from development projects. If we are talking about the socialist state, then indeed it is no more and therefore saying that the socialist system of governance is absent would be a valid statement. In this case, the socialist system of governance is absent, or perhaps vaguely present in a mis-shapen way, but the decentralized system is alive and kicking!

These thoughts led me to recall the humor of everyday administration. The local music teacher sneaking beer past the newly established CCTV cameras into the local government buildings so that we could sing and tell stories with the town council head in his office, who worried about being reprimanded by the county governor. The time a local herder stood up after a long presentation by the governor of Gurvanbulag to tell him and the gathered public that they had a governor with the public speaking skills of a 5th grader, and it was embarrassing. When a young herder girl asked for a pregnancy test from the local county doctor, he told her to pee in a cup, which she did outside and brought back to us, then the doctor turned to me to translate the English instructions on the test packet. Meanwhile there were four other administrators, the girl's mother, and another guy looking on. Or every single time I went out with Lhoya, himself a public administrator serving 14 years as a district governor,  who seemed to glorify in the absurdity, beauty, and impossibility of it all- all summed up in the speed at which he drove across the steppe in his Huandai excel, ready to rip apart at the seams, trying to hit a magic speed where we would warp back into his childhood and get back everything that he lost, namely, his childhood.

How can researchers doing work in Mongolia legitimately say that 'the state' is absent in Mongolia? Because even the socialist state is still there, hanging as metals from gerwalls.

This brings me to the transcription of a public meeting in Gurvanbulag in November 2013. Here is a very rough translation of the conversation I had with two elderly herders:

Me: What is this meeting about?

MS (herder): This meeting is supposed to be about herder's suggestions. About the local development fund…before the last election it was a framework based on the top down, now it's from the bottom up. Before finance/the budget was from the ministry.. but now it's not like that…now everything having to do with local issues, project money, we will decide ourselves. We'll talk about for what purpose this money will be used, how to develop in the context of herder work and herder consultation.

Me: Ok, so herders will themselves discuss and choose?

MS: Yes, then by getting everyone's suggestions and anyone who has a problem can decide together to achieve consensus. It's a way of putting the priorities in order.

Me: Ok, interesting. Is this the first time it's happening like this?

MS: It's the first year. Yes. The first big recommendations. Before it was fine, by discussion and by putting all the papers together, we prioritized the construction of a public shower building, new office buildings, and well water. Now we will prioritize by voting on these things….Now we are going to prioritize and approve. At the very end at the citizen's meeting we'll approve it. We will all approve it.

Me: Oh, did you do it that way at the last meeting?

MS: Yes, Then we have the stuff [to decide] for next year.

Me: Then before everything was decided from the government, from the top down?

MS: Yeah, now it's the opposite.

Me: Where does the money come from? From the (central) government?

MS: Yes, it comes from the (central) government.

Me: Really, so how do you all use it?

MS: They control it in the government. That's how they used to spend it. But now it's not that way, now we decide the purposes for the money.

Me: Oh, that's seems like a nice thing.

MS: It's good. Importantly it's democracy. It's nice to think of what we'll do with the money. We want to talk about it.

Me: In your opinion, what sorts of things do you want to do?

MS: Before anything, I want to have a shower! (laughs heartily)

Me: (laughs heartily)

MS: Well, isn't it true? All the households need to take a good shower. With water coming from above…(laughs heartily)…

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Business

What Future May Await Erdenet's Depleting Deposit?

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, September 17 (MONTSAME) After exhausting its reserves the Erdenet deposit, which is operating since 1978, can function further, says its director Ts.Davaatseren and adds that a project of close-down management of "Erdenet Mining" corporation is drawing much attention from its board.

The management must define actions to run at the site after exhausting the mineral reserves. There are several directives to be necessarily included in the close-down strategy--rehabilitation for every specific land types of the deposit; constructing machinery and equipments factories based on continuous operation of the current mechanical plants; creating an artificial lake for building a complex which can act as a water park during summers and winter sports complex during winters; creating a favorable environment for international tournaments, especially for auto rallies. Building qualities' and other assessments for close-down strategy are underway.

