Mongolia is a developing nation with a young population - almost 40 percent of the total population are aged under 19. It is estimated that child population is at 900,000.
With a population of 2,826,205 in a vast territory of over 1,566,500 square kilometres, the country has one of the lowest population densities in the world, and at the same time faces challenges to provide quality and accessible services to the dispersed population scattered over the country.
It is a landlocked country, neighbouring with the Russian Federation in the north and the People’s Republic of China in the south. The majority of its main commodities are imported from these two countries, making it highly dependent on these two countries.
From its independence in 1921 to the democratic revolution in 1990, Mongolia was ruled by a communist regime, accepting economic assistance and political patronage from the former Soviet Union. The Government was a one-party system presided over by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP).
Mongolia has gone through radical reform since the 1990s. The transition from socialist to democratic state brought about a shift from a centralized planned economy to a market economy. This left the country with severe financial difficulties – including poverty and unemployment, as well as shortages of goods, materials, capital and foreign exchange.
Mongolia is a democratic republic. It has one chamber Parliament, the head of state is the President and the head of the government is the Prime Minister.
The country benefits from a range of mineral deposits and has attracted considerable external investment in the mining sector. The economy is, however, vulnerable to the global price of minerals and agricultural goods.
As of the 1st quarter of 2010, the total revenue and grants of the general government budget amounted to 554.8 billion tugrugs and the total expenditure and net lending was 664.0 billion tugrugs. Mongolia’s GDP is at US$5.807billion and GDP per head is US$2,111 (2010 estimate). Inflation was at 9% (2007), 26.8% (2008), 6.3% (2009), 14 %( 2010 estimate) respectively.
Due to large investment in mining sector, annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate has doubled since 2000. However, it has not resulted in the reduction of poverty. Currently, the poverty rate is at 33 percent nationally and 50 percent in rural and peri-urban areas. This means a total of 930,000 people live in poverty and 35 out of every 100 persons cannot afford to buy basic food and non-food goods. Furthermore, inequality rose across all regions, indicating that the wealthy are benefitting most from the economic growth. According to a Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate reached 11.6% in 2009. Out of these 131.6 thousand unemployed, 52 thousand or 39.3 percent were women.
Human Rights Issues:
Mongolia has ratified the majority of core international human rights treaties, and much national legislation has been adopted to ensure human rights. However, there are significant problems in respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights for all. Various human rights reports indicate major flaws in the criminal justice system such as the use of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by law enforcement officials, poor conditions within detention facilities, and a lack of accountability by government officials for failure to implement the laws. There are significant human rights problems such as corruption within government, gender based violence – particularly against women, child labour, and the social integration of persons with disabilities. Furthermore, more than 50 percent of the rural population has no access to improved water and nearly 70 percent have no access to adequate sanitation. There is no effective redress and accountability mechanism for the lack of implementation of national laws. Human rights education for all is an urgent need in Mongolia.