Herder families, accounting for a third of the total population in Mongolia, make up one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. They are at risk of losing pasture land, key to their livelihoods, due to severe land degradation caused by livestock overpopulation compounded by climate change. Less than 20 per cent of herders were enrolled in social insurance schemes, and only 40 per cent had health insurance. Despite a large number of measures in the national system for disaster prevention and management to reduce the risk of livestock death as a result of droughts and severe winters, there are no explicit provisions within the social protection system to protect the welfare of vulnerable households or children from the growing problem of climate-driven shocks.
The introduction of innovative social protection enrolment models for herders that protect against loss of income and livestock due to climate shocks provides much-needed income security and prevents reduced food consumption, reduced expenditure for health and education while enhancing herder families’ resilience to extreme cold periods and other adverse and extreme climate events. Under the Resident Coordinator’s leadership, ILO, UNFPA, UNICEF and FAO, joined forces to propose a coherent and unified programme proposal leveraging each agency’s technical expertise accompanied by strong coordination with government ministries and civil society organizations and other development actors in the country.
Through a “quick win” approach using the existing structures and social protection programmes, the joint programme began its efforts by introducing the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA-II) to mainstream the concept of resilience of pastoral communities into relevant reforms of national policies on shock-responsive social protection, climate change adaptation and disaster risk assessment. The RIMA tool aims to assist the Government’s effort to define the targeted population in need of shockresponsive assistance. In addition, the joint programme piloted and supported the Herder cooperatives’ contingency fund as a shock-responsive and income-generation tool. The joint programme tested new innovative approaches to extend social protection among herder men and women introducing peer-to-peer awareness-raising learning modalities, where herders, members of cooperatives, pastureland user groups, lifelong education centre trainers and trade union representatives worked together to advocate for the benefits of social and health insurance programmes among their peer herders. This led to the incorporation of the Herders’ Programme in the national training curriculum of the National Centre for Lifelong Education of Mongolia.
Finally, the introduction of the cash transfer top-up to the existing Child Money Programme to provide income security in case of loss of livelihood due to climate shocks proved its efficacy in keeping vulnerable households out of poverty and was adopted as a Government policy after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, targeted herder communities received awareness-raising workshops to avoid substance abuse and manage stress, increasing awareness of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and prevention of gender-based violence.
A total of 5,600 herders (47% women) enrolled on social insurance. Increased social and health insurance takeup by five per cent among herders at the national level, and by 10 per cent in the five target administrative districts “soums” in the Zavkhan province, reaching a total of 25% of herders insured.
Reached 1,218,445 children monthly in 2021 with money top-ups to the Children’s Money Programme aimed to protect children and their families from negative coping strategies during the most harsh winters, such as reduced food consumption, reduced expenditure for health and education, and enhance their resilience to extreme cold periods.
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The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.