Guest Post: Analyzing the Environmental Strategies of Five Parties

Jangar Ts. and Bolormaa P. 

Overview of Natural Resources and Ecosystems

Mongolia, renowned for its vast steppe grasslands, abundant water resources, forests,
wetlands, and rich mineral deposits, faces significant environmental challenges. Key threats include environmental degradation, desertification, unsustainable water extraction, air and water pollution, and soil and habitat loss. Seventy percent of pastures are degraded, threatening livestock and resilience to climate change. These threats are primarily driven by overgrazing, urbanization, mining, and climate change.
Despite having high per capita water availability, Mongolia’s water resources are under stress:
Freshwater Withdrawal: Accounts for only 1.5% of total renewable water resources, with
uneven demand and extraction, stressing rivers and groundwater in urban areas.
Pollution: Freshwater sources are increasingly polluted by industrial effluents,
inadequate sanitation, solid waste, and livestock access.
Climate change exacerbates drought and water scarcity. Efforts to expand Mongolia’s protected areas network are ongoing, supported by Local Protected Areas established by provincial and district governments.

Environmental Issues in the Mining Sector

Mining activities have caused significant environmental damages:

  • Land Damage: 8,147.58 hectares affected by gold-placer mining, with excavations and quarries occupying 21.1% of these lands.
  • Surface Water Damage: Accounts for nearly 90% of environmental damage in the Zaamar zone.
  • Soil and Plant Cover: Significant damage in Eastern regions and Selenge province, varying by local environmental features.

Selenge province has suffered substantial damage in, with MNT 28.2 billion lost, representing 40% of total damage. Mining activities are prohibited in 35,900 hectares of river and stream sources, with significant damage in Zaamar zone and Khangai region. 17,400 hectares of protected forest funds have been affected, predominantly in Selenge province.

Mongolia’s rich natural resources and ecosystems face severe threats from environmental degradation, water scarcity, pollution, and climate change. Efforts to improve water governance, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable tourism are critical. Addressing mining-related environmental damage is essential for preserving Mongolia’s natural heritage and ensuring sustainable development.

Here, we provide a brief analysis of the proposed environmental strategies by the following parties: Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), the Democratic Party (DP), KhUN Party (HP), Civic Courage & Green Party (CC&GP), and the National Coalition (NC).

MPP. New Revival Policy Regional Development Reform (Шинэ сэргэлтийн бодлого бүсчилсэн хөгжлийн реформ)

Chapter 6: Human and Environment

6.1.4. Renew environmental monitoring, introduce high technology, AI in natural disaster projection and prevention.

6.2.1. Pass “Pasture management” law to protect water, soil and pasture and prevention from land degradation and desertification.

6.2.5. Pasture irrigation, continue well work.

 6.3. Water – precious resource

6.3.1. Create environment to ensure water security

6.3.2. Collect water from snow, ice, build 140 ponds, water reservoir to improve water access for local community, wild animals, livestock, and industry.

6.3.4. Limit use of groundwater in mining and promote use of surface water

6.3.5. Promote responsible mining: technologies for water re-use, re-cycle, use of grey water.

6.3.6. Promote wastewater use through recycling.

6.3.7. Expand water exploration to supply drinking water for local population.

6.5. Green Economic Transformation

6.5.3. Promote Green product, sustainable consumption, green lifestyle through introduction of environmentally friendly technologies in waste reduction, resource use.

6.5.4. Increase investments in green jobs and businesses.

Key Strategies:

• Environmental Monitoring and Disaster Prevention: Renew environmental monitoring systems and introduce high technology, including AI, for natural disaster prediction and prevention.
• Pasture Management: Pass the “Pasture Law” to protect water, soil, and pasture from degradation and desertification, and continue well irrigation projects.
• Water Security: Enhance water security by collecting water from snow and ice, building 140 ponds and reservoirs, and promoting responsible mining practices that include water reuse and recycling.
• Green Products and Jobs: Promote sustainable consumption through environmentally friendly technologies and increase investment in green jobs and businesses.


Integrating technology and AI into environmental monitoring systems offers an effective approach to predicting and preventing natural disasters. However, recent years have shown inefficiencies in environmental monitoring systems, with significant gaps in data collection and analysis. Limiting groundwater use in mining operations may face opposition from  stakeholders in regions like the Gobi, where groundwater is crucial resource for both mining and local communities.

The proposed “Pasture Management” law to be effective, it must be part of a broader, integrated strategy that includes sustainable agricultural practices, pasture water management, and soil conservation efforts. Without this integration, the law alone may not achieve its intended outcomes.

The construction of dams and canals for flood management and the collection and storage of rain and snow water are crucial for water resource management. These efforts are effective with good governance and adequate funding.

MPP’s tenure has been marked by economic and social challenges.

