2016 Review: Mongolia

Journalist A.Odontuya

2017-01-01 14:46 GMT+8


Mongolia held it's Parliamentary and Citizens' Representative Khural election on June 29.

This year Mongolian People's Party took a strong lead, winning 85.5% of the Parliamentary vote giving it 65 seats out of 76. 

Parliamentary Election Result: 
Total seats - 76

  • Mongolian People's Party - 65 seats
  • Democratic Party - 9 
  • Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party - 1
  • Independent - 1 

Citizens' Representative Khural Election result:
Total seats - 45

  • Mongolian People's Party - 34 seats
  • Democratic Party - 11

Mongolia is currently facing economic difficulties, US Dollar shortage, rising debt, weak commodity prices, worst air pollution and the country needs to bring in foreign investment into the country. The solution hangs on whether or not Prime Minister Erdenebat’s cabinet will be allowed by his political party to tackle the challenges, and – if so – if the government can succeed.

The newly formed government has established 14 ministries:

  1. Ministry of Environment and Tourism 
  2. Ministry of Defense
  3. Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection
  4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  5. Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports
  6. Ministry of Energy
  7. Ministry of Finance 
  8. Ministry of Road and Transport
  9. Ministry of Health
  10. Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs 
  11. Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry 
  12. Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry
  13. Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning
  14. Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare 


The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) Summit was successfully held in Ulaanbaatar on July 15-16. The summit was attended by 10 heads of state, 23 heads of government, 17 foreign ministers and special delegates, and over 4,000 representatives and guests.

The ASEM Summit has great significance to Mongolia politically. This was an important occasion, as government, the private sector, civil society, and business representatives from Asian and European nations came together and had extensive discussions. It also has historical significance, as the summit was held in Mongolia, which is the only country that connects Asia and Europe, and Russia and China.

In scope of the meeting, following agreements and discussions were made;

  • China and Mongolia discussed about remaining amount of credit service payment for 1958 and 1960 credits, and the repayment of balance for 1991, 1992 and 1994 credits allowed from the Government of China to the Government of Mongolia. The two countries have signed an agreement to write off Mongolia`s debts to China, which amounts to MNT 38 billion (15.2 million USD). 
  • Mongolia and Singapore have reached mutual negotiations to launch a reciprocal visa waiver for visits of up to 30 days.
  • Kazakhstan has offered to donate MNT 500 million (200 thousand USD) to help people of Bayan-Ulgii aimag, suffering from flood. 
  • Vietnam has promised to overhaul Bogd Khan Museum, includes a significant collection of religious artworks commissioned by or presented to the Eighth Bogd Jivzandamba and his wife Queen Dondogdulam during his residence at the palace and Choijin Lama Museum, a hidden gem of architecture and history, smack in the middle of downtown Ulaanbaatar city. 
  • Poland has announced to grant EUR 1 million, that are possible to be invested in non-mining sectors. 
  • South Korea has decided to construct new building for Natural History Museum of Mongolia. Moreover the two sides have signed an agreement to implement education project. 


1. From the left, Judoka D.Sumiya | 3 images

Mongolia sent 49 athletes to the XXXI Summer Olympic Games & Paralympic Games held in Rio De Janiero, Brazil. Since the nation made its debut in 1964, Mongolian athletes had appeared in every edition of the Summer Olympic Games, with the exception of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, because of its partial support to the Soviet boycott. 

Mongolian athelets competed across nine different sports at the Games, including judo, freestyle wrestling, boxing, track and fields athletics, shooting, swimming, weightlifting, recurve archery and taekwondo. 

Mongolia left Rio de Janeiro with four medals (one silver and three bronze); each was awarded to judoka D.Sumiya, women`s 57 kg, boxer D.Otgondalai, men`s light 60 kg, B3 classified Mongolian judoka B.Uugankhuu and weightlifter E.Sodnompiljee. 

Meahwhile free-style wrestler G.Mandakhnaran has lost the bronze medal match in men`s freestyle 65 kg by penalty point after the finish of the match. He lost to Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzov. Two Mongolian coaches protested judge's decision after the match, stripping their clothes off at the mat. 

Following the World Wrestling Federation decided to fine Mongolian Wrestling Association with EUR 50 thousand and ban two coaches for three years.


His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama paid his ninth visit to Mongolia on November 18-22 at the invitation of Gandantegchinlen Monastery. 

Since his first visit to Mongolia in 1979, he arrived back in 2002 and the Chinese side had protested the visit, closing the border with Mongolia for two days.

Ninth visit of the Dalai Lama to Mongolia was absolutely religious courtesy. 

However China called off talks with Mongolian senior officials after the Dalai Lama’s four-day visit. Mongolia has been seeking soft loans from sources including China and the International Monetary Fund as it struggles with a $1 billion budget gap and looming debt repayments.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing Wednesday in Beijing that [we] hope Mongolia will truly learn lessons from this incident, truly respect the core interests of China, honor its promise and make efforts to improve the relations between China and Mongolia.

Mongolia’s government pledged to extend no more invitations to the Dalai Lama after China signaled that a trip by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader could derail ties.

