High Level Meeting Highlights Linkages between Green Development and Sustainable Development Goals

M. Khurelsukh, Vice Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, speaking to the press following the High Level Meeting.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 18 June 2015 - More than 60 Mongolian decision-makers convened at a High Level Meeting at the Mongolian Government House to highlight progress made in implementing green development and PAGE in Mongolia, and to explore linkages with the post-2015 development agenda. Participants included parliamentarians, decision-makers in ministries, as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society and development partners. The Meeting was jointly organized by the Standing Committee of Environment, Food and Agriculture of the Parliament of Mongolia, the Ministry of Environment and Green Development and Tourism, and PAGE. It was chaired by former Minister of Environment and Advisor on Environment, Mr. Z. Batjargal. 

In his opening remarks, Mr. S. Batbold, Chairman of Standing Committee of Environment, Food and Agriculture of the Parliament of Mongolia highlighted that Mongolia has started a pathway towards green development through the National Green Development Policy adopted in 2014. The goal is to make economic competitiveness, green-based sustainable development and an inclusive and green society in Mongolia mutually compatible. PAGE can make a valuable contribution to identify optional solutions for green development, Mr. Batbold pointed out.  Speaking on behalf of PAGE partners, Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu,  UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia praised the high level commitment of the Mongolian Government to support green and sustainable development and reiterated that PAGE is supporting action trough a One UN approach that brings together UNEP, UNDP, ILO, UNIDO and UNITAR.

M. Khurelsukh, Vice-Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, discussed the integration and harmony between the national Green Development Policy, the Sustainable Development Goals and the long term national development policy of Mongolia. In order to transform to green development and achieve its mutual benefits, efforts and commitment of every enterprise and individual, as well as inter-sectoral approaches and partnerships are necessary. MEGDT plans further collaboration with PAGE and other development partners in the areas of greener public procurement, turning waste to value added green products, supporting private sector initiatives, and introducing new technologies in key economic sectors including construction, agriculture, energy and transportation.

Mr. Batkhurel, Director of Economic Policy Department, Ministry of Finance presented a Roadmap to Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Challenges for Implementation in Mongolia. He highlighted that Mongolia has progressed significantly in the last 20 years and experienced dramatic economic growth in the last 14 years.  The Government pays great attention to development policy and planning, institutional structures and governance, however some gaps still need to be overcome, including implementation of effective methods for policy implementation and monitoring.  He also elaborated on proposed global SDGs and the status of Mongolia’s SDG-based development.

Mr. S. Demberel, Member of Parliament, pointed out that green development policy is central to Mongolia’s long-term national development and needs to be incorporated in other key policies such as the Government policy on industry up to 2030 which has been discussed in Parliament.  Another important opportunity is to reflect sustainable development goals in legal documents, as well as in the Constitution of Mongolia.

The Chairman of National Statistical Office of Mongolia, Mr. S. Mendsaikhan highlighted that the Mongolian Government has been discussing sustainable development for more than 20 years. Yet, achievements may seem limited. Therefore, it is important to focus on concrete sectors that can bring fast positive impacts.  NSO is making efforts at the international and national level to improve statistics to measure progress on green development and sustainable development with PAGE contributing to green development and green jobs indicators.

Achim Halpaap, Senior Manager of Environment and Green Development, UNITAR summarized the status of PAGE supported workstreams in Mongolia. The focus of PAGE in Mongolia is to support policy analysis, policy reform and concrete outputs supporting policy implementation and capacity development. He praised the leadership of various Ministries in taking PAGE workstreams forward and summarized key outcomes of the recent PAGE workshop which saw participation of more than 200 participants. Asad Naqvi, Head of UNEP’s Green Advisory Services highlighted that ultimately PAGE efforts should result in new investments in green sectors, technologies and industries.

From the right to the left: S.  Demberel, Member of Parliament, Ts. Tsengel, State Secretary, MEGDT, Z. Batjargal, Former Minister of Environment and Advisor, S. Batbold, Member of  Parliament, Chairman of Standing Committee for Environment,  Food and Agriculture of Parliament, M. Khurelsukh, Vice Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Sezin Sinanoglu,  UN Resident Coordinator, Achim Halpaap, Senior Manager, Environment and Development, Thomas  Eriksson, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative