1. S. Purevsuren, Senior biologist, Snow Leopard Conservation Fund Mongolia will give a talk entitled: The snow leopard research conservation center talk will be about Tserendeleg snow leopard research conservation center located in the Mongolian south Gobi. It is the first ever long term study of snow leopards, which consists of an international team of scientists and students, aiming to improve their conservation. They used many research methods such as sign survey, remote cameras, satellite-GPS collars to identify the home ranges etc. In addition, you will hear about their snow leopard enterprise program and so on.
2. Batmunkh Davaasuren from NUM, will give a talk entitled: The status of the Pallas's fish eagle in Mongolia The Pallas's fish eagle is distributed throughout central and southern Asia. This species is classified as Vulnerable by IUCN. The survey objectives were to determine the distribution and status of PFEs in Mongolia, identify the threats to the Mongolian population, assess local recognition of the species and describe preferred habitat in Mongolia. This study has shown many results such as observation of PFEs in 9 out of 13 historic sites visited, a preference for freshwater sites with good fish stocks etc. In addition, they identified many threats to this species.
on *Thursday, February 4, 2010.* at 6:30 pm
Biobeers is held on the first Thursday of every month at Sweet Cafe (located behind the Information and Technological National Park and next to the Admon Printing Company, west of Internom Bookstore Building). People are requested to arrive after 6pm, in time for the talk to start at 6.30.
Biobeers is a monthly gathering of government and NGO staff, biologists, researchers, and other professionals interested in conservation. Each month, Biobeers sponsors a half-hour presentation on a topic relevant to Mongolian conservation, followed by an informal gathering to discuss activities and issues of interest. Biobeers is an opportunity to find out what is happening in the field of conservation in Mongolia, talk informally to other researchers and peers in your field, and share information about issues critical to the environment and people of Mongolia.
The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Kyoto, Japan holds an International Symposium on "The Collapse and Restoration of the Mongolian Ecosystem Network in the Context of Global Environmental and Social Changes" on 23rd to 24th of January, 2010. This symposium aims integration of information related to the environmental issues and deepening the understanding ecological system in Mongolia. About 20 presentations are scheduled by both natural science and humanities’ studies. Those researches are managed by one of the RIHN’s projects “Collapse and Restoration of Ecosystem Networks with Human Activity”. Leading scientists from Mongolia are invited to the conference as well.
“Interference impact of global warming and globalization on the society in Mongolia”
BATJARGAL Zamba, World Meteorological Organization, UN
There still is a significant portion of uncertainties with regard to the global climate change despite that the last Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC increased a worldwide common understanding about the present trend of global climate change and human activities as its main cause. Estimated future climate scenarios vary from model to model due to the limitation of global climate models (GCMs) and accordingly climate projections are different for given particular areas. Mongolia has developed the National Climate Change Programme referring to the results of projections based on well known GCMs. However, the scientific and professional communities engaged in this exercise are not able to guarantee full confidence in these projections due to the fact that the current GCMs had not captured all intrinsic components in driving factors and possible imperative non-linear feedback effects. The current level of warming at the territory of Mongolia based on instrumental records also needs to be shaped taking into account the locations of specifics of meteorological stations and gradually increasing localized “smog cap” effect in cold seasons in some key settlement areas. Studies on climate change undertaken so far mostly focused on the expected stresses of climate change on ecosystems, while interaction between natural and managed socio-economic systems were considered in simplified ways. In the IPCC Synthesis Report on Climate Change it was recognized that the “effects of climate change on human and some natural systems are difficult to detect due to adaptation and non-climatic drivers”. Mongolian society in recent years has been experiencing series of “shocks” induced by globalization related pressures. At the same time, Mongolia has a limited background to absorb these shocks as a nation due to its past political isolation with non market economic system and culturally “land locked” situation with limited access to a broader cultural domain in the world due to its imposed ideological barriers. Therefore, it is important for Mongolia to consider possible combined effects of global warming and globalization on the society in the process of developing its adaptation strategy anticipating both long term variability and non reversible change in climate conditions.
As most people, who are even remotely connected to Mongolia know, the much publicised (and long overdue) Mongolian economic boom is set to start in earnest. World analysts have now jumped in and tried to predict the shape of things to come.
