Graduating Country:

Mongolia’s National Green Development Policy set the path for far-reaching green economy reforms.


Over the past 25 years, Mongolia has transformed into a vibrant democracy. With vast agricultural and mineral resources and an increasingly educated population, the country is quickly moving towards its long-term development goals. At the same time, it faces significant environmental threats, including land degradation, air and water pollution and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Confronted with these challenges, the country has shown firm commitment to alternative growth. PAGE work in Mongolia commenced in 2013, with its first action to support conception of the National Green Development Policy (NGDP). Focused on environmental sustainability and socially inclusive development, this Policy sets clear goals to support the country’s green economy transition.

Since then, PAGE work has culminated in several achievements including: integration of IGE goals and targets into national economic and development planning; sectoral and thematic reforms in green buildings and construction, green finance, waste management and sustainable procurement; and strengthened institutional capacity of government institutions, the media, universities, research institutes and businesses. In turn, this has contributed towards achievement of several SDGs, notably SDGs 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 17.

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PAGE milestones

  • PAGE activities in Mongolia in 2013

    • Mongolia becomes the first country to join PAGE
  • PAGE activities in Mongolia in 2014

    • National Green Development Policy (NGDP) adopted by Parliament
    • Technical Committee established with inter-ministerial representation
  • PAGE activities in Mongolia in 2016

  • PAGE activities in Mongolia in 2017

    • List of indicators to measure progress towards the NGDP approved
    • Handbook on green school buildings certified
    • South-South exchange between Mongolia and Kyrgyz Republic to discuss green economy policy processes
  • PAGE activities in Mongolia in 2018

    • Green Economy Policy assessment report completed using T21 modelling
    • Opportunities to unlock private finance explored, including operationalisation of the Green Credit Fund and a roadmap for sustainable finance
    • Course on green economy modelling offered by the University of Finance and Economics and National University of Mongolia
    • PAGE commenced support to establish a public-private investment facility to incentivise greener cashmere value chains
    • National sustainability strategy finalised with follow-up actions to sustain PAGE results
  • PAGE activities in Mongolia in 2019

    • National Policy in the Construction Sector adopted
    • Sub-national green development programmes supported, including the Orkhon Aimag Sustainable and Green Development Policy
    • Amendment to the Law on Public Procurement and associated Action Plan adopted
    • Two workshops held to develop green entrepreneurship and project plans for nine aimags

Progress in 2019: A snapshot

Supporting sustainable construction and green buildings

The Mongolian Cabinet approved their new State Policy on Construction in February 2019, followed by a supporting Action Plan. This represents an imported step in the implementation of the National Green Development Policy (NGDP), which includes appropriate energy efficiency standards and a rating system for green buildings as a priority area.

Related to this, PAGE supported the formulation of a ‘business case’ for green buildings and is providing capacity development for stakeholders in the construction sector to further foster up-take of green design elements. PAGE has also contributed to the establishment of a multi-stakeholder Green Buildings Advisory Council. In March 2019, a green building design and planning handbook was published in Mongolian to showcase how to achieve the efficiency standards proposed in the NGDP.

Advancing sustainable public procurement

An amendment to the Law on Procurement of Goods, Works and Services with State and Local Funds was adopted by the Parliament in March 2019 and entered into force in June 2019. PAGE, together with other partners, has supported Mongolia to design this policy reform and develop a related Action Plan.

The Law introduces sustainable procurement of goods, works and services to ensure that energy use is efficient, emissions are reduced, and that procurement processes are harmless for the environment and human health. PAGE in collaboration with the EU funded SWITCH-Asia Programme is planning an exchange between government officials from Mongolia and Europe in 2020, to provide further guidance on implementation of the law.

Disseminating assessment and policy results

In 2019, PAGE further disseminated the findings of the Green Economy Assessment Report that was finalised in 2018 using T21 modelling tools. A stakeholder workshop was organized jointly with the Ministry for Environment and Tourism (MET) in December 2019 in Ulaanbaatar, bringing together representatives of nine governmental agencies and three national institutions. The workshop highlighted the policy scenarios and investment opportunities analysed in the assessment across four sectors - construction, water, energy and waste management - and provided insights into the green economy modelling methodology used and its benefits for future policymaking processes.

Fostering green entrepreneurship

PAGE further facilitated action on green entrepreneurship with a focus on youth. In partnership with the Decent Work for Youth Network, two workshops were held in 2019 aimed at developing green entrepreneurship and project action plans for nine aimags in the Western region of Mongolia. The first workshop identified priorities and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people in these regional areas. The second focused on youth green entrepreneurship and the Circular Economy, to support mainstreaming of circular economy concepts into aimag logical frameworks. Some of the project proposals designed across the two workshops have since received funding.

