Asia Foundation and GASI Conduct National Workshop on Environment in Mongolia

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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 27, 2014 — On June 26-27, The Asia Foundation and the General Agency for Specialized Inspection (GASI) held a national training workshop, “Developing a rehabilitation methodology for small-scale mining, ensuring the proper use of natural resources, and protecting biodiversity and habitats,” at the GASI Conference Hall. The workshop was organized as part of the second phase of the Engaging Stakeholders in Environmental Conservation Project (ESEC II) designed to enhance the contribution of Mongolia’s artisanal mining sector to sustainable local development. More than 88 inspectors participated in the training, which also included presentations by the heads of environmental-related government departments, senior state inspectors and senior specialists from various ministries, as well as the Foundation’s ESEC II staff.

Through this national workshop and follow-up trainings, ESEC II is committed to helping build capacity for environmental inspectors as they assess the development of improved rehabilitation practices of artisanal and small scale (ASM) communities. Through collaboration with national stakeholders including key government departments such as GASI, the Foundation’s ESEC II project has developed agreed joint workplans. Frugal rehabilitation methodology is one important output of the joint workplan; this national training workshop will provide background training in preparation for additional aimag and soum-level trainings later in the year.

The national workshop covered a wide range of environmental issues, both legislative and technical, including: natural resource use and conflicts, laws on resource exploitation, protected areas, and environmental impact and biodiversity assessments.  In addition, other topics covered included licensing issues and broader presentations on green development, small-scale mining, and an introduction to the frugal rehabilitation methodology being developed through ESEC II.

Mr. Tserendash, Head of the Environment, Tourism Inspection Division of GASI commented on the value of the workshop: “The testing and implementation of the ASM frugal rehabilitation approach will improve environmental inspectors’ professional capacity and align with a Government Action Plan objective to increase the amount of rehabilitated land to 70%.”

Meloney C. Lindberg, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Mongolia noted: “I am happy to see the continued collaboration with GASI, who was a key partner during ESEC’s Phase I. GASI remains committed to keeping their environmental inspectors up to date with new skills and knowledge on emerging environmental rehabilitation practices.”

The ESEC II project, implemented by The Asia Foundation with generous support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), aims to enhance the contribution of Mongolia’s artisanal mining sector to sustainable local development, including the realization of the right to a healthy environment and the right to decent work. The project is conducted under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Mining and complements SDC’s Sustainable Artisanal Mining project by introducing responsible and sustainable environmental rehabilitation approaches for abandoned ASM sites. The project incorporates a multi-stakeholder approach pioneered by the Foundation in 2006 on the “Securing Our Future” project and, most recently, the ESEC I project.

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