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Report on ''Collective action in the pastoral economy of Mongolia''

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This report summarizes research conducted by Department of Anthropology and Archeology, National University of Mongolia on behalf of SDC, within the scope of the Green Gold Pasture Ecosystem Management Project. Conducting open-ended interviews and observations in eleven field sites, including six in sums in which the Green Gold project is being implemented, the research team investigated fourteen topics related to change and development in the pastoral economy.

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Report on ''Collective action in the pastoral economy of Mongolia''

  1. 1. 1 Collective Action in the Pastoral Economy of Mongolia Cooperation, Herd and Pasture Management, Economic Decisions, and Livestock Health
  2. 2. 2 Contents 1 Executive summary........................................................................................................................................ 7 1.1 Main Findings.............................................................................................................................................................7 1.2 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................................................9 1.3 Recommendations ................................................................................................................................................10 2 Introduction .....................................................................................................................................................11 2.1 Sampling and general information about respondents ........................................................................12 2.2 The “Herder household”.....................................................................................................................................14 3 Local government and collective action: the bag...........................................................................17 4 Social networks and collective action institutions.........................................................................24 4.1 Conflict-resolution.................................................................................................................................................30 5 Herder Cooperatives....................................................................................................................................33 6 Herders’ collective action: PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups ................................39 6.1 Attendance at PUG meetings............................................................................................................................39 6.2 The extent to which PUGs are perceived as engaging with members...........................................44 6.3 Participation in collective activities...............................................................................................................45 6.4 Ideal institutions for collective action...........................................................................................................50 7 Seasonal grazing areas, land use, and spring and winter camps............................................55 7.1 Seasonal camps .....................................................................................................................................................56 7.1.1 Large livestock – cattle, horses, camels..............................................................................................................56 7.1.2 Smaller ruminants – sheep and goats..................................................................................................................57 7.1.3 Water at winter and spring campsites ..................................................................................................................57 7.1.4 Livestock enclosures.....................................................................................................................................................58 7.1.5 Hay making and storage..............................................................................................................................................58 7.2 Khot ails: co-residence of multiple households ......................................................................................58 8 Rotational grazing schedules ..................................................................................................................60 8.1 Conditions forcing early or otor move .........................................................................................................61 8.2 Challenges in moving ..........................................................................................................................................63 8.3 Conditions contributing to an interest in staying longer at the current site ...............................66 8.4 Other general conditions presenting challenges for the process of moving..............................67 9 Herd management.........................................................................................................................................70 9.1 Who herds households’ livestock? ...............................................................................................................70 9.2 Factors that influenced growth or decline in livestock numbers .....................................................73 9.3 Perceptions of rich and poor herders, as measured by herd size ...................................................74 10 Economic decisions and practices.....................................................................................................76 11 Subjective well-being................................................................................................................................80 11.1 Satisfaction with Life .........................................................................................................................................80 11.2 Ladder of Life........................................................................................................................................................83 11.3 Discussion: Qualitative reasons for happiness and unhappiness................................................85 12: Livestock health.........................................................................................................................................86 12.1: Institutional dimensions .................................................................................................................................86 12.2: Vaccination and anti-parasite treatments ...............................................................................................89 12.3: Common animal health issues.....................................................................................................................91 12.4: Expenditures on veterinary services and medications.....................................................................94 12.5: Rating of veterinarians and breeding unit staff....................................................................................95
  3. 3. 3 13: Ecology..........................................................................................................................................................98 14 Conclusions and follow-up..................................................................................................................103 12.1 Recommendations........................................................................................................................................... 103
  4. 4. 4 Table of Figures Figure 1. Research sites________________________________________________________________________________________________________12 Figure 2. Attendance at bag meetings: number of meetings attended by a member of the household in the past year (n=288)______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________17 Figure 3. Bag meeting attendance by sum: number of meetings attended by at least one member of the household in the past year, by percentage of respondents._____________________________________________________________________________19 Figure 4. Bag meetings attended by herders, at which rangeland management plans were discussed: number of meetings attended by a member of the household in the past year (n=288). ____________________________________________20 Figure 5. Attendance at bag meetings in the past three years during which rangeland management plans were discussed, by sum. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________21 Figure 6. Responses to the question, “Are you consulted by the bag on its operations?” by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________21 Figure 7. Reported frequency of bag heads’ visits in the past year, by percentage of respondents __________________22 Figure 8. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with your bag head?” by percentage of respondents________________________________________________________________________24 Figure 9. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the sum veterinarian?” by percentage of respondents ________________________________________________________________25 Figure 10. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the cooperative managers?” by percentage of respondents__________________________________________________________26 Figure 11. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the PUG leader?” by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________27 Figure 12. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with your APUG coordinator?” by percentage of respondents _____________________________________________________________28 Figure 13. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with local livestock health and breeding unit staff?” by percentage of respondents_____________________________________28 Figure 14. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the environmental inspector?” by percentage of respondents________________________________________________________29 Figure 15. Reported instances of rangeland conflicts, by type of conflicting party and by sum________________________31 Figure 16. Reported instances of rangeland conflicts, by type of conflicting party and by sum (continued) _________32 Figure 17. Who resolves disputes among herders?_________________________________________________________________________32 Figure 18. Perceived advantages of cooperative membership ____________________________________________________________33 Figure 19. To which cooperative do you sell your raw commodities?_____________________________________________________34 Figure 20. Herders’ level of trust in cooperative managers_________________________________________________________________35 Figure 21. Surveyed herders’ rating of cooperative managers, by sum __________________________________________________36 Figure 22. Attendence of household members at PUG and Herder Group meetings___________________________________41 Figure 23. Herders’ rating of PUG impacts on their livelihoods ____________________________________________________________42 Figure 24. Herders’ reported collective action, by institution and activity type, in percentage of respondents_______46 Figure 25. Percentage of herders reporting collective haymaking, by sum ______________________________________________47 Figure 26. Caption: Percentage of herders reporting collective fencing of pastures, by sum __________________________48 Figure 27. Caption: Percentage of herders reporting collective rangeland management planning, by sum _________48 Figure 28. Percentage of herders reporting participation in collective microcredit schemes, by sum_________________49 Figure 29. Percentage of herders reporting collective planting and harvesting of livestock feed crops, by sum ____49 Figure 30. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize basic livestock health services (vaccinations, anti- parasite dipping, etc.), by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________50 Figure 31. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize emergency veterinary services, by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________50 Figure 32. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize hay and feed production, by percentage of respondents _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________51 Figure 33. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize the construction, maintenance, and operation of wells and water points, by percentage of respondents ____________________________________________________________________________51 Figure 34. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize the establishment and implementation of rotational grazing plans, by percentage of respondents ________________________________________________________________________________51 Figure 35. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize the sale of raw livestock commodities, by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________51 Figure 36. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize the operation of small or medium-scale processing facilities for milk, dairy products, leather and hides, felt, and the like, by percentage of respondents ________________51 Figure 37. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize selective breeding activities, by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________51