Democratic Party. Full Mongolian, Complete Democracy: Steadfast Development Plan  (Бүтэн Монгол, Бүрэн Ардчилал)

Chapter 5.7.1 Water Build Engineering infrastructure for clean water supply and water sewage. Implement “Kherlen – Gobi”, “Orkhon – Gobi” and “Tuul – Gobi” projects Build water reservoirs and implement projects to increase water resources. Support the project of building an additional hydroelectric power plant. Built Dams in large rivers. Increase the use of grey water. Implement projects to reduce/stop groundwater use As part of the “Billion Trees” national movement and the fight against desertification, create 50-100 hectares of green spaces/facilities in every soum.

5.7.6. Hydropower station, nuclear power station Increase domestic production of energy Build a large reservoir, artificial lakes, floating ponds, and accumulate water to supply water to desert and grassland areas Intensify research on hydroelectric power plants and build hydroelectric power plants within PPP. Improving the supply of economical and environmentally friendly technologies to water supply to increase crop harvest Implement solar and wind renewable sources for greenhouse farming and drip irrigation.

Chapter 6.1.1 Local Development Promote Intensive animal husbandry and irrigated agriculture.  Renew and put in operation irrigation system near  Gahanch River in Biger, Sharga, Taishir and Bugat Sums. Build a 50 m3 capacity water treatment plant in Jargalan, Chandman, Togrog, Darvi sums, Guulin, Bayantooroo soums Build a new flood dam on the west of Yesenbulag Sum. Create a waste processing system based on PPP, implement an eco-environment program. Build Erdeneburen hydroelectric power plant Egiin  hydropower station Build dams and canals in province centres to manage and mitigate floods. Implement “Water for Gobi region” program and store rain and snow water for agriculture irrigation.  Resolve drinking water purification Implement water projects to protect wildlife, and prevent desertification.

6.3.29. Introduce automated system for monitoring and measuring of water, electricity and heat use.

Key Strategies:

  • Water Infrastructure: Build engineering infrastructure for clean water supply and sewage, and implement significant projects such as “Kherlen – Gobi”, “Orkhon – Gobi” and “Tuul-Gobi for water resource enhancement.
  • Hydropower and Renewable Energy: Support for hydroelectric power plants and renewable energy sources like solar and wind for greenhouse farming and irrigation.
  • Desertification and Afforestation: As part of the “Billion Trees” national movement, create green spaces in every district to combat desertification and improve environmental quality.
  • Waste Management: Develop a comprehensive waste processing system through public-private partnerships, including building new water treatment plants and flood control infrastructure.


The Democrats focus on large-scale infrastructure projects and renewable energy to provide sustainable solutions to environmental challenges while promoting economic growth. However, the strategy lacks a unified framework that integrates these initiatives into a cohesive plan.

KhUN Party “It’s Time to Change” (Өөрчилнө цаг нь болсон)

Chapter 4: Close to nature development

Key initiatives include expanding protected areas, integrating environmental data into digitized system, and collaborating with the private sector to boost financing and community participation. A  public environmental management and reporting system for mining operations will be established, along with a legal framework for a mineral deposit system to fund rehabilitation.

Sustainable land management practices, such as afforestation, reforestation, and advanced agriculture techniques, will restore degraded lands and enhance ecosystem resilience. Create opportunities to generate revenue from the ‘Billion Tree’ program, aiming to attract private and foreign financing for tree planting.

Urban-rural ecosystem services will be updated to reflect the value of land use. A stable and financing model will reduce reliance on the state budget, ensuring foreign investment and private sector participation. An Environmental Trust Fund will be established with and international investments. The government will also work on implementing international agreements such as the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species, the Human and Biodiversity Program, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Natural resources management will prioritize installing bio-sanitary facilities and identifying locations for renewable energy. The “Ezentei Garbage” program overhaul waste management, improving recycling standards. Land along the Selbe and Tuul rivers will be protected  and developed for recreation with private investment.

Climate change policies will expand water, climate, and environmental monitoring, integrating technical innovations. A smart monitoring network will protect natural resources, supported by technology and transparency. Professional resources will be developed for environmental restoration in urban areas.

A natural disaster prevention system and comprehensive risks assessment will be established. Emissions from harmful vehicles will be banned, and a monitoring system will be implemented. Water policy reforms will manage cross-border and domestic water, including urban water management policies.

Public awareness campaigns will promote natural resources conservation and green development initiatives. Efforts to reduce waste, save resources, and promote recycling will be supported. Environmentally friendly technologies and a Circular Economy policy will be introduced. Households will be encouraged to plant trees, supported by a legal frameworks. Incentives for green consumption and green government will be introduced.

