European Union External Action

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 13 September 2021

13/09/2021 - 11:10
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 13 September, the total number of confirmed cases reached 257 965, the total number of recovered patients was 265 467 and the total number of COVID-19 related deaths was 1 046. E-Mongolia (In MNG).  COVID-19 interactive dashboard is available in Mongolian and English.

Vaccination: As of 13 September 2 246 445 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 2 113 931 people received the second dose. E-Mongolia (In MNG)

Mongolia received 188 370 doses of the Pfizer vaccine donated by the United States of America These vaccine is being supplied from the Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan through the COVAX Facility. The United States has provided USD 4 million as assistance to Mongolia since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. Montsame

United States Provides 50 Ventilator Test Lungs for the Treatment of Severely Ill Patients through the United States Agency for International Development. Test lungs will be used for training medical personnel and ventilator calibration to support the Government of Mongolia’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. US Embassy

37 international flights scheduled for October: flights are being conducted to Seoul, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Almaty, Istanbul, Nur Sultan. Montsame

EU - Mongolia

Vice Chairman of the Parliament receives invitation to visit Poland: Vice Chairman of the Parliament Ayursaikhan held a meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Mongolia Krzysztof Bojko. The Ambassador handed an invitation from Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of Poland Małgorzata Gosiewska to visit Poland, saying the visit will bring an opportunity to discuss cooperation between the legislatures of the two countries, and bilateral economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation. Montsame

Mayor of Ulaanbaatar meets EBRD head in Mongolia: The exchanged views on how the parties would cooperate further within this frame as the city now has become financially and legally capable to develop independently. The EBRD is successfully implementing an ‘Ulaanbaatar Solid Waste Modernization Project’. Mr. Sumiyabazar expressed a proposal to increase the scope and number of projects and programs to be implemented in the capital city in the future. Montsame

The Cabinet approved an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of civil security signed by Mongolia and the French Republic on 30 January, 2020.  Montsame

Members of French-Mongolian friendship group visiting Mongolia: This is the first visit by foreign parliamentarians to Mongolia since the current parliament was elected in 2020. During their visit, the representatives will pay a call on Speaker of the Parliament G.Zandanshatar, and meet with women parliamentarians and Cabinet members to discuss relations and cooperation between the two countries. Montsame

Mongolian TVET sector professionals attend virtual international conference: A ‘Digitalization and TVET’ conference was organized to discuss the requirements and approaches for competence development of TVET personnel in international and development cooperation context. The conference was organized by the GIZ TVET Academy jointly with UNEVOC Centre Magdeburg, ADB Education Group, Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training, and ILO. Montsame

SOAP project brigades half-yearly meeting organized: The results of the project's semi-annual activities and sales were presented, and the brigades and energy auditors who overachieved the project results were awarded. Co-financed by the Switch Asia programme under the European Union, with additional support from Abbe Pierre Foundation, Czech Development Agency and the French Development Agency; the Switch Off Air Pollution project is being implemented by Geres Mongolia, in collaboration with Building Energy Efficiency Center of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, Mongolian National Construction Association and People in Need INGO during the 2018-2021 period. Montsame

Announcement: The EU GCCA+ Youth Awards aim to empower and to honour five young storytellers from countries that are vulnerable to climate change impacts. The deadline for registration and submission is the 22nd of September 2021.

 

Click here for more info.

Click here to register.

Political and Internal Developments    

Protection of personal data bill sub-working group meets: The Government of Mongolia submitted a bill on the protection of personal data to the Parliament of Mongolia on 19 May 2021, and a meeting of the sub-working group reviewing the proposed legislation was held on 7 September 2021. The bill is available on www.parliament.mn and feedback can be submitted to the working group. News (In MNG)

Mineral license selection procedures will be digital: Prime Minister set a goal to bring the corruption perception index to double digits within two years. During a meeting with the National Committee on Digital Transition, Bureaucracy, and Corruption-free Public Services, he stated, “Most of the complaints and suggestions are about bureaucracy and the selection of mineral licenses." The Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry reported that the ministry is working on updating the mineral license selection procedure to make it digital. The current procedure was approved in 2018. Bloomberg (In MNG)

MPs meet to discuss a letter from Rio Tinto to the Prime Minister: The committee discussed a letter from Oyu Tolgoi project investor Rio Tinto to Prime Minister and the selection of a legal advisor and a financial advisor. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Mongolia’s top officials pay respect to the Monument for the Politically Repressed on 10 September, on the Day of Tribute to the Memory of the Victims of the Political Repression. President of Mongolia U.Khurelsukh, Speaker of the Parliament G.Zandanshatar and Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene paid respects and laid wreaths to the Monument for the Politically Repressed. Montsame

