IB Post


Awards salute green projects
A garbage-recycling scheme in a ger district of Ulaanbaatar, an air-pollution project and an awareness-raising campaign targeted at herders were among the winners at the first Environmental Public Awareness awards. The October 16 awards capped the two-year Environmental Public Awareness Programme. Funded by the Dutch government, the United Nations Development Programme and the Australian Embassy in Beijing, the Programme supported, through training and small grants, 91 small projects designed to raise awareness of the country's fragile ecology. The projects were carried out by Mongolian NGOs and government agencies in Ulaanbaatar and all 21 aimags. The 22 projects saluted for their accomplishments on Friday ranged from a video demonstrating how to plant a tree to a campaign to erect road signs in dusty Dalanzadgad and a televised ecology Olympiad. At the awards ceremony, it was announced that the project will be extended for another two years. The ceremony also marked the launch of the news published Green Book, a howto manual on environmental protection in Mongolia.

UB Post


A tree grows in UB
Every Mongolian should plant a tree a year, says The Mongolian Forestry Association's Ts. Banzragch. A newly adopted forestry law encourages local authorities to organize citizen tree-planting, and Banzragch's group has completed a film. How to Plant A Tree, to educate people on tree-planting techniques. It's one of more than 60 N6O- and governmentinitiated Environmenal Public Awareness projects supported by money from Australia, the Netherlands and the United Nations Development Programme. The wide-ranging projects, outlined at a September 23 press conference at the Press Institute of Mongolia, include the Selbe River protection project, plant and animal research at Otgon Tenger protected area, the Blue Bag recycling scheme, an initiative to fight air pollution in Ulaanbaatar and a project dubbed Gobi Nature Through Children's Eyes.


UB Post


Warm and ecofriendly: why straw houses have development agencies excited
By David SAOOWAY woman stand* poised on a ladder, plastering a wall with earth-red mud. An adjacent room, soon to b* filled with doctors and nurses, Is covered with bailed yellow straw. Wheat straw, mud and glue — these are the main materials in a straw-bale building. "Straw-bale construction technology was introduced to Mongolia in 1995 by A.D,R,A-, the Adventiat Development Relief Agency, " says N. T**nd, the officer overseeing this project. "This technology has become to popular that 16 projects are now under construction or on the drafting table.' Recently the U.N.-funded Mongolian Action Programme <0f the 21st Century decided to marry this energy-efficient building technique to socialservice pilot projects. The twofold aim is to teach employable skill* In construction while creating much needed community services including a school, 8 kindergarten, a dormitory and a health clinic. One of the straw-bale projects is a community health clinic in Biocom binat, a 4,000 person bedroom community just west of Ulaanbaatar'c Buyant' Ukhaa airport, When the work >$ complete by year's end, the clinic will have cheek-up rooms, visiting areas, offices and storage spaces. Tsend explains that the total cost for the 160vquaie-metre building will be around Tg 1Z million, -or U,5. $14,000.


Though it is Only partially finished, the clinic is pleasantly 'warm. An efficient Chinese-built heater recirculates warm water to radiator* throughout the building. "This building requires 20-30 kilograms of coal dally - four to five times leas fuel than conventional brick buildings of the same sii«," says Tsend. *\t means the fire only needs to be made twice a day.' That mean* less work, and a lot fewer carbon and sulphur oxides and harmful interior *mokeAnother benefit of building with straw Is the environmentally friendly nature of the materials. Natural wheat Straw, clay and sand are non-toxic, cheap and plentiful in Mongolia. Straw-bale construction costs roughly half the price per square metre of brick. The dry Mongolian climate means that the materials do not rot easily, and straw is an excellent insulator. "With proper construction &nd maintenance, a straw-bale house will last up to 80 year*," Tsend claims. At the Biocombinat clinic 27 trainees, many of them women, are going through three weeks of intensive training. Travel from theif home aimags and training allowances are provided by the Mongolian Action Programme's pilotproject fund. After written ymi oral tests, students receive certification as (e&chers, technicians or workers. The project is providing training for s i x - p e r s o n crews"Irtjm"thr*e~e aimags,"

(See next page)


