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Ecosystem-based Adaptation Approach to Maintaining Water Security in Critical Water Catchments in Mongolia

Mongolia is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its geographical location, fragile ecosystem and socio-economic conditions. The combination of ongoing land and water degradation multiplied by climate change will almost certainly result in substantial ecological and social challenges. Integrated adaptation strategies and associated programs are necessary to maintain ecosystem functions and water provisioning services. If we do not implement climate change adaptation approaches immediately, vulnerability of Mongolia’s rural communities to impacts associated with ecosystem services will increase. Therefore, the maintenance of ecosystem functions and water provisioning services in critical water catchments is crucial for the survival of rural communities and the Mongolian economy. The project will apply the principles of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) to increase climate change resilience at a landscape level.

What are the project’s goals?


The project objective is to maintain the water provisioning services supplied by mountains and steppe ecosystems by internalizing climate change risks within land and water resource management regimes. The project aims at alleviating vulnerabilities and dismantling identified barriers by implementing three interconnected components:

Component I

Integrated strategies/management plans for target landscapes/river basins developed and under implementation;

Output 1.1.  Baseline inventory/assessment (ecological and socio-economic)  as a basis for the development of Ecosystem-based Adaptation Strategies for the target landscapes and River Basin Management Plans are completed.

Output 1.2.  Project's initial economic valuations completed comparing the landscape level costs and benefits of EBA appraoches. 

Output 1. 3. Ecosystem-based  Adaptation strategies for the target landscapes (Great lakes Depression, Daurian Steppe), and River Basin Management Plans (Kharkhira/Turgen, Ulz) completed and operational.

Component II

Implementing landscape level adaptation techniques to maintain ecosystem integrity and water security under conditions of climate change.

Output 2.1.  Capacities of rural communities for monitoring natural resources and climate change impacts and for adaptive management in two watersheds strengthened.

Output 2.2.  Intergated  landscape level Ecosystem Based Adaptation management action plans operational within two target watersheds.

Output 2.3.  Suite of physical techniques to improve ecosystem resilience established in two critical watersheds.

Component III

Strengthening capacities/Institutions to support EbA strategies and integrated river basin management, their replication and mainstreaming in sector policies.

Output 3.1. Ecosystem-based adaptation approaches/integrated river basin management, mainstreamed in natural resource use planning and implementation mechanisms in sector policies

Output 3.2.  Institutional structure for river basin management integrating climate change risks (Administration and Council) established and operation in target areas as model for replication.

Output 3.3.  Best practices are identified and programme for up-scaling best practices developed and implemented.

National level

  • Inception Phase activities commenced in April, 2012 with 2 months duration. Within this phase, the Project staff both at Ulaanbaatar and local level was recruited as well as the Inception workshop and Local stakeholder consultations were held.
  • Public Awareness Program disseminating knowledge and information of EbA was developed defining ways and methods to foster general public education.  In accordance with the Program, handbooks on EbA and IWRM designed for different level of audiences and trainers were developed by relevant experts.
  • These user friendly handbooks and associated training modules will be used as reference materials for further trainings.                    
  • Assessment of Institutional Capacity for mainstreaming EBA approaches into development policy and planning of key agencies and capacity building program were completed. With the Project support, capacities of several institutions including Ministry of Environment and Green Development, National Committee on Climate Change, Climate Change Coordination Office and National Agency of Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring were assessed. Based on the assessment,   specific recommendations were provided for ensuring better Institutional capacity to mainstream EBA approaches into state policy and coordination. 
  • The Project supported in the development of 6 relevant regulations of Law on Forest and Law on Water Pollution Fee in order to enhance the enforcement of newly approved Set of Environmental Laws. Overall, the aim of these regulations is to promote economic entities that apply environmental sound technology and efficient use of water through provision of incentives. The regulations are expected to be a useful means to build proper mindset for sustainable use of natural resources.              
  • The initial economic valuation study was initiated comparing the landscape level costs and benefits of EBA approaches. The purpose of the study is to assist in determining economically efficient adaptation strategies to climate change taking into full account the value of ecosystem services and biodiversity.

Local level

  • Local stakeholders were provided with the introduction of the project design, underlying concepts of Ecosystem based Adaptation and background information on the status of water resources, ecosystem vulnerability to climate change impacts as well as the Adaptation Fund in the context of global climate finance mechanisms through the consultations held in the Project two target areas.
  • Baseline study to determine base values of the chosen indicators to be used for the evaluation of success of the project activity was successfully conducted.
  • Soum needs assessment was completed. Through this assessment, key capacity and support needs at soum level were identified. Based on the assessment, Soum Capacity Building Programme to build capacity of local administrative and community for the implementation of EBA was developed.
  • Local Project Units (9) to implement the Project activities at Soum level were set up after the selection of local personnel (soum coordinators and drivers).

Who finances it?



Amount contributed


Adaptation Fund

US$ 5,069,124 (cash)


US$ 500,000 (cash)

The Government of Mongolia

US$ 5,000.000 (in kind)

Delivery in previous fiscal year


Total Delivery


US$ 592,833

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