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[ 17 May 2011]

17 MAY 2011: The Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, UNDP and their partners, launched the new ‘Strengthening Protected Area Network in Mongolia (SPAN)’ Project

During the past 20 years, the Government of Mongolia strongly expanded the network of Mongolian protected areas. As a result, the number of protected areas in Mongolia has now reached 74, covering around 16.4% of country’s total territory. While the government also has increased its budget significantly during the past years, there are more needs to add staff and other resources to conserve and manage Mongolia’s beautiful nature, especially its endangered species like the Bactrian Camel, Snow Leopard and Gobi Bear. The protected areas areas have many important functions for the Mongolian people, such as providing the drinking water supply and clean air of Ulaanbaatar, harboring the main tourist destinations of the country, and function as grazing land for many herders.

The SPAN project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP and will run for 5 years with a budget of US$ 1.8 Million. It aims to build on examples of successful protected area management in Mongolia and other countries, and integrate their lessons learnt into the management of the Protected Area Network. The project will review and assist to improve laws and policies, but also support budgeting and strengthen the human resource capacity of Mongolia’s protected areas. Two target sites were chosen to demonstrated good practices of protected area management and financing; “Orkhon valley” National Park in Kharkhorin soum, Uvurkhangai province and “Ikh Nart” nature reserve in Dalanjargalan soum, Dornogobi province. The project focuses in particular on financing aspects of the protected area system as studies have shown there is great, still underutilised potential, to generate much additional revenue from the protected areas.

The Inception Workshop of the SPAN project was held at Corporate Hotel in Nukht Resort on 17th May, 2011, marking the official launch of the project. The participants of the SPAN Inception Workshop included international organizations, MNET, protected area administrations, research institutions, local government representatives and NGO’s. They were welcomed with opening remarks by Mr. Bayarsaikhan.G, Parliament Member, Mr. Batsuuri.N, State Secretary of MNET/Head of Project Board and Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative for Mongolia.

In the first year of implementation the project’s activities will initiate will include the following:
- accessing and determining necessary revisions of the National Program and Law on Protected Areas
- develop an official guideline to make protected area management plans
- design new and improved financing mechanisms for the 2 target sites

For more information please contact:
Ms Oyuntuulkhuur Bandi, National Project Coordinator (oyuntulkhuur.bandi@undp.org)
Mr Onno van den Heuvel, Programme Officer for Biodiversity Conservation (onno.heuvel@undp.org)

Download SPAN Factsheet here

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