European Union External Action

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 2 June 2021

02/06/2021 - 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 2 June, total number of confirmed cases reached 60 372, the total number of recovered patients was 51 448 and total number of COVID-19 related deaths was 300. Moh (In MNG). COVID-19 interactive dashboard is available in Mongolian and English.

Vaccination: As of 2 June, 1,859,509 people have received the first dose of a vaccine and 1,323,266 people received the second dose. Ikon In MNG)

On 26 May, within the framework of COVAX, Mongolia received 100,620 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Mongolia approved SPUTNIK Light vaccine. Ikon (In MNG)

The government is to buy 2.5 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Ikon (In MNG)

Mongolia officially opened its borders starting from June 1. The government is working to issue COVID-19 vaccination certificate for those travelling abroad. Montsame

In June a total of 20 special flights are planned to fly to South Korea, Japan, Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Russia and Kazakhstan. Montsame (In MNG)

Mongolia has more COVID-19 cases per million population than the United States and India: As of 29 May, the  COVID-19 infection per million population was 180.89 in Mongolia. Ikon (In MNG)

EU - Mongolia 

European Classical Music Online Concert “Together as one” was held on 28 May: The concert presented compositions by composers from the following Member States of the European Union: Belgium, Czechia, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Sweden. You can watch the concert on our official Youtube channel. EU Delegation Mongolia

Online forum discusses challenges faced by Mongolian civil society in child protection: The online event discussed the further improvements of current issues, lessons learned and experiences of CSO’s in relation with the EU’s CSO’s Thematic programme 2021-2027. Moreover, the CSOs together identified and developed action plan for further development areas in school dropouts, children in welfare centers and with disability, and children living in rural areas. Montsame

Sixth meeting of National Trade Facilitation Committee held responsible to ensure Mongolia’s compliance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the inter-sector coordination. The attendants were provided briefings on the progress and outcomes of the EU-funded project ‘Trade Related Assistance for Mongolia (TRAM). Montsame

Waste management organized for the SOAP project brigade leaders: Within the project, capacity building trainings have been organized for the brigades operating in the insulation market created by the project. According to the recent study, it has shown that construction waste accounts for 28% of Ulaanbaatar's total waste. It is hoped for the SOAP project's specialized brigades to obtain information on how to minimize waste during the insulation work, and how to sort, reuse and recycle the waste generated, and incorporate it into future operations. Geres

‘Empowering assistant herders through human rights training and herders' self-help groups’ project underway: With the support, the herders are expected to become even a little more cognizant of their rights and more self-confident, and change their attitude towards life and work, thus knowing where and who to turn to if their rights are violated and the basics of how to sign a contract with an employer. The project is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia (NHRCM). Montsame

Germany provides 462,000 medical face masks worth USD 145 068 via the WHO Representative’s Office in Mongolia under a cooperation agreement between the German Federal Ministry of Health and WHO. Ambassador Joern Rosenberg said that Germany has provided overall assistance of EUR 2.7 million for Mongolia’s response against COVID-19. Montsame

Deputy Foreign Minister receives Polish Ambassador: Deputy Minister B. Munkhjin noted that the reopening of the Polish Embassy in Ulaanbaatar is of great significance to strengthen the relations and cooperation between the two countries. Montsame

Mongolia and Hungary to partner in biotechnology research: Ambassador of Hungary to Mongolia Dr. Borbala Obrusánszky visited the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS) to discuss partnership in the science sector. The Ambassador said, “Alongside this large-scale research, we are interested in cooperating in water management as well as advanced research in biotechnology.” Montsame

Cultural cooperation to intensify between Mongolia and Belgium: In the framework of the 50th  anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Belgium, the parties discussed organizing mutual cultural events, exchange of students and young artists with a focus to link financial support and businesses in cultural events. Montsame

Announcement: The annual UN Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific forum is taking place online on 1-4 June. Click here for more info.

 

Announcement: Deadline extension for Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters. The new date is 17 June 17:00 CET. Click here for more info.

 

Presidential Elections

Presidential candidates approved, election campaign period kicks off. On 24 May, the GEC handed over the candidacy cards to the approved presidential candidates, who are Khurelsukh Ukhnaa from the ruling Mongolian People Party, Erdene Sodnomzundui from the Democratic Party and Enkhbat Dangaasuren from The Right Person Electorate Coalition. In line with the law on presidential election, the election campaigning will take place for 15 days and during this period, the candidates have the opportunity to meet with voters and political parties and their candidates running for the presidential election will undertake eight types of permitted campaign activities, including distribution of promotional materials to voters, political advertising on radios, TVs and online, outdoor billboard advertisements and operating campaign offices. Montsame

39.8% of Mongolian citizen residing in foreign countries have cast their ballots. Voting for the 2021 Presidential Election of Mongolia is taking place on 30-31 May from 07:00 to 22:00 local time. Of the 7,394 registered voters, 39.8% or 2,082 voters have cast their ballots. Montsame

