The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organisation headquartered in San Francisco and with a network of offices in 18 Asian countries, including Mongolia, and in Washington, DC. The Asia Foundation’s current environmental program, Engaging Stakeholders for Environmental Conservation (ESEC), was initiated in August 2010 to address the key challenges that Mongolia faces in protecting its natural resources from mining. According to the Asia Foundation, ESEC has been working with government agencies, local citizens, NGOs, and mining companies to promote responsible mining practices, mitigate negative environmental impacts, and reduce conflicts.
A key initiative under the ESEC is the creation of Local Multi-Stakeholder Councils (LMSCs) composed of mining companies, local governments and communities throughout Mongolia. The objective of the LMSCs is to develop active and creative participation of multi-stakeholders to ensure a balanced ecosystem and responsible resource use, and channel its benefits toward sustainable development. According to the Asia Foundation, by establishing LMSCs it has created, among other things, a forum for local participation in monitoring mines. One of the main responsibilities of LMSCs is to reach multi-stakeholder agreements based on stakeholders’ common interests, reciprocal understanding, and mutual consensus. The Councils will seek to promote openness and transparency in mining practices. In principle, they should provide an opportunity for people to raise their voices about many issues, including on how mining can impact on their lives, and they can serve as a tool to help to prevent conflicts and minimize tension. They can also serve to improve the reputation of mining companies and encourage their activities to be sustainable.
A fact sheet available on the Asia Foundation’s web site explained that as of 2013 the project has facilitated the establishment of 31 LMSCs. The fact sheet explained that “[t]hrough the LMCs, stakeholders are able to make informed decisions and strive for positive social, economic, and environmental change at the local level. As a result, 17 LMCs have had … environmental action plans approved by their Citizens’ Representative Khural (or Council), while eight have drafted plans that are awaiting approval.”
See Asia Foundation’s website for fact sheets on the programme: http://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/MongoliaESECFactSheet2013.pdf; http://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/MongoliaESECFactSheet.pdf