UB Post


Cheap and energy efficient: there's been a lot of huff and puff about straw-bale houses lately. Now Oyunchimeg plans Many will also provide of Women. The Federation Crew members include a much-needed employment. cartified engineer and tech- intends to start a Women's to return home to Sukhbaatar aimag in eastern Would a straw bale Development Centre, pronician, two carpenters, a house be a cheaper choice Mongolia and "look for r a s t e r e r and a metal viding free healthcare possibilities of private, than the classic ger? A services, skills training and worker. housing construction in the basic ger costs between Tg a temporary shelter for The clinic uses a stand750,000 and Tg 1 million, countryside." She believes battered women. ard concrete foundation while a similar sized strawThe plan is to surround demand will be high and ana floor, the later built bale structure would be the building with gardens through her company's atop a straw-gravel bed. efforts she intends to build valued at around Tg 2 for food and traditional The walls and.roof are also million. But the long-term two or three houses. medicinal herbs. mutated with straw. The Tsend, too, has high advantages of energy savBack at the clinic, Oywalls are mudded at hopes for the future of ings and extra rooms might twice before receiving unchimeg is busy discussing building techniques straw-bale construction. In make the straw-bale a more i coat of paint. appealing choice to some, 1998, with the cowith carpenters and plasConstruction began in especially to young operation of A.D.R.A, 10 August on another straw .terers. For the last two projects will be completed families. months, she has been [>flot project at AmIt will probably be a long , in Ulaanbaatar's east learning to teach straw-bale in nine aimags. And Tsend is working with the Asian time before Mongolians . Work was completed construction techniques. "I became interested in Development Bank and the give up their traditional toy 30 worker-trainees. This private sector to get more mobile form'of housing. In two-storey, 168-square- this technique after watchthe meantime, for those than 70 more projects off ••cre structure was built at ing a television programme on this type of housing," the ground into the next building with wood and coct of U.S. $18,000. brick, an energy efficient The building ft Amgalan she says. "I wanted to learn century. Many of these projects will feature solar alternative is being demonfinished. Soon the about it by taking the three hot-air collection and basic strated in Ulaanbaatar and t wiH be handed over to weeK teacher-training greenhouse technology. five aimags . course." Mongolian Federation

36 *

Mongol Messenger


Straw-bale trainees ready for business
HOUSING by Laura deposit, bat n: • portunitv to exti straw," S'. Tsead pants at a natioui i construction wo week. MrTsend, wkobtfcel Nations Doe Programme (1NDP Development Officer.: ous local compaain pressed interest in an straw-bale building? ers were keen to provide dows and doors. About 85 people fro* aimags attended the workshop which carried the theme, Fields Of Gold. Participants were issued with straw-bale technology munis and taken on a tour oTstr*w-bale buildings in Amgalin. Biocombinat and Microdistrkt 3. The workshop was an important part of the Provision of Energy Efficient Social Services Project, which has already received requests from the State and private sector for straw-bale buildings in their local communities. The project has coordinated the construction of straw-ba'buildings for a health clinic ai._. a centre for the Mongolian Women's Federation. Over the next two years, the project plans the construction of a further 98 super-insulated buildings. Only companies with experience in straw-bale building will be eligible to bid for these contracts. National Project Manager S. Ganbold, who has worked closely with 163 Mongolians who have been exposed to on-the-job training, said many trainees were interested in exploring employment opportunities in strawbale construction. "Enkhbayar is a mother of two who received training and is working at the Amgalan site where the two-storey building is being constructed for the Mongolian Women's Federation," Mr Ganbold said. "Next season she plans to start up her own business and take a straw-bale construction crew to her native Dornogobi Aimag." The workshop was organised by MAP-21, the Ad ventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the UNDP.

Keen interest in straw-bale technology
Hach winter healing costs fur a Mongolian ger can reach Tg4200 per square metre, while heating a small straw-bale dwelling will cost only Tg280. Such a house can be built for about Tg560,000, enabling fuel savings to pay for its construction within seven years. Mongolians living in strawbale houses can decrease their fuel use by more than 90 per cent, resulting in a cleaner and healthier environment. In addition to solving problems related to economic and energy efficiency, the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Mongolia hppe that the Provision of Energy Efficiency Social Services (PEESS) project will "solve some o f Mongolia's

Mongolia Is gearing up for a national seminar on straw-bale houses to demonstrate building technologies to State and private construction companies. LAURA RYSER reports.
infrastructure and social problems. Currently, instead of delivering educational and health services with their operating budgets, institutes are instead consuming resources to heat outdated buildings. Building straw-bale public facilities will allow the social services infrastructure to be less dependent on nonrenewable resources for its energy needs. This will free financial resources for core activities and give a significant contribution to the conservation of the environment. Strawbale building techn iques have been used in N o r t h A m e r re a since the turn of the century. However many people continue to be skeptical about the durability of straw-bale houses. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the straw-bale/mortar structure wall has proven to fire-resistant. Straw will not rot if the straw used to make bales is dry, and a well-constructed roof keeps the water off. This will prevent water from accumulating or becoming trapped inside the wall. Since straw-bale walls are strongly compacted and plastered, they also provide fewer havens for pests than conventional wooden walls. The three-year PEESS project began on May 20, 1997. The project involves the participation of the UNDP, the Mongolian Government, MAP-21, NGOs and individuals.

