Delegation of the European Union to Nicaragua

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 14 June 2021

14/06/2021 - 11:06
Mongolia – Weekly press review

This information is based on media reports found in the open sources/via subscription and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. You can subscribe or unsubscribe through the form available on our website https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mongolia_en

 

COVID-19

As of 14 June, total number of confirmed cases reached 78,347, the total number of recovered patients was 57 025 and total number of COVID-19 related deaths was 369. MoH (In MNG). COVID-19 interactive dashboard is available in Mongolian and English.

Vaccination: As of 14 June, 1,892,396 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 1,645,893 people received the second dose. Ikon (In MNG)

Russia’s Sputnik Light vaccine registered in Mongolia: The Mongolia’s Ministry of Health also registered the Sputnik V vaccine in February 2021. The pharmaceutical was approved for use within the framework of the emergency use authorization. Tass

EU - Mongolia 

Trees planted to bring awareness to ecosystem restoration in Mongolia: In observance of World Environment Day in Mongolia and to support the National Government to implement their ‘Vision-2050’ development policy to protect and increase the forest zones, People in Need INGO in cooperation with Czech Republic Embassy, and Caritas Czech Republic INGO planted trees in Bogd-Khan Mountain. Montsame

Mongolian small businesses getting ready to export to the European Union: The EBRD and EU, together with EuroChamber, are launching the ‘SME Export capacity building’ project to pave the way for Mongolian SME’s to enter the European market. The initiative will promote export diversification and expand opportunities for Mongolian small and medium-sized enterprises on the EU market. Montsame

22 students to be sent to Poland for study annually: The Program for Cooperation in Higher Education between Mongolia and Poland was renewed. Under the Program, 20 undergraduate and 2 PhD students will be sent from Mongolia to Poland for study every year over the next five years. Montsame

Foreign Minister meets Italian Ambassador: The sides had discussions on mutually accepting documentation of full vaccination, strengthening Mongolia-Italy economic relations, deepening cooperation in agriculture and processing industries, and working together on the leather and hide processing complex project. They also agreed to sign intergovernmental documents on cooperation in education, culture, science, and sports in the near future. Montsame

Ambassador of Poland visits Uvurkhangai aimag: On 11 June, Ambassador of Poland to Mongolia, Mr Krzysztof Bojko did a working visit to Uvurkhangai aimag. The aimag authorities expressed their interest in cooperating on agriculture and farming, and especially in introducing advanced technology in accelerated agriculture. During the meeting, the sides also discussed sharing experiences in the education and health sector as well as partnership between businesses. Montsame

Events

Independent Food Systems Dialogue Mongolia – Civil Society Dialogue: On 17 June, 15:00 – 17:30, we invite CSOs to share their ideas and solutions on how to transform food systems in Mongolia. The European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the “All 4 YOUth, YOUth 4 All” project are convening an independent dialogue with civil society on food systems.

Zoom link: https://fao.zoom.us/j/97276568378

EU - Mongolia 

Trees planted to bring awareness to ecosystem restoration in Mongolia: In observance of World Environment Day in Mongolia and to support the National Government to implement their ‘Vision-2050’ development policy to protect and increase the forest zones, People in Need INGO in cooperation with Czech Republic Embassy, and Caritas Czech Republic INGO planted trees in Bogd-Khan Mountain. Montsame

Mongolian small businesses getting ready to export to the European Union: The EBRD and EU, together with EuroChamber, are launching the ‘SME Export capacity building’ project to pave the way for Mongolian SME’s to enter the European market. The initiative will promote export diversification and expand opportunities for Mongolian small and medium-sized enterprises on the EU market. Montsame

22 students to be sent to Poland for study annually: The Program for Cooperation in Higher Education between Mongolia and Poland was renewed. Under the Program, 20 undergraduate and 2 PhD students will be sent from Mongolia to Poland for study every year over the next five years. Montsame

Foreign Minister meets Italian Ambassador: The sides had discussions on mutually accepting documentation of full vaccination, strengthening Mongolia-Italy economic relations, deepening cooperation in agriculture and processing industries, and working together on the leather and hide processing complex project. They also agreed to sign intergovernmental documents on cooperation in education, culture, science, and sports in the near future. Montsame

Ambassador of Poland visits Uvurkhangai aimag: On 11 June, Ambassador of Poland to Mongolia, Mr Krzysztof Bojko did a working visit to Uvurkhangai aimag. The aimag authorities expressed their interest in cooperating on agriculture and farming, and especially in introducing advanced technology in accelerated agriculture. During the meeting, the sides also discussed sharing experiences in the education and health sector as well as partnership between businesses. Montsame

Events

Independent Food Systems Dialogue Mongolia – Civil Society Dialogue: On 17 June, 15:00 – 17:30, we invite CSOs to share their ideas and solutions on how to transform food systems in Mongolia. The European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the “All 4 YOUth, YOUth 4 All” project are convening an independent dialogue with civil society on food systems.

