Supporting Capacity Development for Onon Balj NP, Eastern Mongolia
Europe/Middle-East > Europe General
The project seeks to develop capacity and support conservation activities in the recently established Onon Balj National Park (NP) in Eastern Mongolia.
The park provides vital environmental goods and services to the local community and hosts the headwater for the Amur Heilong river, the longest free flowing river in the world. Work will focus on providing training and support for park rangers.
There is a need for technical and financial support to institute an effective management system for the ecologically important freshwater ecosystem within the Onon Balj NP.
Though it is officially claimed that 13.7 % of Mongolian territory is under special protection and the number of locally protected areas (PAs) is 600, these parks and PAs often little more than ‘paper’ parks, with little practical support to effectively manage their conservation.
Limited financial and human resources for effective law enforcement and a shortage of trained professionals means not much has been done to truly protect the officially designated sites. However, balancing conflicting interests for use and conservation remains a challenge and there have been a number of attempts delist the protected areas.
The threats to the integrity of the Onon Balj NP are increasing with greater demand for economic development potentially causing environmental damage.
Over-harvesting of natural resources, including poaching and illegal wildlife trade; deforestation due to logging and fires, especially on the Russian side for slash and burn agriculture; mining; and unregulated mass tourism are amongst the anthropogenic factors affecting the integrity of the park ecosystem.
The Onon Balj NP requires support and assistance to strengthen its capacity, so it will be able to ensure long-term conservation and sustainable management for the park. Current central government funding barely covers the wages for 8 park staff, which means systematic patrolling and regular monitoring work is simply not possible. Support and assistance to the park will enable efficient on-the-ground work and effective law enforcement within the vicinity of the park and its buffer zones.
1. An effective and regularly functional network of park rangers and law enforcement officers established and supported.
2. Training programme developed for Onon Balj NP park rangers and law enforcement officers.