Building Capacity for the Second Generation of Protected Area Management Plans in Western Mongolia



Story by Tuguldur Enkhtsetseg (TNC) and Munkhchuluun Basan (WWF), CCNet Mongolia franchise leaders. 

Western Mongolian Protected Areas protect unique conservation targets, including snow leopards, wild sheep, and lakes. In 2012, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) of Mongolia approved the  Conservation Standards approach for Protected Area management plans, and in late 2018, the MET approved the upgraded Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) for formal assessments of the effectiveness of Protected Areas. To date, 55 out of 102 State Protected Areas have developed Conservation Standards-based management plans, and most Strictly Protected Areas and National Parks have renewed their management plans to reflect the Conservation Standards principles. Many State Protected Areas completed their management plans in 2018 or 2019, and 10 Protected Areas have used the tracking tool to assess their effectiveness. 

In the past, management plans for Protected Areas were developed by external experts.Plan implementation was limited because park staff didn’t fully understand the scope and purpose of activities included in the management plan. For the last four years, conservation coaches from WWF and TNC have been working closely with MET and several universities to train Mongolian conservation professionals in the Open Standards and adaptive management.  

In November 2019, the MET and coaches Sergelen Erdenebaatar (WWF) and Tuguldur Enkhtsetseg (TNC) led an Conservation Standards training for 35 staff from State Protected Areas in Western Mongolia and four teachers from Khovd University. During the training, coaches shared experiences, reviewed the draft management plans, and suggested ways to improve coherence among Protected Areas in the same region. In December 2019, eight Protected Areas finalized their draft management plans and submitted them to the MET for approval.  

With this training–and the insights gained from the METT assessments–Protected Area staff now have the capacities needed to develop their next five-year management plans by themselves and the understanding to guide successful plan implementation. 


Mongolian protected area staff review managament plan information at the training in November, 2019. Photo by  Tuguldur Enkhtsetseg/TNC. . 

Participants at the Open Standards training for 35 staff from State Protected Areas in Western Mongolia , November, 2019. Photo by Khar Us lake PA Administration, Mongolia.