Mongolian PM makes Sendai pledge

ULAANBAATAR, 12 April 2017 – The Prime Minister of Mongolia, Mr. Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat, says his country is ready to share its vast experience of managing extreme hazards to support greater implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction across Asia.
The Prime Minister revealed that this was one of the key motivations behind Mongolia’s decision to host – and co-organise with UNISDR – the next Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Ulaanbaatar in 2018.
“Mongolia is determined to share our experience and lessons learned in disaster prevention, reduction and mitigation to ensure that we collectively achieve a good outcome to this very important conference,” Mr. Erdenebat said.
The Prime Minister was speaking during a meeting at his office with Mr. Robert Glasser, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General’ for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNISDR.
During their talks, Mr. Erdenebat emphasised the importance of organising the regionwide conference, known for short as the AMCDRR, “so that all countries and stakeholders benefit from the results including the opportunity to assess global progress against key global frameworks”.
He added that Mongolia was a good venue “as we are at the heart of Asia” and because the country is exposed to virtually all human-induced and natural hazards, particularly in terms of its extreme climate.
Landlocked Mongolia is sparsely populated, with three million people living in an area twice the size of France. It is also the world’s second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan.
It is vulnerable to a wide variety of natural hazards, including floods, droughts, earthquakes, storms and other extreme weather events, including “dzud” – a severe winter in which large numbers of livestock die primarily from starvation.
The high-level meeting last week followed the signing of a Statement of Cooperation between the Government of Mongolia, represented by its National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and UNISDR to co-organise the AMCDRR.
During the discussion, Mr. Glasser said that the AMCDRR was “an excellent opportunity for Mongolia” to highlight how it had effectively addressed many of the challenges that it faces.
“The AMCDRR 2018 will enable Mongolia to demonstrate its regional leadership on strengthening disaster resilience and showcase its significant progress to adopt a more comprehensive approach to disaster risk reduction across government ministries and with various stakeholders,” Mr. Glasser said.
“This is even more important as hazards are set to continue intensifying in the years ahead because of the effects of climate change.”
Next year’s edition of the biennial Asian conference will be particularly important because the Sendai Framework, adopted by the international community in 2015, has a target of 2020 for national and local governments to have disaster risk reduction plans in place.
Achieving that goal is critical to the Sendai Framework’s overall aim of bringing about substantial reductions in disaster losses globally by 2030, and will also help link efforts to curb disaster risk to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The issue will be in the spotlight next month at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, in Mexico.
The AMCDRR will take place in Mongolia on 16-19 July next year. The 2016 edition was hosted last November by India in New Delhi.

Mongolia's trade surplus up 45.5 pct in first quarter on coal trade surge

ULAANBAATAR, April 12 (Reuters) - Mongolia's foreign trade surplus hit $523.7 million in the first quarter of the year, up 45.5 percent from the same period in 2016, the country's statistics office said on Wednesday.
The increase was driven by a 446 percent surge in coal trade, which reached $541.3 million over the period, while total mineral exports were up 58 percent, the National Statistical Office said. Minerals represented 89.2 percent of Mongolia's total exports over the period.
Mongolia's trade surplus for the whole of 2016 stood at $1.56 billion, up 79 percent on the year.
But an economic slowdown caused by dwindling foreign investment and declining commodity prices turned into a full-blown crisis last year as Mongolia's currency, the tugrik, plummeted.
Amid concerns it would be unable to repay debt, the country agreed a $5.5 billion bailout with the International Monetary Fund and other partners in February.
The ruling Mongolian People's Party has blamed the country's economic woes on the previous government's expansionist fiscal policies. It is attempting to reverse course with policies aimed at curbing government spending and attracting foreign investment, especially in its lucrative natural resources.
Despite plans to raise taxes and cut spending, the MPP has a narrow lead in public support ahead of presidential elections set for June 26, according to a survey published this week by the Sant Maral Foundation, a Mongolian polling organisation.
The MPP was setting Mongolia in the "right direction", 35.9 percent of respondents said, while 28.3 percent said it was taking the country in the "wrong direction".
Candidates for the presidential election have not yet been announced. Incumbent Tsakhia Elebegdorj of the Democratic Party will step down after completing his maximum two terms in office.
(Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Editing by David Stanway and Susan Thomas)

Source:Reuters news agency

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