Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
In 2020, the Mongolian government set out its five-year mission to build a ‘digital nation’, harnessing data and technology to facilitate innovation, streamline public services and diversify Mongolia’s mining-reliant economy. At the same time, due to COVID-19, the need for innovative, digital solutions for the Mongolian public to access timely information, especially related to COVID-19 and vaccinations, increased significantly. In addition, due to strict COVID-19 restriction in place, the people in Mongolia faced critical challenges to access the needed public services through traditional, off-line methods. The first step in our journey to becoming a digital nation was the launch of the e-Mongolia platform. The goal of this system is to digitalize public services and integrate many other separate digital platforms. On October 20, 2020, we launched the e-Mongolia platform with 181 public services.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
Mongolia started to see domestic transmissions of COVID-19 in November 2020. E-Mongolia enabled over 2 million citizens to access services online and have ID cards or passports delivered to their homes during the lockdown. We also worked to develop and integrate a COVID-19 ‘test and trace’ tool on the platform, so citizens can stay informed of transmission rates in their local area. The launch of the e-Mongolia platform is therefore considered to be one of the major measures against the pandemic. As a pandemic responsibility, e-Mongolia has been providing timely COVID-19 vaccination information, certification and verification as well.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
The E-Mongolia initiative supports SDG 9 (9.4,9.c), 10 (10.2, 10.3), 16 (16.5, 16.6, 16.7, 16.9, 16.10) and 17 (17.14, 17.17, 17.18, 17.19). Today, E-Mongolia provides 555 of the most in-demand government services, integrated with 55 government entities – from getting an ID card to ordering a passport or applying for a business license. E-Mongolia platform delivers governmental service through web and mobile applications. Moreover, for citizens who are unable to use smart devices and the internet, especially marginalized communities such as the elderly and people with disabilities, e-Mongolia staff delivers service to citizens in the one-stop shopping centers. Based on the total number of public services accessed in 2021, citizens are expected to save a total of 3,581 hours per year and 47 billion MNT as a result of the 555 services currently available through e-Mongolia. This digitalisation enabled us to streamline public service delivery by reducing bureaucracy, decreasing duplication of effort between government organisations and decreasing public frustration. Complaints regarding corruption and bribery decreased by 20–30% in the last three months. In addition, it is estimated that a total of approximately USD 25 million will be saved annually through reduced paperwork, postage, fuel costs and labour.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
Today, over 2 million Mongolians (out of a population of 3 million) use e-Mongolia to access government-provided services and 4,762,725 times services were delivered online. E-Mongolia is intrinsically linked to the everyday life of Mongolians. In social terms, E-Mongolia enables a more inclusive environment, allowing even the most vulnerable populations to access public services. Economically, E-Mongolia allows significant financial savings for both individual citizens and the government, which could be used to implement other key SDGs. Environmentally, E-Mongolia reduces Mongolia's carbon footprint by embracing digital innovations and tools, reducing paper waste and petrol consumption etc.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
One of the major shortfalls in Mongolia's Government is the limitation for vulnerable communities, especially people with disabilities to access public services. With E-Mongolia, the digital platform was built with vulnerable groups in mind. For instance, the E-Mongolia application has a built-in voice feature that allows blind people to listen to the services when they cannot read. Moreover, for citizens who are unable to use and connect to smart devices and the internet, e-Mongolia staff delivers service to citizens in the one-stop shopping centres and KIOSK machines located in public areas. E-Mongolia is also significantly increasing access to public services from rural communities as well as youth. Another good achievement is in October 2021, E-Mongolia released a major version update, version 2.0 including AI-powered personal recommendation services and Digital ID for every citizen.
In addition, the E-Mongolia addresses the problem of access for low-income communities. In terms of affordability, people still can use e-Mongolia web and mobile applications even though they couldn't buy mobile data services (data free service).
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
To address gender inequality in Mongolia, CITA provided training to rural women on how to use the e-Mongolia application in June 2021. Before e-Mongolia was launched, there was no public data related to the proportion of women who can access public services. Statistical capacity to understand the number of women or men accessing public services was weak. Since the launch of e-Mongolia, it's now possible to disaggregate the number of men and women who use public services by gender. Currently, women account for 53% of the total users of the e-Mongolia platform.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
While the e-Mongolia platform is made available to all Mongolians, the target groups are really the most vulnerable populations, including rural populations, people with disabilities, people without internet connections, people from low-income households and elderly people.
These Target Groups have traditionally faced many difficulties accessing public services due to financial and other constraints. Through digitalization, e-Mongolia is able to provide specific solutions, such as free data, delivery services, pieces of training, and innovative features such as voice, to enable the target groups to access the needed services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world – and one which has retained its nomadic cultures – digitalization in Mongolia offers an important opportunity to increase accessibility to government services and make the public service work better for its citizens, leaving no one behind.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
The successful launch of e-Mongolia was the result of a widespread collaboration between the Minister and Chief of the Cabinet Secretariat and the Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA), and other stakeholders across both the public and private sectors, including the United Nations. CITA, as the key implementing agency, was responsible for the development of the e-Mongolia concept, coordination with the key stakeholders, as well as monitory and evaluation. The inception of the initiative took place in 2019, and the initiative was launched one year later.