State Secretary of Foreign Ministry meets int’l observers in the presidential election: The State Secretary met with Lolita Cigane, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Special Election Assessment Mission (SEAM) who arrived in Ulaanbaatar to observe the upcoming Presidential election on 9 June. The OSCE SEAM includes election observers from Latvia, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Poland. Montsame

Commissioners put through the test of ballot-counting machine. The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia and the General Election Commission are cooperating for the event of 2021 Presidential Election of Mongolia. The GEC briefed on the process of ensuring the encryption of the ballot-counting machine when delivering them to the local areas as well as the preparations for polling abroad. Montsame

Political and Internal Developments    

Sovereign wealth fund to play a key role to diversify economy and increase employment. Chairman of the State Great Hural G.Zandanshatar emphasized, “The Constitutional amendment enables the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund and distribution of the benefits from natural resources to all citizens in an inclusive manner. It will become an actual work through the implementation of Law on Sovereign Wealth Fund”. Montsame

Speaker of Parliament announces the removal of negative credit scores for 71,000 individuals and businesses registered with the Bank of Mongolia will be erased. It was decided that a Trade and Industry Council will be established under the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, which will create an opportunity for businesses engaged in trade and industry to unite and submit their proposals to Parliament and Cabinet. Ikon (In MNG)

Independent Authority Against Corruption: Complaints regarding local government corruption increasing: The majority of corruption complaints filed to the IAAC are related to local governments. Most of the corruption activity information is regarding the Local Governor’s Office, with the most common being related to human resources, budget spending, tenders, procurement, civil service activities, and licensing. In April 2021, the IAAC received a total of 183 complaints from citizens. Montsame

The Supreme Court rules on sentencing for S. Bayartsogt. The Supreme Court sentenced S. Bayartsogt to four years and eight months in prison, with a three-year ban on serving in public office. S. Bayartsogt was also ordered to pay 1.3 million USD in restitution to the state. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Foreign Policy

Minister of Foreign Affairs B.Battsetseg begins her working visit to Russia and will hold talks with her Russian counterpart S.V. Lavrov. She will participate in events organised on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia and take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Montsame 

Official talks held between Foreign Ministers of Mongolia and Russia: The sides expressed their satisfaction with the progress made in the studies being carried out for the construction project for a gas pipeline supplying natural gas from Russia across Mongolia to China It was decided to enhance the operations of ‘Ulaanbaatar Railway’ Mongolian-Russian Joint Stock Company and continue to cooperate in making necessary investments for renewing railroads and trains. Montsame

Intergovernmental transport agreement implementation committee convenes:The trilateral committee in charge of implementing the Intergovernmental Agreement on International Road Transport along the Asian Highway Network, which was established within the program on establishment of Mongolia-China-Russia Economic Corridor. The sides agreed to take necessary actions to ease the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resume international transport. Montsame

The Asian Development Bank approved a loan package of USD 19 million for Mongolia to purchase safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The project is part of ADB’s USD 9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility. ADB

Mongolia observes the International Day of the UN Peacekeepers on 28-29 May. Mongolia sent over 18,000 troops to UN peacekeeping operations. There are 900 Mongolian peacekeepers, in Abyei, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, the Western Sahara and Yemen under the UN mandate to support and assist in creating a safe and secure environment in the conflict zones and protect civilians from violence.  Montsame

Workshop on Integrated Planning of Infrastructure Corridors for Mongolia organized. The key objective of the workshop was to present the knowledge products and web-based tools, developed by UN ESCAP, and build new skills of the policymakers and other stakeholders in using the methodology and tools for efficient expansion of seamless trans-boundary infrastructure. Montsame

Deputy Foreign Minister receives Ambassadors: On May 25, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs B. Munkhjin received Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia Catherine Ivkoff, Ambassador of the United States Michael S. Klecheski, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Jorn Rosenberg and Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Philip Malone to exchange views on the issues of mutual interest. Montsame

MPs participate in IPU Governing Council meeting: At the meeting, the results of the elections to fill the vacancies of the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians and the Committee on Middle East issues were officially presented. The Governing Council was also briefed on the 2020 financial report and the IPU membership issues. Chairman G.Zandanshatar delivered greeting at the opening of the 142nd Assembly of the IPU. Montsame

Parliament Speaker meets UNICEF Representative and People in Need Country Director: During the meeting, the parties discussed and exchanged views on Mongolian culture, education and children's health. Montsame

New World Bank Country Partnership Framework to Focus on Sustainable, Resilient Recovery in Mongolia: A new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mongolia was discussed today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors. The strategy, which covers the period of FY2021-2025, aims to support Mongolia in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis in the short term, while working towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient recovery into the future, with a strong focus on job creation and climate resilience. World Bank

