Australian Awards Fellows champion climate resilience for Mongolia’s small-medium businesses

As part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australian Awards Fellowship, members of the Griffith Asia Institute (GAI), Associate Professors Dhara Shah, Rob Hales, and Tapan Sarker collaborated with participants from the International Research Institute of Mongolia (IRIM) to develop three policy briefs. These briefs showcase the outcomes of their project, titled “Building Capacity through Climate-Resilient Development and Gender-Inclusive Entrepreneurship in Mongolia,” conducted from June to November 2023. Across this three-part series, the authors embark on a progressive journey aimed at enhancing climate resilience within Mongolia’s small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The series begins with an exploration of the policy framework for building climate-resilient small businesses in Mongolia, followed by an analysis of best practices for MSMEs to achieve climate resilience. The journey concludes with a focus on building capacity through climate-resilient development and gender-inclusive entrepreneurship in Mongolia.

The first policy brief titled “Climate-resilient micro- small- and medium-sized enterprises  in Mongolia: Understanding challenges” is written by Bayarmaa Khurelchuluun, Odontuya Sukhbaatar, Dhara Shah, Tapan Sarker and Rob Hales. The paper highlights the vulnerability of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Mongolia to the impacts of climate change, exacerbated by challenges such as limited access to finance and technical skills, especially for women-owned businesses. In response, it proposes recommendations based on international and local best practices, emphasising capacity-building programs, climate-resilient response plans, adoption of sustainable financial practices, energy audits, and digital literacy initiatives. The study underscores the importance of empowering MSMEs to become more resilient, contribute to environmental sustainability, and ensure long-term viability. Future briefs will delve into lessons from international experiences to enhance institutions for climate-resilient MSMEs in Mongolia.

The second brief titled “Learning from international experience: Improving institutions for climate-resilient MSMEs in Mongolia” authored by Lhagvanorov Dashzeveg, Tumenjargal Elberel, Batdorj Khaliunbat, Purevdorj Tseden-ish, Tapan Sarker, Dhara Shah and Rob Hales aims to address the challenges faced by MSMEs in Mongolia due to climate change and natural hazards. It emphasises the critical role MSMEs play in Mongolia’s economy and proposes evidence-based recommendations to enhance their resilience. Key questions explored include the current state of climate impacts on MSMEs, adequacy of existing legislative measures, barriers hindering climate-resilient MSME development, and international best practices. The brief advocates for policy integration to bolster MSME resilience, offering a strategic framework tailored for Mongolia. It comprises four sections: context analysis, barriers and opportunities, policy options, and conclusions. Despite recognising climate change’s importance in policy documents, Mongolia lacks specific legislation for MSME resilience. Therefore, a comprehensive policy framework is essential to safeguard MSMEs and promote sustainable development amidst climate challenges. With MSMEs being vital economic drivers in Mongolia, addressing their climate resilience is crucial for long-term sustainability and growth.

Finally, the third brief titled “Building capacity: Climate-resilient development and gender-inclusive entrepreneurship in Mongolia” is written by Jargalmaa Ganzorig, Dagiisuren Uuganbaatar, Batkhuu Bud,  Bolor Bold, Rob Hales, Dhara Shah and Tapan Sarker. This paper outlines key recommendations derived from an examination of policy frameworks, best practices, and capacity-building strategies aimed at enhancing climate resilience in Mongolia’s MSMEs. These recommendations include:

  • Developing targeted climate resilience strategies tailored to address the specific challenges faced by MSMEs, particularly those in vulnerable sectors like crop agriculture.

  • Promoting collaborative governance to facilitate transparent decision-making and resource-sharing among stakeholders.

  • Enhancing stakeholder engagement to ensure active participation in policy processes and foster inclusivity.

  • Improving data and knowledge management through the establishment of centralised databases and knowledge-sharing platforms.

  • Fostering communities of practice to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices among stakeholders.

These recommendations aim to bolster the resilience of Mongolia’s MSMEs, promoting sustainable economic growth and mitigating the adverse effects of climate change on the business ecosystem. The paper underscores the urgency of addressing climate change impacts on MSMEs and emphasises the importance of collaborative governance, inclusive entrepreneurship, and research collaboration in achieving this goal.

The full policy briefs are available to download from the Griffith Asia Institute website at