Municipal offices to be relocated in Yarmag before 31 December: The Head of Cabinet Secretariat of Government Ts.Nyamdorj introduced about the construction progress of ‘Central Administrative Complex of the Capital City’ in Yarmag, 4th khoroo of Khan-Uul district. In this regard, Governor of the capital city and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar D. Sumiyabazar was assigned to take relevant measures to complete construction of the complex and relocate municipal offices. The relocation of the city administration to Yarmag is considered as a major factor in reducing traffic congestion. Montsame

Foreign Policy

Influenza vaccines now available for children: The Government of Mongolia has purchased 360 000 doses of influenza vaccine from South Korea through the United Nations Children’s Fund, which have been handed over to the National Centre for Communicable Diseases. Distribution of the influenza vaccines will be prioritized for children under the age of 11, who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. Zasag (In MNG)

ADB introduces new strategy to help Mongolia recover from COVID-19 2021-2024: The new strategy lays a resilient foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth. In four years, the ADB's operations in Mongolia will focus on three strategic priorities: inclusive social development and economic opportunity; climate-resilient infrastructure; and sustainable, green, and climate-conscious development. Xinhua ADB

Heads of Mongolia-China intergovernmental commission meet virtually: Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia and Chinese Minister of Commerce participated in the meeting, and exchanged views on the progress of the implementation of the Protocol for the 16th meeting of the intergovernmental commission as well as timely issues. Noting that bilateral trade turnover has increased, the ministers agreed to actively cooperate to increase trade turnover to USD 10 billion. Chinese Minister of Commerce said that China is willing to buy more mineral, agriculture products from Mongolia. (Reuters) In addition, he will pay attention to resolve cargo related issues at Tianjin Port, increase the number of trains going between Zamiin-Uud and Erlian stations, and restore the export of non-mining products crossing through the Zamiin-Uud border checkpoint. Montsame

President Khurelsukh held high-level online meeting with his South Korean counterpart on 10 September. This is the first meeting between the Presidents of the two countries in four years. The Presidents held discussion on elevating the comprehensive partnership between the two countries to strategic partnership and review the current state of political, economic, trade, investment, cultural, educational and humanitarian relations, and identify future directions of relations and cooperation. The sides also agreed to continue to work closely together in the international and regional arenas, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Northeast Asian region, reaffirming their mutual support for the ‘Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Security in Northeast Asia’. Montsame Montsame

Speaker G.Zandanshatar attends panel discussion ‘Parliaments’ openness, transparency and accessibility versus security: How to strike a balance?’ as part of the 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament  held in Vienna, Austria. Speaker G.Zandanshatar said that with great attention to the continuity of parliamentary activity even during the strict quarantine, the Parliament of Mongolia used a special platform to ensure public participation in the legislative process and implemented ‘e-parliament’ reform. Montsame

Cooperation mechanism to be established between Mongolian and Russian parliaments: Speaker of Parliament G.Zandanshatar held a meeting with Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Konstantin Kosachev in Vienna, Austria. During the meeting, the sides expressed satisfaction in the development of bilateral relations and cooperation on the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. They also exchanged views on other matters relating to bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and regional and international security. Montsame

Speaker of Parliament meets Speaker of India’s Lok Sabha in Vienna to discuss relations and cooperation between the two countries. Underscoring that India is Mongolia’s strategic partner and spiritual neighbor, Speaker G.Zandanshatar stressed the importance of active cooperation between the legislatures of the two countries in expanding bilateral friendly relations in economic, educational, cultural, and other areas. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla undertook to provide focus and support so that joint projects are effectively and promptly implemented. Montsame

Meeting held between Parliament Speakers of Mongolia and Republic of Korea in Vienna, Austria. The sides noted that the high-level reciprocal visits and dialogues are important in expanding bilateral relations and reaffirmed their commitment to support and intensify the ‘Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health' and the ‘Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on the Northeast Asian Security’. Montsame

Speaker of Parliament addresses at interactive general debate “The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic challenges multilateralism’s ability to deliver for the people” organized as part of the “5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament” in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Zandanshatar noted that the COVAX Facility is greatly contributing to the development, production and equal access to COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines, which is a clear evidence of the effectiveness of multilateral cooperation. “As the difficulties caused by the pandemic persist, the countries will become unable to overcome these challenges alone, therefore it is necessary to co-work closely to find a common solution through multilateral mechanism.” Montsame

Mongolia’s Permanent Representative delivers statement at the second regular session of UNICEF: Mongolia is working as an elected member to the Executive Board of the UNICEF for the 2019-2021 term. Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations Enkhbold, delivered a statement during the online Second Regular Session meeting of the 2021 UNICEF Executive Board. Permanent Representative briefed on the current policies, activities, successes and challenges of the Government of Mongolia towards the protection of children’s rights, youth support and increasing employment issues. Noting that the UNICEF’s new Strategic Plan (2022-2025) addresses imminent issues such as the children and youth health, education, economic capacity, security and vulnerability to the climate change specified within the Sustainable Development Goals. Montsame

