A Closer Look at SDC’s Impact on Governance and Development

Local news, 03.02.2024

As Mongolia commemorates the 32nd anniversary of the adoption of its Constitution, the successful conclusion of the Strengthening the Representative Bodies of Mongolia project marks a significant milestone.  

SRBM-II project Closing Event at Parliament House
SRBM-II project Closing Event at Parliament House ©SDC

This initiative, implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), aimed to fortify governance structures in Mongolia. Held at the Parliament House of Mongolia, the closing ceremony reflected on the project’s achievements and impact, which focused on parliamentary democracy, local governance, and the overall enhancement of public services.

At the heart of the project was the commitment to strengthening governance, a key objective of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Dr. Stefanie Burri, Head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, emphasized the importance of gender equality, leaving no one behind, and the long-term sustainability of achievements. The project aimed to empower representative bodies and enhance local governance to deliver better public services, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The project comprised three interconnected sub-projects, each addressing different facets of governance and public services. The first, Consolidating Parliamentary Democracy in Mongolia, focused on strengthening the capacity of the State Great Khural, the highest legislative body in Mongolia. The second, Strengthening the Capacity of the Office of the President, collaborated with the Office of the President to improve its functions and support the implementation of its action plan. The third, Strengthening Representative Bodies in Mongolia, aimed to enhance democratic governance and the capacity of representative bodies in alignment with constitutional amendments.

1. The Consolidating Parliamentary Democracy in Mongolia project was launched in August 2021. It promoted parliamentary education to strengthen the capacity of Mongolia’s highest legislative body, encourage and empower it in exercising its oversight and representative functions, and support interparliamentary cooperation between Mongolia and Switzerland. This included conducting research, training, and advocacy activities and capacitating national trainers. With the support of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Mongolian Parliament organized the first-ever parliamentary self-assessment on human rights and gender issues.

The project’s framework provided for the elaboration and deliberation of the Law on Oversight of the State Great Khural. Since the law was approved in 2021, an ad hoc oversight committee of the State Great Khural has been established to look into issues that might be related to corruption and crimes of abuse of power that draw great public attention. The committee has conducted public hearings to examine and analyze evidence related to issues of concern and started a new practice of transferring such cases for legal action and court examination.

2. Strengthening the Capacity of the Office of the President: Over 100 specific activities were implemented to support the Office of the President. This included the drafting and approval of amendments to the Law on Political Parties, which had been stalled for over two decades, showcasing the project's impact on legislative progress. The project also supported initiatives addressing global climate change, organizing conferences on green finance, and facilitating policy discussions. This support is crucial for Mongolia in defining comprehensive green development policies. These are very important for Mongolia to define its green development policy in a comprehensive way, improve the policy and legal environment, ensure the coordination and cooperation of relevant stakeholders, and create a green business environment.

3. Training and research activities under the Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of Local Authorities sub-project aimed to prepare and capacitate local assembly representatives, ensuring their effective functioning to meet citizens’ interests and needs. In 2021-2023, a number of incremental activities were implemented in Ulaanbaatar and 330 soums in 21 provinces to support the implementation of the Law on Livestock Tax. In 2021, the first year of its implementation, 15.3 billion MNT was allocated to the Local Development Fund, and 19.9 billion MNT was allocated in 2022. To support the implementation of the Law on Administrative and Territorial Units and Their Governance (LATUG), the project co-organized comprehensive training and research to prepare and capacitate local assembly representatives to fulfill their legitimate and legally mandated functions, such as meeting the interests and needs of citizens, reflecting their opinions, designing development plans, ensuring coherent budgets, and monitoring the activities of governors.

4. The Cabinet Secretariat and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation successfully implemented the Decentralization Policy Support project, leading to the development and approval of relevant legislation. Notable outcomes include the revised legal status laws for cities and soums, emphasizing the positive effects of decentralizing governance.

SDC’s projects in Mongolia have strengthened democratic governance and local bodies, leaving a lasting impact on public services and legislative progress. By aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals, the collaborative efforts of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, working alongside Mongolian governmental bodies, contribute to a more inclusive, transparent, and sustainable future for the people of Mongolia.