“The Dalai Lama’s visit by the invitation of Gandan Monastery negatively affected two countries and these two countries have a misunderstanding,” Mongolian Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil Tsend told the Onoodor newspaper Wednesday. “The government feels sorry for this,’’ he said, adding that the Dalai Lama “probably won’t be visiting Mongolia again during this administration.’’


Mongolia has witnessed sharp rise in dollar exchange rates since the beginning of 2016. 

Mongolian Balance of Payments shows that shortage of US dollar deepens in Mongolian market. For instance, as of the first nine months of 2016, Mongolian balance of payments totaled to US$ 232 million deficit, meaning that total of US$ 231 million went from the Mongolian market.

Moreover, the country`s export has not increased, direct foreign investment has not restored as well as the foreign loan and aid has not granted. Thus, the dollar rate is continuously increasing. 

Therefore, the Government should urge to forward major projects and cooperate with international organizations in order to bring back the dollar which is avoiding from the country day by day. As a result, Mongolia could attract investment, improve balance of payments and stabilize the rate. Briefly, rate future depends on Mongolian balance of payments. However, the balance of payments has facing a deficit today. Therefore, tugrik rate reaches record low against US dollar. 

The Bank of Mongolia has been trying to minimize the pressure on rate and taken following actions:

  1. On August 18, Bank of Mongolia increased the policy interest rate by 4.5 percentage point to 15 percent from 11.5 percent. 
  2. On December 19, Bank of Mongolia decreased the policy rate by 1 percentage to 14 percent. 

In such circumstances, it is significant for the Government to take immediate actions to attract investment and stabilize the rate and the ministers should rush the negotiations with the authorities of International Monetary Fund and the Government of China. 


A.Bayartsetseg, 25 years-old beauty showed historic success by qualifying to Top 11 finalists at the 66th edition of the Miss World pageant, took place on 18th December 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, United States, Washington, D.C.

She was announced as the winner of People`s Choice Award by receiving the most votes and got a direct entry in the Top 11 finalists. 

In Miss World 2016, A.Bayartsetseg has shown a marvelous success, having won the “Best Video Introduction” nomination with her movie-like intro inspired by her role in the forthcoming Mongolian film “Khutulun - The Brave Princess” and won the title of Miss Talent with her magic performance combining calligraphy, dance and magic tricks.

The humanitarian project, which she has initiated and co-organized, came in the 13th place in the Beauty With a Purpose. The ongoing project aims at helping children from the state orphanages to learn basic life skills such as cooking, managing own finances and running errands in general. These are some crucially important and necessary skills that are “often taken for granted”, but always lacks in orphans, who were raised in orphanages, said A.Bayartsetseg.

This is the best ever performance in the history of Mongolia in the Miss World. Before her, Mongolia saw its first semi-finalist in 2011 – a Miss World Mongolia A.Sarnai.


Air pollution has soared to hazardous levels in the most areas of Ulaanbaatar city, reaching 100 times the limit, as compared with the World Health Organization safe level of 25. 

Levels of PM2.5 particulates, which are the most hazardous to health, reaches 1000-3000 micrograms per cubic meter in the most polluted areas of the city, according to the agaar.mn, air quality monitoring webstie. 

According to the PM2.5 health effects statement, hazardous levels of air pollution can cause serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; serious risk of respiratory effects in general population.

Every winter, the amount of particles in air have been rising, particularly in ger-areas located at the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar city where two third of population live in houses and traditional dwellings with lack of connecting infrastructure to the central heating system. From November to March, the citizens of Ulaanbaatar city face the worst air quality caused by heavy coal burning. 

Preliminary Results from the Ugaar Randomized Intervention Study of Air Pollution and Fetal Growth shows that 130 children and 1400 adults die from causes linked to air pollution in Ulaanbaatar city annually. 

According to the study conducted in the capital city, air pollution has shown to exacerbate pneumonia in children and cardiovascular disease in adults. 

The Government has spent MNT 140 billion within 15 years to reduce air pollution, producing smokeless stove. However, the result is still uncertain and inefficient.

Newly formed Government is working to improve air quality by decreasing coal consumption and promoting brickette manufacturing plants, which replace coal. In addition, the Government has planned to cut electricity night tariff by 50 to 100 percent.

On Dec 26th, parents have demonstrated against air pollution, demanding officials to take immediate and efficient actions. It was the first demonstration against air pollution in Mongolia.    


Mongolian winter starts roughly from December to February. However, waves of arctic air from north half of Siberia invaded the northwest half of Mongolia from Nov 16 and it brought the coldest weather in Mongolia during Nov 17-25th.

It was the record-breaking cold weather that occured in November over the last ten years, reported by S.Enkhtuvshin, Head of Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring Department.

Moreover, the German meteorologist Dominik Jung said the 2016-2017 winter season promises to be “unusually cold” ever recorded in last 100 years. The Mongolian Research Institute for Hydrology and Meteorology agrees with the European scholar and warns that Mongolia is also expecting such a winter.

Mongolians believe that the year of Monkey [Lunar Calendar] gives the harshest winters which also befalls this winter.

As of today, night temperature reaches -33C to -38C while day temperature is ranging between -23C to -28C at the coldest areas of Mongolia. 

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