Grants signed to promote Khovsgol tourism, school dormitories, affordable housing

2016-01-27 13:36:45

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said the ADB and the government of Mongolia Tuesday signed three grant agreements totaling $7 million for projects to benefit the environment and livelihoods at Khovsgul Lake National Park in northern Mongolia, upgrade school dormitories in Mongolia’s western region, and improve affordable housing in Ulaanbaatar.

The three grants are funded by ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), which over the past 16 years has supported 42 projects in Mongolia.

Signing for the government of Mongolia was B.Bolor, the Minister of Finance, while ADB Country Director Robert Schoellhammer signed on behalf of ADB.

The event was witnessed by Mr Battsereg, the Minister for Environment, Green Development and Tourism; Mr Gantomor, the Minister for Education, Culture and Science; Mr Enkh-Amgalan MP; Vice Mayor for Ulaanbaatar Mr Ochirbat.

Present was also the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia Mr Shimizu. 

“The Khovsgol Lake project is ADB’s first-ever tourism project in Mongolia--an undertaking that will help create jobs, develop sustainable community-based tourism, and protect the environment,” said Mr Schoellhammer. “The dormitory project will promote equal access to quality education, particularly for children from herder families, while the affordable housing project will provide green development for the fast-growing districts of Ulaanbaatar. These projects are aligned with ADB’s broader strategy to diversify the economy, create jobs outside of the mining sector, and ensure opportunities for all, including people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Khovsgol Lake National Park has long been considered one of the jewels in the crown of Mongolia’s protected area estate. More than one million hectares of stunning snow-capped mountains and forested hillsides surround Khovsgol Lake, which supports 70% of Mongolia’s--and 1% of the world’s--freshwater. Its pristine waters are vital to Mongolia, while the park’s wilderness and biodiversity values are of global importance. Khovsgl aimag (province) is increasingly becoming an international tourist destination.

The Khovsgol Lake project will focus on promoting sustainable tourism, community livelihoods, and environmental protection around the lake. Collaborative approaches will be implemented between the park authority, residents, and tour operators, to strengthen local tourism business and waste management.

Mongolia’s school dormitory system, meanwhile, was developed to ensure wider access to education, particularly for students from herder families. Many school dormitories were built in the 1970s and 1980s and require urgent rehabilitation. The western region supports the largest number of students staying in dormitories, of which 86% are from herder families.

The dormitory project will establish nationally replicable models to improve dormitory buildings, facilities and childcare in three aimags, Gobi-Altai, Uvs, and Zavkhan. Dormitory buildings and facilities for heating, sanitation and housing of students will be upgraded, staff training and management capacity will be strengthened to improve pastoral care, and a national strategy to improve the school dormitory environment will be developed.

Improving the quality of life in Ulaanbaatar, especially in the ger (peri-urban) areas (where 60% of the 1.3 million people in Ulaanbaatar live) is one of the Government of Mongolia’s main priorities. The affordable housing project will join many other initiatives of the government and the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar to provide better infrastructure and living environments for residents and to reduce air and soil pollution in the capital city.

The project will promote the development of affordable housing stock through resource-efficient buildings and the use of renewable energy technology. It will integrate innovative planning for social cohesion and economic opportunities to the population. Financial and institutional arrangements will establish sustainable housing finance mechanisms and will combine public and private financing to ensure the sustainable redevelopment of the target areas.

Established in May 2000, the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) provides direct grant assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in developing member countries of ADB while fostering long-term social and economic development.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members--48 from the region.