Press tour organized for ADB-funded projects in Selenge aimag

The Government of Mongolia in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is implementing numerous projects in Mongolia that would make a significant contribution to the country’s social and economic development. On May 6-7, within a press tour led by Ms. Yolanda Fernandez Lommen, ADB Country Director for Mongolia, our reporting team got acquainted on-site with the implementation progress and outcomes of the ones being carried out in Selenge aimag.

On May 6, our visit started from the Altanbulag border crossing point, where the ‘Regional Improvement of Border Services’ project is being implemented. The aimag’s customs authorities welcomed us and gave detailed information on the project together with the ADB officer in charge of the project. According to the officials, facilities and equipment at Altanbulag and Sukhbaatar border crossing points will be improved and upgraded, 1.7 km of shortcut road from Altanbulag border crossing point to the main road will be constructed and a single stop service center for border agencies will be built for Sukhbaatar border crossing point under the project. The conceptual and detailed engineering designs have been prepared thus, construction works will be commenced within this year. The passenger and freight terminals of the Altanbulag border crossing point will be separated to follow government’s guidance on the development of the border crossing points. As a result, existing capacity for both passenger and freight terminals will be doubled. Moreover, the construction features checkpoint extension, establishment of laboratories for customs and border inspection department, warehouses, inspection facility for perishables, as well as detection dog facility.

We also were briefed by relevant officials on the next project being implemented at the crossing point, the ‘Regional Upgrades of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for Trade’. The project aims to boost agricultural products’ trade through improvement of SPS system in Mongolia in compliance with the World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of SPS measures. The project will address the issue through upgrading laboratories and constructing first ever quarantine facilities in Mongolia at the border crossing points, strengthening inspection management systems, and aligning SPS control and inspections with international standards. In particular, provision of specialized inspection services will be digitized and it is expected that the time spent for obtaining certificates and licenses will be reduced by 25 percent and required number of documents by 15 percent. Also, disinfection facilities for incoming vehicles will be installed. After the briefing, the customs authorities showed us around the border crossing point and answered some inquiries.

On the second day of the visit, Governor of Selenge aimag Sh.Orgil received us, briefing about the aimag and its cooperation with ADB. We then visited the Central Hospital of Selenge aimag to take part in the opening ceremony of the sterilization unit and microbiology laboratory of the hospital, which were upgraded under the ADB-funded ‘Fifth Health Sector Development’ project. Thereafter, Head of the Health Department of Selenge aimag J.Od and the central hospital’s Director detailed us on the works carried out at the hospital. It was informed that within the project, a total of MNT 2.4 billion was invested to the central hospital. As a result of the maintenance and equipment renovation at the hospital’s blood bank, blood product types were increased from three to seven and blood transfusion practices improved. This significantly strengthened safety, quality and availability of blood products. The sterilization department and microbiology laboratory were established with high technology equipment. This increased the capacity and ensured the patients’ and health workers’ safety through improvement of the infection prevention control. Moreover, the enhancement of medical waste management opened up an opportunity to dump the medical waste at normal landfill sites after full disinfection. The project included not only maintenance and equipment renovation, but also capacity-building training for the hospital staff and upgrading of the guidelines and standard operating procedures.

The same day, we met with some NGOs of the aimag to get information on the technical assistance project ‘Gender-Responsive Sector and Local Development Policies and Actions’, which wraps up this month. Under the project aimed at ensuring gender equality through increased public understanding and knowledge about gender equity, gender equality subprogram of Selenge aimag was developed and adopted by local government on the basis of a gender situational analysis and institutional assessment conducted by five local NGOs, subcontracted by ADB. During the project implementation, the National Program on Gender Equality, 2017-2021, was developed along with the Gender-responsive policies for four focus sectors: education, urban development, agriculture, and labor and social protection. More than 2,300 civil servants trained nationwide, and an international conference and two national symposia were held. Moreover, three-month national and local level multi-media campaigns were organized to raise public awareness and address gender stereotypes among the public.

Our reporting team got to know about the ‘Combating Domestic Violence Against Women and Children’ project from the ADB officer in charge of the project. The project to strengthen the quality of and access to prevention and multidisciplinary response to domestic violence started in February 2019. Under the project, a shelter for protection of domestic violence survivors will be established in Selenge aimag. The aimag is also expected to benefit from the economic empowerment program for domestic violence survivor women; small-scale grants program for multi-disciplinary teams; training programs for aimag coordination sub-council for crime prevention, multi-disciplinary teams and peer educators of persons with disabilities; and public awareness raising activities.

Photo by: T.Chimgee

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