Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to see all of you here at the opening of the “Industry of the Future” blended training centre and “Textile - Knitwear Finishing Incubator Center”. I would like to congratulate our project team and the MOFALI and Mongolian Association of Leather Industry, Research and Development Institute of Light Industry for their joint efforts and dedicated work with focus on leather and textile value chains despite the COVID-19 slowdown.
One of European Union’s main priorities here in Mongolia is sustainable development for inclusive growth by supporting economic diversification. We do through SMEs development, employment creation for young people and promoting the transition towards a low-carbon, resource efficient, green circular economy, as well as increasing the export of Mongolian goods to the EU market.
In March 2018, we launched with UNIDO the EU funded SECiM Project. It has achieved substantial results such as transferring international technology and knowledge complementing national expertise, improving quality of raw materials and products. I would like to emphasise the opening of the Industry of Future blended training centre as one of the examples of institutionalizing e-learning programmes, which have been developed and introduced by UNIDO for building capacity of the sector.
The example of the past 4 months of lockdown and remote working are a testimony that many meetings and studies can be effectively delivered while using online tools. I believe that the best practices in this regard can be transferred to other sectors as well.
I would also like to highlight the importance of Research and Development Institutes’ role in development of the industry. Research and Development is crucial to meet international standards and introduce modern technology for the production of Mongolian goods.
The European Union’s strategy for international cooperation in Research and Innovation is implemented mainly through our worldwide programme Horizon 2020.
“Industrial Leadership” and “Societal Challenges'' pillars of the programme include grants for food safety and sustainable agriculture. I encourage Mongolian institutions and researchers to apply for grants in the wide array of categories that is available.
Grants cover activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and market uptake. I would like to encourage you, to participate and benefit from the possibilities the Horizon 2020 programme offers.
I would like to express appreciation for MoFALI’s strong cooperation with the all EU funded projects in Mongolia. I also thank all other institutions, partners and clients of the SECiM project for joining hands to build their competitiveness and improving the industry for better, especially with the current crisis situation.
With the listing of Mongolia as a high-risk third country by the European Union in early May, many of you might be wondering, what the listing means in practice for the EU-Mongolia cooperation. Let me emphasise that the listing does not have any punitive implications. The listing does not affect the legitimate trade flows, EU humanitarian assistance, development policy or the provision of grants, procurement and budget support.
The only consequences are for the financial system: banks and other entities are required to apply extra checks and enhanced vigilance in transactions that involve Mongolia to prevent, detect and disrupt suspicious transactions, in line with the existing requirements of the FATF.
And to end on a positive note, I wanted to assure you that the European Union has been a long-standing supporter of the Mongolian employment sector. Despite the challenges the COVID-19 crisis is posing to economies globally, the European Union will continue to support Mongolia.
Just last week we signed with the Minister of Finance the Financing Agreement for the Direct Budget Support Programme. The EU granted Mongolia over 50 million euros to support the employment. 43 million euros will be direct transfer to state budget and 7.8 million euros will be for a technical assistance project.
The Secim 2 UNIDO and FAO projects will continue its good lessons learnt in this four year Technical Assistance project to be delivered together by the United Nations agencies. The objective of this technical assistance is to continue our support to the Mongolian SMEs and businesses in creating more sustainable jobs by focusing on youth employment and TVET capacity building for youth.
I wish you great success upon the launch of the training centre!