XacBankMongolia Represented by
Anand BatsukhSenior project development officer
GCF: What are the main challenges and opportunities in dealing with climate change in your part of the planet?Anand Batsukh: The main challenge is that much of Mongolia’s production equipment used in factories dates from the Soviet era. This means we have few performance indicators to measure energy usage. We need to establish energy baselines. These are essential in order to measure how upgrading production equipment can lead to improved energy efficiency.
Another challenge is the lack of general awareness among the public about energy efficiency and green energy in general. People do notice air pollution, but don’t know much about climate change - what causes it and what effects it has.
There are opportunities to do something to reduce emissions because it is clear we have to take action. Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator, has one of the highest air pollution levels on the Earth. Among Ulan Bator’s population of 1.5 million, about 800,000 live in gers (traditional Mongolian skin or felt-covered tents) in the city outskirts. The city’s air quality is so bad because many of these people are living off the main power grids, and as a consequence they are using cook stoves to burn low quality coal, wood and rubbish - even including used tyres. One of the main advantages of introducing renewable energy is to improve people’s health.
How will climate finance help?The number one benefit would be to improve people’s health by reducing air pollution caused by high emissions and inefficient energy generation. About 10 percent of all health-related deaths in Mongolia are caused by lung disease.
And there is an additional benefit: Climate finance will provide economic opportunities for banks and companies financing the largely untapped Mongolian market of renewables and energy efficiency. This also fits in well with Mongolia’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. This includes raising the percentage of renewables to 20 percent of national energy generation by 2020.
Climate finance going to XacBank will provide a big benefit to Mongolia as we have been the only bank funding work in this space since 2009. We now enjoy a significant advantage due to our market experience.
What are the best ways to mobilize private climate finance?A lot of things in Mongolia are done through word of mouth. There is a need to set up good energy efficiency and renewable projects that work to show what can be done, rather than just talking about theory.
There are a lot of opportunities in Mongolia for renewable energy. Mongolia has an average of 280 sunny days every year. Also, in the desert, there is a lot of wind potential. But we need to show people, through practice, how climate finance can generate new ways of economic development. We need to show how it is possible to diversify from mining, agriculture, and tourism. Mining, in particular, has not been doing well since 2014.
Do you have plans to work with partners?We have been working closely with Mongolia’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises - the main beneficiaries of this GCF-funded programme. We will continue to work with these Mongolian enterprises as they are key to Mongolia’s economic future. They run 90 percent of the country’s businesses.
How did you come to work in climate finance?I first became interested in sustainable development at the age of 10 when living in New Jersey in the United States. While watching a documentary about the way people live in drought-affected African villages, I became very intrigued about the clever measures they took to save water.
After leaving Mongolia with my parents when I was five, I have lived in the United States, Canada and China – where I completed a Master of Business Administration at Qinghua University.
I returned to Mongolia, my birthplace, four years ago to look for work opportunities during the boom time there. At that time, Mongolia had the fastest growing economy in the world. But then the economy was badly hit by falling prices of coal, gold and copper. China’s decreased demand for coal was particularly damaging.
It was then that I began to see the enormous potential in Mongolia for pushing new paths of economic development that do not harm the planet or people’s health. We can create new markets right here and right now!