More than 160 people from 18 efficient, south-facing windows aimags have been exposed to on- that will either be sealed or doublethe-job training of which 32 have pane. This will be an improvement been awarded a teacher certificate. from poorly built double windows Only certified teacher-level train- with single glass that often results ees can be construction managers in broken glass or non-aligned winon the project. dow frames from a lack of mainteSixty percent of the trainees nance. Trainees will also instal lowwere previously unemployed or were low-income family women. cost greenhouses for growing vegA two-story straw-bale house etables. This will allow institutions for the Mongolian Women's Fed- to obtain nutritional foodstuffs, to eration site in Amgalan and straw- reduce the costs of providing bale health clinic for Ulaanbaatar meals, and to introduce an element on the Bio-Combinat site are be- of self-sufficiency. ing built by local construction The PEESS project has already firms (trainees) with the technical received more than 100 requests assistance of Adventist Develop- from State and private sector. ment Relief Agency (ADRA). Preparations for the next 10 strawOther straw-bale buildings are be- bale buildings in nine aimags are ing constructed in rural areas underway. where social services and living standards are underdeveloped. Laura Ryser graduated from A unique feature of the PEESS project is the advanced technology the University of Northern Britof about 80 photovoltaic systems - ish Columbia in Canada and is solar panels that collect electricity in Mongolia on an internship - and the installation of 75 solar from the Sustainable Develophot-air collectors in social service ment Research Institute. She is buildings. Photovoltaic systems do not emit carbon dioxide into the currently working with the UNDP environmental team on atmosphere. The project will design energy- the MAP-21 project.


era o




Mongol Messenger 11-02-98

Pumphouse serves rural eommunity
By Laura Ryser
Mongolia's first straw-bale pumphouse was put into operation recently. Located 50 kilometres south of Ulaanbaatar near Zunmod Soum, •he pumphouse will be used by 500 of trie area's 2000 people. Prior to the pumpnousc, water had been delivered by truck, a costly operation. Water will now be more accessible and cheaper residents will save Tgl50 per 1,000 litres Of water. Puntsogdorj and Nyamjav are two local residents now benefiting from the hand pump. In the past, the couple had to walk .100 metres to a difterent pump: a difficult task when carrying heavy loads of water in sub-zero temperatures. A caretaker will monitor the facilities. His salary will be paid by the fees collected from the pumphouse. To reduce ground water pollution, the house :s located upstream from the loca] settlement. The pumphouse is the firrt straw-bale structure buill in winter. As a result the eiienor plastering of the building will be completed in Spring. The building was created as part of the National Water Sanitation ar.d Hygiene Education Prcgramc "or the 21si Century It: was made with support from L NDP, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands. The project will help 50 communities Ln six aimaes with * a ' e r . sanitation and health ecj:;: :-. jver the next three years. 150 pumps are expected to be installed.

UB Post


Straw-bale clinic goes up in smoke
Fire has destroyed a straw-bale health clinic built under a muchpraised United Nations Development Programme project No .one was hurt in the November 4 blaze, which started in the attic of the structure in the Ulaanbaatar district of Bagakhangai. Ulaanbaatar Fire Department investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire, which smouldered for 18 hours before it was extinguished by firefighters. Though large portions of the clinic's walls remained standing after the fire, area residents soon began dismantling what was left of the structure. Straw-bale construction has been taken up enthusiastically by development groups as cheap, energy efficient and environmentally friendly. But a spate of fires earlier this year that culminated in a Fire Department warning raised concerns about the buildings' safety. the problem lay in shoddy materials and construction methods at unregulated sites, not with the technology itself. The Bagakhangai clinic, built with Canadian government funding, is one of six socialservices buildings constructed in 1998 under the UNDP project. Its construction was monitored by the Adventist Development Relief Agency - the well-regarded pioneer of strawbale construction in Mongolia and the building had been given high marks for quality and safety. UNDP programme officer Paul Groenewegen stands by straw-bale construction. He says the Bagakhangai authorities have already requested a straw-bale replacement clinic. "I think this is an isolated incident,", he says. "We'll have to learn the lessons and build buildings even more fire-safe in the future."