Zoom link: https://fao.zoom.us/j/97276568378

Independent Food Systems Dialogue Mongolia – Youth Dialogue: On 16 June, 10:00 – 12:30, we invite you to share your ideas and solutions from a youth perspective on how to transform food systems in Mongolia. The European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the “All 4 YOUth, YOUth 4 All” project are convening an independent dialogue on food systems with youth.

Registration link: https://docs.google.com/.../1ar9OvsPCpEyuPOtIoq6X8NQ.../edit

You will receive the zoom link to the dialogue upon registration

Political and Internal Developments

2021 Presidential Election: results and voter turnout: U.Khurelsukh has been elected as Mongolia’s new President.  Voter turnout was reported to be at 59.24% on the national level. U.Khurelsukh from the ruling Mongolian People’s Party has been elected as President of Mongolia after winning with 68% of total votes; S.Erdene from the Democratic Party received 6% of votes and D.Enkhbat from the Right Person Electorate Coalition won 20% of the votes. News

Parliament approved the mandate of the new President and supported his inauguration and set the date on 25 June, 2021. Ikon Ikon (In MNG)

International team observed Mongolia’s presidential election: A total of 11 foreign media organizations worked during Mongolia’s presidential election on 9 June. In addition, an election observation team appointed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), composed of 11 members representing 8 countries. Montsame

 

Corruption risk assessment in public institutions of Mongolia: The results of the corruption risk assessment identified the activities of public institution, human resources, budget, finance, transparency of procurement of goods, and services funded with state and local funds, integrity, and willingness to fight the corruption of the officers as insufficient. The scope and adverse effects of the identified risks are moderate, and it is possible to reduce the risk in the short term and prevent further adverse effects. With more corruption risk and bureaucracy, the public institution is more likely to commit corruption offense, conflicts of interest. Montsame

New international airport to be put into operation on 4 July: It is currently being planned to conduct a flight in route Ulaanbaatar - Tokyo - Ulaanbaatar at 11.40 am on the opening day of the airport and on the same day preparations are underway to receive a charter flight from Frankfurt. Montsame

Foreign Policy

Minister of Labour and Social Protection attending 109th International Labour Conference: As the leader of the national delegation, the Minister will be giving remarks during the conference, expressing the stance of the Government of Mongolia. Montsame

Economy

FDI in the first four months of the year totalled USD 732.5 million: In April, foreign direct investment reached USD 137.4 million, 40% lower than in March. As a result, in the first four months of the year, the total inflow of FDI reached USD 732.5 million, increasing by USD 225.4 million year-on-year. The investment climate index in 2020 was -0.03 points, but the index was positive from 2017 to 2019, ranging from 0.15 to 0.5. The Bank of Mongolia estimates that there will be about USD 1.4 billion in direct investment this year. Most of this investment, USD 600-700 million, will go into the Oyu Tolgoi project. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Mineral products accounted for 84% of exports in the first five months of 2021: In the first five months of the year, Mongolia exported 8.6 million tons of copper, an increase of 37.2% compared to the same period last year, mineral products accounted for 84% of all exports, valued at USD 2.7 billion. All crude oil, iron ore, and copper concentrate exports were supplied to China. Exports of copper concentrate reached 491,000 tons in January-May, decreasing by 11.6% compared to the same period in 2020. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Imports totaled USD 2.6 billion in the first five months of the year: a 30.6% increase year-on-year. Road, air, and water transport vehicles and parts accounted for the largest share of imported goods at 21.5%. Mineral imports accounted for 16.8%. Among them, petroleum products dominate. Mongolia imports 100% of its petroleum products. By the end of 2020, petroleum product import fell sharply to USD 817 million, compared to USD 1.1 billion in 2019.  Bloomberg (In MNG)

Mongolia ranks 102nd  out of 141 countries in terms of competitiveness: Mongolia's World Economic Forum competitiveness index score, assessing values economic indicators, totalled 52.6 points, 0.1% points lower year-on-year. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Commentary

Coronavirus cases are surging in Mongolia, where more than half the population is fully vaccinated, prompting a new focus on the effectiveness of its main vaccine, developed by China’s Sinopharm. The wave of infections has raised questions in Mongolia over why the government relied on the Sinopharm shots instead of a vaccine proven to be more effective. A year ago, Mongolia was among the few countries in the world that boasted no local coronavirus cases, but an outbreak in November changed that. NY Times