In addition to them, the corporation board considers that the initiative of expanding the plant as a National Mining Institute and Laboratory on academic research and scientific invention, and a construction designs should be reflected in the strategy, in coordination of the government's development policy. 

Link to article

 

New direct flight connects Singapore and Mongolia

MIAT Mongolian Airlines will operate a twice-weekly service between Ulaanbaatar and Singapore, via Beijing.

SINGAPORE, September 24 (Channel NewsAsia) Singapore Changi Airport on Wednesday (Sep 24) welcomed the arrival of MIAT Mongolian Airlines, directly connecting Singapore and Mongolia for the first time.

In a media release, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said that the Mongolian national carrier will operate a twice-weekly service between Ulaanbaatar and Singapore, with a transit in Beijing for other passengers. The route will utilise a 174-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines will operate at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 with the following schedule:

A delegation led by Mongolia's Minister of Road and Transportation Gansukh Amarjargal, together with Mr Gungaa Jargalsaikhan, President and CEO of MIAT Mongolian Airlines, was on board the inaugural flight that arrived at Changi Airport at 5pm on Wednesday. 

They were welcomed by Mongolia's ambassador to Singapore Banzragch Delgermaa, and Mr Yam Kum Weng, CAG Executive Vice President for Air Hub and Development.

"We are proud to welcome Mongolia's national carrier to the family of airlines at Changi Airport," said Mr Yam. "Mongolia has enjoyed strong economic growth and as the country opens up its economy and resource sectors, there will be more business and investment opportunities not only between our two countries, but also between Mongolia and Asia-Pacific. The direct Ulaanbaatar-Singapore service by MIAT Mongolian Airlines is thus timely to support growing demand for business and leisure travel."

To celebrate the start of its operations at Changi Airport, MIAT Mongolian Airlines is offering promotional fares on return economy class tickets starting from S$670. 

Link to article

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Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar Wants to Receive Five Million Tourists Annually by 2030

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) The Citizens Representative Khural of Ulaanbaatar adopted a "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" program on its 19th meeting on September 22.

The meeting discussed the general development plan until 2020 and set goals to increase a number of tourists to two million per year, a share of the tourism in the capital city economy--to 20 percent, hospitality service personnel--to 35 thousand people by 2020. This way the number of tourists will reach five million by 2030, as estimated.  

Many works will be realized to improve economic benefits of tourism, actualize policy enforcement for promoting businesses, provide tourists with safe and convenient environment, offer new products and services, advertize Ulaanbaatar as the city a major tourist attraction, reflect friendly attitudes to all kinds of services. 

The Khural also decided that five percent of the city's annual budget will be dedicated to this program. 

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Diplomacy

At UN Assembly, Mongolian leader underscores needs of landlocked developing countries

24 September 2014 (UN News Centre) Spotlighting the concerns of least-developed land-locked countries, the President of Mongolia today told the United Nations General Assembly that the newly created sustainable development agenda do not adequately address his country's special needs.

President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj told the 69th high-level debate in New York that his country looks forward to working with partners to revise the new set of anti-poverty targets which will guide international development starting in January of 2016.

Speaking to representatives of 193 Member States, Mr. Elbegdorj also called on the international community to work through the Organization to tackle some of the key security and development issues facing the world.

"At this time of turmoil we, as a family of nations, must rally around the World Organization, as a centre of multilateralism, upholding its Charter and universal principles of international law," he said.

He noted the importance of collective action to stop the atrocities being committed by the terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), resolve through political dialogue the situation in Ukraine, and ensure an effective response to Ebola, among other themes.

The President also highlighted the importance of strengthening peace and stability in North-East Asia as one of Mongolia's national security priorities, including stabilizing the Korean Peninsula through an early resumption of Six-Party Talks.

"As a country with a declared nuclear-weapon-free status, Mongolia firmly believes that the Korean Peninsula must be nuclear-weapons-free," he underscored.