Building individual and institutional capacity

PAGE has been working with Mongolian universities to integrate green economy concepts and approaches into tertiary programmes and curricula. A course on sustainable finance was tested in April 2019, with results used to finalise learning materials. The textbook was distributed to higher education institutions in Mongolia, with components of the course already integrated into six existing courses.

A new introductory e-course on green economy was developed in partnership with the Ministry for Environment and Tourism (MET) as well as the Mongolian State University of Life Sciences, Otgontenger University, National University of Commerce and Business, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and the National Academy of Governance. The Mongolian version features relevant case studies from the national context and is expected to be launched in 2020.

PAGE impact: 2013-2019 and beyond

Outcome 1: National Policymaking

Mongolia has integrated IGE goals and targets into SDG-aligned national economic and development planning. When PAGE started to phase out its support in 2018, focus turned to how policy efforts could be sustained and further embedded. Examples of PAGE support include:

Setting the foundation for transformational change

With the National Green Development Policy (NGDP), Mongolia has a national framework in place that sets clear goals for green development, centred on sustainable consumption and production, sustainable ecosystem carrying capacity, increased investment in natural capital, human development, green technology, and green lifestyle and education. The complementary Action Plan sets concrete actions to achieve these targets. This work supported SDG 17, target 17.14, by enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development and SDG 8, target 8.3 by supporting development-oriented policies.

Conducting green economy modelling

Both the NGDP and Action Plan are underpinned by the results of a modelling and policy assessment carried out by the Economic Policy and Competitiveness Research Centre (EPCRC). In addition to scenario testing, this provided specific policy recommendations for four selected sectors – construction, solid waste, energy and water. This work has contributed to SDG 17, targets 17.18 and 17.19, by developing measurements of progress on sustainable development and supporting capacity-building.

Developing green development indicators

In 2015, PAGE helped to define indicators for measuring progress towards the NGDP in collaboration with the National Statistical Office (NSO) and Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The Government utilized national budgetary resources to operationalise these indicators in July 2017. This enables monitoring of implementation on a continual basis, including information on green jobs through the regular Labour Force Survey. This work was aligned to SDG 17, target 17.19, on developing measurements of progress on sustainable development.

Informing policy on sub-national level

Four aimags have adopted medium-term development programmes based on the principles from the Sustainable Development Vision and NGDP and five aimags are working on final drafts. This has supported SDG 13, target 13.2, by integrating climate change measures into policies and SDG 17, target 17.14, by enhancing policy coherence.

Outcome 2: Sectoral and Thematic Reform

PAGE has supported the implementation of sectoral and thematic reforms in line with national priorities, as documented below:

Sustainable procurement

PAGE supported the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to incorporate sustainability principles into the national public procurement framework. A status analysis of public procurement, prioritisation of goods and a market analysis were conducted. Sustainable public procurement tools and sample tendering materials were developed. The amendment to the Law on Procurement of Goods, Works and Services with State and Local Funds was adopted by the Parliament in March 2019, complemented by a supporting Action Plan that PAGE helped to develop. This work contributed to SDG 12, target 12.7, by supporting sustainable procurement of goods and services.

Sustainable finance mechanisms

PAGE supported the Mongolian banking sector to develop green and inclusive financial products and services in partnership with the UNEP Finance Initiative. In particular, it supported a study on demand for green credits and contributed to the establishment of a joint working group for creating a Mongolian Green Credit Fund (now Mongolian Green Finance Corporation – MGCF). A multi-partner agreement in support of the Fund/Corporation was signed at the 5th Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum in September 2017. In October 2017, the Government established a Green Development Fund with the aim to apply sustainability to development financing and large-scale public investment projects. Since 2019, the Green Finance Corporation has started to provide green credits through three commercial banks. PAGE is also supporting the establishment of a public-private investment facility to ensure a more market-based value chain focusing on herders and cooperatives, including the critical cashmere market. These activities are aligned to SDG 17, target 17.3, on mobilising additional financial resources, and SDG 8, target 8.10 by strengthening the capacity of domestic financial institutions.

Green buildings and construction

The goals of the National Green Development Policy (NGDP) around energy efficiency standards and a rating system for green buildings were translated into the 2019 State Policy on Construction. PAGE support has included development of a handbook on green school buildings and the design for a green school building showcasing how to achieve energy efficiency standards. Completed in 2016, the design can be applied to over 220 schools that need to be built over the next 3-4 years, with a prototype school already built. PAGE also supported the formulation of a ‘business case’ for green buildings and provided capacity-building for stakeholders in the construction sector to foster up-take of green design elements for public and private buildings. Finally, PAGE has contributed to the establishment of a multi-stakeholder Green Buildings Advisory Council. These efforts contributed to SDG 11, target 11.3, and SDG 13, targets 13.1 and 13.2, by integrating climate change measures into national policies and by enhancing sustainable urbanization. The focus on green and climate-resilient buildings supported SDG 7, target 7.2, by promoting renewable energy and SDG 12, target 12.5, through use of recycled building materials.

