Ulaan Uul, Mongolia – While Mongolia has experienced drastic changes, driven by the fast economic growth and the mining boom, one third of its people remain on the steppe, continuing their lifestyle as nomadic herders.
They often live far from settlements, making it challenging and costly to provide basic services, infrastructure and communications systems to them. Their livelihoods are dependent on access to a fragile eco-system which is subject to degradation of over-grazed or mismanaged pastures, and highly vulnerable to severe climate like the harsh, cold winters known as dzud in Mongolian.
In 2001, following two years of particularly harsh dzud which killed almost one third of the country’s livestock, the Government of Mongolia and the World Bank began to work together to address these challenges and to increase the flow of public and private investment to herders’ communities in rural areas.
A Three-phase Program
The three-phase “Sustainable Livelihoods Program” (SLP) was launched in 2002.
The first phase, from 2002-2007, demonstrated new approaches to rural service delivery and community participation in decision making by establishing community development funds that helped communities to identify investments to address pastoral risk and improve their livelihoods.
In the second phase, from 2007-2013, an expanded program led to community development fund financing for more than 6,000 sub-projects, mostly for investments in education, health, pasture management and micro-finance to support emergence of local entrepreneurs. Most importantly, SLP2 led to the institutionalization of the decentralization process through the enactment of the Integrated Budget Law, paving the way for financial resources flow to local government.
SLP3 is designed to support continued implementation of the Integrated Budget Law, government decentralization policy, and other reforms. It will build capacity for the local governments to manage Local Development Funds, which will finance investments in rural infrastructure and services at the local level.
The project also will bolster the Soum Program, which offers incentives to local government entities that adopt participatory processes to reflect local needs and priorities in their planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.