  5. 5. 5 Figure 38. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize the shearing of sheep and camels and the combing of goats, by percentage of respondents _________________________________________________________________________________________52 Figure 39. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize livestock insurance, by percentage of respondents_____52 Figure 40. Herders’ opinions on who would best organize environmental conservation activities, by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________52 Figure 41. Reasons for moving on otor, by season and percentage of respondents ___________________________________62 Figure 42. Reasons for moving on otor, by season and percentage of respondents (continued) _____________________62 Figure 43. Reasons given for not moving on schedule, by season and percentage of respondents__________________63 Figure 44. Reasons given for not moving on schedule, by season and percentage of respondents (continued) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________64 Figure 45. Reasons given for not moving on schedule, by season and percentage of respondents (continued) ___65 Figure 46. Reasons given for staying longer at a given camp ________________________________________________________67 Figure 47. Reasons given for staying longer at a given camp (continued) _______________________________________________67 Figure 48. Challenges and difficulties experienced in moving, by season and percentage of respondents__________69 Figure 49. Livestock herded by the household (expressed in standard sheep stocking units), by ownership category and by sum ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________70 Figure 50. Livestock herded by the household (expressed in standard sheep stocking units), by ownership category and by sum ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________71 Figure 51. Identity of herders who managed herder households’ livestock, by percentage of repondents who reported placing livestock in the care of each category of herder _________________________________________________________72 Figure 52. Reasons given by herders for placing some or all of their livestock in the care of others in the past year _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________72 Figure 53. What terms best describe myangat herders (those with more than 1000 animals)? _______________________75 Figure 54. What terms best describe small-scale herders (those with fewer than 200 animals)? _____________________75 Figure 55. Percentage of households who milk each species of livestock _______________________________________________77 Figure 56. Proportion of milk and dairy products reported sold at market, by percentage of households ____________78 Figure 57. Number of households’ winter meat supplies prepared by households______________________________________78 Figure 58. Investments made in the past five years by herders involving cash income derived from livestock production, by percentage of respondents ___________________________________________________________________________________79 Figure 59. “In most ways my life is close to my ideal.” (m=5.6) ____________________________________________________________81 Figure 60. “The conditions of my life are excellent.” (m=5.4)_______________________________________________________________82 Figure 61. “I am satisfied with life.” (m=6.1) __________________________________________________________________________________82 Figure 62. “So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.” (m=5.3)_____________________________________________82 Figure 63. “If I could live my life over, I would change nothing.” (m=4.5) _________________________________________________83 Figure 64. Responses to Cantril Ladder of Life survey._____________________________________________________________________84 Figure 65. Collective action and animal health: organization of select veterinary activities by community-based resource user groups (nökhörlöl), herder groups, and PUGs, by absolute counts of reporting herder households (n=288). ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________86 Figure 66. Herders' opinions on who would best organize basic livestock health services (vaccinations, anti- parasite dipping, etc.), by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________87 Figure 67. Herders' opinions on who would best organize emergency veterinary services, by percentage of respondents ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________88 Figure 68. Vaccines identified by surveyed herders as administered to their livestock in the past year, by percentage of herders and class of livestock. Small livestock include sheep and goats; large livestock include horses, cattle, and camels. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________89 Figure 69. Veterinary interventions to prevent or treat parasites and infections, reported by herders as administered to their livestock in the past year, by percentage of herders and class of livestock. ____________________89 Figure 70. Livestock health issues experienced by herders in the past year, by type and subjectively described level of severity, ranked by number of reported cases (n=288). ___________________________________________________________92 Figure 71. Percentage of surveyed herders reporting having consulted a veterinarian or other herder(s) in the past year regarding animal health issues, by ailment type. ______________________________________________________________________92 Figure 72. Percentage of surveyed herders reporting experience with different veterinary interventions in the past year, by site and intervention type. ____________________________________________________________________________________________93 Figure 73. Amount that surveyed herders reported spending on veterinary services and medications in the past year (in tögrögs), by percentage of surveyed respondents. ________________________________________________________________94 Figure 74. Amount that surveyed herders would consider "reasonable annual expenditures" on veterinary services and medications (in tögrögs), by and percentage of surveyed respondents. ____________________________________________94 Figure 75. Number of reported contacts (face-to-face meetings or telephone conversations) with the veterinarian in the past year, by percentage of respondents and by sum. _________________________________________________________________95 Figure 76. Number of reported contacts (face-to-face meetings or telephone conversations) with the local livestock
  6. 6. 6 health and breeding unit staff in the past year, by percentage of respondents and by sum.___________________________96 Figure 77. Herder ratings of veterinarians' overall skills, by percentage of respondents. ______________________________96 Figure 78. Herder ratings of the quality of veterinarians' advice, by percentage of respondents. _____________________96 Figure 79. Herder ratings of veterinarians' responsiveness to calls for visitation, by percentage of respondents. __97 Figure 80. Herder ratings of veterinarians' professional knowledge and education, by percentage of respondents.97 Figure 81. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to the actions of local herders, by sum._______98 Figure 82. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to herders on otor from other bags, by sum. _98 Figure 83. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to herders on otor from other sums or aimags, by sum.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________99 Figure 84. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to mining, by sum._______________________________99 Figure 85. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to (non-herder) individuals or companies from elsewhere, by sum.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________99 Figure 86. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to climate change, by sum._____________________99 Figure 87. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to natural (cyclic) change, by sum. __________ 100 Figure 88. Percentage of herders attributing rangeland degradation to the wrath of local spirits, by sum._________ 100 Figure 89. Percentage of surveyed herders expressing agreement or disagreement with selected statements on the environment________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 101 Figure 90. Herders' opinions on who would best organize environmental conservation activities, by percentage of respondents ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 102
  7. 7. Executive summary 7 1 Executive summary 1.1 Main Findings Survey responses were collected from 288 herder households in Uvs, Zavkhan, Khovd, Bayankhongor, and Dornogovi aimags. Respondents were asked how they currently organize a variety of livestock and resource-management activities – such as well maintenance, rotational grazing planning, selective breeding, hay and feed production, or veterinary care – and whether they conducted those activities privately, in cooperation with neighbours or relatives, with hired help, or as part of a PUG, herder group, community-based resource management group (nökhörlöl), through a cooperative, or by other means. Surveyed herders were also asked which activities they would prefer, in future, to be organized collectively by the state, PUGs or herder groups, or cooperatives, and which they would prefer to manage on their own. The results of this survey show positive engagement by herders with collective action institutions, including Pasture User Groups (PUGs) and cooperatives established by the SDC “Green Gold” project, while underlining the need for further trust-building by these institutions, and cross-institutional linkages. Bag heads were clearly identified by respondents as those with whom they had the most contact in the previous year. In nearly all sites herders reported regular communications with their sum veterinarian, while approximately half of surveyed herders reported that they had met or spoken by telephone with a cooperative manager in the past year. The level of contact between herders and PUG or herder group leaders reported by surveyed herders was moderate. While we expected to see a high degree of regular contact with heads of PUGs and herder groups due to the importance of these collectivities in bringing together herders who live in the same location, the degree of contact was uneven across survey sites. A relatively low level of engagement with PUG leaders was reported in Chandmani sum, for example – which can largely be attributed to the recent restructuring of PUGs to coincide with the five bags in the sum. In Ider and Gurvanbulag sums, slightly more than half of respondents reported meeting regularly with their PUG leader. While a significant number of herders in all survey sites reported selling a limited number of commodities to producer cooperatives, it was also common for herders to sell to brokers (chenj) – both itinerant buyers and those who maintain permanent buying points in the sum centre or at a market in the aimag centre. Surveyed herders reported an almost universal tendency to deal with cooperatives when selling commodities that provide access to a government premium or price subsidy – namely sheep wool, yak down, and hides – but to sell livestock, meat, and cashmere primarily to itinerant brokers. Cooperatives have established a reasonable level of trust among herders. Slightly more than half of surveyed herders (55.5%) reported that they trusted their cooperatives, while 33.6% reported moderate trust, and a minority (10.7%) expressed a lack of trust in the local
  8. 8. Executive summary 8 cooperatives. On average, respondents rated their cooperative manager higher than the bag head. 35.6 percent of respondents rated the cooperative manager as “good”, while 21.3 percent ranked the manager as “adequate”. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents indicated that their household had joined a pasture user group (PUG), herder group, or nökhörlöl community-based resource management (CBNRM) group active in the areas of rangeland management, natural resource use, or conservation. Herders did not generally feel that they were in control of their PUGs. Overall 36% of surveyed PUG members reported that they were not consulted at all by their PUG leaders in planning collective activities, 43% reported that they were consulted occasionally, and a mere 21% reported that they were consulted regularly. Reported participation in activities organized by PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups was generally strong, with close to 100% of herders participating in haymaking, for instance, and over 60% of surveyed members reporting participation in water conservation, road repair, rangeland use planning, and well maintenance. The institutions organizing these collective activities did not always match herders‟ views of who should organize and finance them. Respondents expressed a strong preference for state involvement in the areas of livestock health and rangeland management, while identifying primary production activities – including hay and feed production – as a domain for herders to manage on their own, at the level of households or kin groups. Respondents also broadly supported cooperatives as suitable institutions for marketing and processing livestock commodities – although we note that many interviewed herders perceived cooperatives as third-party buyers rather than as herder-managed collective institutions. Herders generally reported support for a combination of state and private herder involvement in livestock insurance, environmental conservation, and selective breeding. Formal schedules for rotational grazing, established by PUGs and/or local authorities, appear to have had some positive effect, though surveyed herders reported that compliance with these schedules is not absolute. Respondents noted the highest level of compliance in spring – estimating that 80-100% of herders vacate their winter camps in a timely manner – but low in autumn, with compliance by under 25% of herders. Levels of compliance with rotational grazing plans vary significantly by site, however, with low compliance levels appearing to correlate to areas with limited opportunities for mobility. We asked herders to identify the factors that forced them to move outside the seasonal schedule, to stay behind at a camp past the date of a scheduled move, or that made regular mobility challenging for them. Factors identified by a significant number of respondents (>15%) include:  vegetation having been grazed by livestock in winter and spring, with not enough grass remaining;  drought in summer or spring;