"Shared Destiny-2021" peacekeeping drill underway in Henan, China: It is the first time the Chinese military has organized such a multi-national live drill on peacekeeping, with the participation of troops from countries including China, Mongolia, Pakistan and Thailand. It's organized for the purpose of responding to the UN's "Action for Peacekeeping" initiative, promoting practical cooperation and making joint efforts to enhance the peacekeeping standby forces' capability of carrying out tasks. News CN

Economy

Government of Mongolia’s external debt reached USD 8.44 billion in Q2 2021: The Government of Mongolia refinanced a portion of the Chinggis and Gerege bonds due in December 2022 and 2023, respectively, and issued the one billion USD Century bond. The Ministry of Finance announced that it will be replacing high-yield bonds with low-yield bonds to postpone repayment. The Century bonds will be repaid in two instalments, in 2027 and 2031. By the end of 2020, the share of government debt in GDP was 62.3%, which the government plans to lower to 44.1% this year and to 39.1% in 2022. Bloomberg (In MNG)

The Bank of Mongolia purchased 1.9 tons of precious metals in August 2021: bringing purchases to a total of 12.9 tons of precious metals in 2021. The purchase quantity declined by 1.8 tons compared to the same period in 2020. The central bank’s average purchase price for one gram of gold in August 2021 was MNT 163 323.50 (EUR 48.5). News (In MNG)

Mongolian Mining Corporation reported on coal production and exports in the first half of 2021: It mined 3.2 million tons of coal and exported 600 000 tons of enriched coal in the first half of 2021. Compared to the same period in 2019, coal mining decreased by 20% and exports decreased by 68% due to the global pandemic. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Container terminal built at Gashuunsukhait Port: Short-term coal transportation between the two countries is expected to increase with the commissioning of the terminal, as exports are projected to increase by 10 million tons per year. The Century News /page 2/ (In MNG)

Mongolia rated complaint on 37 recommendations of Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering: Mongolia has taken an active role in implementing a risk-based approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and that progress has been made in compliance with the FATF recommendations. Bloomberg (In MNG)

International trade turnover reached USD 10.1 billion: The General Customs Administration reported that trade turnover reached USD 10.1 billion in the first eight months of 2021, with net profit of USD 1.1 billion increasing by 27.6% year-on-year. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Commentary

The Mongolian Armed Force’s Contribution to Afghanistan: Mongolia has supported both international and bilateral efforts to stabilize and develop Afghanistan. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan marked the end of one of the longest wars in modern history. Mongolia,is one of the countries with a long history with Afghanistan and has contributed to stabilizing the war-torn country. Mongolia has continued to support both international and bilateral efforts to stabilize and develop Afghanistan.The Mongolian Armed Forces, as peacekeepers, played a multidisciplinary role in safeguarding and protecting both Afghan civilians and international forces. “The Mongolian Armed Forces in Afghanistan made a difference in range of areas”. Mongolian troops “not only helped to train the Afghan National Army but were also involved in implementing the strengthening of its army capabilities. Although Mongolian forces small in numbers are recognized and respected by the international community and the Afghanistan forces.” Moreover, Afghanistan is home to one million Hazara Mongols – descendants of Chinggis Khan and his forces. After the withdrawal of U.S. and international forces, activists have been warning about the dangers facing Hazara Mongols. Previously the Mongolian government has received Hazara Mongols as international students on scholarship. Given Afghanistan’s new domestic challenges, the two countries ought to focus on historical connections, sharing intellectual and scholarly knowledge, and learn from each other on overcoming of the difficulties of their landlocked status. As the U.S. and international forces are now leaving Afghanistan’s future in the hands of the Taliban, however, Mongolia’s contribution to and exchange with Afghanistan may be limited in the future. The Diplomat

