Mongolian National Development Agency to strengthen Urban Nexus sectors

On 3 July 2018, The Mongolian National Development Agency (NDA) and the “Integrated Resource Management in Asian cities: the Urban Nexus project” signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This collaboration will concentrate on the “Nexus” sectors of water, energy and food security by considering their synergies and trade-offs in a cross-sectoral and multi-level approach “thinking out of the box”.
Concrete starting points are the areas of environment, land use, energy, water and sanitation as well as air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, home to nearly half of the total population.
However, the national level must first create the appropriate framework conditions to unlock the potentials of cities to promote sustainable development in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda. Consequently, the advice offered is aimed at national policies and development plans geared more towards a resource-efficient and coordinated approach to reduce conflicting goals, conserve resources, exploit synergies and integrate sectoral policies.
The “circular economy” concept serves as a vision of a societal transformation towards a decarbonised society.
NDA has been conducting very successful sector consultations and has elaborated a “Methodology of Defining Policy Priority Directions”, which was recently presented to the Mongolian Cabinet for approval.
From mid-August 2018 onwards, eight working groups will be established to work on the priority SDG targets of Mongolia concretising the indicators of the SDGs on a cluster basis (integrated approach). NDA has studied the existing indicators and concluded that Mongolia disposes of data from the National Statistical Office for 113 out of the 244 indicators. For the remaining 111 indicators, additional data will need to be elaborated further.
Prior to signing the MoU, a Nexus Training Workshop was conducted in collaboration with NDA to impart integrated and efficient resource planning and management in the areas of energy, water & sanitation, air pollution and urban development planning. Related ministries, Ulaanbaatar City, professional associations and utilities also participated in the workshop, making it an inter-institutional event designed to improve inter-institutional cooperation. A first area of further cooperation in the framework of a circular economy concept is solid waste management.
As NDA oversees foreign private investment, it is leading a Working Group to provide advisory services to the Mongolian Government concerning a planned public-private partnership project on solid waste management for Ulaanbaatar.

Waste composition
Considering the waste composition in Mongolia with low-moisture content, incineration is the right technology. The heat-energy produced can be used for district heating and electricity production to be fed into the grid. The wastewater could be treated and recycled as Ulaanbaatar is running out of ground water reserves. However, many aspects must be considered if incineration is to be used in an environmentally friendly manner, not polluting the already battered environment.
State-of-the-art filter technology/filters
The most important and most expensive aspects of incineration plants are the filters used to reduce emissions. That’s where incineration plants often fail as they frequently do not use state-of-the-art filter technologies to reduce the air pollution and hence keep the environmental impact to a minimum.
Gases (emissions) coming from the chimneys of incineration plants can be very toxic if not burned and treated properly. High temperature (above 1000-Degrees Celsius) is required to burn the toxic gases.
Waste water management
Moreover, incineration plants also produce wastewater as the waste disposes of water (leachate). The wastewater of incineration plants is highly toxic and requires treatment, discharge and standards for discharge. The options for treatment and discharge must be considered.
Supervision and control
The emissions of the incineration plant have to be monitored and supervised continuously. Strict control is recommended to avoid air pollution with toxic gases. The “tricky” aspect is that if air pollution from toxic substances such as heavy metals, dioxin etc. occurs, it is not visible but can only be gauged by measuring equipment installed around the incineration plant.
For supervision to be carried out, standards must be in place and capacity building for the staff should be undertaken.
It is proposed to first use the respective European Standards, which have to be approved by the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology (MASM). Thereafter, an adaptation of the European Standards to Mongolian circumstances can be initiated.
Feed in tariff (FIT)
Which FIT can be applied must be checked, as the energy produced is neither renewable energy nor can it be considered as biomass. However, the FIT has to be attractive to convince investors to invest.
Technical Assistance by GIZ Urban Nexus
Counselling/advisory services of the GIZ Urban Nexus Project to NDA and Working Group on solid waste management will consist of:
- Technical expertise on technical proposals/technologies proposed by investors (assessment of technologies proposed)
- State-of-the-art technologies applied in Europe
- Comparisons with similar investments in other countries (South and South East Asia as well as Europe)
- Assessment of Feasibility studies
- Standards and norms to be applied including support for translation from German or English into Mongolian
- Capacity building for staff of supervision Authority
- Regulatory Framework.

The “Integrated Resource Management in Asian cities: the Urban Nexus project” is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ in collaboration with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI).
The Mongolian National Development Agency (NDA) is responsible for inter-institutional coordination regarding the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs. In this context, the NDA also supports the identification of leading sectors, and the framing of suitable policies on investment, concession and partnership between government and private sectors.

In elaborating development policy and planning, the new approach thus concentrates on:
- Participatory approach emphasising planning of development by engaging representatives from various sectors and societal groups.
- Science-based approach elaborating development policies and planning based on studies and research evidences and findings.
- People-centred approach based on human development and human well-being aspects.
- Result or output-oriented approach, closely integrated with monitoring and evaluation.

Contact information