The impact of sand and dust storms on livestock herding was assessed

A sand and dust storm (SDS) contingency planning process was implemented for Mongolia as a case study in the context of an FAO-led interregional project in 2021-2022. The project also supported SDS contingency planning for agriculture in Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Mongolian country component of the project focused on livestock herding the cropping sector in Mongolia is relatively small (cropland occupies only 0.6 percent of Mongolia’s territory), and most crop fields in Mongolia are located in the north, which is less affected by SDS. Two rural soums1 (Saint- sagaan soum of Dundgobi province and Zamyn-Uud soum of Dornogobi province) were selected for study.

The contingency planning process was designed in three steps: (i) conceptualizing SDS risks from a livestock-herding perspective and (ii) conducting a systematic risk and vulnerability as- sessment in the study areas; this informed: (iii) a local level stakeholder consultation process to design location-specific SDS contingency plans. Based on location-specific prioritization, the contingency plans present measures that could help reduce herders’ SDS exposure and risk in the future.

Sand and dust storm risk was determined probabilistically as a function of hazard and vulner- ability, whereas vulnerability was conceptualized as a function of exposure/sensitivity and exist- ing coping capacity. Weights were established for each component – hazard, exposure/sensitiv- ity and coping capacity – to express their relative importance in the total assessment.

This report presents the outcomes and findings from the Mongolian case study. Chapter 1 aims to enhance our understanding of SDS in the context of agriculture in Mongolia. It includes infor- mation from a desktop review on key concepts related to SDS and its sources, approaches to es- timating SDS risks, SDS scope and impacts, especially on livestock herding, and recent attempts to estimate SDS risks in Mongolia.

Chapter 2 provides a review and summary of existing policies and legal frameworks for dealing with SDS and describes the associated institutional structures in Mongolia. Based on the generic approach suggested by the FAO project, a methodology was proposed for developing SDS risk assessment models for herding communities, which was tested with stakeholders at various in- stitutional levels. This process is presented in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 presents a sample SDS risk management plan that was developed in consultation with the stakeholders in the two soums. The development of the plan was based on a detailed baseline study in the two soums, which de- scribed the current situation and challenges/gaps at local government and herder household lev- els. The plan was developed to be easily replicated in other soums. Chapter 5 presents conclusions and suggested next steps.