  9. 9. Executive summary 9  drying up of water sources in summer;  summer otor grazing sites being too remote;  zud in winter (heavy snowfall or extreme cold);  other families having built a new camp right next to their own at a destination site;  the autumn camp site being too far from the sum centre. The main source of income in the HH often comes from, first, sales of livestock for meat or other purposes and comprises about 60% of the total income annual income, second, from goat cashmere about 35%, and third from sheep wool about 5%. In the gobi there is small amount of sales of camel wool and yak wool are a new form of income introduced by GG in khangai regions. Milking and sales of milk products are the least popular form of profits. Sheep is the main and most important forms of sales in most places. There is not much diversity in the sources of income across ecological zones and households with more or less number of livestock. Since household income is strictly dependent on the number of livestock there is always an interest to increase livestock number. Besides livestock number there is also increasing discussion among herders regarding animal quality and many tend to prefer having less number with better quality. Herders are dissatisfied with the level of service provided by private veterinary clinics. Although a strong majority of herders state that they would prefer to have greater state involvement in this area, herders' concerns are largely related to the current system of user fees, which create unequal access to animal health services and contribute to their reluctance to consult with professional veterinarians. We suggest that collective livestock health insurance policies or mandated flat fees and minimum service standards might help mitigate these problems. Herders do not generally identify their own activities as having an impact on rangeland resource degradation or depletion, but instead attribute degradation to external factors including climate change or to natural cycles. Further efforts will be needed to confirm and demonstrate possible direct ecological impacts of herder activities on rangeland condition, and to link this knowledge to mitigation activities that may be practised by herders. 1.2 Conclusions The survey data suggest that collective action arrangements have generally been effective, although some issues of institutional trust have hindered the success of some PUGs and cooperatives. Nearly all herders in the survey sites have joined PUGs or comparable collective institutions. We found that PUG members were generally receptive to the Green Gold messages, and valued efforts to improve the coordination of rangeland use. PUGs appear to be most effective where they build on pre-existing environmental, social, or business factors that influence seasonal rangeland use patterns. The success of rotational grazing schedules is strongly linked to these schedules being recognized and enforced by sum authorities. Since PUGs do not possess legal tenure of their grazing areas, they must rely on formal authority structures (i.e., sum-level government) to enforce collective grazing agreements. Good cooperation with local government, especially with
  10. 10. Executive summary 10 Aimag governor‟s office and Department of Agriculture, is essential to the success of the aimag Rangeland Management Associations (RMA). But the close proximity of herders to bag heads reported in this survey also suggests that coordination of PUG and bag activities may be beneficial. 1.3 Recommendations  Build stronger linkages between non-governmental collective action institutions – including PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups – and local government at the bag level.  Promote the growth of producer cooperatives, ensuring that they provide profit to members beyond government price premiums.  Ensure that collective action institutions such as PUGs are more focused in their activities and objectives.  Herders are dissatisfied overall with the level of service provided by private veterinary clinics.  Less than a quarter of surveyed herders indicated that they had participated in collectively organized animal health activities, however, this remains an area for ongoing engagement.  We found that herders have limited knowledge of the symptoms of many livestock diseases, other than those for which recent outbreaks have been experienced locally.  Herders do not generally identify their own activities as having an impact on rangeland resource degradation or depletion, but instead attribute degradation to external factors including climate change or to natural cycles.
  11. 11. Introduction 11 2 Introduction The survey “Collective Action in Mongolia‟s pastoral sector” was conducted by the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, National University of Mongolia on behalf of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The primary objective of this survey was to determine how – and with whom – herders organize activities such as rangeland use, livestock health, resource conservation, and the sale of raw commodities. The results of this research are intended to provide guidance to local government, herder cooperatives, rangeland management NGOs, and national government organizations, as well as SDC and other international donor organizations. The survey was designed with a view to gathering quantitative data concerning the state of collective action among herders in Green Gold project sites. Collective organization exists in a variety of forms, which integrate with Pasture User Groups (PUGs) established by the Green Gold project with varying degrees of success. We discovered through our prior exploratory research and open-ended interviews that while many herders support PUGs as collective action institutions, in practice PUGs have faced some obstacles in gaining the trust and participation of all herders. Our intention has thus been to identify areas of success and places for improvement in the collective action sphere, with particular focus on PUGs and agricultural cooperatives established through the Green Gold project. To this end, we asked herders how they currently organize a variety of livestock and resource- management activities – such as well maintenance, rotational grazing planning, selective breeding, hay and feed production, or veterinary care – and whether they conduct those activities privately, in cooperation with neighbours or relatives, with hired help, or as part of a PUG, herder group, community-based resource management group (nökhörlöl), through a cooperative, or by other means. We also asked which activities they would prefer to be organized collectively by the state, PUGs or herder groups, or cooperatives, and which they would prefer to manage on their own. We further asked specific details about herders‟ perceptions of several institutions of which they might take part, and which could serve as a platform for collective action: bags (the smallest, most “grassroots” units of local government), PUGs, herder groups, community-based resource management groups, and cooperatives. We asked respondents when and how they participated in activities coordinated by or through these institutions, what benefits the organizations provided, whether they had faith in the value of the institutions, and how they rated the leadership of those organizations or units. As the quality of wool, meat, and dairy products marketed by herders depends directly on both livestock and ecosystem health, we have sought to investigate how herders approach livestock health and rangeland conservation issues, and how the health of animals and rangeland ecosystems might better be assured. A series of livestock health-related questions was developed for inclusion in this survey in consultation with representatives of the SDC Green
  12. 12. Introduction 12 Gold and Animal Health projects, with significant input from project veterinarian Barbara Wieland. These questions were designed to acquire data concerning herders' perceptions of the quality of veterinary services and the severity of various livestock illnesses, the actual interventions taken by herders in response to specific health issues, and herders' spending on veterinary services and medications. A shorter series of questions addressing herders' perceptions of ecological degradation and resource depletion was developed by the research team based at the National University of Mongolia. The survey was conducted in October-November 2014, with data entry and processing extending into mid-February 2015. Survey responses were collected through in-person interviews conducted with 288 herder households in Uvs, Zavkhan, Khovd, Bayankhongor, and Dornogovi aimags of Mongolia. With the exception of Dornogovi – which was chosen as a control site – all research sites were located in sums in which the Green Gold project was currently being implemented. Respondents were selected through a cluster sampling method based on current place of residence and administrative affiliation, with some purposive selection of respondents within each cluster to ensure adequate representation by age and herd size. 2.1 Sampling and general information about respondents The survey included 288 herder households from Tes and Naranbulag sums in Uvs aimag; Gurvanbulag sum in Bayankhongor aimag; Ider and Yaruu sums in Zavkhan aimag; Duut and Chandmani sums in Khovd aimag; and Sainshand and Örgön sums in Dornogovi aimag, including a small number of households temporarily camped in those regions on otor (figure 1). Green Gold Ecosystem project proposed five sums of western aimags and other control sums were added in order to compare the sums where the Green Gold project has not been implemented. Interpretation of survey data drew on records and data collected through field research and ethnographic work conducted from November 2011 onwards. Figure 1. Research sites In selecting respondents, we produced a purposive sample according to the herder‟s age, herd
  13. 13. Introduction 13 size, and distance from the sum centre. We divided the sample into five age range categories, with 33.3 percent of respondents (n=96) belonging to the range 29-39 and 32.3 percent (n=93) belonging to the range 40-50, indicating that the survey sample correlates well to the general age distribution of the herder population in Mongolia. Of the remaining households, 5.9 percent (n=17) belonged to the 18-28 age category, 9.7 percent (n=28) belonged to the 61+ age category (table 1). Further, we divided the sample into two groups based on their distance from the sum centre – up to or greater than 30 kilometres – reflecting our desire to see the impacts of infrastructure and access to social services, as well as the correlation of rangeland capacity and population centres. Based on previous two years‟ visits and participant observation fieldwork carried out in four focus area the team decided to identify entire households as survey subjects rather than separating them by gender, age or rank within a household. Although the respondents are assumed to be representing entire household, most of them are male heads of the households. During few occasional cases when the male head of the household is absent; gone herding the livestock, on a trip to city/town or deceased, the female respondents answered entirely on behalf of the household. However, this is not to assume that female voices were suppressed during regular interviews. In fact many of the questions were answered jointly by both spouses, often males confirming the response while wives narrated extended answers to questions. age n % 18-28 17 5.9 29-39 96 33.3 40-50 93 32.3 51-61 54 18.8 > 61 28 9.7 TOTAL 288 100.0 Table 1. Age of respondents Since the focus of the survey was not exclusively on the subject of poverty the following comment touches tangentially the issue through the proxy of livestock number rather than monetary income, savings and investments. When drawing a line between low income and medium income level we identified 200 livestock to be ceiling point that can potentially slide the household into a struggling category. We abstained from the term totally impoverished since throughout the survey we interviewed only herders who possess some herd with an exception of few cases when we encountered non-herding residents of bag such as those who make living with hunting and those who were temporarily employed in bag centers for instance to look
