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What In The World
What in the World? RTÉ One, Thursday, 11.05pm

Programme 6 (Last in Series)

"Wrestling with change in Mongolia" - Mongolia

By western standards, Mongolian herders live very isolated lives. Set against the stunning landscape of the vast open steppes, the nomadic herders temporarily settle in small clusters of one or two tents or gers. Others live on their own. These pastoral nomads have enormous herds of camels, sheep, cows and goats - some as large as 1,000. From these the country produces meat, milk and hides both for the domestic market.

But this centuries-old way of life is undervalued and under threat while the pressure to urbanise is relentless. Backed by the International Monetary Fund, politicians and economists are working on what they call "a new development model for Mongolia". In keeping with current global trends, this model involves the gradual reduction of nomadism and its replacement with private commercial agriculture, mineral extraction and urbanisation.

Already the transformation of Mongolian society is underway with over half of the 2.6 million population now living in urban areas. Baasanjargal has already made the move from the country to the city and daily pines for her lost world.

Mongolian Herdsman
Mongolian Herdsman
Peadar King and Enkhchimeg
Peadar King and Enkhchimeg