Mongolia has been adopting democratic ruling system and at the same time developed civil society since early 1990s. Since then, there have been almost 4,800 non-governmental organizations registered with the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs. However, a study done by the Mongolian NGO (CEDAW Watch Network Canter) and CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation) showed that they were still very weak and need legislative support. The major challenges that Mongolian CSOs are facing are; lack of adequate government support, lack of an effective legislation, weak civil society infrastructure, and concentration of CSO activities in the capital city.
In the early 1990s, women’s NGOs were the first NGOs formed to create formal NGO networks. In 1995, the Mongolian Women’s Coalition, consisting from 15 NGOs, was established mainly to support female candidate participation in the parliamentary election. Later on in 2000, the Coalition was reorganized as the National Network of Women’s NGOs. Then in 2007, the network was restructured and changed its name to MONFEMNET to work on various issues such as gender justice, human rights and freedom, and democracy. The network has also contributed to important public campaigns, such as establishment of the National Council for Gender Equality, to increase number of women candidates in 1996 parliamentary elections through promoting women quota, for instance.
In 2012 parliamentary elections, the Civil Society Organizations were allowed to observe elections officially for the first time. The General Election Commission (GEC) saw the importance of having CSO’s participation to increase transparency. Prior to this elections, representatives from 45 Mongolian civil society groups were trained by International Republican Institute (IRI), in cooperation with GEC.
Jargalsaikhan Enkhsaikhan, Promotion of Democracy and Civil Society in Northeast Asia, Mongolian Institute for Strategic Studies, 2005,
Byambajav Dalaibuyan, A Network Approach to NGO Development: Women’s NGOs in Mongolia, The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law, Volume 15 Issue 1, March, 2013,
Mongolian Civil Society Observers Elections for the First Time, International Republican Institute, July 3, 2012, http://www.iri.org/web-story/mongolian-civil-society-observes-elections-first-time.