  14. 14. Introduction 14 after the small storages built for herders in exchange for small compensation of offsprings from spring livestock birth. In general these people can be regarded as completely dispossessed or impoverished and sustaining themselves through pure community effort to help them recover some number of livestock, usually not exceeding 10-20 small ruminants. On the other hand those who possess under 200 livestock have a struggling pattern and under the biggest risk of becoming totally dispossessed in times of environmental disaster or economic hardship. We selected respondents according to four herd size sample categories – fewer than 200, from 201 to 500, 501-800 and more than 801 animals – aiming for equal representation of each category. 13.5% of the households participated in the survey have less than 200 livestock, 24.4% have 201-500, 32.2% have 501-800, and 26.7% have more that 801 livestock (table 2). Herd size of households Total n Total % PUG member n PUG member % Female (As a main respondent) Male (As a main respondent) n % n % < 200 39 13.5 15 44.0 5 1.7 34 11.8 201-500 79 24.4 44 56.0 17 5.9 62 21.5 501-800 93 32.2 50 54.0 17 5.9 76 26.4 >801 77 26.7 44 57.0 17 5.9 60 20.8 TOTAL 288 100.0 153 53.1 56 19.5 232 80.5 Table 2. Herd size and membership Another fact for those with less than 200 livestock being more involved in collective actions is a herding practice to reside in company with two or more other households in the same camping, where the total number of animals of those households usually add up to 1000 or more depending on the capacity of the pasture. Alternatively, households with large number of livestock are usually not able to engage in such a bonding due to their high number of livestock often exceed the capacity of available pasture. Households with large number of livestock up to 1000 or more tend to criticize those household bonds to be more harmful to the pasture by claiming that they justify themselves to have less number of animals and fail to make enough moves while apparently the number of the bonded households always add up to 1000 or more. 2.2 The “Herder household” As the “herder household”, to a greater extent than the individual herder-labourer, is considered the main labour unit in the Mongolian pastoral production system, our survey focused on the household as a whole – reflecting the fact that household members participate collectively in
  15. 15. Introduction 15 pastoral activities in various interconnected ways – rather than herders as individuals. But while the concept of the “herder household” does not imply that all household members contribute equally and collectively to pastoral labour, it does not allow us to distinguish in specific detail who manages livestock, when, and in what ways. Therefore we have categorized the respondents to this survey according to the relations between the household members who are permanently (or generally) resident where the livestock are kept. Prior to launching the survey the research team agreed that in order to allow diverse sampling of survey subjects in addition to age, wealth and status it should seek to include female-led households. When it comes to female-led homes these should not be understood as atomized and struggling single mothers in orthodox sense. What we found was that the authority and status of these women largely depended on their age group. Although quite rare in numbers, around 1-2 households at most in each bag, some types were elderly women who lost their husbands to natural causes and having long delegated most decision-making to her eldest child retained only symbolic status as being the oldest in household ranking. On the other hand there were few cases of younger women who have become single parents while children were pre- adult age. In these instances they were responsible for all important decisions in the household. For instance in Jargalant Bag, Yaruu sum, as was advised by the bag leader to visit there were two female-led homes. When we visited both families, there was stark contrast between the two households in terms of decision-making authority, age and wealth status. One was elderly widow to a wealthy spouse with three adult age children managing over thousand herds whereas the other one was younger in age with 3 adolescent and 2 young adult sons who made living through herding a wealthy town-dwelling herder‟s over thousand livestock. The former one responded that she entirely delegated all her decisions to her adult children while the latter made all decisions by herself whether these were financial or related to seasonal movements, household purchases or social one such as marrying her son. When asked about their household organization and whether they engaged in pastoral activities on a full-time basis, a strong majority of the 288 survey respondents (72.6%) indicated that they lived and herded livestock together as a relatively complete nuclear family – including a husband, wife, and one or more children – with co-resident elderly parents, brothers and sisters, or relatives. But it is important to emphasize that the number of co-resident children reported in this survey does not include those who were attending school in the sum or aimag centre or in Ulaanbaatar, but indicates only pre-school and unschooled children who live in the countryside full-time. The remaining 28% of respondents reported that they did live year-round as a nuclear family, but were separately resident for one reason or another. In many families with young children, one of the parents (typically the mother) spends the school-year in the settlement where their children attend school. A popular alternative arrangement is to have school-age children live in the sum centre with either of their grandparents. Some children are also resident in the school dormitory in the sum centre, but typically return home to stay with their parents each weekend or on alternate weekends. Since not all families have members who are able to pick up their young children regularly from school, respondents in some sums reported that several households of relatives or neighbours spending the winter together gather children from the aimag or sum centre and take them home together. But in some areas – such
  16. 16. Introduction 16 as parts of Yaruu sum, for example – herders mentioned that they sent their children to attend school in the aimag centre (Uliastai) rather than in the sum centre, due in part to their perception that the aimag centre school offers a better education, but also because the road to the sum centre becomes less passable when snow-covered in winter. School children usually go home on Fridays, returning to the centre on Sundays or Mondays, depending on the distance of their home from the centre and the availability of transportation. Another major challenge in defining the “herder household” relates to the question of whether or not herders manage their own livestock throughout the winter, or instead place their animals for part of the year with another herder household. For example, in Gurvanbulag sum in Bayankhongor aimag, bag officials estimated that 30-40 percent of herders actually leave their livestock with another family, spending the winter in the sum centre. Consequently, the data included in this survey report represent households that were actively herding livestock in September-November 2014, as well as the social organization of those households at that time. The findings presented here are not representative of year-round household organization. In effect, the identities of “herder” and “herder household” are not absolute, but rather reflect the evolving relationship of individuals and families to livestock and rangelands. Not only do various household members engage differently with livestock and pastoral activities at different times of the year, but “herder households” themselves present fluctuating pastoral activity. Displacement of family members has become a major issue in rural areas. With the collapse of socialist system, enormous subsidies ended that used to be directed to maintain quality secondary education along with proper housing for herders‟ children in sum centers. With lack of dormitories and non uniform educational years varying from 8-12 grades an increasing number of herders have to split their time between settlement towns, cities and their homes back in their bags. In most cases, women follow their children from kinder-garden through middle school to nearest towns and stay either with relatives or invest in property if income allows. This puts enormous pressure on both spouses with husbands having to spend almost half of the year by themselves tending to livestock while wives undertake care and support for children on their own. See for example table 2 where the number of households which include both spouses only half as many as those who were currently dwelling on single-parent basis. On the wider context such displacement leads to large concentration of herd in one place while encouraging what is commonly now termed as absentee herders. The household displacement encourages many herders to place their livestock with other herders who pool in several household herds especially during late autumn and early winter months, and seek residence in sum or aimag centers.
  17. 17. Local government and collective action: the bag 17 3 Local government and collective action: the bag The main political form of collective action among herders is the bag (the smallest level of political/administrative organization in Mongolia). The bag citizens‟ meeting, which is normally held on a quarterly basis, serves as the main venue for bringing together and organizing collective activities among citizens who are registered in the same administrative unit. It is possible to assess herders‟ collective engagement in part through their level of participation in bag meetings. Reported participation among survey respondents was high; 62.5 percent reported that they had attended 1-3 bag meetings in the past year, 17 percent reported that they had attended 4-6 meetings, and 9.4 percent reported that they had attended 7-9 meetings. Figure 2. Attendance at bag meetings: number of meetings attended by a member of the household in the past year (n=288) Taking attendance at four or more bag meetings as a cutoff, we considered 26.4 percent of surveyed herders to be “highly engaged”. 62.1% of households won less than 200 livestock attended 1-3 bag meetings in the past year and 16.2% reported 4-6 meetings and another 16.2% 7-9 meetings which relatively high attendance rate compared to those possess larger number of livestock. A similar estimate also applies to households with 201-500 livestock and the ones with more than 801 livestock have least rate of attendance (Table …..). Herders‟ attendance at bag meetings, while influenced by the issues to be discussed, conflicts arising
  18. 18. Local government and collective action: the bag 18 due to differences among political parties and factions at the local level, distance of the meeting site from where herders are camped, weather conditions, the health of household members, is also a reflection of herders‟ level of interest and initiative in participating in collective action. Herd Size Number of attendance 1-200 201-500 501-800 801 - 1-3 62.1 60.2 65.5 70.8 4-6 16.2 17.9 21.1 13.8 7-9 16.2 14.1 7.7 4.1 0 5.1 7.6 5.5 11 Total 100 100 100 100 Table 3. Attendance at bag meetings: by herd size Looking at herders‟ participation in bag meetings over the past year in sums in which the “Green Gold” project was being implemented, we found that the highest level of participation was Naranbulag sum in Uvs aimag, with 24 out of 40 surveyed households reporting attendance at 7-9 meetings, 10 households reporting attendance at 4-6 meetings, and four households reporting attendance at 1-3 meetings, with only two households reporting not having attended any bag meetings. The sums with the next-highest level of civic engagement were Tes in Uvs aimag and Gurvanbulag in Bayankhongor aimag. In the majority of sums included in the survey, respondents indicated that they had attended bag meetings 1-3 times per year. Eight households in Tes sum, and six households in Yaruu sum, reported that they had not attended any bag meetings in the previous year. Looking more closely at these households, we find that five of the six households in Yaruu that did not attend any bag meetings resided in the Gobi region of the sum, a considerable distance from the sum centre. These few households relied on the regular visits from the bag head to communicate their concerns and to obtain information about ongoing local government initiatives. The sixth household was extremely impoverished, and did not own any livestock; the household members had performed wage labour in the city until the previous autumn, at which point the family returned to the country and subsisted primarily by hunting with an official permit. As a result, while this household kept livestock, its members did not view themselves as a “real” herder household, and did not consider it necessary to attend bag meetings.
