Freshwater ecosystem conservation | WWF

Freshwater ecosystem conservation

Khar-Us lake
© WWF Mongolia

Freshwater issues in Mongolia

Mongolia’s freshwater ecosystem is under increasing threats of degradation and resource depletion.

Identifying and prioritizing the major issues and addressing their root causes will remain a major challenge due to the nature of the threats. The complexity and magnitude of the threats are subject to a combination of several factors, often with interdependent root causes.

The factors are:
  1. Water Scarcity
  2. Water Pollution
  3. Dwindling Aquatic Resources
  4. Disturbance of Connectivity (interaction and linkage of ecosystem processes)
  5. Lack of Enabling Policy Framework and Management Capacity

Mongolia’s Freshwater Ecosystem –at-a-Glance…

  • Has three main hydrological basins: Arctic, the Pacific and Central Asian closed basins
  • Relatively poor water reserve: Water amount much lower per unit area of land compared to the world average. Water resource distribution and per capita availability varies among geographic regions: with 4500 m3 for the Gobi and 46,000 m3 for the central and northern regions. 
  • International Significance: Serves as the Central Asian Flyway & refuge for migratory waterfowl and home to numerous trans-boundary water bodies.
  • Socio-economic and ecological value: Life-supporting service to people; wildlife and natural environment.
  • Protection Status: 15% of the area taken under special protection comprises of freshwater habitats of :
    i) 1 World Heritage Site,
    ii) 11 Ramsar Sites,
    iii) 2 more sites registered with East Asian Anatidae Sites Network; and
    iv) 1 area designated as the Man-Biosphere zone

What WWF are doing

Acknowledging the importance of Mongolia’s freshwater ecosystems for our conservation program, we at WWF Mongolia are determined to make the following contributions in  eco-regions, namely the Altai Sayan and AHEC:
  • WWF Mongolia will advocate through its policy level interventions an increased public participation and transparency in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for any economic activities related to freshwater resource use.
  • We will assist Mongolia in meeting its commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity for the protection of biodiversity and  expansion of the protected areas network (PA network).
  • WWF will strongly advocate responsible mining practice for balanced growth in Mongolia.
  • WWF Mongolia will support practical implementation of the Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) concept at the national level by establishing model IRBM sites where River Basin Councils are formed, Management Plans are developed and their implementation is initiated.