Advocates said at the time

Second Red Book makes its debut



by B. Indra
Mongolian Environment Minister Ts. Adiyasuren presented British Ambassador to Mongolia, John Durham, with a special edition of the recently-published Red Book last week. Mr Adiyasuren said the updated Red Book was the fruit of joint British-Mongolia cooperation to protect Mongolia's nature and environment. The British Government contributed more than $US 16,000 to the Red Book project. "The Red Book is now printed in English and Mongolian language and has met international publishing and scientific standards," the minister said. In the first edition of the Red Book, published in Mongolia in 1987, SO species of animals and 86 plants were registered. Mr Adiyasuren said this year a third of the country's total pasture area (117 million hectares) and 40 million hectares of forest had been damaged by insects and rodents. "The number of rare and threatened species is increasing and several species are in danger of extinction," he said. "The government has been taking measures to protect and restore Mongolia's biological resources. "One quarter of the total forest

cover has been damaged by logging, fires, and insect infestation over the last 50 years. "Biological resources have been depleted and irreparable damage has been done to the environment. "Mongolian scientists and researchers nave given much time to the development of this second edition. "This book is presented to our readers in order to develop national policies on conservation, sustainable use and the restoration of biological resources, to initiate public awareness programmes on rare and threatened species and implement conservation measures." Red Book Chief Editor Dr Ts. Shiifevdamba said that the book had been edited in Mongolian and English to aid the implementation of national laws and international conventions, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention oft British Ambassador to Mongolia John Durham was happy to receive his copy of the Red Book Biological Diversity, Convention from Environment Minister Ts. Adiyasuren last week. on Wetlands of International Immeasures based upon scientific Money for the prining of the portance especially as Waterfowl ing habitat degradation. "Therefore, it was decided to principles. Red Book came from British GovHabitat (Ramsar Convention) and "Mongolian researchers and ernment and the Mongolian Envithe United Nations Convention to update the first Mongolian Red Book in order to use it as a conser- scientists gave their time and ex- ronmental Protection Fund Combat Desertification. pertise in the development of this (SUS6SOO) and the Endangered "Latest research indicates that vation tool. "Research materials were gath- second edition of the Mongolian Species Conservation Fund the number of species which are ered from the Botanical Institute of Red Book. (SUS4500). Preparation of the in danger of extinction is growing "The broad scope of this book book for printing, translation and - this is due to increasing aridity Biology and Applied Biology, the and intensive natural resource use Mongolian State University, the may give rise to discrepancies and technical work was carried out by State Pedagogical University and disagreements and the editorial the Mongolia Biodoveristy Project, in the last decades. board welcomes comments on the funded by the UNDP and the Glo"The country's transition to a foreign scientists. "This book will play an impor- issue, 'content and format of the bal Environment Facility. free market economy has increased the use of natural resources caus- tant role in outlining protection book."


New Tov cheese factory set to open
by Laura Ryser
Another dairy is expected to open inTovAimag this month, allowing herders to keep up with the growing demand for dairy products :h as cheese, yoghurt, >,.i:nk ;md creams. The first cheese factory in Allanbulag, a soum centre about 40km from Ula;m ti.i.ii.n, began production m I i-bruary 1996 with the hi l|> nf the United Nations Drvrl <>l>ment Programme fONDP) and $115200,000 f'lom the Dutcti (iovnn iin 111. Run hy llic sm.tll nrivali' < oiii|unv. liv.isl.if. (< in-('.I'). the factory now employees five people and collects milk from 33 families. Between June and August last year, 36,300 litres of rnilk valued at Tg3,025,435 was bought by the facliiry, producing3.9 toniu-s til f,oml;i style

3 o





Mrs Oostra, the wife of the Dutch Ambassador to Mongolia, accepts sopme gouda-style cheese from factory worker D. Dolgor.
serve, although herders would be permitted to use the land for grazing as a result of extreme climatic conditions. With the reduction of their grazing rights, herders faced serious problems concerning the new economic order, and the curtailment of restrictions on animal ownership. They had an abundance of milk but limited opportunity to market the surplus. The Cheese Production Project created new income for herders as compensation for the lost opportunities evolving from the protection measures taken by the Hustain Nuruu Steppe Project. The project has part i c u l a r l y benefited the women in their role as the main milkers in the family. Project consultant S. Tsetgee said quality inspections were done at the cheese factory every three months. All dairy staff and eligible herders are trained in relevant aspects of cheese production, includiii); hy giene, pricing and impinvnl livestock management And herders are provided with moulds and other necessary equipment that allow them to standardi/e the steppe cheese.