Link to article

 

President of Mongolia Delivers Speech at UN Climate Change Summit 2014

September 24 (infomongolia.com) The 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is ongoing in New York and as part of session program, the UN Climate Summit 2014 commenced on September 23rd, which brought together more than 120 heads of state and government including President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and Foreign Minister L.Bold.

Next year marks the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the UN and this was the specificity of this year's session.

In his speech at the UN Climate Change Summit, President Ts.Elbegdorj emphasized, "No one country is immune to climate change. Even my country - Mongolia, which has an extraordinarily friendly livelihood and tradition to live in harmony with nature - is suffering a lot because of climate change.

The climate change issue is no longer a science fiction. It is no longer a science debate.

The climate change has become a real life issue. If you still have doubts whether climate change is happening or not - come to Mongolia.

Ask herdsmen "is climate change happening?" Our herdsmen will give you a true answer. They already told me "It is happening, and happening for real".

One expert on climate change said that if global warming exceeds 2 degrees Celsius, the disaster that may have happened once in a million year might happen every year.

The climate change is created by us, by me, by you. Are we going to leave our children, grandchildren to the hands of this monster? No.

Let us act together".

Moreover, along with the heads of state and government from over 120 countries, the environmental activists, Hollywood stars and the UN messengers delivered their speech at Climate Change Summit. For instance, the former Vice President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Gore noted in his speech: "Political leadership is the best way to fight against climate change" and the UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio said: "It is time for us to act".

Also, President Ts.Elbegdorj attended the Clinton Global Initiative forum and the round-table on climate change at the Columbia University.

Link to article

Related:

President Gives Speech at UN Climate Change SummitMontsame, September 24

 

President Chairs UNEP "Climate Change–Science" Discussion

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj chaired on September 23 a "Climate Change–Science" themed discussion in frames of the UN Environmental Assembly, initiated by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The UN Environmental Assembly has been held under purposes of intensifying the measures taken for climate change, in particular to urge the initiative of reducing the greenhouse gas and to reach an agreement by 2015 on containing the global warming within less than two degrees. It has gathered heads of states and representatives of finance, business, civil societies and private sectors of the UN member-countries.

At the "Climate Change–Science" discussion, chaired by our President, the main lectors were a director of International Union for Conservation of Nature Julia Marton-Lefuvre and a chairman of working group for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Thomas Stoker. 

Link to article

 

Mongolia pledges cooperation in resolving North Korean abduction issue

NEW YORK, September 24 (Jiji Press) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj agreed on Tuesday to continue working together in the hopes of resolving the abductees issue with North Korea.

In a meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Elbegdorj expressed his country's intention to continue cooperation by providing a venue for bilateral talks between Japan and North Korea.

Mongolia has fairly good relations with Pyongyang.

Abe replied that he appreciates Mongolia's understanding and cooperation.

The two leaders also agreed to ensure that Japan and Mongolia bring a bilateral economic partnership into effect. The basic agreement was reached in July.

Elbegdorj also briefed Abe on the results of a recent three-way summit in Tajikistan with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Link to article


FM Bold Meets Reps of Int'l Organizations in New York

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) Taking part in the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold Tuesday met with leaders and high officials of some international organizations.

For example, he met Mr Herve Ladsous, a head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UN Under-Secretary-General. The latter thanked Mongolia for deploying to UN missions its peacekeepers "who have become a good example for their counterparts from other countries". They also touched upon a present situation around the UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr Ladsous said he plans to visit Mongolia. The same day, he awarded the Minister the UNMISS medal for his contribution to the peacekeeping operations in South Sudan.

His next meeting ran with Mr Hugo Hans Siblesz, the General Secretary of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), and with Ms Tiina Intelmann, a president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). "Mongolia intends to join the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression which is included in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," he said.

In response, they expressed a satisfaction with an active participation of Mongolia in the Kampala amendments and underlined an importance of providing opportunities to solve crimes of aggression under the ICC.

After this, our FM met with the secretary-general of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Mr Yves Leterme. The latter said the IDEA plans to consider an issue of proper exploitation of minerals during the 2014 annual forum on democracy, and congratulated Mongolia for chairing the IDEA Democracy Forum in 2016.  