Mr. MacNamara, a journalist from the Financial Times has recently written an article about Mongolia’s third neighbour policy, while today the news about Mongolia seems to be all about the pre-IPO road-show of South Gobi Energy trying to raise $400m in HK for its Mongolia projects. Before that it was the agreement between Areva and Mitsubishi to develop Uranium deposits in Mongolia together. Not a week goes by that Mongolia does not make the international business headlines with a new deal or story about its upcoming growth, it is clear that the world media’s are slowly catching up to the “Mongolia story” but where is that story heading?
Principally, it seems that the main questions asked by analysts are:
How will Mongolia juggle its appetite for foreign investments while maintaining national and political integrity?
How will Mongolia play its formidable neighbours to its advantage yet retain a real independence from both?
Will the much flaunted “third neighbor policy” work and be efficient or is it merely an elaborate trap for foreign investors?
While the Mongolian economy and its democratic movement are notoriously wild and unpredictable, all the signs seem to point towards a real desire from the political class to move in the right direction. All the ingredients for Mongolia to become this decade’s success story are present, now it is simply a case of blending the right mix of ingredients together to obtain a performing economy. This is actually a lot trickier than it sounds. Thankfully, Mongolia is still a functioning democracy and its elected representatives are still answerable to the people of Mongolia, if only through a system of fair elections and a generally free press.
The will to move in the right direction is clearly demonstrated by the new generation of Mongolia’s politicians who are fast becoming a formidable force, Mr. Zorig, the minister for Mineral Resources, has already accomplished much; he not only achieved the completion of the OT agreement but he has also restored Mongolia’s tainted reputation with Foreign Investors. Mrs. Oyun from the Civil Will Party seems to be one of the political shooting starts and also one of the finest and most driven politicians I have ever seen.
Mongolia’s main weakness has always been its isolation, landlocked between two enormous powers. With the correct exploitation of its resources, Mongolia now has the opportunity to turn that weaknesses into a strength and take full advantage of both neighbours. To achieve this, Mongolia will need to thread a fine line and play a tricky political game if it is to come out on top. Mongolia’s position is not an easy one; it is likely to become the setting of the clash of the titans over its resources. Russia’s agenda for Mongolia seems to be more a question of political dominance while China seems to be primarily concerned with securing easy and cheap access to the resources Mongolia is so abundant in and that China so desperately needs. The country itself seems locked in a love / hate relationship with China while it still has ambiguous feelings about Russia.
Concerning Russia, Mongolia seems uncertain as to where its relationship now stands and worries that Russia will increasingly use the carrot and stick method to obtain what it wants from Mongolia, this was demonstrated with the opposition to the Millennium Challenge railway funds as well as the timely reminders of Mongolia’s supposed outstanding debt to Russia. Russia has notoriously used threats, blackmail and occasional symbolic rewards in dealing with its own internal affairs as well as its previous (Soviet) area of influence; the pressure from Russia is likely to come from the Public sector and will be aimed squarely at the Mongolian Government. China on the other hand is more likely to play a more subtle game, using discrete methods of cajoling, bribery, corruption and its own economic dominance to ascertain its power over Mongolia but this is unlikely to be done by the state but rather led by private Chinese entities.
The best way for Mongolia to leverage its enormous resources against its neighbours is to use what has now been termed “The Third Neighbour Policy”, essentially a loose understanding that whenever possible and advantageous, Mongolia will deal with countries or entities that are neither Chinese nor Russian. This policy has a number of clear advantages, the most obvious of which is that Mongolia should be able to retain a greater independence from either of its neighbours but should also be able to obtain greater transparency and accountability from the “third neighbour” companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP, Peabody and so forth than from its geographic neighbours.
Mongolia’s favoured third neighbours have traditionally been considered to be Japan, Korea, India, the USA and sometimes a few of the European countries. The policy allows them to indiscriminately pick and choose the most suitable partner for each project. The next mega project in the pipeline is the famed Tavan Tolgoi project, the huge coal deposit in the South Gobi. It is too big for a single company to exploit and so will have to be divided and its licenses allocated accordingly. The way this will be done will really settle the question of Mongolia’s foreign policy and its use and abuse of the third neighbour policy. Mr. Zorig has announced that they will announce the shape of things to come regarding Tavan Tolgoi early in 2010 and choose its companies soon thereafter. If Oyu Tolgoi was the appetizer, the amuse-bouche even, Tavan Tolgoi will be the main course.
