Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth” Protecting ecosystems, conserving biodiversity

Mongolia has a rich diversity of ecosystems and biological species. However, the valuable natural resources are under threat through excessive use and climate change.

A yak at Lake Khoton in Mongolia

A yak at Lake Khoton in Mongolia

A yak at Lake Khoton in Mongolia


The country’s most important economic sector, the extractive industry, is a particular pressure on the environment. Mining requires large amounts of water. That is why the country is increasingly threatened by water scarcity.

In many regions, deforestation and overgrazing are causing the depletion and serious damage of soils. Soil degradation or desertification are already affecting roughly three quarters of the land surface. Logging and slash and burn clearance have reduced forest stands to just under ten per cent of the country’s surface area.

The steppes, deserts and high mountain areas of Mongolia are very sensitive to climatic change. The impacts of climate change, in particular a rise in temperatures and a fall in the already low levels of precipitation, is expected to have serious consequences for Mongolia’s ecosystems and their biodiversity. The number of hot days has increased significantly and droughts have become much more frequent in recent decades.

Reforms of the country’s environmental policies have created a better basis for protecting Mongolia's biodiversity. However, their implementation could still be improved. So far, the government has designated some 20 per cent of the country as protected areas, yet because of the size of the territory, surveillance is extremely difficult.

German activities

In order to preserve Mongolia's unique natural heritage and at the same time improve the living conditions for the people, more must be done to promote and manage nature reserves. Germany is currently providing support for eleven nature reserves throughout the country.

Priority areas of cooperation are improving the management of protected areas, developing management and business plans, and financing infrastructure projects. In addition, support is being provided for efforts to procure the equipment needed to manage and monitor the protected areas effectively, for instance off-road vehicles, fire trucks, material for rangers and IT equipment.

Additional assistance is being provided for the people living in the buffer zones of protected areas whose livelihoods depend on the use of natural resources. Creating income opportunities for these people, for example through eco-friendly tourism, is a way to help reduce poverty in rural areas.

Together with the European Union, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), France and the Czech Republic the BMZ is providing financing for a project that promotes modern land use management and environmentally friendly forest management. These efforts are complemented by media and education campaigns targeting the local people, visitors of protected areas and experts to build knowledge on the value of natural resources and the importance of biodiversity.

As at: 21/07/2023