Mongolia’s New Environmental Law Packet

by G.Erdenebayasgalan (ELP 2009) and A.Sainbayar (Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment and Green Development)

Right after the approval of the 68th decree for the elimination of overlaps, contradictions and gaps in the law, the first priority of the Mongolian government was to do an analysis of the 18 environmental laws. These laws were systematically compacted into eight laws. Two new laws were then added and all were subsequently ratified through the Mongolian Parliament in May 2012. The following principles were adhered to in these legal innovations: to enable sustainable national development, exalt economic efficiency, responsibility, environmentally friendly development, implementation of compliance to international standards of auditing, “polluter recoup damage”, “local involvement in environmental protection”, “rising value of natural resources”, “generation of sustainable financial resources for funding environmental protection”, and “embedding sustainable management of natural resources.”

The newly revised Environmental Impact Assessment law reflects environmental strategic assessment and will impact environmental decision-making by facilitating public involvement in environmental assessment, control, and verification. Additionally, measures include appropriated protection and clear mining closure procedures along with actions to facilitate the implementation of the law. This law is significant as it reflects implementation procedures to offset biodiversity conservation and helps Mongolia to be on par with the global stage.

The soil protection law includes measures of desertification prevention as a consequence of the intensification of agriculture, mining, road construction, and urban land use as well as climate change. All of these activities increase negative and destructive impacts on soil, lower soil fertility, result in overgrazing and desertification, and decrease systems for prevention of soil erosion. An important consideration is also the facilitation of a safe and healthy environment for the human population. Additional measures include the establishment of accountability in environmental protection along with more elaboration on soil degradation, desertification gradation criteria and soil assessment methodology.

The water regulation law merges water resources with basin protection and introduces proper utilization and restoration practices. What is especially novel in this law is that it implements the integration of water resource management in 29 basins. To update adaptive measures based on the protection of ecosystems and the restoration of river basins susceptible to climate change, a project funded by the “Adaptation Fund” of UNDP is currently being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development. Through this project, actions and strategies are being determined for biodiversity conservation of Mongolian dahurica, Uvs Lake Basin area, and to instill values that will assist people in adapting to new conditions resulting from climate change. According to the water pollution reimbursement law, individuals, economic entities, and organizations should be charged for water pollution.  Procedures are being carried out to further develop and improve payment and related regulatory systems.

With the expansion of the Ministry of Environment and Green Development into the Strategic Ministry, this will play a main role in determining the main steps of country development. Besides this, the Ministry is also working on the introduction and adherence to principles of raising the public’s ecological awareness, the establishment of a new system for economic incentives, and a merge between the financial structures of bank policies with green policies.

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