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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


A policy-based loan program was implemented to simultaneously tackle Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution and reduce emissions through consistent policy objectives, regulatory frameworks, new technologies, and economic incentives.

In 2018, levels of harmful fine particulate matter in Mongolia’s capital were forty times the daily limit recommended by the World Health Organization. Rapid urbanization has resulted in the growth of vast peri-urban ger areas in the city that lack adequate public services and rely on the combustion of coal for heating and cooking, contributing to the severe air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


Ulaanbaatar chose to adopt an air quality improvement plan that encompasses three multi-sectoral reform areas. A stronger regulatory framework, including preferential taxation for cleaner fuels, a program for financing air quality improvement, and stricter energy efficiency standards, was accompanied by a public awareness campaign linking fuels, air pollution, and health.

Tangible measures related to pollution reduction and health protection also included the banning of raw coal and temporary replacement with cleaner-burning semi-coke briquettes, longer-term options for decentralized and renewable heating, and improved air filtration in schools and hospitals to reduce indoor air pollution.

The policy-based loan was sourced from ADB’s ordinary capital resources.

In addition to improving local health conditions, the program expects to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 133,800 tons annually (photo by ADB).

The Challenge

Ulaanbaatar is one of the most polluted cities in the world and has experienced rapid urban development in recent years.


Health By switching to cleaner energy sources, air quality will be improved, reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Social Coordinated urban and energy planning will allow for the sustainable development of ger areas.

Economic Income loss from restricted economic activities due to poor air quality will be reduced.