I he second tailory will he located in Atiir .Soum, some lOdkin I'liini IH.ian 1>.1.1 i.i i .uul .iln ml ] '>() km IIDIII Allanliiil.i); ( 'hrcse I iiliKtiiin I'loje I evolved illei Ihc Mini) Mi'iil dc-

c I ii i

Musi.mi MINIMI .in.l Mi-p|H- mrii, it Sliili- Nil Inn- Ki-M-ivr in I'J'M. In ill Inw Ihr MII i r^iliil i. mini dm nun iif itn- wild Tiikln
(I'l/fWIll-l il II..IM



Twenty years ago the Takhi almost ceased to exist in Mongolia. In 1980, a Dutch initiative was launched to establish semi-reserves for the br.;ed and by 1991 Hustain Nuruu was chosen as a suitable location for the release of the zoo-bred animals into the semi-wild. The first horses were released in July 1994, as part ol the reintroduction and steppe ecology programme. The decision was popular among the herders as il replesenicd the return of a wellknown icon of Mongolian culture. According to UNDP iioutanimc officer, S. Inkhluyt, grazing and hunting were outlawed in the re-

• Laura Ryscr t;> iiiln atedfrom the llnir,-i\n\ of Northern Htiti\/i < . • lumhiii in Cumuli! tniil i\ inMoiiKi'lin • "i"" mi'i" shift fnnn the .Sii\Mnn;Mi
l)l'\'fll>/IHIi III A'.


n nli i l l , ,-iniii'iuii> i i i i i / i i (/., M \l



Mongol Messenger


Few greenhouse gases but temperature still on the rise
In a effort to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases, more than 1500 delegates from over 160 nations convened in Kyoto, Japan for a 10-day treaty negotiation. Mongolian E n v i r o n m e n t a l Minister Ts. Adiyasuren returned from the conference last week to announce the results of the Kyoto Climate Change conference this month. The negotiations resulted in a legally binding protocol stating that industrialised nations will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent. Overall emissions from a group of six greenhouse gases will be lowered by 2008-2012. By thai time, emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous, oxide must be equal to those of 1990. Cuts in hydroflouride will be measured against emissions in either a 1990 or!995. "Too much development has had a bad influence for our natural environment, our style of development needs to be changed. History has taught us that if we don't change our development style, our environment will gradually sour," said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Bruno Pouzat. Although Mongolia releases very few greenhouse gases in relation to more developed countries, local effects will still be fell. Research shows that the greenhouse effect has contributed to the 0.7 degree rise in temperature, which has occurred over the past 50 years. This has resulted in desertification, the loss of valuable steppe to desert. Desertification has caused a decrease in water supply, harvest and livestock.

Scientists have marked Mongolia as a country in threat of massive desertification. The outlying areas of the Gobi Desert are included in the desertification region, indicated Dr. C Davaadorj of the Geo-ecology Institute. Mr D a v a a d o r j recently attended a seminar on 'Combating Desertification by Agro-biology Methods.' 20countries look pail in the United Nations seminar, which was held in Israel. Due to an iiKTi-a.se in ears and population, (lie desert's natural balance has been lost, particularly around the /aniyii I did border area near China. In this region, locals have reported that sand is replacing gra/.ing lands. One problem has been die recent boom in livestock population. High numbers of livestock have overgrazed many desert areas, causing desert expansion. Research is currently taking place to determine how many animals the Gobi region can accommodate. Mr Davaadorj noted that he has recently acquired the seeds of 20 plants which are known to be well suited for desertified soil. Experiments will lake place to determine if the seeds should IK- planted

