The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations Collaborative Initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries. The Programme was launched in 2008 to assist developing countries prepare and implement national REDD+ strategies, and builds on the convening power and expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Since Mongolia became a partner country of the UN-REDD Programme in June 2011, the country has quickly taken steps to start implementing REDD+ readiness activities, including the preparation of its National REDD+ Readiness Roadmap, which was officially adopted by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development and Tourism (MEGDT) in June 2014, and based on which Mongolia’s request for full-scale National Programme funding was approved by the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board in July 2014.

Mongolia’s vast land area includes approximately 13 million hectares of forest – an area roughly the size of Nepal. These forests can be categorised into two broad zones: northern boreal forests and southern Saxaul forests. The northern boreal forests cover approximately 10.9 million hectares, and are being lost at an annual rate of 0.74%, or just over 80,000 hectares. The southern Saxaul forests cover 1.9 million hectares, and are estimated to be lost at the alarming rate of 6.5% per year. In May 2015, the Government of Mongolia approved its renewed policy on forest resources until 2030, which aims at increasing the country’s forest cover and sustainable use and protection of forest resources by maintaining ecological and socio-economic benefits of forests and promoting, among others, increased financing to the sector, improved forest governance, and concessional arrangements for better forest resources management.

Mongolia is the first country with significant boreal forest cover to become a partner country of the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (UN-REDD Programme). Mongolia has significant potential to reduce its forest carbon emissions, and enhance and sustainably manage its forest carbon stocks, through the implementation of REDD+ activities.

Mongolia became a partner country of the UN-REDD Programme in June 2011 and has quickly taken steps to start implementing REDD+ readiness activities. A Roadmap sets out how Mongolia will implement its REDD+ Readiness activities and develop a comprehensive National REDD+ Strategy in Phase 1 of REDD+. The Roadmap has four main outcomes, as follows:

  1. National REDD+ management arrangements established while ensuring improved stakeholder awareness and effective stakeholder engagement;
  2. National REDD+ strategy prepared;
  3. Forest reference emissions levels and forest reference levels developed; and
  4. National forest monitoring system and safeguards information system developed.

This National Programme Document (NPD) describes how the UN-REDD Mongolia National Programme (here onwards called ‘National Programme’) will contribute to the objectives of Mongolia’s National REDD+ Readiness Roadmap. The overall goal of the National Programme is to support the Government of Mongolia in designing and implementing its National REDD+ Strategy and in meeting the requirements under the UNFCCC Warsaw Framework to receive REDD+ results-based payments.

The National Programme also counts on key national counterpart institutions and development partners to play active roles and take on specific responsibilities in maintaining the momentum in the REDD+ management processes and prioritizing and implementing those strategic options identified through the Programme. Effective risk management and coordination with key national and development partners throughout the life of the Programme will therefore be critical (see Chapter 6. Risk Management).

The National Programme will contribute to the implementation of the National REDD+Readiness Roadmap outcomes in the following ways.

Under Outcome One of the Roadmap, the National Programme will support the establishment of Mongolia’s REDD+ Readiness management structure to oversee the delivery of the key results described in the Roadmap, and to prepare its National REDD+Strategy. The National Programme will also support Mongolia in engaging a broad range ofnon-government stakeholders, including the private sector actors, in the REDD+implementation process. To achieve this, a Civil Society Organisation/Local Community Forum will be established to ensure effective and meaningful consultation and engagement both within the non-government sector, and between the non-government sector and government. The National Programme will also prepare and implement a consultation and participation plan, as well as a public awareness-raising plan. Related to these plans, the development of national guidelines on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) together with a REDD+ grievance mechanism linked to existing systems will be supported by the National Programme.

Under Outcome Two of the Roadmap, the National Programme will support the preparation of Mongolia’s National REDD+ Strategy through which key drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Mongolia will be analysed through detailed studies, and specific policies and measures to address those key drivers will be identified. At the same time, the National Programme will support Mongolia in establishing suitable institutional arrangements and undertake institutional capacity development activities in order to implement the Strategy. As part of this effort, the National Programme will also support the establishment of REDD+ fund management and benefit distribution mechanisms together with a social and environmental safeguards policy framework and procedures.

Under Outcome Three of the Roadmap, the National Programme will support the establishment of national forest Reference Emission Level and/or forest Reference Level (REL/RL), with sub-national forest RELs/RLs as potential interim measures. The emphasis of this Component will be the collection of data on historical land use and the analysis of relevant national circumstances, as well as the development of specific capacities to further develop, pilot and implement RELs/RLs under a full National REDD+ Strategy.

Under Outcome Four of the Roadmap, the National Programme will support the development of a national forest monitoring system, comprising a monitoring function and a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) function. The monitoring function will serve to assess the implementation and impact of the specific policies, measures and actions under the National REDD+ Strategy, while the MRV function will be used to assess and report on the mitigation performance of REDD+ activities to the UNFCCC. The National Programme will also assist Mongolia in establishing its national safeguards information system in order to make available information on how the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards have been respected and addressed.