  19. 19. Local government and collective action: the bag 19 Figure 3. Bag meeting attendance by sum: number of meetings attended by at least one member of the household in the past year, by percentage of respondents. One of the central forms of collective action among herders is rangeland management – a topic that is discussed at bag meetings in the context of ratifying annual rangeland mangement plans. Herders‟ attendance at bag meetings at which rangeland management issues are discussed provides a useful criterion for assessing herders‟ receptiveness to this form of organization and their overall level of engagement. Land use matters are discussed at least once annually at spring bag meetings. Asked about their attendance at bag meetings in the past three years during which annual land use (rangeland management) plans were discussed, 255 respondents indicated participation, of which 44.4 percent attended 1-3 meetings, 23.3 percent attended 4-6 meetings, and 2 percent attended 10 or more meetings. But if we consider that 25 percent of respondents indicated that they did not attend such meetings at all, the remainder appear to have participated relatively actively, attending the bag meetings each year without skipping any.
  20. 20. Local government and collective action: the bag 20 Figure 4. Bag meetings attended by herders, at which rangeland management plans were discussed: number of meetings attended by a member of the household in the past year (n=288). Looking separately at reported attendance at bag meetings in the past three years at which rangeland management plans were discussed for herders resident in Green Gold project sums, we found that while 22 herders in Tes, 10 in Naranbulag, and 12 in Chandmani reported no attendance, in the remaining sums herders reported high attendance – at least 1-3 times and up to 4-6 times. For instance, in Tes sum despite the fact that PUGs were not particularly active, this did not mean that no rangeland management planning meetings were held or that herders did not attend such meetings.
  21. 21. Local government and collective action: the bag 21 Figure 5. Attendance at bag meetings in the past three years during which rangeland management plans were discussed, by sum. To assess the degree to which herders are involved in bag-level decision-making processes, and how open local government is perceived to be, we asked herders to indicate how frequently they are consulted by local authorities. In sums in which the Green Gold project was being implemented, 86 of 261 respondents indicated that they were consulted “regularly” and 73 indicated that they were consulted “sometimes”, while a further 52 indicated that they felt they were not consulted at all. In Chandmani sum we did not ask respondents to evaluate bag officials, as the bag heads participated in the survey research. In the remaining sums a majority of respondents replied “regularly”, with a slight minority indicating “sometimes”. In Tes sum, to a greater extent than other survey sites, respondents replied that the bag head never consulted them at all (17 households). The highest result was in Ider sum. Figure 6. Responses to the question, “Are you consulted by the bag on its operations?” by percentage of respondents Looking at bag heads‟ proximity to herders on a sum-by-sum level, we found that bag heads worked most closely with herders in Tes, Gurvanbulag, Ider, and Yaruu sums. Bag heads who frequently tour households in their districts appear to enjoy a higher approval rating among herders. In addition to this, herders rate their bag heads by comparing their level of engagement with the public they represent to that of their predecessors. This general satisfaction with the work of bag officials was noted in our previous ethnographic study. Confirming what was shown in the table above, the bag heads in Tes sum enjoy lower public support. Herders‟ dissatisfaction with the work of their bag representatives may relate to the location of the bag offices, which are situated in the sum centre and in the “upper” and “lower” bag centres (brigadyn töv). Herders in ths sum tend to move closer to the sum centre in late autumn, winter, and early spring, spending the warmer months dispersed – and moving
  22. 22. Local government and collective action: the bag 22 frequently – in the area of Elsen Böörög and along the Nariin River. Additionally, the low level of satisfaction with bag heads expressed by officials working in the Tes sum governor‟s office appears to be influenced by party divisions. It is possible that the survey results in this area were influenced somewhat by the equivalent sample weighting given to supporters of the Mongolian People‟s Party and Democratic Party. Figure 7. Reported frequency of bag heads’ visits in the past year, by percentage of respondents Herders‟ in-person and telephone contact with their bag heads during the course of the previous year corroborate the above findings, demonstrating the level of communication that exists between herders and local officials. Whereas reported contact with bag heads was only moderate in Gurvanbulag sum, herders appeared to have close ties to bag heads in Naranbulag, Duut, and Chandmani sums. These response data also confirm the finding that bag heads in Tes, Ider, and Yaruu sums work closely with local herders. The aggregated figures mask some intra-sum variation, however: where bag heads may appear to work effectively with herders, actual social leaders may be different. For example, Khets Ulaan bag is situated in the Gobi region, with herders moving up to 100 km from the sum centre. On the one hand, this geographical distance presents challenges to governance institutions. On the other hand, this bag is home to the largest herds in the sum – with herders maintaining 1000 or more animals. In such sites where public authority is weak, the individuals with the greatest power and influence tend to be elders or herders with large numbers of animals. But in Jargalant bag, by contrast, herders camp very close to one another, with the result that the bag administration has greater capacity for influence. In addition, the previous bag heads – who had been appointed politically following the previous two elections – were replaced due to public pressure, with the new appointees currently enjoying greater popularity than their predecessors. To give a specific example, the bag head in Darkhan Uul bag of Ider sum is particularly active.
  23. 23. Local government and collective action: the bag 23 The bag head collaborated with herders, the sum governor, and the local veterinarian to plan and organize livestock and bedding disinfection at an official level. As the bag is close to the khangai region and near the sum centre, it is relatively densely populated, meaning that rangeland-related conflicts tend to emerge with somewhat greater frequency than in other places, requiring management by the bag head. Even while on maternity leave, the bag head continued to work on behalf of her constitutents. In Jargalant bag of Yaruu sum – also located in the khangai region – herders get snowed-in for part of the winter, and tend to be more cut off from the administrative centre than other bags or sums, meaning that herders within the bag temd tp help one another out. Additionally, the bag head in Jargalant is a herder himself, having recently been appointed with the popular support of local herders, and shows commitment to assisting disadvantaged constituents by hiring them to guard the bag centre or herd the male breeder livestock, for example. Asked to rate their bag heads on a scale of 1-4 for each of 11 different criteria, more than half of respondents (54.3%) gave a rating of 2 (“adequate”). Less than a third of respondents (29.7%) gave an overall rating of 3 (“good”), while very few respondents selected ratings at the top or bottom ends of the scale (“poor” or “excellent”). The highest rating individual ranking criterion related to “implementation of the rangeland management plan”, for which 52.7% gave a rating of “adequate” and 31.3 percent a rating of “good”. Similarly, for the criterion of cooperation with PUGs and cooperatives, 60% of respondents gave a rating of “adquate”, while 26.4% gave a ranking of “good”. Similarly, on the criterion of “environmental protection”, 55.5% of responents gave a ranking of “adequate” and 27.8% a ranking of “good”. The primary explanation for these results is that the most important economic activities on which their livelihoods depend – herding and the sale of livestock and raw commodities – are managed with assistance from the PUG and PUG-affiliated cooperative, with the result that the bag head effectively has no choice but to cooperate with these organizations. The lowest ratings were for the criterion of “cooperating with and involving citizens in foreign projects and programs” (exclusive of Green Gold and PUGs), for which 50.4 percent of respondents gave a rating of “adquate” and 34.7 percent gave a rating of “poor”. If we look at the results by sum, we find that respondents in Yaruu, Ider, and Gurvanbulag gave the highest ratings – with an average in the “good” range – whereas respondents in Tes gave an average rating of “poor”.