Gobi faces desertification threat

o 3 trq o
n n


ora re •s

r,-ii<>n.\ of the Gobi near China are alrcml\ feeling ih, , / / / , , M ,./ ,/,


Mongol Messenger


Gobi surrenders to small agricultural oasis
from handmade bricks. He installed two underground storage facilities with a combined capacity of 10 tonnes - one for potatoes The efforts of former veterinar- and the other for cabbages. These days between April and ian, -D. Baraduuz, extend far beyond the tree-lined boundaries of October (depending on the season), he produces medicinal seeds, his one hectare plantation. For the last five years, Mr plants and herbs for local animal Baraduuz has been trying to com- fodder, as well as turnips, tomabat desertification in his native toes, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, Omnogobi Aimag and he remains watermelon and two types of cucommitted to educating others cumber. The plantation also processed while improving the state of the vegetables in jars and in the future environment. By visiting different planta- has plans to establish a small cantions and agricultural works, Mr nine factory. Mr Baraduuz sells his produce Baraduuz learned various planting techniques. Before launching his locally, although he is currently full-time farming career, he was looking for an extended market for chairman of the Omnogobi Agri- medicinal herbs including jasmine and the pagoda tree. cultural Department. Part of the project site is dediConcerns that many medicinal herbs and plants were disappear- cated to producing trees such as ing from the Gobi region, Shar Khoshoon, a species which prompted Mr Baraduuz to begin helps reduce salt content in the soil. After just one year, this plant plantings about five years ago at a site aoout 60km north of reduced the salt content enough to Dalanzadgad. plant other types of trees such as P. Tsetsgee, Project Adminis- aspen, almond, elm, willow and trative Officer of MAP-21, the sea buckthorn. UNDP-funded environmental According to Mr Baraduuz, he project which has been supporting planted about 5000 of almond trees Mr Baraduuz's efforts, recalls: "At to protect the area from erosion and first his family was skeptical so he sand. About 1000 of these were worked alone for a year before his planted last Spring. wife conceded to help him - when Mr Baraduuz is looking for a they finally harvested their first market for his trees and discussions crop their thoughts became more are already underway with MAP21 about the possibility of buying positive." Last August MAP-21 provided elms next Spring for a desertificaMAP-21 representatives inspected D. Baraduuz's Omnogobi Tg3 million for Mr Baraduuz's tion project in Zamyr Dud Soum. plantation last month. plantation project, allowing him to Previously the project assumed test new seeds for the Gobi area. seeds would have to come from to transport goods and fertiliser. However Mr Baraduuz's hard The funds will also enable Mr China, but now Mr Baraduuz may Out of 17 willow trees planted work and increased yields have Baraduuz to develop and produce be given the opportunity to provide in Spring, only 12 have survived helped to eliminate the myths seeds and trees for other Gobi resi- seeds and seedlings. their arid surroundings. The deep about the inability of the Gobi to But Mr Baraduuz's project is cracks in the soil around trees is a sustain crops. dents. En the beginning, the family not free of problems. The fact that stark reminder that water scarcity, During last month's Poverty brought in 80 truckloads of animal he does not own a vehicle limits salt intrusion and soil condition Eradication Week, Mr Baraduuz fertiliser for use on the plantation. Mr Baraduuz's ability to commu- continue to present barriers to lo- organised an educational seminar During those early days Mr nicate his findings with other cal farmers. in Dalanzadgad and on-site farm Baraduuz also built a family home people, and he must rent a vehicle Mr Baraduuz tour a bid to help others understand realises that one agricultural economics, spring would only He is currently writing a brosustain one hectare of enure about his difficulties, success cropland. And while and findings over the last five there is not enough years. water to expand his In the future Mr Baraduuz project, he believes plans to expand his operation by that the aimag's 300 planting trees and plants on Gurvan natural springs have Saikhan (Three Beauties) Mounthe capacity to irrigate tain. 300ha of trees and Laura Ryser graduated from vegetables. He said such a the University of Northern British scheme would combat Columbia in Canada and is in desertification and Mongolia on an internship from provide jobs for about the Sustainable Development Re300 families, although search Institute. She is currently the extent of competition for these water working with the United Nations resources and the ca- Development Programme (UNDP) pacity of the springs environmental team on the MAPremains unclear. 21 project.
by Laura Ryser


