||The investment program aims to promote an inclusive peri-urban development in Ulaanbaatar City's ger areas. Combining spatial and sector approaches, it will introduce sustainable urban services and support the socioeconomic development of urban communities in subcenters located in ger areas. The proposed program will: (i) support urban governance, livelihood and socioeconomic activities through land use planning, and improved access to financial services; (ii) extend and upgrade appropriate and affordable water supply, wastewater collection, and district heating infrastructures; and (iii) improve the operation and maintenance capacities of service providers, and enable sound institutional and regulatory settings for service delivery.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Ulaanbaatar's urban fabric has two distinct components: (i) the city core, which largely consists of apartment blocks with comprehensive utility services including dedicated heating, hot water, and sanitation; and (ii) the peri-urban ger areas, which exist for almost 50 years and are characterized by expanding, unplanned settlements of low and medium income households with land ownership, unserviced plots, unpaved roads, and scant facilities. Forty percent of Ulaanbaatar's 1.3 million inhabitants live in the city core while 60% (approximately 800,000 people or 30% of the national population) live in ger areas. The ongoing in-migration of households to Ulaanbaatar has accelerated the growth of these ger areas.
Despite their size, ger areas have been considered as merely temporary settlements and therefore never been formally integrated in the city development process and infrastructure programming. Thus, the continuing ger area densification and sprawl is putting tremendous pressure in the urban environment. Challenges associated with ger area upgrading are well documented and the huge gap between services in the formal and ger areas remains one of the most difficult challenges for the government. Underinvestment in urban services and operation and maintenance raise the cost of doing business for small enterprises in ger areas, and restrict access for ger area residents to jobs and services. The lack of employment opportunities and basic urban services create undue pressures on the city center which has reached an unprecedented level of congestion. Nevertheless, ger areas continue to grow, putting the whole city at risk. Retrofitting urban infrastructure services will become increasingly difficult and costly.
Numerous initiatives from the government and development partners have already brought a considerable amount of progress in the ger situation, from community building, cadastre implementation to water kiosk networks. However, because of their sector approaches, they did not succeed to design a sustainable and acceptable vision and future plan for the peri-urban development of the city.
Fortunately, Mongolia's economic prospects are looking positive and the socioeconomic status of ger areas is likely to improve substantially over the next decade. Ger tents are now being increasingly replaced by permanent houses and urban development is occurring around existing subcenters. The land market is expected to expand, recently strengthened by government commitments to citizens regarding the ownership of households on their plot. The increased demand for serviced land parcels is already noticeable. Government officials, local governments (districts and sub districts-Khoroo government) and residents are highly motivated to see improvements and are fully committed to support the development of ger areas. There is a strong incentive to provide services to ger areas where there is development potential. The provision of water, wastewater, and heating services is identified as a key priority to promote livelihood opportunities and economic growth.