  24. 24. Social networks and collective action institutions 24 4 Social networks and collective action institutions In this section of the survey, we asked respondents to indicate the frequency of their contacts with sum-level officials and other specialists who are expected to work closely with herders. The individuals listed included, for the first part, local government officials and staff, and for the second part, people working in non-profit or voluntary organizations that are intended to engage with or serve herders – APUG NGOs, herder cooperatives, and PUG heads. Figure 8. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with your bag head?” by percentage of respondents Bag heads were clearly identified by respondents as those with whom they had the most contact in the previous year. Almost no respondents in any sum stated that they had not met with their bag head at all in the previous year, while a total of 68 respondents indicated that they had met their bag head 10 or more times. For example, in Gurvanbulag sum 11 respondents reported meeting their bag head 10-12 times, and a further five respondents reported meeting their bag head more than 12 times in the previous year. In addition to meeting their bag head in person, many respondents indicated regular telephone contact. A total of 121 respondents (42%) indicated that they had spoken to their bag head by telephone at least once in the past year. 167 respondents (58% of the total) did not indicate any contact with the bag head – suggesting that they may have been situated at too great a distance from the sum centre for face-to-face meetings, and second that they were likely located in mountainous areas without mobile telephone signals.
  25. 25. Social networks and collective action institutions 25 Out of the 121 respondents who indicated some degree of contact with the bag head, 24.8 percent reported having had 1-3 telephone conversations, 22.1 percent reported having had 4-6 telephone conversation, 7.4 percent reported having had 7-9 telephone conversations, 13.2 percent reported having had 10-12 telephone conversations, and 18.2 percent reported having had more than 12 telephone conversations with the bag head in the past year, while 17.4 percent reported that they had not spoken by telephone with the bag head in the past year at all. These results show conclusively that mobile telephone networks have contributed significantly to shaping civic engagement in rural Mongolia, by allowing herders to maintain regular contact with their bag heads. Nonetheless as telephone coverage is not universal, many herders do not engage in mobile communications, but more frequently meet with local officials and representatives in person. Herders relate closely with several other local officials, in addition to bag heads. In nearly all sites herders reported regular communications with the sum veterinarian. Yet there were some differences in the frequency of meetings; whereas herders reported on average meeting with veterinarians 1-3 times per year, most claimed to have met the bag head at least 4 times in the past year. The frequency of contact with veterinarians was not consistent in all sites; in Duut and Chandmani, for example, herders reported a relatively low engagement with their local veterinarian. In Yaruu and Ider sums, by contrast, herders reported a higher degree of contact with their veterinarian. Figure 9. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the sum veterinarian?” by percentage of respondents Of all survey respondents, 36.6 percent reported that they had met with the cooperative manager 1-3 times, 10.1 percent reported that they had met with the cooperative manager 4-6 times, 2.1 percent reported that they had met with the cooperative manager 7-9 times, and 42
  26. 26. Social networks and collective action institutions 26 percent reported that they had not met with the cooperative manager at all in the past year. The cooperative managers thus appear to have the most contact with herders, following bag heads and veterinarians. Occasions In person Telephone 0 121 225 1-3 104 22 4-6 29 17 7-9 6 2 10-12 15 16 >12 13 6 Table 4. How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the cooperative manager?” Regular contact with cooperative managers was reported by herders in sums in which cooperatives have grown strongly in the past year or two. In Tes, Ider, Yaruu, and Gurvanbulag sums more than half of the survey respondents indicated that they had met with the cooperative manager in the previous year. Figure 10. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak
  27. 27. Social networks and collective action institutions 27 on the telephone with the cooperative managers?” by percentage of respondents The level of contact between herders and PUG or herder group leaders reported by surveyed herders was moderate. While we expect to see a high degree of regular contact with heads of PUGs and herder groups due to the importance of these collectivities in bringing together herders who live in the same location, the degree of contact is uneven across survey sites. A relatively low level of engagement with PUG leaders was reported in Chandmani sum, for example – which can largely be attributed to the recent restructuring of PUGs to coincide with the five bags in the sum. In Ider and Gurvanbulag sums, slightly more than half of respondents reported meeting regularly with their PUG leader. Figure 11. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the PUG leader?” by percentage of respondents Another individual who is heavily involved in herders‟ collective action is the APUG leader in each sum, who not only coordinates PUG activities in conjunction with the aimag-level Rangeland Management Association and the Green Gold project, but is also frequently the head of one of the main agricultural cooperatives in the sum. Although 34.9 percent of survey respondents indicated that they had not met the APUG leader in the past year, approximately 65 percent stated that they had met the APUG leader 1-3 times in that period. Herders‟ contact with the APUG leaders was highest in Gurvanbulag, Ider, and Yaruu sums, where more than 80 percent of surveyed herders indicated that they had met the APUG leader in some capacity in the past year. In these sites contact with APUG leaders was high as the latter were active managers of agricultural cooperatives. In the case of Tes and Duut sums, the positions of APUG leader or cooperative manager were either unfilled for an extended period or otherwise problematic.
  28. 28. Social networks and collective action institutions 28 Figure 12. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with your APUG coordinator?” by percentage of respondents The necessity of cooperation with officials of local veterinary and breeding units is evident from these data. For the most part, herders reported meeting officials between one and three times a year. Similar rates were reported for environmental inspectors. Figure 13. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with local livestock health and breeding unit staff?” by percentage of respondents
  29. 29. Social networks and collective action institutions 29 Figure 14. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the environmental inspector?” by percentage of respondents Respondents indicated that they met the sum governor the least frequently of all officials about whom they were asked. Many herders stated that it was rare for the sum governor to tour households, or for herders to have the need to meet with the sum governor. In some cases, where an “outsider” had been appointed as the sum governor, herders reported that they had never seen the governor in person at all. Meetings n % never 184 63.9 1-3 78 27.1 4-6 16 5.6 7-9 2 0.7 10-12 4 1.4 more than 12 4 1.4 TOTAL 288 100.0 Table 5. Responses to the question, “How many times in the past year did you meet or speak on the telephone with the sum governor?” by number and percentage of respondents
  30. 30. Social networks and collective action institutions 30 From these data we conclude that herders have the closest contacts with the bag heads, cooperative managers, APUG directors, and veterinarians. In quantitative terms, herders reported that they met most frequently with bag leaders, cooperative leaders, and PUG leaders – confirming that the cooperatives and PUGs established through the Green Gold project have succeeded at reaching herders at a level comparable to that of the local government. Overall herders reported that they maintained closer contact with these individuals than with sum veterinary and livestock breeding unit staff or veterinarians. 4.1 Conflict-resolution This survey also provides some insight into how conflicts and challenges might be addressed in future. We asked herders to describe the types of resource-related conflicts they had experienced in the previous five years, and to identify which of the above individuals helped in resolving those conflicts. The most common reported conflicts (55 respondents) involved herders from within the same bag, and occurred primarily in Tes and Yaruu sums. These results should not be taken to mean that the sums in question were completely conflict-ridden. For example, in Yaruu sum very few conflicts were mentioned by herders in the Gobi region, whereas frequent conflicts were reported in the more densely-populated khangai region. Relatively few conflicts were reported involving herders from different bags in the same sum (24 respondents), but occurred in Tes, Ider, Gurvanbulag, and Naranbulag sums; meanwhile a small number of conflicts with herders from other sums (18 respondents) was reported in all sites. In Gurvanbulag a gold mine located approximately 10 kilometres from the sum centre was actively opposed by herders registered in different bags and sums. While very few conflicts were indentified by respondents in Naranbulag, Duut, and Chandmani sums, it is possible that conflicts occurred but were not reported by herders in these sites. (a)Farms (b)Mining companies
  31. 31. Social networks and collective action institutions 31 (c)“Ninja” miners (d)Herders on otor from other aimags Figure 15. Reported instances of rangeland conflicts, by type of conflicting party and by sum (a)Herders on otor from other sums in the same aimag (b)Immigrant herders (c)Herders from other bags in the same sum (d)Herders from within the same bag
  32. 32. Social networks and collective action institutions 32 (e)Herders from within the same PUG or herder group (f)No conflict over rangeland resources Figure 16. Reported instances of rangeland conflicts, by type of conflicting party and by sum (continued) As can be observed from figure 17, survey respondents reported that bag heads have the greatest role in managing everyday conflicts among herders who are resident of the same bag, or among residents of neighbouring bags within the same sum. Besides bag heads, 42.1% of those who had an experience of pasture conflict responded they themselves solve the problem, and they are tend to be herders with larger number of livestock. For instance 6.7% of those who solve the disputes themselves are herders with less than 200 livestock, 33.8% have 201-500, 35.5% have 501-800, and 23.7% have more than 801 livestock. This might mean that the ones less than 200 livestock can be weak in the society maybe because they are young couples and just married and have fewer livestock to start or possibly single parent households or elderly widows with living with adult children. Figure 17. Who resolves disputes among herders? But conflicts over rangeland and resource use appear to be limited in the case of households who are members of the same PUG. Nonetheless, PUGs have limited powers to resolve disputes, particularly those involving herders from elsewhere in the bag or sum. In a significant number of cases respondents indicated that disputes were resolved by “herders (amongst) themselves”. Certainly, PUGs contribute in resolving local conflicts of resources as it became another additional institution. This can be understood to mean that individual herders or herder households often resolved disputes without recourse to institutional authorities, but it should also be noted that PUG or herder group members are included in this response. The fact that herders resolve disputes on their own can be taken as an indication of the utility of PUG organization, insofar as PUGs operate at a level where most issues among herders are addressed.
