Ensuring Sustainability and Resilience of Green Landscapes in Mongolia (ENSURE) project

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From December 18, 2018 to December 18, 2025

Project ID: 5784

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Mainstreaming biodiversity
  • Strengthening conservation areas


  • Wildlife conservation


  • Forests
  • Grasslands
  • Deserts


  • Dryland forests
  • Boreal forests (Taiga forests)
  • Steppes
  • Grazing lands
  • Semi-arid (cold winter) deserts

Transformed sector(s)

  • Forestry and other land use
  • Livestock
  • Tourism

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Convening / Partnerships / Knowledge Sharing
  • Data collection and analysis


  • Enabling
  • Management operation
  • Capacity building


  • Mainstream
  • Advocacy (towards policy makers)
  • Alignment
  • Wildlife and habitat conservation
  • Ecosystem-based management
  • Sustainable land management
  • Institutional capacity building
  • Community capacity building

Social inclusion


Gender equality


Gender result effectiveness scale



  • Systems pathway
  • People pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Hazard control/mitigation
  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  • 15.3 Combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil
  • 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction

Conventions and protocols


Private sector(s)


Hot topic

  • Food and agricultural commodities strategy

Project description

Mongolia, which covers 1.56 million km2 and is the worldÂs seventeenth largest country, is located between Russia and China at the crossroads of the Central Asian Steppes, the Siberian Tundra and the Gobi Desert. It hosts a range of globally important biodiversity, including parts of two WWF Global 200 priority eco-regions (the Amur-Heilong in NE Mongolia and the Altai-Sayan in Western Mongolia), as well as 2 UNESCO natural World Heritage Sites, 11 Ramsar sites and 70 Important Bird Areas (IBA). MongoliaÂs relatively intact and ecologically diverse landscapes provide habitat for a rich biodiversity and ecological processes including seasonal migrations, predator-prey interactions, and natural river flows that are all but lost in many regions of the world. The proposed focus for this project - the Sayan and Khangai mountains and southern Gobi represented by the four provinces (aimags) of Gobi Altai, Bayankhongor, Arkhangai and Zavkhan - demonstrate the full range of MongoliaÂs diverse ecological zones. These include dry deserts, desert-steppes and steppes in the south to relatively lush forest-steppes, taiga (boreal forests) and alpine zones in the north. These remarkable landscapes form a stronghold for a high proportion of MongoliaÂs iconic and/or most threatened large mammals, including Gobi bear, snow leopard, Mongolian gazelle, wild Bactrian camel, Asiatic wild ass, Saiga antelope, Argali (wild sheep), Siberian ibex, lynx, wolverine, Musk deer, red deer, the previously extinct in the wild but now re-introduced Przewalski's horse, elk, wolf, brown bear as well as a broad assemblage of globally threatened birds (including iconic species like Altai snowcock and Dalmation pelican) and other biodiversity. With the exception of the highest alpine zones and driest deserts, these multiple landscapes are dominated by pastoral rangelands and forests, including boreal forests (larch, pine and birch) in the north and Saxaul forests in the south. The five target provinces hold 43.3% (6.03 million ha) and 53.7% (2.49 million ha) of the national forest resource (18.19 million ha) of these two forest types respectively , including some of the best examples of boreal forest in the Khangai mountains where there is a mix of traditional pastures, forests and some agriculture.These landscapes and their biodiversity provide vital ecosystem services for the regionÂs human population of almost 400,000 people (as well as more distant populations ), the majority of whom are nomadic or semi-nomadic herding families living at densities of less than 1 person per square kilometre. They rely entirely on the grasslands to provide year-round forage for their livestock, and many rely on the forests for timber, supplementary fuel and NTFPs. The Khangai mountains with their relatively high precipitation and rich forest cover play a crucial role in feeding the rivers Orkhon, Selenge, Ider, Zavkhan and the lakes Orog and Böön tsagaan, which are vital water resources in this largely arid/semi-arid country, whilst some also flow north from Mongolia through Russia (including Lake Baikal) to the Arctic Ocean. A crucial ecosystem service provided by these forests is carbon storage, and best estimates suggest that the above- and below-ground carbon storage capacity of forests in these five provinces is 252.44 million metric tonnes for the northern boreal forests and 1.71 million metric tonnes for the southern saxaul forests (total = 254.15 million metric tonnes) . Saxaul forests also play a crucial role in stopping desertification by fixing soils, protecting traditional pastures against storms and erosion and providing important opportunities for agroforestry. However, the forestry sector (timber sales) makes only a small contribution to GDP (estimated to be 0.25% in 2009) , while a new study indicates that the market value of wood products, NTFP, hunting and forest-based tourism is more than fifteen times as high as the recorded value of forest sector sales . The continuation of traditional nomadic lifestyles is in itself also a significant global

USD $8,159,253

Grant amount

USD $39,079,717

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($8,159,253)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Ministry of Environment and Tourism

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation