Mongolia to improve resource management in Onon River Basin

Residents of northeastern Mongolia will be given the opportunity to play a more active role in managing and conserving their natural resources while also reducing poverty through a project supported by Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The project will support Mongolia's efforts to develop rural communities while implementing an ambitious national program for protected areas...

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 6, 2008 -- Residents of northeastern Mongolia will be given the opportunity to play a more active role in managing and conserving their natural resources while also reducing poverty through a project supported by Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The project will support Mongolia's efforts to develop rural communities while implementing an ambitious national program for protected areas. It is expected to improve the capacity of local communities to manage natural resources and develop new approaches to conservation, which is crucial given the challenges Mongolia faces in managing natural resources and protecting biodiversity.

The project will receive a $2 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to be overseen by ADB in close cooperation with Mongolia's Ministry of Nature and Environment.

The project will help establish at least five community-based organizations focused on effective environmental protection in each of the seven target districts surrounding the river basin. These organizations will enable local communities, particularly the poor, to voice concerns and participate in decisions about natural resource management that affect their livelihoods and well being.

The World Wide Fund for Nature-Mongolia, the national affiliate of the international nongovernmental organization of the same name, will lead implementation of the project in close cooperation with the Onon River Basin Council.

"The Onon River basin is known for its rich biodiversity. This important transnational watershed, which flows into Russia and China, features delicate ecosystems under threat from commercial mining and timber concerns," said Christopher Edmonds, Rural Development Economist of ADB's East Asia Department.

Because of the vast area, relatively small population and limited government resources, environmental conservation in the project area depends upon local people to act as stewards of the natural resources in their communities.

"This project will encourage residents to organize themselves, use local natural resources wisely, and develop more profitable and sustainable livelihoods," said Edmonds.

The project will build on ongoing community based efforts to manage resources in Mongolia, particularly in the Onon River Basin. It will also promote environmental conservation planning and management in the Onon River watershed through strategy development and investments in technical research.

The Asian Development Bank, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

Also see:
-- Improvements to water resources for Mongolia's nomadic herding families on tap

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