Natural resource boom in Mongolia an opportunity to alleviate poverty – UN official

21 October 2011

The recent economic growth in Mongolia due to a boom in its mining sector represents an opportunity to reduce poverty in the country, the United Nations development chief Helen Clark said, encouraging the Government to implement long-term sustainable policies that will increase prosperity for all of its citizens.

The recent economic growth in Mongolia due to a boom in its mining sector represents an opportunity to reduce poverty in the country, the United Nations development chief Helen Clark said, encouraging the Government to implement long-term sustainable policies that will increase prosperity for all of its citizens.

“I am convinced that natural resources can drive human development if they are managed in transparent, inclusive, and sustainable ways,” Miss Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said at an international conference in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, as part of her three-day visit to the country earlier this week.

The conference, which was co-hosted by UNDP and the Government of Mongolia, addressed how countries can best use the wealth generated by the mining industry sector to support human development.

“We’ve seen so many cases where extractive industry booms generate a lot of gross domestic product (GDP) growth and wealth, but it doesn’t affect poverty reduction,” she said, and warned that Mongolia should avoid falling prey to the “resource curse,” referring to the theory that countries with an abundance of natural resources, particularly non-renewable ones such as minerals and fuels, tend to experience less economic growth than countries with fewer resources.

Mongolia has shown an average growth of nine per cent per year largely due to rising copper prices and gold production, but poverty has persisted with more than 30 per cent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day.

Miss Clark said the Government should have a long-term development plan that provides quality public services such as education and health care to ensure sustainable economic growth continues.

During her visit, Miss Clark also met with Government officials and civil society organizations, as well as with women leaders to exchange ideas on promoting women’s political empowerment.

 

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