Link to article

 

Head of Mongolian Armed Forces on Visit to India

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) Head of the General Headquarters of Mongolian Armed Forces (GHMAF) Lieutenant-General Ts.Byambajav is paying an official visit to India by invitation of Lieutenant-General Dalbir Singh, a Commander of Ground Military Force of India.

Mr Byambajav and accompanying him delegates started the visit by laying wreaths to the Flame of the Immortal Soldier (Amar Jawan Jyoti). After this, he ran a meeting with Lieutenant-General Dalbir Singh. Mr Byambajav expressed a satisfaction with a current cooperation between the military headquarters, and said Mongolia wants to expand the collaboration in new directions.

The Indian side supported these proposals and promised to take all possible measures for widening the bilateral cooperation.

Within the visit, Ts.Byambajav also exchanged views on the bilateral ties with Sri R.K.Matur, the Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Defense. They considered as necessity to continue the cooperation in specific directions.

Link to article

 

Vice-Speaker attends Asian Political Parties conference in Colombo

By B. Amarsaikhan

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) The vice-chairman of the State Great Khural and chairman of the Mongolian People party (MPP) M.Enkhbold has participated in the international conference of Asian Political Parties which ran in Colombo of Sri Lanka on September 18-21.

The "Building an Asian Community" action gathered 77 ruling and opposition parties from 33 countries.  The Vice-speaker gave a speech under a topic "Mongolia's involvement in the regional integration of Asia" at the conference panel.

He also held bilateral meeting--with a vice-director of the Standing committee on foreign affairs of the Russian Federal Council and director of foreign relations committee of United Russia Party, with vice-minister of foreign affairs of Communist Party of China, with a director of defense committee of DPRK National Assembly, to discuss regional issues of mutual interests.

Link to article

 

Foreign Ministries of Mongolia, Australia hold first consultative meeting in Ulaanbaatar

By B. Amarsaikhan

September 24 (news.mn) A consultative meeting between the Foreign Affairs Ministries of Mongolia and Australia was held in Ulaanbaatar, on September 23rd.

The first consultative meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministries was chaired by the Director of the Department of Policy Planning and Research of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ts.Batbayar, and Australian First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia Peter Rowe.

In the meeting the parties exchanged information on foreign affairs policy and had talks on bilateral relations, with a focus on extraction programs, the working holiday visa category, Mongolia's involvement in Australia's New Colombo Plan by 2015, and support for cooperation in peace keeping, mining and investment.

The parties also exchanged views on international and regional issues, agreed to support each other in the scope of multilateral cooperation, maintain the frequency of consultative meetings of the Foreign Affairs Ministries, and to hold the next consultative meeting in Australia in 2015.

Peter Rowe and other Australian officials meet Mining Minister D.Gankhuyag, Foreign Affairs Minister L.Bold and Economic Development Minister N.Batbayar.

Link to article

Related:

Two Countries Run First Consultative MeetingMontsame, September 24

 

Mongolia and China Hold Regular Consular Meeting in Beijing

September 24 (infomongolia.com) The XVI Consular Meeting between the Foreign Ministries of Mongolia and the People's Republic of China was in Beijing on September 23, 2014.

Co-chaired by Director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Sh.Sukhbaatar and Mr. Huang Ping, Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PR of China, the meeting was conducted in a warm atmosphere, where parties reviewed the realization of consular relations agreements established between the two states and focused on issues pertaining to the protection of legal rights of citizens and entities, citizens' reciprocal travel conditions and the consular representatives.

Mongolian delegates were represented by officials from the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, Immigration Office, National Police Department, Marshal (Takhar) Authority as well as representatives from General Consulates of Mongolia to China's Hohhot and Hong Kong SAR, Consulates of Mongolia to Erenhot, Hulunbuir and Shanghai.

During the meeting proposals requested from Mongolian side were warmly accepted, for instances, to resolve immediately on allocating a replacement of a lost or stolen national passport in Erenhot city and in the scope of effectiveness of the Agreement on Transfer of Prisoners between Mongolia and the PR of China, some nationals to continue serving their sentences in prison in Mongolia. Also, to alleviate some number of taxes collected at the border ports.

