An expert on security issues and with the purpose to promote Mongolia’s security policy, in 2005 I and some like-minded colleagues a Mongolian NGO named Blue Banner. In doing so we made use of the provision of Mongolian law of 2000 regarding its nuclear-weapon-free status, which in its section on verification of the implementation of the law encouraged NGOs and individuals to exercise public oversight and submit proposals. Hence one of the statutory aims of the NGO was to undertake studies for that purpose, work closely with the authorities and present to them its findings. Close cooperation with other like-minded NGOs and the Government has demonstrated that in some cases conflict between NGOs and the Government is not something unthinkable or inevitable. Blue Banner’s experience in working with other NGOs and government authorities have been shared with NGOs in Japan and the Republic of Korea in 2006 and 2007.
WHAT WAS SUCCESSFUL?
* Raising awareness of the importance of institutionalizing the status at the national and international level.
* Organized national and regional fora on related issues, working closely with national authorities, other like-minded NGOs and media; and submitted concrete recommendations to the relevant Government organizations on how to implement more fully the legislation. In doing so Blue Banner did not seek nor receive financial assistance from the Mongolian government, directly or indirectly, thus remaining independent.
* Providing expert advice to the Government on nuclear issues and participating directly in the national overview of the law\’s implementation.
* Providing expert advice to the Government on promoting Mongolia’s NWFS at the regional and international levels and working with the five nuclear-weapon states (the P5) on the issue.
In 2012 the P5 provided security assurances to Mongolia, pledging to respect Mongolia’s unique status and not to contribute to any act that would violate
WHAT CHALLENGES WERE FACED?
Blue Banner’s experience has also demonstrated that lack of transparency and lack in information can cause misunderstanding and suspicion with other like-minded NGOs and Government authorities. That is why Blue Banner always tries to share information and maintain work relations with other stakeholders. It has also learned that pressing hard other stakeholders on some issues can have opposite effect and even harm cooperation.
WHAT LESSONS WERE LEARNT?
* On issues where the goals of Government and BB are not diametrically opposed, exchange of information and provision of expertise create the necessary atmosphere for mutually beneficial cooperation.
* Clearly delineation of the borders and methods of possible cooperation with Government agencies and other like-minded NGOs. Transparency and constant exchange of information with stakeholders are important for effective cooperation.
* Optimum cooperation between national / international NGOs and think-tanks is important.
* Devoted membership means more than numbers. BB is blessed that Mr. P. Ochirbat, former President of Mongolia, agreed to discharge the functions as President of BB. 3 of our 7 members of the governing council are women, one of whom is president of Globe International Center.
* The media’s influence and social networking should not be underestimated. Close cooperation with the media is important to promote the goals of the NGO and to indirectly influence authorities.