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World Bank Lends Supports to the National Statistical System of Mongolia

June 12, 2009

WASHINGTON DC, June 12, 2009 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today an investment credit of US$ 2.0 million for the Strengthening of the National Statistical System of Mongolia (MONSTAT) Project. The project aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the national statistical system of Mongolia, enabling it to provide relevant, timely and reliable data for evidence-based policy making in support of the Government of Mongolia’s MDG-based National Development Strategy (NDS).

Before 1990, the Mongolian statistical system was organized in a manner typical of command economies, and relied on the compulsory submission of administrative reports by enterprises. When Mongolia began its transition to parliamentary government and a market economy in 1990, the Central Statistical Office was reorganized as the National Statistical Office (NSO) and, since then, the national statistical system in general - and the NSO in particular - have seen significant improvements.

Mongolia, like other countries in the region, has not been immune to the effects of the current global economic crisis, and as such, World Bank assistance is largely focusing on providing budgetary support over the next 12 to 18 months, and possibly a few high impact investment projects and analytical and advisory support. The need, however, for reliable official statistics becomes most apparent and urgent during economic crises; and the current economic downturn has drawn attention to the fact that the system as a whole still needs improvements, and that work in certain areas could have a timely and relevant positive impact.

“This project is part of the Bank’s ongoing efforts to support the government in implementing “second generation” reforms in terms of strengthening the national statistical system to produce reliable, timely and quality data for monitoring of key poverty and development indicators.” said Arshad Sayed, Country Manager and Resident Representative for the World Bank in Mongolia.

The project has five components. These are (a) Improving policy, regulatory and institutional framework and the organizational structure of the statistical system, (b) Strengthening the statistical infrastructure, (c) Upgrading statistical operations (improving individual subject matter programs and methodologies as well as the existing data outputs), (d) IT Infrastructure and Equipment, (e) Project Management.

The principal outcome of this project will be a well functioning national statistical system that will significantly improve Government’s decision-making process by providing timely and accurate economic and social data. It will also help Government monitor progress towards national development goals, including the NDS goals.

The project will support the Government’s goal by reducing the cost of information supply, increasing the demand, and making coordination of statistical activities, financing, and execution more effective. It will also help statistical agencies in line ministries through improved institutional interaction between statistical agencies and training of their relevant staff.

The total cost of the project is expected to be US $ 3.1 million, comprising US$2.0 million of investment credit from the International Development Association; US$0.7 million grant from Republic of Korea, and US$0.4 million from Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building. The Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TICA) will support the project through in-kind contributions in the form of training in various areas of statistics in Turkey, short-term experts and some goods for the training center and printing facility. The implementation of the project will be coordinated and monitored by all partners through a joint mid-term review.

NSO will be the main executing agency of the project and will be responsible for its overall management and implementation. To effectively carry out the implementation and daily project administrative work, there will be a project coordination team (PCT), headed by a qualified and experienced Project Coordinator, consisting of NSO staff that will be assisted by a financial management specialist and a procurement specialist (and an assistant) to be hired by the NSO.

Duration of the project is 5 years from June 30, 2009 until June 30, 2014.