But, for the policy to have any chance of success it is not simply sufficient to wish it so, Mongolia must become an attractive destination for foreign investments. While some progress has certainly been made, it still needs to improve its offering; the corner stones of foreign investments in Mongolia will be the introduction of effective measures against the rising problems of corruption and the creation of a strong, independent, judicial system. The business environment of Mongolia is still good but can be further strengthened with more comprehensive, transparent and accessible information to foreign investors. Improving political stability is a longer term goal but is part of the greater understanding required on the part of Mongolia as to what is essential for the country to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised world.
Mongolia has already learned much with the debacle of the 68% windfall tax, it must carefully manage its fiscal and foreign policies, a too obvious show of greed on the part of the government will force foreign investors to seek their fortunes elsewhere while a too lenient policy will mean that Mongolia gets taken advantage of and will not receive its fair share of revenues.
On the flip side of the coin, if the third neighbour policy becomes truly effective, it may well anger its two very large and powerful neighbours who feel that they are missing out and see their influence diminish within Mongolia. Mongolia depends on those neighbours for its survival as they are (China in particular) Mongolia’s majority trading partners. Furthermore, Mongolia could be perceived as setting a bad example for its neighbours; a democratic and successful economy on their doorstep might set a dangerous precedent, in particular for the inner Mongolian region of China. It does not take a big stretch of the imagination to understand that both Russia and China have every interest to see Mongolia’s democracy and its third neighbour policy fail. A strong Mongolia is the last thing they want to see. How Mongolia handles this potential political and economical backlash from both countries is the most interesting of questions.
In the end it might well be the case that Mongolia’s abundant availability of minerals might end up being the catalyst that will lead the country to its very own demise. As many other ex-Soviet, resource rich, central Asian countries have already demonstrated, the tightrope balancing act of democracy and good governance is hard to achieve, leaving very little room for errors. It would only be too easy for Mongolia to become a failed state, ruled by despots and only concerned with the well being of its ruling class.
Most people are confident that Mongolia will manage this difficult balancing act well, it will of course make mistakes along the way but as long as it retains a fair system of checks and balances, it will be able to recover from those mistakes and forge ahead. I look forward to seeing Mongolia develop into one of the most successful economies of this decade and will continue to be an avid spectator of this fantastic story.
1. Jadamba, Kirk Olson from WCS will give a talk entitled
"SURVEY OF MONGOLIAN GAZELLE 2008-2009"
2. Andrew Dixon from International Wildlife Consultants, UK Ltd will present a talk entitled
"CONSERVATION OF THE SAKER FALCON THROUGH SUSTAINABLE USE"
3. Gankhuyag Purev-ochir from WSCC will give a talk entitled
"PRODUCTIVITY OF SAKER FALCON AT THE ARTIFICIAL NEST AND NATURAL NEST SITES IN CENTRAL MONGOLIA"
on *Thursday, January 7, 2009.* Talk will start at 6:00pm
Abstracts are attached
Biobeers is held on the first Thursday of every month at Sweet Cafe
(located behind the Information and Technological National Park and
next to the Admon Printing Company, west of Internom Bookstore
Building). People are requested to arrive after 5:30pm, in time for the
talk to start at 6:00.
Biobeers is a monthly gathering of government and NGO staff,
biologists, researchers, and other professionals interested in
conservation. Each month, Biobeers sponsors a half-hour presentation
on a topic relevant to Mongolian conservation, followed by an informal
gathering to discuss activities and issues of interest. Biobeers is an
opportunity to find out what is happening in the field of conservation
in Mongolia, talk informally to other researchers and peers in your
field, and share information about issues critical to the environment
and people of Mongolia.
Biobeers is organised by the Zoological Society of London's Steppe
Forward Programme and sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
At Biobeers the beer is on us!
