Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, suffers from severe air pollution during the long winter months, and its air pollution levels are among the highest in the world. Residents in the ger areas of Ulaanbaatar are unable to take advantage of the laws and policy regulations to reduce air pollution despite years of efforts to address this issue by international and local organizations including the government of Mongolia (GoM). Important challenges and barriers that have limited the success of various governmental policies that tackle air pollution problems were identified through participatory approaches. In order to do this, personal interviews were conducted with various stakeholders such as officials from central and local governments, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and academia. Moreover, a workshop was conducted to elucidate the views of ger area community members in Ulaanbaatar. Based on the results of these interviews and workshop, the gaps between the policy approaches of the government, the actual conditions, and the desired situations of the residents to improve air quality in Ulaanbaatar were analyzed. The large gaps that were identified between the national and local perspectives on air pollution issues demonstrated that the reduction of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar requires solving fundamental and complex problems based on a better understanding of the specific conditions and needs of the residents of the ger areas. Moreover, active participation and discussion of the residents at the workshop indicated that community-based approaches could be applied in the cultural context of Mongolia with promising results in finding solutions.
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