Towards the World Heritage Nomination of the Eastern Mongolian Steppes

Mongolia’s extraordinary degree of naturalness and globally significant biodiversity requires the conservation of vast landscapes at a time when anthropogenic pressure is increasing. Although Mongolia’s national protected area system may seem impressive, its effectiveness is limited both in terms of configuration, size and representativeness. Wildlife outside of protected areas is highly vulnerable. Numerous critically important areas are under no protection regime whatsoever.

While the Temperate Grasslands biome is the most converted and least protected globally, the temperate grasslands of Mongolia are largely unconverted to this day and continue to support the full assemblage of native species and the livelihoods of half of Mongolia’s population engaged in mobile pastoralism.

However, both flora and fauna and local livelihoods are threatened by increasing resource extraction, transport infrastructure and excessive livestock levels, putting at risk outstanding natural values as well as a traditional and formerly sustainable form of livelihood.

The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the conservation of particularly valuable representations of the extraordinary ecosystems of Eastern Mongolia’s temperate grasslandsby nominating them as World Heritage site. International recognition is expected to add a layer of visibility, protection and accountability in support of this objective.

The first step towards successful nomination was conducting a comprehensive feasibility study, that would assess and specify the potential and perspectives for the successful nomination. The study concluded that the proposed area has the potential to meet the criteria (ix) and (x) of the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention as a serial property. The five protected areas that were initially proposed for nomination by the Tentative List represent a good basis, however, they should be complemented by four additional component parts. According to the first assessments, the size of the preliminary selected serial property would be more than 2,8 Mio hectares.

In December 2021 the Michael Succow Foundation in partnership with the Mongolian Bird Conservation Center launched a follow-up project for the World Heritage nomination of the Eastern Mongolian Steppes. The main goal of this project is to prepare the nomination dossier with the involvement of respective partners and stakeholders. As desired additional outcomes, the project aims to increase awareness on World Heritage in Mongolia and intensify its use as a conservation instrument; encourage Mongolian partners in the process of management planning for targeted protected areas as well as enhance capacities for proper integrated management of the proposed serial property.

Different field visits to the target area, literature reviews, expert workshops and stakeholder meetings are planned within the framework of the project, to also address challenges and threats to the territory and find solutions to ensure the maintenance of the Outstanding Universal Value of the proposed property.

Nomination for a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Towards the World Heritage Nomination of the Eastern Mongolian Steppes

Location: Mongolia

Duration: 12.2021 - 11.2023

Contact person

Nika Malazonia
Expertise: Protected area management, biosphere reserves, World heritage


Tel +49 3834 83542 19

This project is funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighboring the European Union. It is supervised by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the German Environment Agency (UBA).