CONSERVATION OF THE SAKER FALCON THROUGH SUSTAINABLE USE
International Wildlife Consultants, UK Ltd
There is a demand for Saker Falcons for use in Arabic falconry. This demand is met by commercial trade, either through captive-breeding or by wild harvesting. The trade in wild-sourced Saker Falcons can be a legal, CITES regulated trade or it can be an unregulated, illegal trade. Mongolia is the only country that operates a significant legal, CITES regulated harvest (virtually all other international trade in wild Sakers is illegal). However, the Mongolian trade has been subject to a CITES Trade Review because the harvest is potentially detrimental to the Saker population in Mongolia. Conservation through sustainable use is enshrined within the Convention on Biological Diversity and has great potential in its application to Saker Falcon conservation in Mongolia, whilst the continued existence of a sustainable, CITES regulated wild harvest has potential conservation benefits for Sakers internationally. In this talk I will describe the potential for developing a conservation programme for the Saker based on a sustainable harvest in Mongolia and the problems that need to be overcome to implement this conservation strategy.
PRODUCTIVITY OF SAKER FALCON AT THE ARTIFICIAL NEST
AND NATURAL NEST SITES IN CENTRAL MONGOLIA
Wildlife Science and Conservation Centre
We have been studying breeding success of saker falcon at the artificial nest and natural nest sites in central Mongolia since 2007. In line with breeding density, the clutch size, brood size and fledging success of Saker Falcons was lowest at the natural nest grid compared with the artificial nest site. The number of pairs of saker falcons at the artificial nest site is increasing in each year.
On the fist Wednesday of the new year (tomorrow 5 January at 7PM) we have in Cafe Amsterdam the fourth and last episode of the documentary series "On the Trail of GenghisKhan" about Tim Cope's horseback journey from Mongolia to Hungary. People who saw the first episodes in the cafe really enjoyed it, so come tomorrow to watch the last episode, which is also interesting and understandable when you haven't seen the first parts. About Tim Cope: Australian Tim Cope is traveler, author and film-maker, who first came to Mongolia via Russia by bicycle in 2000. Since then he has developed friendship with Tseren and Rik from CafeAmsterdam and Tseren Tours. Tim was part of a row boat journey along the Yenisey river from lake Baikal to the Arctic in 2001. In 2004 he started a 3-year 10.000km journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary. He was chosen the Australian Adventurer of the year 2006. This summer he visited Mongolia again and did with Tseren a trek in the west of Mongolia. In July Tim gave a lecture in CafeAmsterdam.
About the film: Tim just finished making a documentary about his journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary. This documentary will be broadcast in a series of 4 parts of 45 minutes on the French/German network Arte and the German television channel ZDF next year. A few parts of the documentary he has shown already in CafeAmsterdam during his lecture in July
The Business Council of Mongolia announce that their bilingual website has been upgraded for the New Year.
The categories have been reorganized in order to improve usability and make it easier for visitors to find and access information. We created a new category named "Resources". Here you can find regular reports and other resource documents on Mongolia. We continue to upload issues of the BCM NewsWire to the Archives one-month after distribution to members.
Other new features include the calendar, reports, presentations and interviews as well as easier access to the Mining Supply Chain Database via a direct link on our home page.
The Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in the northwestern part of Dornogobi aimag was visited last month by a team from California State Parks. Since Mark Jorgensen, Superintendent (retired) of California’s Anza Borrego Desert State Park® first visited Mongolia in 2006; the relationship between the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve and California State Parks has been on-going. Ikh Nart and Anza Borrego Desert State Park® in California became official Sister Parks last year when the California State Park Commission voted unanimously to pass a Resolution of Support for the relationship between the two parks. Joint efforts include wildlife studies, natural and cultural resource protection, enforcement, training and ecotourism.
State Parks representatives, some for the first time and some returning, traveled on their own time and at their own expense to the official Sister Park. This year’s delegation included Jorgensen, and Lynn Rhodes, Chief, Law Enforcement Division (retiring), three State Park District Superintendents: Mike Wells, Ronie Clark, and Pam Armas, in addition to Anza Borrego Desert State Park® Ranger Steve Bier.
The visit helped to reinforce responsibilities these land mangers have to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources. Both old and new strategies were shared during the visit in order to continue successful stewardship of the sister parks.