Economy

Financial Regulatory Commission gives notice on implementation of Anti Money Laundering Law: The Financial Regulatory Commission (FRC) conducts risk-based supervision on the fulfilment of individuals’ responsibilities for reporting. The objectives are to, evaluate and analyse the reporting entity's risks, update the risk vulnerability assessment, and assess the sector's overall level. There are some weaknesses, such as, respondents’ failure to complete the questionnaire on time, provision of incomplete information (or failure to answer the questionnaire at all), and failure to provide appropriate information. Montsame

Oyu Tolgoi announces performance results for 2021 first quarter: Mined copper production from the open pit was 29% higher than the same quarter of 2020 with the anticipated move to higher grade from the open pit, leading to higher head grade and copper recovery. In the first quarter, pit phasing delivered higher gold production (+457%) compared to the same period in 2020. Access to higher copper and gold grades is expected to continue throughout 2021. Montsame

25.7% of state revenue generated by the mining sector in 2020. In 2017-2019, revenues from the mining sector in the form of taxes and fees have been increasing steadily however, according to the preliminary results of 2020, the total budget revenue reached EUR 3 billion, decreasing by 12.6% compared to the same period of the previous year. Of this, 25.7% came from the mining sector. Bloomberg

Total sales in the domestic trade sector reached EUR 1.58 billion in the first quarter of 2021, increasing by 18.9 percent compared to Q1 2020. Bloomberg

Deputy Prime Minister works to accelerate the development of the Zamiin-Uud free-trade zone: According to the plan, 59 investors have been selected including businesses engaged in tourism, production, trade and services, warehousing and logistics, and gas stations. Ikon (In MNG)

Fitch Affirms Mongolia at 'B', outlook 'stable': Mongolia's ratings were supported by governance and per capita income at a relatively high 'B' range among peers, as well as a favorable medium-term growth outlook. The ratings are constrained by Mongolia's narrow economic base, vulnerability to external shocks, and recurring bouts of political volatility. Fitch Ratings

New legislation in the banking sector: Under the revised legislation, banks will charge only a one-time payment for their services instead of various fees. The number of bank fees will be controlled by the Bank of Mongolia and the Financial Regulatory Commission. News

The Ulaanbaatar Customs Department reported that processing at the border has returned to normal. Due to the strict lockdown across the country, freight owned by individuals and enterprises had been backlogged at customs checkpoints. News

Commentary

Mongolia’s Messy Presidential Election: In recent years, Mongolia’s high politics, corruption, and bribery cases have dampened many people’s trust in the government and the law enforcement. We are talking about a two-party dominated political system that has been scratching each other’s back since 1990. Between 2014 and 2016, Mongolia experienced large numbers of social mobilization both at home and abroad, protesting against poor air quality, mining and offshore accounts that involved high-level government officials — some are still in office. The emergence of a third-party option, such as the presidential candidate Enkhbat Davaasuren is welcome amongst the youth. There has been significant social media support for Enkhbat, especially among Mongolians abroad and Mongolian youths in Mongolia. Enkhbat is favored mainly because the people do not want cronies from the MPP and DP, especially not after Khurelsukh resigned during a tough time for his own personal political gain. The DP candidate, Erdene Sodnomzundui, is running under the slogan of “Mongolia without dictatorship,” clearly fearing one-party dominance in Mongolia if he or Enkhbat loses the June 9th presidential election. The Diplomat

“First 100 Days In Office” from DP Program on Instagram: The proposals for candidate Erdene’s “first one hundred days in office” are draft laws. They include some that point to deficiencies in Mongolian democracy that often escape all but the most critical and close-grained analyses — that Mongolian journalists have often been subjected to libel and defamation laws, most lately with the criminalization of “dissemination of false information;” that many migrants to Ulaanbaatar are unable to access public services that they are entitled to as citizens, as they have been unable to register their residence since anti-air pollution measures came into place in 2017; It bears mentioning that many of the proposals are vague, and the particularly the ones aiming to increase “citizen’s participation” would be reduplicating existing legislation that has been characterized by implementation gaps. Mongolia Focus

‘Warrior spirit’ and sheep diplomacy: how Mongolia is sprinting ahead in vaccine race: According to the latest government data, 88% of Mongolia’s adult population has had their first vaccine, while 40% have been given two. Like other smaller, not necessarily wealthy, countries that have seen success Mongolia has exploited close relationships with its neighbours, superpowers that are keen to further their own aims through ‘vaccine diplomacy’.  Though India sent a donation of roughly 150,000 AstraZeneca vaccines in late February and close to 100,000 have arrived through the Covax distribution scheme, the bulk of roughly 4.3 million doses so far have come from China and Russia.  After the pandemic had started in Wuhan, Mongolia donated 30,000 sheep as humanitarian assistance. This paved the way to receive 300,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine as a donation and further secure purchases of additional vaccines. TelegraphTelegraph

 

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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