Candidates in Mongolia’s presidential election could campaign freely, but eligibility and media rules remain excessively restrictive: Mongolia’s presidential election was well run in difficult circumstances and candidates were able to reach out freely to voters, but overly restrictive candidate eligibility and the blurred line between journalism and political advertising as well as the absence of public debate limited the range of choices and information for voters, The election campaign itself was highly regulated, and the campaign period was shortened due to recent legal changes. At the same time, observers noted an apparent inequality of resources and the involvement of public officials in the campaign that increased the advantages of the ruling party. Campaign financing was a further area of concern. Although certain improvements have been introduced to the process of submitting campaign finance reports, the overall framework for campaign financing lacks sufficient oversight and transparency, leaving voters under-informed about the sources of donations to contestants. The media landscape is diverse. However, observers noted concerns about the lack of independence of many major outlets. OSCE

Former Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh became the country's sixth democratically elected president further consolidating the power of the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) with a landslide victory. Mongolia's hybrid political system gives its elected parliament the right to appoint governments and decide policy, but the president has the power to veto legislation, and until recent constitutional changes could hire and fire judges. With the presidency often controlled by the opposition party, the division of power has created political deadlock that some believe has held back Mongolia's development. Khurelsukh's election is expected to give the MPP more control over the levers of power, though he is obliged to relinquish his party affiliation as soon as he takes office. It remains unclear what the MPP's consolidation of power will mean for Mongolia’s biggest foreign investment project, the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine run by Rio Tinto (RIO.AX), (RIO.L), which the government in Ulaanbaatar has sought to renegotiate as construction costs surge. Reuters

The fear of many Mongolians, after a presidential election: Wednesday 9 June, that appears to have cemented the control of the party that governed the country for seven decades under communism. Khurelsukh Ukhnaa declared victory overnight with a haul of more than two-thirds of the early vote count. He had capitalized on the country’s success in suppressing Covid-19 to lead the Mongolian People’s Party or MPP to a landslide parliamentary election victory as prime minister last year. Mongolia has been in constitutional turmoil for years thanks to the simmering rivalries between the MPP and Democratic Party. If the MPP seizes this moment to consolidate its power, the light of Mongolian democracy risks being snuffed out. Mongolia has so far avoided the fate of some countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, where political power has become almost synonymous with resource wealth and influence. Still, there’s no guarantee that a more entrenched political dynasty wouldn’t change that. Corruption is one area where Mongolia notably fails to outperform other emerging economies. Bloomberg

Khurelsukh Cruises to Victory in Mongolian Presidential Race: It was the biggest victory ever in Mongolia’s democratic history. The MPP took advantage of its supermajority in the Mongolian parliament to pass constitutional amendments limiting presidents to a single term – which effectively eliminated incumbent President Battulga from running. Battulga did not take the change sitting down; he even attempted to outlaw the MPP, charging it with abuses of power, with the complicity of the military. Khurelsukh’s election puts the MPP firmly in charge of Mongolia’s political agenda until the next parliamentary election in 2024. Khurelsukh’s six-year term will not be marred by ambitions for re-election, as recent constitutional changes limit him to a single term. His nomination as a presidential candidate required him to resign from the MPP and a new party leader will have to be chosen who will share in setting the strategic direction for Mongolia in the coming years. One of the main questions that Khurelsukh will face is whether he follows his predecessor Battulga in focusing almost exclusively on Russia in foreign relations, with a grudging acknowledgment of China’s looming presence to the south, or whether he re-embraces the internationalism that has characterized Mongolia’s foreign policy for most of the past 30 years. Leading up to the election, the MPP doubled-down on plans to develop “mega-projects” refining natural resources for export. The other urgent policy in need of a president’s attention will be the independence of Mongolia’s judiciary, which will be crucial to any kind of credible initiatives to counter corruption. The Diplomat

Silver lining for Rio Tinto in landslide Mongolian election. Rio Tinto can expect Mongolia to continue pushing for a better deal over the USD 6.75 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper project after a landslide presidential election result, but experts say a strong performance by a globally minded tech entrepreneur could be a sign the nation’s combative political culture is evolving. But a pushback against that culture and the traditional party duopoly was broken on Wednesday when a candidate representing a relatively new centre-left party favoured by young and foreign-educated Mongolians received almost 20% of the vote to finish as the runner-up. AFR

 

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Prepared by Sodnomsambuu Gantuya

Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia

ICC Tower, 9th floor, Jamiyan Gun Street 9

1st khoroo, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mongolia_en