Last year, staff from the two sister parks decided one of the best ways to improve protection at Ikh Nart was to better identify the reserve’s boundaries. The State Parks’ team had boundary signs made and brought with them for installation around the Reserve’s perimeter.
Coordinates for all signs were entered into a GIS system for ease in locating and monitoring. New signs were placed around approximately 1/3rd of the reserve’s boundary during the joint work project. The team hopes to complete the boundary sign project during next year’s visit.
The new signs will help those who visit the reserve. Additionally, illegal mining and trespassing are some of the challenges in managing the reserve and good boundary signs will assist Ikh Nart’s Ranger staff in protecting the area.
The visit included a treat for the State Parks team to attend a local Naadam Festival near Ikh Nart. While there, a young boy received an eye injury and was provided first aid by State Park Ranger Steve Bier who was able to stabilize the injury.
The California State Parks team also brought several first aid packs for the Ikh Nart Rangers and shared a joint first aid training session the following day.
While working at the Reserve, the team also met and supported several local women who have started a crafts cooperative called “Ikh Nart is Our Future”. The women, led by their new Director, Boloroo, set up a table at Ikh Nart’s research camp with their newly made felt works. In addition to helping support the women, a portion of the proceeds from their work helps to provide on going support for the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve.
In March of this year, Ikh Nart’s camp manager Amgaa Sukh Amgalanbaatar, traveled to California’s Anza Borrego Desert State Park® for the second time, to assist with efforts there. The Ikh Nart and State Parks’ team said the joint project work increases awareness of what can be gained when working together to protect valuable resources. The measure of success, in part, will be that places like the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve and California’s State Parks will remain protected and accessible for the public to enjoy today and for generations to come.
Lynn Rhodes has most recently been the Chief of California State Parks Law Enforcement Division. After 30 years with California State Parks, she is retiring at year’s end and will spend more time with her family, writing and supporting natural and cultural resource protection and enforcement in California and other locations such as the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in Mongolia, California State Parks’ Sister Park
On December 17, 2009 at 7:00 PM in Cafe Amsterdam we would like to invite you to the Mongolia launch of “Mongolia – Nomad Empire of Blue Sky” written by Carl Robinson and produced jointly by the Mongolia National Tourism Organization, an NGO dedicated to marketing and promotion of Mongolia and Odyssey Publications. The book will be sold more than 7,000 copies in 23 countries around the world. The book is 536 pages containing 250 color photos and 14 maps.
The popular image of Mongolia is a vast and featureless landscape of grassy steppe and sandy deserts sprawled across the top of Asia between China and Russia. But the reality of this remote and landlocked country is much more diverse – and inviting. Mongolia also has soaring snow-capped mountains, forested ranges and bare outcrops plus hundreds of rivers and lakes, including one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. Its rich animal life, both wild and domesticated, is totally absorbing. And its nomadic people are certainly among the most hospitable on earth.
Odyssey’s just-released Mongolia: Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky(available 2/12/09) is a beautifully illustrated book providing a comprehensive and insightful guide to the diverse natural history and rich culture of this land of constant surprises. But the 536-page publication is more than just a guide, but a mini-encyclopedia to this little-known nation that’s been fully-independent only since 1990. Even those interested in simply knowing more about the land that once gave the world the Mongol Empire and Genghis Khan will be drawn into this magnificently-produced and highly-readable publication.
With a reporter’s eye and historian’s ear, veteran foreign correspondent Carl Robinson takes readers on a highly-descriptive, factual and sometimes quirkily personal journey around this vast nation of only 2.6 million people who are far outnumbered by their domesticated horses, goats, sheep, cattle and camels. Starting with the Trans-Mongolian Train journey in from Beijing, the book explores the capital Ulaanbaatar and then, fully-respecting Mongolian tradition, journeys clockwise around the entire country. Unlike others, this guide uses a more comprehensible approach that emphasis distinct geographic and historic regions instead of provinces. Most destinations are simply not on standard tour itineraries and will stimulate operators and tourists to discover new ones.