The World's Most Famous Private Detective Makes No Apologies: The case that fascinates him most these days involves Mongolia, where officials had been accused of siphoning USD 250 million into offshore assets. The former country’s President, elected in 2017 on a promise to fight corruption, had asked Kroll the following year to find the money and bring it back. Along the way, the detective and his associates could expect to keep 30% of the total they recovered. It was no charity case, even if Kroll had to take it on spec. But he says he took the assignment not just for the money, but rather to prove his point about the industry. “Could the anticorruption agency in Mongolia do this on their own? They can’t,” he said. Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have the know-how and influence to seize illicit wealth from offshore banks. But smaller nations like Mongolia, Kroll argues, can only achieve that with help from private investigators. “We’ve been doing this a long time. It’s a level of expertise they just don’t have.” When we first spoke last February, the Mongolia case was taking up the bulk of Kroll’s time. Kroll’s statement describes a system of fronts and proxies that Mongolian officials allegedly used to hide “ill-gotten gains among a web of onshore and offshore companies.” The document links this network to the country’s former Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, whose party holds the majority in parliament. Batbold denied the allegations, and said the assets in question do not belong to him. To counter the claims, he hired one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, Gibson, Dunn, which set out to undermine Kroll’s investigation by attacking his credibility. They sent a list of scandals Kroll has been involved in, the Weinstein affair was at the top of the list. Kroll brushed off the list as a smokescreen, irrelevant to the substance of the case. “Batbold is trying to dirty me up, so he points to Weinstein,” said Kroll. Kroll’s contacts in the U.S. media had mostly ignored the Mongolia story, despite his best efforts to argue that the case had deep geopolitical significance. Some of the media accounts that emerged focused not on the corruption allegations but rather on the American sleuth investigating them. Kroll attributed the lack of media interest to Mongolia’s obscurity. He did not dwell on the role that his own reputation could have played. Time

Tapan Mishra: We want to put more emphasis on reducing poverty and inequality in Mongolia: Mongolian Economy magazine spoke with UN Resident Coordinator Tapan Mishra about ongoing UN projects, UN’s COVID-19 related responses and upcoming 60th anniversary of Mongolia’s accession to the UN. On behalf of the UN, I would like to express my gratitude to Mongolian Economy magazine for reaching us on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Mongolia’s accession to the UN. I’ve been working in Mongolia as UN Resident Coordinator since September 2019. Following the school closures, classes have been broadcasted on the national TV channels. However, according to a recent study supported by the UNICEF, five percent of the children and parents participated in the survey had no TV or electronic device to watch the lessons. Thus, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNESCO closely worked with the Ministry of Education and Sciences on an e-learning platform to enable better access to education (econtent.edu.mn). The UN agencies helped to create high-quality e-learning contents and make remote learning accessible to children with disabilities. The UN provided support to Mongolia in health, humanitarian and socio-economic responses. The establishment of Integrated Coordination Group was initiated to coordinate COVID-19 related efforts of multiple stakeholders across humanitarian, health and socio-economic dimensions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Mongolia. Under the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 we mobilized USD 13.2 million. The framework consists of five pillars: (i) health, (ii) protecting people, (iii) economic response and recovery, (iv) macroeconomic response and multilateral collaboration, and (v) social cohesion and community resilience. In total, the UN mobilized USD 27.4 million for COVID-19 response in Mongolia. With the UNSDCF 2023-2027, we will create the roadmap for inclusive and sustainable development. We want to focus on (i) reducing poverty, inequality, and child mortality, (ii) improving economic productivity, health and well-being of Mongolians, and disaster resilience, (iii) increasing the investment in climate change, renewable energy and exports of value added products and services, (iv) supporting the most vulnerable including elderly, children, women and disabled (v) creating enhanced livelihood opportunities for herders and people in rural areas. More importantly, we want to ensure that human rights, which are the foundation as well as front and center for development of Mongolia so we could create equitable opportunities for growth and development for all Mongolians leaving no one behind. Mongolian Economy

China eyes more coal imports from Mongolia as supply shortage bites: Beijing has stepped up efforts to source more coal from neighbouring Mongolia amid an ongoing supply shortage, raising more questions about how long a ban on Australian coal can last. China is suffering from a spike in coal prices amid declining supplies, which has also prompted authorities to ban an influential local trading platform from updating coal prices and market news that could fuel speculation. In a virtual meeting with Mongolian deputy prime minister Amarsaikhan Chinese commerce minister Wang broached the topic of buying more mineral and agricultural products from Mongolia. Chinese cash funds African coal plants despite environmental concerns. Since the ban on Australian coal last October Mongolia has replaced Australia to become China’s largest source of imported coking coal since the second half of last year, but transport between the two countries has been frequently disrupted by COVID-19 outbreaks. Ganqimaodu customs in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region had suspended coal imports from Mongolia for two weeks due to pandemic prevention. The port carries about half of China’s coking coal shipments from Mongolia. Soon after the border closure, prices of Chinese coking coal, as well as coke and thermal coal futures, surged to record daily highs, although the official position of the customs agency was that clearance of coal was “normal”.  At the meeting with Vice Prime Minister and Minister Wang said “[China] hopes that both sides work together to ensure smooth trade flow of goods at border ports on the basis of effective pandemic prevention”. The two parties agreed to increase Covid-19 control measures and to accelerate the implementation of China’s soft loan and grant projects. China’s monthly imports of coal fell by 7% to 28.05 million tonnes in August. China does not produce enough coal to meet its demand. SCMP

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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