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FCG supporting Mongolia to improve management of boreal forests

The Government of Mongolia is proceeding in its path to reform its forest governance. The first step in sector restructuring was the establishment of Forest Agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, taking effect this Autumn.  FCG has been providing Technical Assistance in the Sector Reform process since 2021.

Mongolia has 14 million hectares of boreal forests that are not only important for preserving ecosystems and storing carbon, but also have a big potential to contribute to local economy through sustainable management. Government of Mongolia’s focus is on forest protection and utilization for non-timber forest products; over 80% of forests have a protection status. In 2021 the Government initiated the One Billion Tree national program to scale up forestation and address desertification.

Currently forest management is hampered by shortage of financial and human resources, as well as lack of long-term perspective to build up the forest resource. Organisation of tree planting and safeguarding newly established plantations also needs strong forest organization. When starting the sector reform process, the Government was particularly seeking for experts in Boreal forestry to advice them. Finland is among the leaders in forestry know-how when it comes to management of boreal forest resources, and the Technical Assistance is also utilizing Finnish forest management expertise. 

Forestry experts visitin a thinning demonstration site in Khentii Aimag.

FCG Project Manager, Sini Pellinen: “We started the sector reform work with a team of 4 international and 5 national experts amidst the COVID-19 restrictions in August 2021. Soon after the start of the project, our client, Ministry of Tourism and Environment, expressed they wished us to also advice in legislative development, so we added a legal expert in our team. This Autumn we were asked to support the Ministry’s Technical Working Group for revising the Forest Law. I think this demonstrates the team is doing good work; I’m very glad to have a chance to work on this assignment.”

The team is tasked to draft a strategy for sector reform, including proposal for improved organization set-up and financing strategy. The work started with extensive data collection to prepare the background analysis, involving more than 250 stakeholder representatives in Ulaan Baatar and Forest districts.

TA Team Leader & Forest Economist, Tuomo Kotimäki, has been working side by side with the Mongolian colleagues and ministry counterparts in Ulaan Baatar for the past two months to collect feedback on the proposals: “It has been hectic two months including visits to country side to test our proposals with the people doing day-to-day work in forests, as well as workshops with the Ministry representatives and other stakeholders. Last week we presented the draft Sustainable Forest Management Roadmap for an audience of over 60 people. It’s very nice to work and discuss with enthusiastic forest professionals. Next week will be my last week in Mongolia for the time being, and we are presenting the draft Sector Reform Strategy hopefully to similar audience.”

The Technical Assistance is led by FCG Finnish Consulting Group and implemented in cooperation with Mongolian Forest Research Association. The assignment is funded by the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific and managed by Asian Development Bank.