  33. 33. Herder Cooperatives 33 5 Herder Cooperatives The “herder cooperative” or “agricultural cooperative” is another type of organizational structure that is coming into being and promoting collective action among herders. In terms of their origins, structure, and type of organization, we identified three distinct types of herder cooperatives: those that were established on the infrastructure of former socialist-era collectives; those that were established in affiliation with the “Green Gold” project, with participation from PUG member herders“; and those that were established by private individuals. Since the main role of the cooperatives is to procure raw commodities from livestock producers and market these commodities on herders‟ behalf, we asked herders to identify where they sold each type of commodity as an indicator of the effectiveness of cooperatives. While a significant number of herders in all survey sites reported selling commodities to producer cooperatives, it was also common for herders to sell to brokers (chenj), who might be itinerant buyers or people who maintain permanent buying points in the sum centre or at a market in the aimag centre. We asked herders where they most recently sold eight different categories of commodities – sheep wool, cashmere, camel hair, livestock or meat (carcasses), milk and dairy products, horse hair, yak wool, and hides. In absolute, cumulative terms, the most frequent response was cooperatives (42.3%), followed by itinerant brokers (32.2%). The remainder of respondents indicated that they sold commodities to brokers or in the sum centre or at markets in the aimag centre or in Ulaanbaatar. Figure 18. Perceived advantages of cooperative membership
  34. 34. Herder Cooperatives 34 These results underline the economic value of cooperatives to herders, which a large proportion of livestock producers have joined in order to achieve greater profits than are provided by private brokers. The two dominant categories of cooperative joined by herders in the survey sites were (1) Green Gold-affiliated cooperatives, and (2) so-called “privately owned” cooperatives established by brokers, which are typically viewed by herders as businesses generating profit for their managers rather than as non-profit entities serving their members (figure 19). Approximately 82 percent of respondents reported selling at least some commodities to an agricultural cooperative, and 52% of those had dealt with Green Gold- affiliated cooperatives. Membership in Green Gold cooperatives was highest in Gurvanbulag, Ider, and Yaruu sums, with all surveyed respondents reporting having sold at least one commodity to the Green Gold-affiliated cooperative, while 60% of surveyed households in Duut had joined the Green Gold cooperative. In Duut, the Green Gold affiliated cooperative operated poorly due to its bankruptcy, caused by the embezzlement of its capital by the former Executive Director. The Green Gold coordinator stated that although the courts had found the former cooprative Director to be at fault, it excused him from repayment of the stolen capital on compassionate grounds due to his poor health, instead charging only an administrative penalty. In Dornogovi, only two households reported that they had joined a cooperative. As the herders surveyed often lived approximately as close to the aimag centre as they did to the sum centre, it made more sense for them to sell their livestock commodities in the aimag than to join a sum-level cooperative. Figure 19. To which cooperative do you sell your raw commodities? Looking at the categories of livestock commodities most frequently reported by herders as sold to cooperatives, we see an overwhelming tendency for cooperatives to deal in commodities that provide access to a government premium or price subsidy – namely sheep wool, yak down, and
  35. 35. Herder Cooperatives 35 hides – whereas livestock, meat, and cashmere are primarily bought by itinerant brokers. This trend partly reflects herders‟ own reluctance to sell products to cooperatives where a premium is not available, given that cooperatives are unable to provide up-front cash payment at competitive prices, but also reflects the fact that few cooperatives have started buying or processing other commodities such as cashmere, which requires considerably greater capital investment than the cooperatives are capable of making. The lack of involvement of cooperatives in the livestock and meat value chain can be attributed to the absence of equipment and infrastructure to procure livestock, dress and store carcasses, and convey meat to downstream buyers, or to the absence of contracts with wholesalers. Alongside these increasing business dealings, cooperatives have established a reasonable level of trust among herders. Slightly more than half of surveyed herders (55.5%) reported that they trusted their cooperatives, while 33.6% reported moderate trust, and a minority (10.7%) expressed a lack of trust in the local cooperatives. Figure 20. Herders’ level of trust in cooperative managers Until recently herders had very little faith in cooperatives – a fact that can be attributed to the poor organization, irregular operations, and weak finances of cooperatives established in previous years, which resulted in the bankruptcies and loss of herders‟ investments, and contributed to the general sense among herders that cooperatives are of limited benefit. In this survey the most frequently cited concerns related to the perceived financial insecurity (“previous cooperatives went bankrupt”) and poor business practices (“the administration is poor”) of current cooperatives. Nonetheless, herders who had joined cooperatives cited several perceived advantages to membership – first of all the fact that selling commodities to the cooperative provided access to government cash subsidies (“premiums”), and secondly that the buying price set by cooperatives was higher than that of private buyers. Despite these pricing-
  36. 36. Herder Cooperatives 36 related advantages, none of the herder cooperatives in the survey sites had yet managed to develop beyond their role as wholesale intermediaries, to establish other business facilities that would benefit herders. Although some cooperatives (such as those in Khovd) operated wholesale stores for members and reported their intention to distribute dividends, herders did not recognize either of these factors as currently significant benefits of cooperative membership. On average, respondents rated the cooperative manager higher than the bag head. 35.6 percent of respondents rated the cooperative manager as “good”, while 21.3 percent ranked the manager as “adequate” (figure 21). The main reason for this high rating appears to be the tangible contribution that cooperatives are perceived as making to herder households. Taken by disaggregated criteria, 43 percent of respondents rated the cooperative manager as “good” in the area of listening to others‟ suggestions, while 41% rated the manager as “good” in the area of leadership and management skills. Figure 21. Surveyed herders’ rating of cooperative managers, by sum A significant finding of this research is that herders unequivocally identify cooperatives as the best institutional mechanism for marketing livestock and secondary products, as the organization presenting the strongest positive impact on herders‟ lives. In other words, the cooperative is of value to herders as it reduces the number of intermediaries in bringing livestock and commodities to markets, circumventing private brokers, taking advantage of Green Gold project marketing services that create linkages between herders and markets, and buying commodities at relatively higher rates. Respondents expressed the belief that cooperatives are, currently, the best mechanism for buying livestock commodities from herders and marketing them at advantageous rates. Cooperatives are profitable to herders insofar as, first, they constitute a mechanism for concentrating resources and labour where necessary, and
  37. 37. Herder Cooperatives 37 second, they provide linkages between producers and buyers. The successful herder cooperatives have managed to progress beyond the stage of having to overcome herders‟ mistrust, and now enjoy the active support of their members. Our survey results indicate that cooperatives in Tes, Naranbulag, and Duut sums have gone farthest in overcoming their start- up challenges and achieving the trust of herders. We identify several factors that have contributed to cooperatives overcoming herders‟ lack of trust. First, evidence of successful operations by sum-level APUGs has contributed to herder confidence. Second, government policy of offering subsidies (specifically wool premiums) to herders through the intermediary of producer cooperatives has had a strong impact on the growth of cooperatives in Mongolia. By the same token, however, this policy has resulted in the exclusion of herders from subsidies for which they would nominally be eligible, in sums where cooperatives were not yet established. The APUG-affiliated cooperatives appear to be strongest in their implementation of these policies. The success of cooperatives depends largely on the degree to which they are able to integrate with government policy. The presence of both APUG-affiliated and “private” cooperatives in each sums appears desirable from a market perspective, insofar as competition can stimulate better services, but it is clear from this survey that the APUG-affiliated cooperatives are more effective than their private counterparts, and deserve further institutional support in the future. Proof of the value of these cooperatives lies in the fact that herders describe APUG-affiliated cooperatives as herder-owned organizations. In the next stage we observe competition between APUG-affiliated and “private” cooperatives, suggesting the need for better promotion of APUG cooperatives as being owned by herders. In other words, more herders need to view the APUG cooperatives not as a private business run by its manager, but as their own cooperatives, established and operating on their own behalf and with their own investments. APUG-affiliated cooperatives potentially constitute the main driver for successful future initiatives by APUGs and PUGs. Our finding that cooperative managers were rated higher than bag heads by herders may be considered, as mentioned above, evidence that cooperatives are valued by herders for the tangible impacts these organizations have on their everyday lives. Our field study also suggests, however, that the cooperatives will need to broaden the range of commodities in which they deal if they are to develop in the long term as strong local institutions. Survey respondents in most sums indicated that they sold meat, livestock, and cashmere to private brokers. If the herder cooperatives are able to deal in these commodities, it is clear that they and their affiliated APUGs and PUGs will be financially strengthened. To a greater extent than selling to brokers or commodity exchanges, herders have a clear economic interest in selling through marketing agents – such as cooperatives – which limit the number of intermediaries between producers and downstream buyers or consumers. The experience of the APUG- affiliated cooperative in Gurvanbulag – which transported livestock to Ulaanbaatar but was unable to sell the animals at a profit, and therefore brought the animals all the way back to Bayankhongor – demonstrates the immediate need for cooperatives to establish solid relations with meat packers. Milk and dairy products are similarly difficult for herders to market directly As discussed further below, a majority of surveyed herders matched their milk production to domestic consumption needs, which in part reflects the lack of dairy processing facilities or
  38. 38. Herder Cooperatives 38 marketing infrastructure that might allow herders to increase the marketable share of the milk they produce.