The book is the result of the author’s collaboration with many Mongolians from all walks of life that has nurtured itself into solid friendship. In recognition of this valuable friendship and despite below-freezing mid-winter temperatures, author Carl Robinson is taking the first copies of the book by train into Mongolia after its official launch at the China Club in Hong Kong on 9 December 2010. This guide to Mongolia is the latest from Odyssey Books & Guides (www.odysseypublications.com) which this year celebrates its 30th Anniversary as the publisher of high-quality and detailed guides, many to quite exotic destinations.
Coming Wednesday 16 December at 7PM we will show in CafeAmsterdam episode two of the documentary series "On the Trail of Genghis Khan" titled "In the Skin of a Wolf" by Tim Cope. Like the first episode, which we showed last week, this is actually a world premiere, because the documentary series has not yet been shown to public before.
About Tim Cope: Tim Cope is traveler, author and film-maker, who first came to Mongolia via Russia by bicycle in 2000. Since then he has developed friendship with Tseren and Rik from CafeAmsterdam and Tseren Tours. Tim was part of a row boat journey along the Yenisey river from lake Baikal to the Arctic in 2001. In 2004 he started a 3-year 10.000km journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary. He was chosen the Australian Adventurer of the year 2006. This summer he visited Mongolia again and did with Tseren a trek in the west of Mongolia. In July Tim gave a lecture inCafeAmsterdam.
About the film: Tim just finished making a documentary about his journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary. This documentary will be broadcast in a series of 4 parts of 45 minutes on the French/German network Arte and the German television channel ZDF next year. A few parts of the documentary he has shown already in CafeAmsterdam during his lecture in July. Wednesday 7PM we will show part two of the series, which is mainly about Kazachstan and the nomadic culture in this country.
People who saw first episode last week really enjoyed it, so come tomorrow toCafeAmsterdam to watch the second part.
One day later on December 17 at 7PM we have in Cafe Amsterdam the book launch of the just released Odyssey guide book: Mongolia, Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky by Carl Robinson. Everybody is welcome to join the launch. Of course the author will be there as well as the people from the Mongolia National Tourism Organization (MNTO) who jointly produced the book. More news about the book launch will follow soon.
This weekend, a new major ski resort will start operating, it is located on the slopes of the sacred Mountain Bogd Khan Uul, overlooking the capitol city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. The new "Sky-Resort" has several runs served by two chairlifts, the lower west one for beginners and the eastern one for ski racing and training, it ascends to the height of 1570m.
The ski center includes a coffee shop, a restaurant and renting facilities, including skiwear, skis, boards and boots. A 30% discount is offered until 25 December 2009. The site is open from 8:30 and serves full light night skiing until 22:00.
Ski school trainers will be present to teach the basics of skiing to visitors, on a individual or group basis.
The temperatures in Ulan Bator are well below freezing throughout the winter. It does snow from time to time, but not enough to ensure snowy slopes. An Italian company Techno-Alpine has installed snow-making equipment. The snow is made and covers the slopes with the aid of 15 lances (snow guns) that spray snow along the ski slopes. They are operated by two fully automated pumping stations.
In order to minimize delivery times, the lances, pump and compressor station units were transported overland from South Tyrol in Italy to Ulaanbaatar via Russia. The remainder of the equipment was transported via China by sea and then transported overland to Mongolia. The final testing of the equipment was completed a few weeks ago.
Compared to international ski slopes, the Sky-Resort slopes are easy to intermediate. The slope colors on the map below do not indicate the difficulty, they should all be green and blue according to common ski slope color codes. None of the slopes can be considered black diamond coded (difficult), although the most challenging slope is the Khurkhereet 1020m, which is named after the name of the near by valley.
To try out your ski skills use the Khurakh 110 meter slope. Continue on the Artsat 210m, and Nukht 400m slopes. When you feel comfortable with your ski skills take the lower western chair lift and ski down the Tenger 800m, and Chuluut 850m.
Experienced skiers will enjoy going up the eastern higher chair lift and go down the Zalaat 1050m, and Zaisan 1070m slopes. The most challengingslope is the fast Khurkhereet 1020m slope. Have fun.
For lift pass and a pair of skis (opening discount until 25 December). Week-day: half day 12,200 Togrog, full day 16,000 Togrog. Week-end: half day 17,300 Togrog, full day 22,400 Togrog.