Waste management

Following a study on industrial waste management and the recycling industry, PAGE carried out a baseline study on waste from end of life vehicles to determine the feasibility for local SMEs to process and recycle waste together with financing solutions. This work was advanced through approval of the renewed Law of Mongolia on Waste Management in May 2017 that aims to reduce the negative impacts of waste. This work supported SDG 12, targets 12.4 and 12.5, by promoting environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes, as well as reducing waste generation.

Green trade

PAGE, together with the UN Environment Trade Hub, completed a study on trade and green economy. The report takes stock of trade-related green economy policies, analyses opportunities and barriers and provides specific insights into the meat and cashmere sectors. From the study, a policy brief was constructed to inform the development of a green trade policy. This work was aligned to SDG 17, targets 17.9. and 17.11, aimed at increasing green trade opportunities, including through South-South cooperation.

Outcome 3: Strengthening Capacity

Mongolia has strengthened institutional and individual capacities for IGE action. It has also built public awareness through media training and communication campaigns and shared its knowledge and experience via lectures, press talks and interviews. Examples include:

Building institutional capacity

PAGE has taken an institutional approach to building capacity, supporting SDG 17, target 17.16, by enhancing multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilise and share knowledge and expertise:

  • Formulating a learning strategy: The National Green Economy Learning Strategy was developed and transformed into sub-programme of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). It has also informed the Government’s Action Plan for Education for Sustainable Development and the new Higher Education Policy;
  • Collaborating with education institutions: PAGE has worked with Mongolian universities to integrate IGE into tertiary programmes and curricula, with a course of sustainable finance tested in April 2019. The textbook was distributed to other higher education institutions, with components integrated into six courses. A course on green modelling is being offered by the University of Finance and Economics and the National University of Mongolia and will be run at the Mongolian State University of Life Sciences from 2019-2020. Furthermore, a certified training on green buildings by the Construction Development Centre and Mongolian University of Science and Technology was established. Finally, a new introductory e-course on green economy has been developed in partnership with several Mongolian Universities to be launched in March 2020;
  • Capacity-building in government: PAGE has built the capacity of national government stakeholders – including the Ministry of Finance, National Statistical Office (NSO) and MET – to carry policy work forward. In addition, it has worked with aimags to strengthen capacities to develop and elaborate aimag policy documents. Training on green economy has been delivered to nearly 200 policymakers from the Aimag Governor’s office and other institutions;
  • Capacity-building of research institutes: With PAGE support, the Economic Policy and Competitiveness Research Centre (EPCRC) produced several reports on green development, including a stocktaking report, a green jobs mapping and a green economy policy assessment report. The Centre has developed the ability to run macro-economic models for assessing the impact of green investments on key parameters such as jobs, GDP growth and emissions; and
  • Capacity building of businesses: The national architecture and design company (NAP LLC) that worked on the green school buildings design is working towards becoming the first Mongolian green building architecture company. In addition, the Mongolian Marketing Consulting Group (MMCG) carried out the demand for green credits and worked on drafting the Green Economy Learning Strategy. MMCG has established the Green Business Council to promote sustainable production and environmental management among SMEs.
Building individual capacity

PAGE has carried out several capacity-building activities for individuals, in line with SDG 4, target 4.7, by ensuring all learners acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to promote sustainable development. Examples include:

  • IGE tools: In 2015, an IGE training manual was developed and used for several training events with the media and local and central government decision-makers;
  • Study tours: In December 2015, a study group comprised of government stakeholders visited Sweden and the United States to gain insights on implementing IGE policies;
  • SDGs and IGE concepts: A training event was organized in February 2016 for representatives from key ministries and the broader environmental sector on SDGs and the National Green Development Plan (NGDP);
  • Green building energy and water efficiency: A training was held in September 2016 for policymakers and professionals working in the construction sector;
  • SDGs and natural resource indicators: A workshop was held in May 2016 on SDGs and natural resource indicators for participants involved in policy development and monitoring; and
  • Material flow accounts: A workshop was held in May 2016 on material flow for policymakers, academia and researchers.
South-South collaboration

The exchange between Kyrgyz Republic and Mongolia is a leading example of South-South and Triangular cooperation recognized in September 2018 in a report highlighting best practices in South-South and Triangular cooperation throughout the entire UN system. Centred around two study visits and the yearly Green Economy Weeks, the exchange focused on a wide range of policy processes supporting a green economy transition, including development of national plans, sustainable public procurement, sustainable finance and waste management. This exchange supported SDG 17, target 17.9 around international cooperation.