The end of 1989 s and beginning of 1990s was in the history of Mongolia a period of double transition from planned economy into open market economy and from single communist rule into liberal democracy. This process was successfully started by peaceful establishment of a parliamentary democratic system of government and strengthened by the proclamation of human rights and freedoms, the formation of government by free elections and recognizing the plurality of political parties. In addition, many civil society and independent mass media organizations, which are one of the main attributes of democratic society, have been created.
The important role of civil society and non-governmental organizations that play today in development of any country has become a fact of life. The role of non-governmental organizations role in the state and social reform has increased enormously in recent years.
Today the non-governmental organizations in Mongolia can influence the state policy, monitor some of the government activities and call for accountability of the government. In short they try to play a role quite similar to that of non-governmental organizations in some western European countries.
The non-governmental organizations are active in many spheres of social life. Non-governmental organizations can be formed on wide range of interests. They can be formed with the purpose of influencing politics, monitoring state activity and conducting studies in various social areas. Many non-governmental organizations are formed for the protection of interests of specific group, for the well being of people, red cross associations, NGOs of teachers, medical and etc.
The right to associate equally applies to citizens of Mongolia as well as to foreign citizens and non-citizens. Therefore any one without any discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic origin and color of skin has the right to form a non-governmental organization inMongolia. This right is guaranteed by the law, which does not require obtaining permission for forming non-governmental organizations. The only requirement is to register its by-laws at the General Directorate of Registration of Government of Mongolia. The requirement to register the by-law of non-governmental organization is aimed not to limit the formation of non-governmental organizations; it is more related to protect public order. For instance non-governmental organizations that pursue ideas of discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic origin or religion shall not be recognized by Mongolian law and their registration will be refused. The only reasons for the compulsory dissolution of non-governmental organizations from the State registration are the violation of the law and conduction of activity inconsistent with its by-law. This is yet another guarantee for independence of non-governmental organizations.
Regulation of non-governmental organizations activities by law pursues several goals, first of all to guarantee the right of association and to maintain public order which is related to the security, morals and safe life.
Since 1992, the non-governmental organizations have played a crucial role in increasing the participation of people in public policy and social issues. Today non-governmental organizations work not only on human right issues, but also in other spheres of social life such as health, education, protection of consumers, sports and many others.
At the same time there are some obstacles for developing civil society. According to the research studies made on power allocation inMongolia, political parties and state organizations continue to be major power bearers. Along with this, major businesses have become very closely associated with political elites. The increase of mass media organizations that work on the side of the government has a negative impact on development of non-governmental organizations. In addition, developing of Mongolian economic and social policy is being heavily influenced by foreign financial organizations and businesses.
These are formidable challenges for development of non-governmental organizations and their activity. The non-governmental organizations especially face difficulties in influencing the decisions taken related to public because they have limited access to mass media. However trade unions and youth organizations have more favorable conditions for pursuing their activity compared to new non-governmental organizations in influencing the decisions related to public and in receiving support from the government. These organizations are usually very large organizations, however at times they merely follow the policies of political parties. Many non-governmental organizations are strongly influenced by politics, which makes them more influential or effective than non-governmental organizations working for sport, culture and professional interests.
Today non-governmental organizations play dominant role in raising public awareness, public education, training and research field.
Even though small in number, some independent mass media organizations have started to serve as a bridge between citizen and decision makers, to monitor government and other organizations’ activities. Moreover they help maintain the practice of accountability of government before citizens, by informing the population of their activities. For example, several movements have been formed recently specifically to increase government accountability, to fight corruption, poverty and to follow-up on state obligations toward vulnerable members of society, such as children, the elderly and the disabled. Activities of some of these organizations are similar to those of many newly restored democracies.
Today many non-governmental organizations around the world play important role in promoting human security and well being. non-governmental organizations can participate in international conferences as observers. They participate in many research works and have influenced decisions of global nature.