DRM Issues in Mongolia
Mongolia is characterized by its harsh climate, with extreme weather events that can cause significant loss of household assets and leave much of the population highly vulnerable. Both rural and urban populations are at risk, as has been demonstrated in recent years.
Rural Risks: Given the dependence of rural economies on livestock, which account for 63 percent of rural household assets, the effects of “dzud” and consequent high levels of livestock mortality have had a major impact on rural poverty. There is evidence that the frequency of severe dzud events is increasing. Data on livestock losses show that the three successive dzud from 2000-2002 were unprecedented, and the 2009-2010 dzud was the worst on record in terms of numbers and percentage of animal mortality. Dzud are typically “slow onset” type disasters with animals succumbing to the weather or too weak to make it through to spring. Animals are weak and herders short of pasture and/or fodder and hay. As a result, animals starve to death. Herders, local and national authorities therefore need to take actions during three broad phases: i) pre-dzud preparation; ii) on-going dzud coping; and iii) post-dzud recovery.
Urban Risks: Although traditionally a rural society, Mongolia is becoming increasingly urbanized with high levels rural to urban migration. Its capital, Ulaanbaatar (UB), is now home to roughly 40 percent of the total population of 2.6 million and generates more than 60 percent of the country’s GDP. Over 60 percent of the city’s residents, mostly low income households, live in unplanned settlements, known locally as “ger areas”. These areas lack basic services, such as central heating, reliable water supply, and paved and aligned roads etc. Rapid urbanization is also putting pressure on existing public services and the environment. Poorly maintained storm water management facilities, low quality housing, degradation of land water retention capacity, and habitation in hilly, sloped areas and desertification in watershed areas have all meant that the city is becoming increasingly prone to flash floods, putting the population at risk. In addition, UB is also situated in one of the most seismically active parts of the world, experiencing 30 to 50 quakes above 5.0 on an annual basis.
Responses to the Issues from the Government of Mongolia (GOM), the World Bank and Other Agencies
The GOM provides annual budgetary provisions for potential dzud and other disaster events. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) receives a regular annual budgetary allocation to cover its running costs and to replenish the State Reserve Fund. The latter is held in the form of stocks of food and goods, grains, fodder, fuel and industrial and security equipment which are strategically located across the country for purposes of economic security and disaster response. Annual budget resources are also allocated to the Government Reserve.
The coordination of key institutions responsible for disaster management requires improvement. There is strong indication that at present NEMA operates on the basis of internalizing all of the necessary resources for response, instead of coordinating and combining the resources of many other agencies that have response capacities and assets. Coordinating the deployment of assets of other institutions, such as the military and police forces, Ministries of Construction, Health, and Social Affairs, the Red Cross, civil society organizations, local government bodies and private entities (e.g., mining and construction companies) has not been part of NEMA’s mandate. In addition, local level capacity for disaster management is weak at all levels since much of the focus has been on national level policies. Emergency preparedness plans at the local level, especially in the City of UB, have not been adequately formulated.
The World Bank is the primary international organization focusing on rural risk management issues. Under the Sustainable Livelihoods Project (SLIP), the objective of the Pastoral Risk Management (PRM) component is to continue strengthening the capacity of rural families, especially livestock herder households, to manage environmental, financial, social and other forms of risk that can adversely affect their livelihoods. Under the Index-based Livestock Insurance Project, an innovative index based insurance scheme has been introduced and is now being scaled up nationwide.
The World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are involved in improving urban service provision in UB and “ger” areas in particular, including water provision (under the World Bank’s ongoing Ulaanbaatar Services improvement Project 2), Secondary Access Roads (ADB), community facilities such as community centers, public baths (Japan Social Development Fund-financed Community Led Infrastructure Project, UN-HABITAT). JICA has also been working closely with the MUB to improve ger area planning through participatory neighborhood re-plotting exercises intended to improve road realignment for better access to ger areas. The preponderance of unplanned roads makes rescue efforts difficult during emergencies and poor maintenance of existing infrastructure, such as drainage networks exacerbates risks associated with flooding. JICA has provided training for key NEMA staff on disaster response in Japan, drawn on experts from the Asia Disaster Reduction Center to improve capacity for earthquake safety and has piloted some risk assessments, hazard mapping, early warning systems and public awareness activities around DRM issues.