  39. 39. Herders’ collective action: PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups 39 6 Herders’ collective action: PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups Sixty-five percent of survey respondents indicated that their household had joined a pasture user group (PUG), herder group, or nökhörlöl community-based resource management (CBNRM) group active in the areas of rangeland management, natural resource use, or conservation. In the seven sums included in this survey, 153 herder households – 53.1% of the total surveyed – reported that they had joined PUGs in 2003. Additionally, 35 surveyed households indicated that they were members of a herder group, while 22 indicated membership in a community-based natural resource management group. Whereas most households in the five sums of Zavkhan, Khovd, and Bayankhongor aimags in which the survey was carried out joined PUGs in 2009 or 2010, the households in Tes and Naranbulag sums in Uvs aimag joined PUGs in 2013-2014. Of the surveyed respondents, 15 households in Duut sum, three households in each of Tes, Gurvanbulag, Ider, and Yaruu sums, eight households in Chandmani, and one household in Örgön sum reported membership in a herder group, while 10 households in Chandmani, four households in Duut, two households in each of Ider and Yaruu, and four households in Tes sum reported membership in a CBNRM group. 6.1 Attendance at PUG meetings To determine how actively herders participated in PUG meetings, we took into account responses to questions about how many PUG meetings the respondent or another household member had attended in the previous year (September 2013 to September 2014), and how many times they met or spoke by telephone with the APUG head. Reported participation in PUG meetings ranged from 10% of PUG members in Chandmani sum (Khovd aimag) and under 50% of PUG members in Tes sum (Uvs aimag) to 75-100% of herders in the remaining sums of Gurvanbulag (Bayankhongor aimag), Yaruu and Ider (Zavkhan aimag), and Duut (Khovd aimag). Respondents in Yaruu and Ider sums reported that their PUGs have strong members and leaders who visit frequently, resulting in good communication of Green Gold messages. Additionally, since herders have already combined the operations of bags and cooperatives, it has become common for cooperatives to coordinate the PUG meetings. For example, the individual who manages the APUG operations in Yaruu sum was previously a bag head, and is currently the leader of the local branch of one of the major political parties; as such, this individual combines the tasks associated with several positions, both giving out information and recruiting cooperative members on tours of households. Moreover, this individual‟s brother is socially influential within the bag, receiving many visitors, making his home a gathering point for
  40. 40. Herders’ collective action: PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups 40 information sharing and project implementation. While attendance at PUG meetings offers herders direct access to accurate information, herders‟ ability to participate in such meetings depends largely on the date and season when the meeting is held. For example, in Tes and Naranbulag sums PUG meetings were held concurrently with bag meetings or ovoo (sacred natural site) worship events, which offered both financial savings and a means of increasing participation levels. Both the sum governor and his head of staff in Tes sum mentioned that bag meetings are better attended – and more productive – if held concurrently with ovoo worship events in summer, or some time after families have had time to settle in at their winter camps. We also heard in interviews that herder attendance is particularly poor at meetings held in spring, at the time of livestock birthing, or in autumn when herders are away on otor. Attendance at PUG meetings can be taken as an indicator of the effectiveness of PUGs in each sum. In Tes sum, in which the Green Gold project was introduced only recently, PUGs had not yet managed to settle into their activities, the APUG leader had been replaced, and some PUG leaders appeared to have embezzled money from the matching fund – conditions that combined to cause PUG members to lose confidence in their PUGs, and ultimately led them to avoid attending meetings, even claiming that they had no means of transportation that would allow them to attend – with the result that the new APUG leader had to make efforts to transport herders with their own vehicle, slaughter a sheep and provide meals to participants in order to ensure attendance at workshops and meetings. Therefore the bag heads in Tes have begun working to initiate PUG/Green Gold activities and restore herders‟ confidence in the process. This experience underlines some of the positive aspects of coordinating PUG and bag activities, as discussed further below. In Naranbulag, by contrast, we found that a majority of herders actively attended PUG meetings, provided that the meetings were held at times when they were not camped too far away. Yet our finding that only 70% of survey respondents had attended a PUG meeting in the previous year suggests that more needs to be done to increase attendance, by paying attention to the timing of PUG meetings and to the number of potential attendees in each PUG. The herders in Naranbulag spread out on otor in two or three different sums, while herders from other sums may also camp on otor in Naranbulag.
  41. 41. Herders’ collective action: PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups 41 Figure 22. Attendence of household members at PUG and Herder Group meetings In terms of representation in PUG meetings, 58% of respondents indicated that the meetings were generally attended by their head of household, while 35% reported that whoever was free attended the meetings, and the remainder reported that children or the wife generally attended PUG meetings. While the majority of respondents in Duut, Yaruu, Ider, and Gurvanbulag reported that the head of household attended PUG meetings, 70-90% of respondents belonging to the more recently-established PUGs in Naranbulag and Tes reported that they typically sent whoever happened to be available. Although everyday chores and duties are gender exclusive, usually with male head of the household looking after the herd into daily pastures and wives staying around the encampments tending to bigger but slower livestock such as cattle, yak and their offspring due to the milking and dairy chores assigned to them, nevertheless when it came to most important household decisions such as investment, finances, children‟s education, weddings and participation in political and social activities both sexes tend to remain mutually involved. This is evident throughout the survey as for instance to the grouped question: “Who attends PUG/Herder Group/Environmental Protection Group meetings?” (See figure 22) the respondents were given choices to identify anyone from the household. Even though male households appear to be leading the responses, as the most active participants in these gatherings, yet the remaining half preferred to answer that whoever is available would attend it. In this instance whoever is available was often implied to be a wife or oldest child, only when the parents were from elderly age group. In terms of political leadership the rural administrative positions remain relatively gender neutral. For instance Ider sum has several strong female leaders whether at party level or at smallest bag level. When it comes to public popularity candidates are chosen mostly based on
  42. 42. Herders’ collective action: PUGs, herder groups, and CBNRM groups 42 strong party affiliations rather than from gender perspective. The surveyed households remain tolerant toward female leaders and some elderly ones have assumed an entrepreneurial leadership based on their previous public popularity. However, the fact that in the wider context female political representation remains relatively disproportionate should be taken into account. Female participation in PUGs was strongest in the predominantly Dörvöd sum of Naranbulag and in the predominantly Bayad sum of Tes. In Chandmani sum 28 PUG members responded to the survey but only five stated whether or not they had attended a PUG meeting in the past year. While many herders in Chandmani acknowledged information provided by the Green Gold project through bag meetings and at other events, and noted that rangeland management issues were regularly discussed, they did not recognize these discussions as constituting formal PUG meetings. Figure 23. Herders’ rating of PUG impacts on their livelihoods We observed impacts of aimag and sum community-based rangeland management groups in the livelihood of its members using eight questions. In survey we have 153 PUGs, 35 Herder Groups, and 22 Partnerships, which is total of 210 households. 24% of the total of 153 PUG members responded organization and function of PUGs have high impact in planning and using pasture, while 36% evaluated medium impact, and the remaining 40% considered the impact as low. In brief 60% of the respondents considered community based groups are having high and medium impacts in planning and using pasture. People in Gurvanbulag, Ider, Yaruu, and Duut sums claim that community based management helped a lot or medium in planning and using pasture, and the contribution was evaluated a small in Chandmani, while people in Tes and Naranbulag sums considered the management did not bring any difference. Both in Tes and Naranbulag community based group managements are not effective mainly because in Tes from the beginning PUG was first established in 2009 and soon after stopped functioning due to

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