The Asia Foundation Co-Hosts Second Annual Mongolian National Conference
Ulaanbaatar, November 20, 2014 — The Office of the President of Mongolia and The Asia Foundation co-hosted the second annual national workshop of the Fostering Civic Engagement at the Sub-national Level (FOCE) project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), at the President’s Citizen Hall in Government House. The workshop brought together about 90 national and local government actors, civil society stakeholders, and local citizens from the FOCE pilot sites in 17 soums. Today’s discussions focused on sharing experiences to increase citizen participation at the local level.
Mr. Dashdorj Luvsandash, Advisor to the President of Mongolia for Economic Policy and Citizens Engagement noted, “given the passage of the 2015 State Budget by Parliament last week, this conference is timely to ensure that planning for the prioritization of local development funds include considerable input from citizens.”
The goal of the program is to increase the transparency and accountability of local governments, and contribute to more responsive local government policy-making and service provision for citizens, supporting the President’s agenda for direct democracy and fiscal decentralization. Local governments are being supported to increase civic participation in decision-making through small grants and technical assistance. This has helped establish fully-equipped Citizen Halls in all sites and supported a regular agenda of public consultations. On the citizen side, training and support has been provided so that citizens better understand the role and responsibility of local government, how to advocate for their interests, and how to demand better services.
The national workshop will allow stakeholders to share experiences and learning on participatory practices in the Mongolian context. Representatives from the pilot sites shared their own experiences on social accountability and the use of citizens score card measurement processes, how to effectively disseminate information to citizens living in remote locations, addressing issues of women’s under representation in local authorities, and strategies to reach underserved communities including the youth, persons with disabilities and unemployed.
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