The Disaster Risk Management Specialist will work under the direct supervision of Sector Manager of Sustainable Development for Mongolia and China, with an indirect reporting line to the East Asia and Pacific Regional Coordinator for DRM in Washington. The DRM Specialist is expected to work closely with the Sustainable Development Network staff in Mongolia as well as those in Washington. He/she should have daily coordination with Mr. Charles Annor-Frempong (Senior Rural Development Specialist) and Mr. Erdene Ochir Badarch (Operations Officer and Mongolia DRM Country Focal Point).
Oversee national DRM program implementation
• Coordinate and support the implementation of GFDRR’s Track II country program portfolio in Mongolia under the guidance of the respective task team leaders (TTLs).
• Work closely with the line ministries to support the implementation of the GFDRR program and provide technical advice and quality support for risk reduction programs and, if needed, post disaster needs assessments.
• Undertake monitoring and evaluation of the GFDRR-funded program by finalizing the Country Note for Mongolia, identifying priority activities to be funded under GFDRR, agreeing on performance indicators, and preparing progress reports, project briefings and other relevant monitoring information to inform clients, donors, Directors, GFDRR, and DRR partners in an organized manner and with adherence to the Bank’s quality guidelines. These activities will be carried out with a close coordination with the Mongolia DRM Country Focal Point, the respective TTLs and the team members.
• Review planned and on-going Bank projects in key sectors (i.e. rural and urban development, health, education, and mining) to identify opportunities for DRR mainstreaming and climate change adaptation and provide technical support to TTLs on operations.
• Provide technical advice/inputs to Bank teams working on DRM and CCA projects across sectors to synergize efforts and build a coherent, integrated and efficient program of interventions at the country level.
Manage a comprehensive, in-country sectoral dialogue with critical stakeholders
• Support the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Department of Emergency Management in the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar (MUB) in taking the lead in enhancing aid effectiveness in DRM; assist NEMA and MUB to strengthen in-country partnerships and to coordinate with relevant international agencies, such as ADB, JICA, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), other donors and academia relating to project activities.
• Consult and coordinate closely with the GOM and other development partners to prepare the next phase of the GFDRR program.
• Represent GFDRR and the EAP DRM team, as required, at internal and external meetings and deliver presentations on Track II country program portfolio as well as on GFDRR and the EAP DRM program in general.
• Update the TTLs, EAP DRM team, and the country team on DRM and CCA activities that are carried out by the GOM and other donors in every quarter.
Support government led coordination on DRM and build critical capacities
• Strengthen in-country capacity of government counterparts to plan, prioritize and implement a DRM and CCA agenda, specifically; support NEMA in mainstreaming DRM into the development strategy during its preparation and implementation.
• Establish and improve communication channels between NEMA and other Government entities at both central and local levels to enhance awareness.
• Provide operational support in the event of a drought or flood or other disaster in the country/region, by participating in emergency response activities such as conducting post disaster needs assessments.
Contribute to GFDRR’s knowledge management system
• Prepare lessons learned and best practice pieces based on the on-going DRM portfolio.
• Promote and facilitate knowledge exchange and dissemination in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation between countries and sectors, including direct support to the analytical work on gender and DRM.
• Perform other duties and functions as assigned by SD Sector Manager and EAP DRM Regional Coordinator.
• A Master's degree with focus on hydro-meteorology science, GIS, environment, climate science, structural engineering or another relevant discipline.
• Ability to work independently and be accountable for quality delivery.
• Ability to undertake technical review and provide technical guidance and support to the GOM counterpart agencies.
• At least five years of relevant experience in the areas related to climate change, natural hazards, disasters, humanitarian affairs, vulnerability, and disaster risk management.
• Fluency in written and spoken English is essential. Knowledge of other languages is an asset.
• Familiarity with GOM operational, budgeting and other processes towards disaster risk management would be a plus.
• Experience working in an international environment is desired.
• Highly developed communication and advocacy skills, including the ability to write concisely and clearly.
• Ability to take initiative and identify opportunities for collaboration.
• Knowledge of the Bank’s operational policies and practices, including institutional, operational and technical issues related to the Bank’s project cycle would be a plus, but not compulsory.
• Field experience in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction assignments is an advantage.
• Ability to work in a fast track environment, with efficiency, competence and integrity with people of different cultural backgrounds.