As part of the ILOs sub-regional Informal Economy, Poverty and Employment Project (IE) the project areas in Mongolia developed an interest in learning more about and possibly developing an Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning (IRAP) approach and procedure at the local level to help identify local level access problems.
ASIST Asia Pacific (the former hub of the Employment Intensive Investment Program in Asia) in collaboration with the IE project began work with two IE project areas: Batsumber Sum and Jargalant Sum, to test and develop an IRAP approach specific to Mongolia.
Mongolia is in the process of decentralising its planning system. The National Sustainable Livelihood Support Programme, under the Office of the Prime Minister, has set up local councils and planning offices to recommend priority investments in areas such as road and bridge construction, restoring schools, water supplies and health centres. However, there is limited capacity for planning and setting priorities at the local level.
IRAP attempts to increase these priorities by giving local government officials the tools that can help them make better decisions on where to invest and in what. By making sure that access issues are properly understood and integrated into planning processes, investment can be improved and better directed to meet the needs of rural communities.
To date, EIIP has conducted two sets of training workshops. The first workshop was held in July 2005 and introduced the concept of accessibility planning, developed a village based questionnaire and trained participants on map preparation. The second training workshop was held in October 2005 and the same participants were trained in data analysis, problem prioritisation and project proposal design.
The final output of this work is a standard Mongolian IRAP Guideline and training manual in both English and Mongolian that is used by the HLSP to build the capacity of the local government councils to identify and address local access and development needs.