The Government of Mongolia and The Nature Conservancy secure ‘Eternal Mongolia’, a Pathway to Achieve the Nation’s Climate and Biodiversity Goals

Eternal Mongolia will ensure the community-based conservation of vast natural areas including the planet’s last intact temperate grassland.

eternal mongolia
Grasslands in Mongolia's Nationally Protected area, Toson Hulstai, where TNC began it's work in 2008. © TNC

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Today, the Government of Mongolia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and others, announced the launch of Eternal Mongolia—a Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) initiative that will deliver lasting conservation and sustainable community development for the Central Asian country whose vast steppe represents our planet’s last great tract of intact temperate grassland.

Eternal Mongolia is a negotiated partnership that will deliver USD $198 million of new investment over 15 years to support Mongolia’s ambitious goals and deliver lasting conservation and sustainable community development in and around protected areas. This includes a US $71 million transition fund from private and other global donor sources. This transition fund will accelerate Mongolia’s conservation and community development goals, while providing time to develop sustainable financing mechanisms to ensure protected areas can be managed sustainably in the long-term and that Mongolian people benefit from nature, now and for the future.

Eternal Mongolia will dramatically expand and strengthen the effectiveness of the country’s entire National Protected Area network, support sustainable herding practices, invest in the sustainable tourism industry and set an unprecedented example to the rest of the world about the value of land and freshwater conservation.

The PFP will support local community-driven proposals to safeguard an additional 14.4 million hectares of Mongolia’s lands and waters including intact grasslands, forests, deserts, wetlands and rivers; strengthen the management of all of Mongolia’s National Protected Areas covering 47 million hectares; and extend sustainable and climate-resilient community-managed practices to 34 million hectares outside protected areas.

The President of Mongolia and TNC’s CEO Jennifer Morris met during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai this past November. During this meeting, the President expressed his support of the Eternal Mongolia PFP.

"Mongolians have a longstanding tradition of cherishing and safeguarding nature. In our Vision-2050 long-term development policy, Mongolia outlined innovative strategies and reforms for green development, nature conservation and sustainable growth,” said OYUN-ERDENE Luvsannamsrai, Prime Minister of Mongolia. “Through global partnership, the PFP will enable Mongolia to achieve its conservation goals and improve livelihoods of rural communities."

“Climate change is here. Mongolians are already experiencing more frequent and severe climate-induced disasters like harsh winters, droughts and dust storms. Mongolia’s average annual temperature has increased by 2.25C over the last 80 years, more than anywhere else on earth, and we’ve just endured the worst dzud year yet, with millions of livestock lost and people’s livelihoods ruined,” said Bat-Erdene Bat-Ulzii, Minister of Environment and Tourism. “With Eternal Mongolia, we see a proven tool to tackle the impacts of climate change. The PFP will work to boost the green economy, support the growth of nature-based tourism—the fastest growing sector—and invest in sustainable livelihoods.”

Eternal Mongolia is based on a negotiated agreement and shared plan that identifies the activities needed to deliver Mongolia’s ambitious conservation and community development goals. Through Eternal Mongolia, TNC and the government will work together to develop finance mechanisms that will provide the funding needed to deliver lasting conservation and sustainable community development. Donor funding will be managed by the Mongolian Nature's Legacy Foundation, an independent conservation trust fund set up specifically for the Eternal Mongolia PFP. Government funding will continue to be managed by the Government.

“A shortage of sustainable funding opportunities was a limitation for Mongolia to achieve its conservation goals. Therefore, Eternal Mongolia, a sustainable finance program, within the framework of Enduring Earth conservation initiative, is commencing in Mongolia with an internationally proven solution to fill this financial gap,” said Mr. Boldoo Magvan, Board Chair of the Mongolian Nature’s Legacy Foundation. “Through the Mongolian Nature’s Legacy Foundation, which is based on a transparent Conservation Trust Fund model, we will invest effectively in conservation priorities, identified by Eternal Mongolia.”

Mongolia established itself as a world conservation leader 30 years ago by committing to a vision revolutionary for its time: to protect 30% of its lands—a goal now shared around the world. Eternal Mongolia unlocks all the funding and policy commitments needed for Mongolia to ensure its 30% conservation target will be met by 2030 while providing a secure and economic future for Mongolians. Eternal Mongolia will dramatically expand conservation of one of the world’s most intact and connected temperate grasslands, sweeping sand dunes, rugged mountains, pristine lakes and over 13,000 kilometres of winding rivers that support rare wildlife and feed much of central and northern Asia.

Like the well-known rainforests of the world, grasslands provide enormous ‘hidden’ benefits to the entire planet through their ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Mongolia’s grasslands store 14-15 million tons of carbon, and yet they are one of the planet’s most imperiled landscapes. As the only large-scale habitat of this type in Asia, they provide a rare refuge for native wildlife such as argali sheep, gazelles, demoiselle cranes, cinereous vultures and saiga—an endangered antelope.

As well as protected, rare and threatened wildlife, Mongolia’s grasslands are home to 200,000 nomadic herding families, some of the last remaining nomadic cultures on Earth. “The success of Eternal Mongolia is not solely about protecting Mongolia’s landscapes but doing so in a way that honors and values generations of traditional knowledge while building sustainable livelihoods and futures," said Munkhbat Tserendorj, Executive Director for Homyn Talyn Takhi NGO. "Mongolia’s nomadic herding families are integral to the success of Eternal Mongolia, and their leadership is critical to how these protected areas will be maintained for years to come.”

Eternal Mongolia demonstrates what can be accomplished through partnerships that promote community-led conservation. Local communities will play a key role in helping develop and implement conservation plans.

Dr. Tungalag Ulambayar, a community-based conservation partner of Eternal Mongolia and Country Director of Mongolia representative office, the Zoological Society of London, emphasized, "As a social scientist and conservation practitioner, I strongly support the Eternal Mongolia project's dedication to community-based natural resource management in Mongolia. This approach enables herder communities to sustainably manage local ecosystems while upholding their traditional rights to natural resources in their nutag or home areas."

Eternal Mongolia is an initiative of Enduring Earth, an ambitious collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and ZOMALAB that works in partnership with nations and communities as they accelerate and amplify conservation for a more sustainable, prosperous future for people and planet. The PFP approach is a proven model that has already protected over 100 million hectares of lands, ocean and freshwater around the world. Eternal Mongolia is TNC’s third PFP and its first as part of Enduring Earth.

“To address the dual climate and biodiversity crises we must catalyze action at scale and ensure that people and livelihoods are at the center of the solution,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy and Board Chair of Enduring Earth. “Mongolia, as a world leader in conservation, recognizes that they need to make bold investments for nature. We are tremendously inspired and honored to be working side by side to help protect their grasslands, one of the world’s largest remaining intact ecosystems, via this innovative Project Finance for Permanence mechanism.”

Eternal Mongolia anticipates key financial support from Legacy Landscapes Fund. Eternal Mongolia initiatives would not be possible without philanthropic support from Jennifer Speers, Pamela Tanner Boll, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, Joanna & Stuart Brown, The Lorinet Foundation, China Global Conservation Fund, Sabra Turnbull & Clifford Burnstein, Trafigura Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Arcadia, Fondation Hans Wilsdorf, The Gallogly Family Foundation and Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.