Mongolia, with a land area of about 1.6 million sq. km. and a population of about 3.29 million is the world’s most sparsely populated country. The land ranges from desert to semi-desert to grassy steppe, with mountains in the west and south-west. Arable land is estimated to constitute only 0.8 percent of this vast country. Landlocked between Russia and China, Mongolia has shown steady growth in the recent years.
The 40 metres Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue on horseback on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog (54 km east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar).
Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago. In 1206 Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire which became the largest land empire in world history. Mongolia later came under Chinese rule and won its independence from China in 1921. The Mongolian People’s Republic was then established with Soviet influence. Mongolia became a UN member state in 1961. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mongolia saw its own relatively peaceful democratic revolution in the early 1990’s which led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, and a transition to a market economy. This transition resulted in an upheaval of structures that had been in place for 70 years and saw Mongolia’s trade with Russia decline by 80% and had a strong impact on peoples’ lives.
Throughout history, livestock raising by nomadic herders has been the major economic activity. In the early 20th century industrialization began, spurred by the Soviet Union and largely based on wool processing and extraction of minerals, mainly coal, copper, gold and fluorspar.
Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world. Pasture or desert comprise 90 percent of its land; the remainder is forested or cultivated. Most Mongolians live in rural areas, and about a third are nomadic or semi-nomadic, engaged in livestock herding.
Mongolia has achieved remarkable successes in the last two decades. It has gone through a very rapid transition and established a democratic system underpinned by free and fair elections with solid institutions. It has established a well functioning market economy. Many countries are now learning from the Mongolian experience.
Mongolia is a party to over 30 international conventions on human rights and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in 2005 and passed the anti-corruption legislation in 2006. It has established a range of formally independent institutions strengthening democratic governance. Mongolia has also joined many environment-related UN Conventions and International Treaties and passed more than 30 environmental laws and reforming many other laws. The Gender Development Index (GDI), which measures gender equalities in three basic dimensions of human development: health, education, and command over economic resources, increased from 0.677 in 2005 to 1.03 in 2019. Likewise, the Gender Inequality Index (GII) decreased from 0.401 in 2005 to 0.322 in 2018, which placed Mongolia in the 71st position out of 162 countries. In terms of the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) published by the World Economic Forum, Mongolia ranked 79th out of 153 countries in 2018 with the score of 0.706.
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