Balancing the Joy and the Suffering of the ‘Freedom of Movement’ in Mongolia

The ANU Mongolia Institute is pleased to announce that we will be hosting an interdisciplinary series of presentations on Mongolia. Held on alternate Fridays starting at noon mostly, the sessions will typically include a 30 to 45 minute presentation of recent research or fieldwork on a topic related to Mongolia or the Mongolian diaspora, followed by an opportunity to chat and get caught up on what we’re all doing.

On Friday 18 March Dr Uchralt Otede will present on how herders are dealing with the unique land use system in Mongolia. See below for more details.

Most presentations will be fairly informal, and may include work-in-progress overviews or discussions of recent Mongolia-related conference highlights.
Feel free to forward session announcements to other people who may be interested.

VENUE HC Coombs Building 9, Rm 3.353, Meeting Room.

PRESENTATION This paper is one aspect of the herders’ self-help movement in post-socialist Mongolia. Due to Mongolia’s unique ‘freedom of movement’ system of land use, many socio-environmental problems have emerged since the 1990s, such as overuse of natural resources and frequent land disputes among herders. In this context, it has become particularly important to find solutions to balance the joy and suffering of this ‘freedom of movement’. As a solution, Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) has attracted widespread attention from international aid agencies, policymakers, and academia.

Current research is mostly focused on donor projects, yet little is known about grassroots-level spontaneous CBNRM cases. During fieldwork between 2015 and 2017, I encountered one such grassroots herders’ organization named NPO Yikhovoo in Gachuurt village to the east of Ulaanbaatar. The NPO has developed a unique CBNRM approach, which is quite different from the CBNRM projects led by aid agencies. This paper will focus on the formation of the NPO, the unique characteristics of a spontaneous grassroots practice and its potential as a positive role model in the building of sustainable rural communities in Mongolia.

SPEAKER Dr Uchralt Otede is currently working on environmental issues and herders’ self-help movements in Inner Mongolia, China and Mongolia. His publications include: ‘Environmental protest movement in Inner Mongolia’ in Handbook of Protest and Resistance in China, edited by Teresa Wright, 2019; and ‘Informal grassland protection networks in Inner Mongolia’ in The Living Politics of Self-help Movement in East Asia, edited by T. Cliff, T. Morris-suzuki and S. Wei, 2018. In 2015 he joined the ARC Laureate Project ‘Informal Life Politics in Northeast Asia ( ’, as a PhD researcher. He is currently a research fellow at the ANU Mongolia institute.

Event details



Dr Uchralt Otede, ANU

Date & time

Friday 18 Mar 2022



HC Coombs Extension (Building 9)


ANU Mongolia Institute

Updated:  22 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, Mongolia Institute/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team