Cooperation in natural resource management between Mongolia and Russia has a long history. Many development projects in Mongolia in the 1950s-1980s were undertaken with technical and financial assistance from the Soviet Union. A good example is the “Joint Complex Russian-Mongolian Expedition" established in 1970 by the Academies of Science that yielded knowledge on ecosystems, flora, and fauna of the region. In 2005 it published the Atlas of Ecosystems of Mongolia (Vostokova and Gunin 2005).
All transboundary agreements stem from and refer to the Mongolia-Russia Agreement "On Friendly Relationships" (1993). Examples of agreements that followed on the heels of this agreement include:
• "Cooperation in Environmental Protection" (15 February 1994): Similar in scope to the Russia — China agreement, but also includes a clause on common standards for environmental impact assessment;
• "Cooperation in Forestry" (5 April 1995): Addresses management, technology, fire and pest management, and the consideration of environmental and social impacts.
• "Geological Survey and Use of Mineral Deposits" (2 November 1996);
• Agreement on Dauria International Protected Area (Dec. 1994). Trilateral agreement was signed by China, Mongolia, and Russia to establish Dauria International Protected Area (DIPA) to protect globally important grasslands in the headwaters of the Amur-Heilong basin. Signed in Ulan Baatar, Mongolia.
• "Protection and Use of Transboundary Waters" (11 February 1995).
The “Agreement on Protection and Use of Transboundary Waters” replaced agreements on "Water Management" (9 December 1988), and on "Rational Use and Protection of Selenge River basin waters" (3 July 1974), and was broad in scope. It addressed:
• environmentally sound use of water resources, prevention of pollution and depletion of waters;
• research on hydrochemistry, hydrobiology, and river bed processes;
• exchange of research information and flood forecasts;
• joint research, assessment and planning in flood management;
• joint water quality monitoring and pollution prevention;
• preserving conditions for natural migration of fish and other aquatic fauna;
• developing common concepts for river basin water management;
• developing joint pollution and hydrological monitoring standards and procedures;
• sharing of water resources;
• joint research on protection of water resources;
• information exchange on planned water management measures;
• jointly financed transboundary work and pursuit of international funding to support it;
• international standards of water quality; and
• prevention or reduction of negative impacts on transboundary water basins in national territories.
In 2006 at the meeting of the Joint Working Group (chaired by water resource agencies of the two countries), joint planning of river basin management was discussed in detail. Mongolia recently adopted progressive new laws on river basin management and seeks Russia’s assistance to develop strategies for management of shared river basins, with the Selenga River proposed as the first pilot project. Mongolian engineers informed their Russian partners that they plan to build a hydropower plant on the Egiin River, a tributary of the Selenga, and seek Russian assistance in “solving environmental and hydrological problems arising in the course of the project.” New water quality monitoring procedures were adopted and the number of jointly monitored substances was expanded.