Mongolia, N4H and the One Health Program: Scoping Mission Kicks Off in Ulaanbaatar!

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On December 7-8, the CIC and WOAH jointly conducted a Nature for Health (N4H) Scoping Mission Multistakeholder Workshop to introduce a systems thinking approach to the Mongolian One Health sector that considers the broader need to address national environmental and health challenges.

Over 60 participants attended the workshop, with the Director General of the General Authority for Veterinary Services of Mongolia, Dr. Narantuya (GAVS), making opening remarks.

Among those participating in the workshop were the CIC, WHO, FAO, the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, as well as a host of other national and international environmental NGOs.

Kicking off the workshop was a presentation on Nature for Health Project in Theory, which introduced those in attendance to the central idea of systems thinking. Participating Ministries presented updates on their activities and related One Health efforts in Mongolia, with a focus on the gaps, concerns and key issues to be addressed within N4H.

Participants also discussed One Health cross sectoral collaboration needs and challenges, while noting the need to bring on board Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) – such as nomadic communities and hunters – that would have high participation during the implementation of the project.

Participants jointly worked on mapping the potential local stakeholders to better understand the different perspectives at play. This came as part of an exploration into the current inter-relationships in a One Health context in Mongolia, as well as how stakeholders could be engaged as in the future.

Day two of the workshop saw the next steps of the N4H Scoping Mission being finalised by a core team consisting of WOAH, the CIC and Mongolian Ministries. The next Workshops are due to take place in the weeks of January 22nd and February 26th, where feedback will be given to the core implementing team with a view of developing a full N4H project proposal for Mongolia.

To ensure that IPLCs will be an essential part of the national One Health agenda, the CIC held bilateral meetings with Tserendorj Uranchimeg, Director General of the Department of Natural Resources Policy and Coordination Department of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia (MET).

It was agreed that the CIC and MET will work closely together on Mongolian issues, including through the adoption of a Memorandum of Agreement where close cooperation on conservation and policy development will be a key priority.

In addition, the CIC’s largest national partner organisation – the Mongolian Wildlife Alliance (made up of wildlife biologists and outfitters) – also agreed on cooperative activities with the CIC, with a conservation led focus on promoting sustainable use, habitat enhancement and securing livelihoods of local communities.

The Alliance will therefore serve as an instrumental partner in the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – particularly Targets 4, 5 and 9 – a keystone of One Health  in Mongolia.