Moreover, Mongolian delegates were received by Assistant Foreign Minister of the PR of China, Mr. Liu Jianchao.

Mongolia has been co-organizing an annual Consular Meeting with Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Russia, and Turkey.

Link to article

Related:

Mongolia-China Consultative Meeting RunsMontsame, September 24

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Social, Environmental and Other

Bill Clinton Bucket List Includes Riding Horse in Mongolia Like Genghis Khan

September 24 (ABC) Bill Clinton still has a few items to check off his bucket list including riding a horse in Mongolia like Genghis Khan and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

"I still haven't been to Mongolia. I do want to ride a horse across the Mongolian steppes, try to imagine what it was like to be in Genghis Khan's horde. I'd still like to climb Kilimanjaro before the snow goes," Clinton, 68, told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.

Link to article (and interview video)

 

Black Gold Hotel

Photographs and text by Michele Palazzi

September Mongolia's economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world: in 2011, the GDP growth came in at 17.5%. This recent boom depends largely on the mining industry. The industry's giants, attracted by the large deposits of copper, gold and most of all coal, have been drawn towards this once rural land in search for profit.

Thanks to this accelerated (and deregulated) development, local populations and traditional ways of life—based on ancestral, nomadic herding—are undergoing a crisis. Many families have left behind long-held traditions for the promise of riches that the cities hold. This new industrial society promises the world but also allows many individuals to slip through the cracks into economic and social poverty. Even those who have tried to resist are forced to contend with changes: pollution, vegetation-poisoning dust and increasingly marginalized living conditions.

"Black Gold Hotel" is a journey into the daily lives of people all over the country. From families in the Gobi Desert that have chosen to continue the steppe tradition to the young people in Ulan Bator (the country's capital) that live, consume and have fun in a way more and more similar to their Western peers. From the kids forced to look for food and shelter in a dump, to the people that abandoned nomadic life hoping to find happiness in a more urban lifestyle—these are their stories.

Link to photo album

 

Introducing Mongolia in Photos

By Liz

September 18 (Young Adventuress) For the first time in my entire life a journey has left me speechless.

It's not often I find myself without words, if you know what I mean. A chatterbox since as far back as I can remember, not being able to express myself had never been an issue, until now.

I've been back home in Wanaka for days after a week long horse expedition with Zavkhan Trekking in Mongolia, and I don't know how to begin to describe my experience.

"It was awesome…the coolest thing I've ever done…it changed my life…" and yet I feel like I can't even begin to verbalize what Mongolia meant to me. I've been reduced to a stuttered saying things like "it was totally awesome" while in my head thinking that there was absolutely no way I could begin to describe my experience that would do justice to how special it was and what precisely it meant to me.

How could anyone understand what I meant when I would describe it.

I am not exaggerating or joking, it actually changed my life. It changed the way I view the world, how I travel, and most importantly, how I view myself. But more on that later, I am not ready to share that just yet.

It was almost so special that I didn't even want to begin sharing photos and stories from the trip, instead wanting to hoard them away and savor them for just myself.

Have you ever had an experience in your life where you felt that way?

So while I am trying to process the experience, internalize what happened, and really begin to figure out someway to share my stories from the most epic adventure of my entire life, I thought I would start with some of my favorite snaps from Mongolia, and let the photos speak for themselves.

I swear this is not a cop out, and I promise heaps of several thousand word novels are forthcoming, but in the meantime I didn't want to leave y'all hanging.

So here is my introduction to the Eurasian steppe and thirty of my best shots of the Altai region of Mongolia. 

Have you ever been on a big trip or challenging journey? Would you like to visit Mongolia one day?         

Link to album

 

Mongolia to Announce Its National Flowering Plant of Pride

September 17 (infomongolia.com) On September 17, 2014, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Mongolia stated to announce the National Pride of Flowering Plant or Magnoliophyta by conducting a poll among the population.

The questionnaire will be held among the selected eight flowering plants below and will be announced in the end of 2014.

One of the eight Magnoliophytas will be announced as the National Pride of Flowering Plant of Mongolia:

1. Mongol Altankhundgana (mon. Монгол Алтанхундгана, lat. Adonis mongolica),

2. Ikh Shuudergene (Их шүүдэргэнэ, Chelidonium majus),

3. Numrugt Banzdoo or Vansemberuu (Нөмрөгт банздоо, Вансэмбэрүү, Saussurea involucrata),

4. Durvulsun Mugez or Altangagnuur (Дөрвөлсөн мүгэз, Алтангагнуур, Rhodiola quadrifida),

5. Tsagaan Tseene (Цагаан цээнэ, Paeonia lactiflora),

6. Goviin Khyalgana or Mongol Uvs (Говийн хялгана, Монгол өвс, Stipa gobica)

7. Mongol Potanin (Монгол Потанин, Potaninia mongolica),

8. Mongol Dogar (Монгол догар, Caryopteris mongolica);

In conjunction, the Government of Mongolia resolved to name the Falcon as the "National Bird of Glory" in October 2012.

Besides, Sukhbaatar Aimag also announced to name the Whooper Swan as the Aimag's Bird of Pride in May 2013 and two months later, the Govi-Altai Aimag proclaimed the Mazaalai or Gobi Bear as the Aimag's Animal of Glory. In May 2014, Umnugovi Aimag at its Citizens Representative Khural also announced the Ooch Yol bird (Gypaetus barbatus) as the Pride Bird of the Aimag.

Moreover, the Government of Mongolian resolved to name the Burkhan Khaldun Mountain as the National Pride Mountain in November 2013. This resolution was issued on the occasion of celebrating the 851st anniversary of birth of Chinggis Khaan, when the Day of Birth of Great Chinggis Khaan was renamed as the Day of Mongolian Pride in 2012 and since then annually on the first day of the first winter month by lunar calendar, Mongolia celebrates the Day of Mongolian Pride.

Link to article

 

Asian Games Day 5: Female Shooter Ch.Narantuya Brings 4th Gold to Mongolia

September 24 (infomongolia.com) The XVII Asian Games are ongoing on its Fifth Day as of September 24, 2014 and today Mongolian female shooter Chuluunbadrakh NARANTUYA has grabbed a Gold medal in the Women's 50m Rifle Prone Individual.

This is the fourth Gold medal achieved by Mongolian National Team so far and the second Gold in Mongolia's Shooting history at the Asian Games and in the Women's 50m Rifle Prone competition, IMS Ch.Narantuya has collected a total of 624.1 points that breaks Mongolia's national record as well. In this category, Mohamed Taibi from Malaysia with total points of 620.6 stood in the second place and South Korean shooter Eum Bitna won a Bronze medal with same 620.6 pts.

As of other Mongolian female shooters, IMS G.Nandinzaya with 611 pts finished at the 28th place and IMS O.Yanjinlkham, 607.8 pts, at the 39th place respectively, where a total of 13 teams have competed and currently, Mongolian National Shooting Team stands at the 5th place.

The record of medals achieved by Mongolian National Shooting Team from Asian Games in 1974-2014

Gold medals

- Men's 50m Rifle Prone Team (M.Jantsankhorloo, S.Enkhjargal, S.Adilbish and G.Ganzorig) held in New Delhi, India in 1982

- Women's 50m Rifle Prone Individual, Ch.Narantuya, 2014 Incheon Asian Games, South Korea

Silver medals

- G.Ganzorig, Men's 50m Rifle Prone Individual, 1982 New Delhi Asian Games, India

- D.Munkhbayar, Men's 10m Air Pistol Individual, 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games, Japan

- Women's 25m Pistol Team (O.Gundegmaa, Ts.Munkhzul and T.Bayartsetseg), 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, China

Bronze medals

- T.Myagmarjav, Men's 25m Rifle Individual, 1974 Tehran Asian Games, Iran

- Women's 25m Pistol Team (O.Gundegmaa, D.Munkhbayar and D.Oyun), 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, Thailand

- O.Gundegmaa, Women's 25m Pistol Individual, 2002 Busan Asian Games, South Korea