Key Strategies:

  • Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services: Increase protected areas and integrate environmental, social, and economic data for better management. Promote sustainable land management practices such as afforestation and sustainable agriculture.
  • Environmental Finance: Establish an Environmental Trust Fund with private and international investments, reducing dependency on state budgets.
  • Waste Management and Renewable Energy: Update the waste management system to improve recycling standards and identify appropriate locations for renewable energy generation.
  • Public Participation: Increase public awareness and participation in environmental conservation through educational campaigns and community-led projects.


KhUN Party focuses on innovative financing and community engagement, involving private and international stakeholders for sustainable funding. Public participation and awareness could enhance policy effectiveness, with comprehensive initiatives aimed at creating a sustainable environment. Integrating modern technologies, fostering private and community participation, and promoting international cooperation are key to managing natural resources.

Civil Will and Green Party. “Have the Courage to Make a Change” (Шинэчлэлд Зоригтой бай)

3.1. Sustainable development

3.1.1. To balance environmental protection and economic growth

3.3. Nature and Environment (forestry)

Launch afforestation campaign to increase forest cover, carbon sequestration, soil stabilization, water basin protection, increasing efficiency, reducing sand migration in the Gobi

3.1.6. Implement circular business/economic practices, reduce waste, Increase recycling.

3.3.1 To protect wildlife biodiversity, and their habitat, redefine protected areas and natural reserves

Key Strategies:

  • Sustainable Development: Balance environmental protection with economic growth, focusing on circular economic practices and waste reduction.
  • Afforestation: Launch campaigns to increase forest cover, stabilize soil, and protect water basins, particularly in the Gobi region.
  • Biodiversity Protection: Protect wildlife biodiversity by redefining protected areas and natural reserves.
  • Green Economy: Implement policies to promote a green economy through sustainable consumption and increased recycling.


CC&G’s platform emphasizes ecological sustainability and biodiversity protection, balancing environmental and economic goals through circular economy practices.

National Coalition. “Let’s Support National Industry, Let’s Make Nation Rich”

Chapter: Regional Green Development, Rural Revival

Reforming the government’s water policy, develop master plan, collect water, use water resources for energy generation, build hydropower station.

Key Strategies:

  • Water Policy Reform: Reform the government’s water policy, develop a master plan for water resources, and build hydropower stations to generate energy and improve water management.
  • Green Development: Emphasize regional green development and rural revival through sustainable resource use and environmental protection measures.
  • Economic Integration: Integrate environmental concerns with industrial development, ensuring that economic growth supports environmental sustainability.


The National Coalition aims to integrate environmental sustainability with industrial growth, focusing on water policy reform and green development to address environmental issues while promoting economic growth.


Each party addresses key environmental issues such as water management, desertification, forest cover, waste management, and sustainable development. They offer varied approaches with infrastructure projects, innovative financing, community engagement, and green development. Some difference, however, can be seen on methods of implementation; by creating a legal framework to promote e.g. public with private partnership, or just old school way when government takes control on steering.

While the MPP has focused on water security, environmental monitoring and disaster prevention, green product and jobs, their current governance raises concerns about economic and social impacts. One strategy recommends limiting the use of groundwater in mining operations and encourages the use of surface water for mining activities. However, this strategy may raise concerns and potentially lead to opposition from different stakeholders involved in ongoing mining operations in regions like the Gobi, where groundwater is a crucial resource for both mining and local communities.

The Democratic Party continues previous water supply projects to Gobi region, supporting mining and hydropower. These projects were proposed over eight years ago and seems finding a broad political support these days; when pre-feasibility study on Herlen-Gobi project was concluded in 2007, then MP from Khentii Aimak B. Bat-Erdene was strongly opposing this project, seizing any further initiatives.

The Civic Will Green Party’s program is well-articulated and integrated, promising impactful results upon implementation.

KhUN party proposes a unified framework for sustainable and resilient environmental management through modern technologies, private and community participation, and international cooperation. These initiatives promise positive results by ensuring participation and long-term financing opportunities.

About Bolormaa Purevjav

Dr. Bolormaa Purevjav is a researcher at the Mining Engineering Department of UBC. Her PhD research focused on integrated water resources management, stakeholder engagement in sustainable water management, and water governance in the context of mining.

About Jangar Tsembel

Jangar Tsembel is a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. His master degree was focused on effect of land use change on generation of floods in B.C. interior, Canada. His doctoral research is also focused on hydrology where he investigates how environmental controls of watershed can play synergistic or antagonize the generation of peak flows in small catchments and floods in a bigger watershed.

This entry was posted in Air Pollution, Author, Bolormaa Purevjav, Civil Will Green Party, Climate Change, Democracy, Democratic Party, Elections, Environment, Garbage, Ikh Khural 2024, Jangar Tsembel, KhUN, Mongolian People's Party, Party Politics, Policy, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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