Amid rapidly increasing desertification and the growing threat from the climate crisis, the Buddhist-majority nation of Mongolia has launched a national campaign to plant a billion trees by 2030, pledging to spend at least one per cent of its GDP each year on a comprehensive national program to combat climate change and deforestation.
The campaign is part of Mongolia’s efforts to reduce the impact of planet-wide climate change and to bolster the country’s contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“The national campaign to plant a billion trees begins today,” Yangug Sodbaatar, chief-of-staff of the office of Mongolia’s president, said on Monday in Ulaanbataar, while announcing President Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh’s formal order to launch the campaign. “In this regard, President Khürelsükh has issued a decree on obliging the government to spend annually at least one per cent of the GDP on combating climate change and desertification or planting trees.” (XinhuaNet)
With a total land area of 1.6 million square kilometers, only 7.9 per cent of Mongolia is covered by forests, while some 77 per cent of the country has been subject to desertification and land degradation, according to data from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Since 2010, Mongolia has designated the second Saturday in May and October as national tree-planting days.
“We have set up working groups to launch a national campaign to plant one billion trees and ensure the implementation of it for 10 years,” said Minister for Nature, Environment, and Tourism N. Urtnasan. “As of today, 76.9 per cent of Mongolia’s territory is affected by desertification. It is estimated that if the goal of the campaign is achieved, 120 million hectares of highly desertified land will be reduced by 4 per cent, forest cover will be increased by 9 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 600,000 tonnes.” (AKIpress)
Urtnasan added that public-private sector partnerships would be formed to focus on reforestation, forest management, and pushing the tree-panting program forward, noting that several large private companies had already pledged to plant between 20 million and 120 million trees in 10 years.
According to Monday’s announcement, the Mongolian government has drawn up a three-stage plan for the campaign, with a preparatory phase from 2021–24, an intensification phase planned for 2024–26, and a sustainable implementation phase to be carried out in 2027–30.
Mongolia is a landlocked nation of just 3.3 million people, sandwiched between Russia to the north and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, administered by China, to the south. According to data from Mongolia’s 2020 census, 52 per cent of the population identify as Buddhists, with close ties to the Gelug and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Forty per cent of the population profess no religious affiliation, while Islam (3.2 per cent), Mongolian shamanism (2.5 per cent), and Christianity (1.3 per cent) account for the bulk of the remainder. Buddhism was suppressed during the communist Mongolian People’s Republic (1924–1992), but the collapse of communism in the 1990s saw a resurgence of public interest Buddhist practice.
Mongolia to spend no less than one percent of GDP to plant one billion trees (Montsame)
Mongolia to spend 1 percent of GDP on planting trees annually (News.mn)
Mongolia to spend at least 1% of its GDP to plant one billion trees (AKIpress)
Mongolia to spend at least 1 pct of GDP on planting trees every year (XinhuaNet)
Mongolia to spend 1 pct of GDP on planting trees every year (Pakistan Observer)
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