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SCALA Mongolia

SCALA Mongolia


Mongolia is a landlocked country with vast mountainous plateaus sloping from west to east in the country.  Mongolia has a very low population density and many of its rural communities are traditionally nomadic pastoralists. The livestock and animal husbandry sector contributes to 80 percent of its agricultural production through a range of food and other products, such as sheep wool, goat cashmere, large animal hair, camel wool and milk. One-third of the country’s labor force is employed in agricultural work, and it accounts for 8.4 percent of the country's exports and 10.6 percent of its GDP. The agriculture sector, however, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Increased upper heat thresholds are projected to change annual precipitation patterns and increase the number of “dry days”, which will lead to significant volatility in agricultural productivity and livelihoods. In addition, the higher frequency and intensity of major climate-related hazards including storms (dust storms, windstorms, thunderstorms, and snowstorms), droughts, and extended harsh winters are expected to exacerbate conditions. 

Country Climate Plans

The Government of Mongolia has key national policy documents, such as a National Action Plan on Climate Change (2011-2021) and the Green Development Policy (2014-2030). Mongolia’s first nationally determined contribution (NDC) was submitted in 2016 and was updated in 2020. Mongolia’s NDC mitigation target is articulated as a 22.7 percent reduction in total national GHG emissions by 2030 compared to the projected emissions under a business-as-usual scenario for 2010, focusing on the transport, industry, agriculture and waste sectors, among others. Additional key mitigation priorities include limiting and reducing the number of livestock while enhancing livestock quality and herd structures, improving the management of livestock manure, protecting pastureland soil and establishing forest strips around arable lands to preserve soil moisture and reduce wind and water erosion.

The NDC includes a distinct adaptation component with goals and targets for priority areas, such as animal husbandry and pastureland, arable farming, water resources, forest resources, and biodiversity. Under animal husbandry and pastureland management, adaptation priorities focus on maintaining balance in ecosystems and strengthening legal frameworks. The NDC also highlights the need for sustainable use of pasturelands by increasing forage cultivation and water supplies for livestock, as well as the enhancement of disaster management systems against drought. On arable farming, the NDC outlines plans to improve legal frameworks to overcome climate change adaptation challenges and aims to introduce advanced water and labor efficient technologies in the production of potatoes, vegetables, fruits and berries to enhance productivity. Additional adaptation measures include fencing and planting strips (forests, fodder plants and technical plants) around arable crop lands and introducing soil-conserving zero tillage methods with straw mulch to retain soil moisture.

The NDC mentions Mongolia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, initiated in 2018, as the primary means through which specific adaptation actions will be identified. These include improving pasture management, regulation of livestock numbers and herds’ composition by matching with pastures carrying capacities, improving animal breeds, and regional development of intensified animal farming. 


The Government of Mongolia approved the NDC Action Plan in 2021 but continues to face certain challenges in implementing the NDC Action Plan, such as access to finance, inadequate institutional arrangements, and lack of human and technical capacities. To overcome these challenges, specifically on access to finance, Mongolia has to rely on international funding from developed countries. On strengthening institutional arrangements and technical capacity building, Mongolia will be supported by the SCALA programme over the next few years.

Project details

SCALA supports Mongolia in strengthening adaptation and mitigation measures, with a particular focus on arable farming, livestock, sustainable pastureland management and fruit production, all key priorities outlined in the country’s updated NDC.

SCALA undertook an assessment of the impact of a new Livestock Tax Law on livestock herding practices in the country. The assessment aimed to identify climate solutions related to livestock management and develop useful recommendations and guidelines for local authorities to implement the law in an optimal, consistent, and participatory manner. It was complemented by an assessment to identify fruit and berry tree seed varieties with the highest potential to adapt to climate risk.

In collaboration with the Global Environment Facility’s “Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency” (CBIT) project, SCALA is actively supporting the strengthening of the national monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system.

SCALA is also contributing to Mongolia’s NDC enhancement process, including through the organization of a multi-stakeholder consultation meeting on the implementation of the NDC and NAP in July 2023. With SCALA support, a survey was launched to monitor the implementation of the current NDC.

Finally, a team of young innovators from Mongolia (Team “Splicing”) won a SCALA-organized hackathon for Asia and the Pacific in February 2023. SCALA continues to support this team in the development of their proposal for a digital advisory app for livestock herd management.

Moving ahead, SCALA in Mongolia aims to:

  • Undertake a systems-level assessment of the carbon sequestration potential of different pasture classifications.
  • Conduct a systems-level assessment of the climate action potential of forest strips around arable land.
  • Adapt FAO’s Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM) tool to the situation and characteristics of Mongolia.
  • Develop a concept note on Carbon Market Access for local communities and/or herding communities based on sustainable pasture management practices.
  • Identify the role of the private sector in improving the supply chain system for sustainable raw materials and contribute to strengthening its incentive systems and organizational structures.
  • Identify policy and financing de-risking measures and business opportunities for establishing forest strips around arable land.
Natural Resource Management, Agriculture/Food Security
Level of intervention
  • National
  • Regional
  • Global
Key collaborators
  • Country Office
  • National Governments
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Project status
Under Implementation

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