UB Post


Warmer winters, cooler summers: global warming comes to Mongolia
"By the laws of physics, any heated object creates'longongolia's climate is wave rays. These heat rays are world famous for its absorbed by gases — carbon extremes. But that monoxide, methane, nitrogen may be changing. Recent evi- and so on— and some are dence shows the country's released into the atmosphere, temperatures are moderating as causing additional heat in the a result of global warming. Earth's atmosphere. "There is a worldwide ten"In the past 100 years, dency toward global wanning, because of human activity, the and tfits—wanrrtrrg T>rrfic oysegases noticed in high-altitude zones, has risen dramatically. At the including Mongolia." says Dr. time of the Industrial RevoL. Natsagdorj, director of the lution, 1750-1800, there was Institute of Hydrology and 30 per cent less carbon Meteorology in Ulaanbaatar. monoxide in the air than there "Our country's average is now, and half as much marsh temperature has risen 0.7 de- gases. grees in the last 60 years. The "It is important to reduce average winter temperature has the level of greenhouse gas increased two (o three degrees, emissions immediately, bedepending on the region, while cause gases, depending on their summers have become a little type, are stored in the atbit cooler. mosphere for between 50 and "Over the last 30 years the 200 years. If we don't take any number of cold days under -25 measures, by 2030-2060 greendegrees has fallen by 10 to 15 house gases will have doubled days and the number of warm from the 90s' level. days over 25-degrees has also "This will cause * floW fallen, by 10 to 20 days. The temperature increase of tmm winters are getting warmer and dee the summers cooler. The huge gap between the highs and low 5 is shrinking." In case you think a warmer winter doesn't sound like such a bad thing, Namgdorj mm ofthedirceffecaoflungum climate change on Mongolia. "According uTafcmanal scientists, Mongolia's aujjgc monthlv temperature \*ifl rise between three and 10 degrees in the 2030-2060 period. SWBmer precipitation will increase, but so will spring droughts. That will have a negative influence on pasture land ar. j livestock breeding. "Global warming will also ^, mean a two to 15 per cent try, do 10 curt ike i increase in desert areas and a Other devdopag Aan o_shrinking of mountain steppe, . , taiga and tundra zones." shining models. Most scientists agree that Still, some moves arc afcof. global warming is caused by an A project is underway, wok accumulation of gases in the British assistance, to m»is atmosphere, the so-called produce an energy-efficiemger "greenhouse effect.1' stove. "We can see our planet as And the UN Framework a huge greenhouse," explains Convention on Climate Change Natsagdorj. "Direct sunrays commits developed countriespenetrate the walls of a green- producers of most of the house, becoming heat. They are world's greenhouse gases — to not able to rebound back com- aid developing ones. pletely, causing additional heat. The World Bank, which In the same way, the sun's rays recently opened an office in penetrate the Earth's atmo- Ulaanbaatar, has established a sphere and are reflected off the unit geared to promoting enerEarth's surface. A portion gy efficiency in Asian rebounds back and a portion countries. becomes heat, absorbed by the Will it be enough? Time soil. will tell. By T». ENKH


Mongolia taces burning issues in wake ot landmark Kyoto climate-change conference

t the start of D e c e m b e r , delegations from around the world met in Kyoto, Japan, for a gathering the BBC dubbed, "the most important conference of the decade.".Officially known as the UN Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/the Kyoto congress drew representatives of government and environmental groups, as well as lobbyists from both the traditional and alternative energy industries The conference met to grapple with the issue of greenhouse gases, blamed by«scientists for contributing to the worldwide atmospheric temperature increase known as global warming. Ten days of arduous negotiations arrived at three formal proposals that prescribe phased reductions in the amount of greenhouse gases well into the next century — proposals detractors say were fatally watered down to appease the United States and other gaseous nations. The conference was a sobering experience for the Mongolian delegation led by Environment 'Minister Ts. Adyasuren. One troubling problem for Mongolia is the impact of regional greenhouse gases from its populous industrializing neighbours: China, the Koreas and South and Southeaste Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Indonesia. But the problem is not just across the border. This


sparsely populated country has one of the world's highest per capita emission rates of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas (see table). The major causes of greenhouse gases are industry - particularly the thermal energy, industry — and automobiles. In Mongolia, one can add the stoves from thousands of gers. The Mongolian government says is it taking the problem seriously. "Most effects of global climate change are negative for Mongolia," says Adyasuren. "As stated in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, arid and semiarid Asia could face exacerbated water scarcity." One Mongolian scientist has projected a dramatic shift northwards n the zone of desertification if Asian greenhouse gases are not stabilized. Mongolia's present economic woes could be worsened with climate change, notes Adyasuren. "Preliminary findings show that agriculture, especially livestock and water resources, are the most vulnerable sectors to climate change in Mongolia. These sectors are the major economic sectors of the country." But is it possible to take a greener, energy-efficient approach to the development that is so urgently needed in Mongolia? A partial solution could lie lie with new ecologically friendly energy technologies, construction techniques and renovation approaches. Mongolia's represen-