The ICT sector’s legal and regulatory environments are equipped to deal with ongoing digital development: Mongolia’s parliament established the Innovation and Digital Policy Standing Committee to drive ICT development, and new laws covering key issues such as personal data protection and cybersecurity have been submitted to parliament for getting approval. These laws are key to establishing the ecosystem of a digital nation and creating an environment to accelerate technology-based start-ups and innovations, as well as encourage investment in them.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
The main obstacle is there were too many siloed systems that needed to be integrated. These systems functioned independently and it was a big challenge to streamline and ensure that these systems worked together. To overcome this, CITA implemented an information exchange system, named KHUR System, that allowed for the timely exchange of information between government organizations. For example, when the citizen inputs into the e-Mongolia system, the request will be passed to the State Registration Agency, and once the request is resolved, the citizen would be notified through the e-Mongolia platform.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
This initiative is the first attempt by Mongolia to holistically digitalize its public services, linking several existing systems. The innovation of this initiative includes the recently released digital ID, vaccine certification, and registration. Businesses can use e-Mongolia to validate the vaccine certification of consumers. Another innovation is in October 2021, we released a major version update, version 2.0 including AI-powered personal recommendation services and Digital ID for every citizen. Most importantly, the e-Mongolia initiative really focused on the practical needs of its citizens.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
E-Mongolia follows the Estonia model, E-Government Academy. Specifically, E-Mongolia adopted Estonia's laws on digital signature and information exchange systems. Mongolia conducted a study tour in Estonia and Estonia provided Mongolia with consultancies.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
The e-Mongolia system used emerging and frontier technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI). The E-Mongolia system has a service based on AI that provides suggestions on public services based on the user’s daily activities, actions and life events. Through E-Mongolia, data has been triangulated in Mongolia like never before and will be used to enable data-driven policymaking in the future.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
The E-Mongolia system is being continuously transferred, adapted, and expanded to other contexts every moment. The number of online services integrated into E-Mongolia is being increased. Other cities have are contextualizing e-Mongolia, where some local and online services and are integrating their online service to be integrated into e-Mongolia according to the Digital Nation concept. For example, Erdenet, Darkhan, Huvsgul and Bulgan provinces have joined the E-Mongolia.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
The specific resources used to implement the E-Mongolia initiative includes both leveraging the state budget and also public-private-partnership. The private sector entity, Astvision LLC, provided in-kind contribution and human resources. We also worked with the National Data Center to develop the back-end system, leveraging their human resources.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
In the upcoming years, the E-Mongolia academy will develop the E-Mongolia backend and front end systems and other state information systems. E-Mongolia Academy is a State Owned Company, financed by the Government, that will be responsible for training, the call center of the government, and developing and maintaining the E-Mongolia System.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
E-Mongolia has been internally evaluated by CITA and the Mongolia Cabinet Secretary, which CITA reports to, on a monthly basis. The Cabinet Secretary is responsible for monitoring and evaluating CITA's work. In addition, the Government has a Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, which has also evaluated E-Mongolia on a monthly basis.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
The indicator and tools used include how short, medium and long-term goals have been achieved. The number of services that reached citizens and services for Government to Government has also been used. The monthly evaluation has been made easier through a real-time dashboard that could be accessed online.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
The main findings of the evaluation include the realization there is a significant challenge with regards to the digital literacy level of citizens, especially vulnerable communities such as women, children, the elderly, rural people and people with disabilities. This information is being used to inform the e-Mongolia implementation because CITA is developing a digital literacy initiative in parallel to directly address the challenges found through the evaluation.
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
The E-Mongolia Initiative is inscribed within the Communication Information Technology Authority (CITA), which reports to the Cabinet Secretary, which reports to the Line Ministers and State Secretaries of the Line Ministries. In this sense, CITA acts as a coordination body, which triangulates the needs among the Ministries vis-à-vis citizens.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
The E-Mongolia Initiative was developed through a consultative, multi-stakeholder approach, with stakeholders from the Government, UN Agencies (including UNDP and ITU), private sector, civil society organizations, and academia involved throughout the design and implementation process. The principles of the 2030 Agenda, especially with the emphasis on partnerships and inclusion, were adopted by the initiative.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, especially with the evolving number of new variants, one of the key lessons learned is to enable effective online and offline accessibility and adaptation of the key functions of e-Mongolia to meet the evolving needs of citizens. In this effort, CITA continues to launch a new Covid-19 related service through e-Mongolia and also enlisted the E-Mongolia Academy for sustained implementation.