- Women's 25m Pistol Team (O.Gundegmaa, Ts.Munkhzul and G.Kherlenchimeg), 2006 Doha Asian Games, Qatar

- Women's 10m Air Pistol Team (O.Gundegmaa, Ts.Munkhzul and T.Bayartsetseg), 2014 Incheon Asian Games, South Korea

- O.Gundegmaa, Women's 25m Pistol Individual, 2014 Incheon Asian Games, South Korea

By bringing this 4th Gold medal to its National Team, Mongolia (4+3+6) is ranked at the 5th place after China (42+24+20), South Korea (21+21+22), Japan (16+22+23) and Kazakhstan (4+5+11) as of September 24, 2014.

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Day 4: Mongolia Judo Team Finishes Asian Games with 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 4 Bronze

September 24 (infomongolia.com) Yesterday we reported that the final Judo Team competitions in the Men's and Women's categories would be held on the DAY 4 of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games or on September 23, 2014.

So, Mongolian National Judo Men's Team defeated over the Turkmenistan Team by 5:0 in the first round and qualified for Silver medal contest, but lost to the Team of South Korea by 0:5. Thereafter, had to match against the Team of Japan for Bronze medal contest, where the Japanese Men's Team was defeated to the Team of Uzbekistan by 2:3 and won over Saudi Arabian Men's Team by 5:0. Consequently, for the third place competition Mongolian Men's Team lost to Japan by 2:3 and stood in the fourth place. In the Judo Men's Team tournament, South Korea took the first place, Silver went to Kazakhstan and the Bronze medal to the Teams of Japan and Uzbekistan.

In the Women's Team competitions, Mongolian female judokas won over Thailand by 4:1 in the first round, but lost to host nation judokas by 2:3 and in the Bronze medal contest, Mongolian Women's Team was defeated to the Team of China by 2:3 and also stood in the fourth place. The Women's Team tournament was led by the Team of Japan, where Silver medal went to South Korea and the third place was shared by the Teams of China and North Korea.

However, Mongolian National Judo Team could not win a medal in the Team competitions, but stands in the third place in the Judo event winning a total of 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 4 Bronze medals after Japan (6+4+5) and South Korea (5+2+8).

Final results for Mongolian National Judo Team in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games finished on September 23, 2014:

Gold medals

N.Tuvshinbayar, Men's -100 kg, Olympics Gold and Silver medalist, Hero of Labor, Merit Athlete of Mongolia

D.Tumurkhuleg, Men's 66 kg, World Judo Junior two-time Silver medalist

M.Urantsetseg, Women's 48 kg, World Judo Champion, Merit Athlete

Silver medals

G.Boldbaatar, Men's 60 kg, World Judo Champion

U.Duurenbayar, Men's +100 kg, IMS

G.Odbayar, Men's 73 kg, IMS

Bronze medals

L.Otgonbayar, Men's 90 kg, IMS

N.Dagvasuren, Men's 81 kg, IMS

D.Sumiya, Women's 57 kg, IMS

Ts.Naranjargal, Women's 70 kg, IMS

Mongolia National Team has been participating in the Asian Games since 1974 and only one time did not participate in the X Asian Games held in Seoul, South Korea in 1986.

In the 1982 Asian Games took place in New Delhi, India, Mongolian National Team grabbed a total of 3 Gold medals by B.Bold, Men's 68kg and Z.Duvchin, Men's 82kg in the Freestyle wrestling and Men's Shooting Team 50m Rifle, in addition 3 Silver and 1 Bronze in other events, which was a record in Mongolian sports history up to date and after 32 years, only Judo Team repeated the success of this historic record.

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Mongolian Basketball Team Beats Jordan at Asian Games

By B. Khuder

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) At the 17th Asian Games in S.Korean Incheon, Mongolia's national basketball men team defeated the Jordanian in the "D" group of preliminary round on Tuesday.

After four rounds, the game finished the ratio of scores 83:74 with the win of Mongolia. By the schedule, the Mongolians will compete with the S.Koreans on Wednesday.

Our team has 12 players and a coach O.Bayartsogt. 

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