tatives to Kyoto were made aware of a range of ecofriendly energy technologies, including automobile fuel cells, solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, bio-gas/methane and small-scale hydroelectric production. Innovative green technologies and infrastructure would not only reduce greenhouse gases but reduce air pollution and ecosystem damage. According to the World Watch and Rocky Mountain Institutes, green technologies can improve industrial competitiveness and create long-run cost savings. They have proven effective in wealthy nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany and are increasingly being seen as a solution for economies in transition such as Mongolia. But where will the money come from? Ironically, one financial hope for the green shift is the World Bank, which plans to open an office in Ulaanbaatar this year. In the past this major financier was known for funding wasteful energy mega-projects which have sparked popular protests in many nations. Recently, however, the bank appears to have recognized the importance of eco-friendly approaches by launching an Asia Alternative energy unit. This forward-thinking unit has a mandate "to help client countries and Bank operations s t a f f pursue energy-efficiency investments in Asia, where two-thirds of the world's new power capacity will be installed in the next decade." Mongolia's delegation also heard how demand-

management approaches have provided substantial energy savings and employment creation through renovating housing and offices, improving insulation, installing compact florescent lighting and using passive solar approaches. One example of energy efficient construction currently being demonstrated in Mongolia is the super-insulated, nontoxic straw-bale building technology demonstrated by several development organizations and now being adopted by the private sector. The Mongolian government has agreed to develop a strong made-in-Mongolia protocol to reduce greenhouse gases and fulfill the Kyoto agreement. "We have to understand that any delay of action now will only make the problems worse, and make future solutions more difficult," says Adyasuren. "We should not leave today's problems for our children and grandchildren."

"0 §

The Land of tha Blue Sky is too often the land of smog.


o s

7 o

Sources: Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Mongolian Institute of Meteorology



Mongol Messenger


New tax law designed to end timber exports
By B. Indra Customs tax laws are set to change, and perhaps the most influential will be a tax on timber. The Ministry of Nature and Environment is hoping to implement the tax which could have a lasting affect on Mongolian forest lands. A January 15 tax will see a Tgl 50,000 fee weighed on every one cubic metre of wood. The ministry says the tax will preserve forests and revive n a t i o n a l industries, while still allowing for domestic needs. The tax is designed to make exporting wood ail but impossible. See TREE, page 5

from page 4 MP D. Enkhtaivan tried to take the forest protection one step further by submitting a law draft to the government which would prohibit the export of wood from Mongolia- Enkhtaivan had been working on the project since 1996, but saw his'proposal shol down by Parliament. However, the new tax effectively does what Enkhtaivan set out to do. The General Customs office reports that in 1998, 232,006.3 cubic metre's of sliced wood were exported from Mongolia. The breakdown includes 207.8 cubic metre to Switzerland, 231,361.2 cubic metres to China, 130. 2 cubic metres lo Korea and 4.5 to Zimbabwe. 278.3 cubic metres of log were exported in all. 108 train cars of cut wood had been prepared for export and customs since January 9, 42 have been exported. Until now, no legal acts or customs tax has inhibited the export of wood. "The free export of wood was hurting national industries, the price of wood products increased, and the supply of wood fuel decreased. Most importantly, the environment was suffering. The clear cutting in the Mongonmorit and Terelj areas had an obvious affect on the Tuul River, which dropped in height," said Enkhtaivan. Researchers note that most of

the exported wood is pine, despite the fact that only four percent of Mongolian forest is pine. Just 8.1 percent of Mongolia is covered in forest. This has prompted the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations to call Mongolia's forest reserves 'poor.' Mongolia has exported 60.000 cubic metres of log and 360,000 sliced wood materials without any customs tax since 1993, at prices 'three times lower than the world standard. Meanwhile, little has been done domestically to impro"e the investment and technical renovation of Mongolian timber mills. The combination has left Mongolia's timber industry' in a shambles. Prior to 1990, ten organisations used 20 machines to prepare wood. Nowadays, more timber mills have arrived, though many wood buyers agree that the quality of the product is low. "National products have decreased and people saw their get rich quick opportunity and shipped a lot of wood off to China at no cost," Enkhtaivan said. The lost wood has caused havoc on the domestic market. The price of wood drops and local companies can't gel their hands on wood. The state policy to support national manufacturers is lost. "If we are going to live in harmony with nature, animals and elements, we have got to pay better attention to our forests and our water reserves," Enkhtaivan says.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful