ULAANBAATAR, May 15, 2008 – The Second Sustainable Livelihoods Project was launched today in Government House. The project aims to enhance livelihood security and sustainability by scaling up institutional mechanisms that reduce the vulnerability of communities throughout Mongolia.
The project is part of the 12-year Sustainable Livelihoods Program, which will be implemented over three phases. The first, pilot stage of the Program (SLP I) was implemented successfully with the financial assistance from the World Bank. The second phase of the program (SLP II) will scale-up nationwide the effective mechanisms and processes piloted in 8 aimags (provinces) under the first phase in the local communities and governments. The project will be financed by the World Bank (USD 33.0 million), European Committee (Euro 10 million), Japanese PHRD Grant (USD 3.9 million) and the Government of Mongolia (USD 1.1 million).
Mongolia's economy has grown rapidly in recent years, however the country still faces considerable social challenges. Despite encouraging trends in poverty reduction, there is considerable variation within the country. Poverty incidence in Mongolia is higher in rural areas, where almost half of the population lives. Nomadic herder households constitute the single largest group amongst the poor. Therefore the primary emphasis of the project is to address the key concerns of rural citizens by ensuring their active participation in the decision making of activities supported.
The first phase of the Sustainable Livelihoods Program has already demonstrated innovative approaches to reducing herder risk, enhancing the government’s capacity to be informed of and respond to crises caused by climatic events, building local-level assets through citizens’ engagement and contributions, and increasing access to better and more competitive loan products. Through its support of SLPII, the World Bank will assist the Government of Mongolia to institutionalize the lessons of the first phase, as well as ensuring that linkages are strengthened with the complementary activities supported by other donors.
“The project will build on the first phase which had considerable success in supporting livelihoods by providing support in rural areas for improved health and education facilities, pasture management and access to financial services.." said Andrew Goodland, World Bank task team leader of the project. He added also that “The challenge for the new project will be to scale up to the nationwide level and develop the capacity of communities and local institutions to sustain the benefits from the project in the longer term”
The activities to be financed from the Project are categorized into four components:
Component 1: Pastoral Risk Management (PRM) which aims to scale-up and replicate effective strategies to prepare for and respond to pastoral risk.
Component 2: Community Initiatives (CI) which aims at establishing, on a nationwide basis, effective, transparent and socially inclusive mechanisms that empower communities to identify and implement small public facility improvement projects.
Component 3: Microfinance Development (MD) which aims to deepen and widen access to sustainable financial services to rural citizens.
Component 4: Capacity Building and Project Management (PM) which aims to ensure quality implementation and management of all activities under components 1, 2, and 3 and compliance with all World Bank policies and procedures.
The project will be implemented by a central Sustainable Livelihoods Project Office, with sub-offices in each aimag (province) and soum (district) throughout the country. The Project will be under the overall responsibility of the Ministry of Finance and include a Project Steering Committee comprised of relevant government agencies. Duration of the project is expected to be 4 years for 2008-2012.
The project launch attended by Ch.Ulaan, Minister of Finance and T.Gandi, MP and Chairman of Standing committee on social policy and representatives of the World Bank, European Committee and Japanese Embassy including representatives of development stakeholders in Mongolia.