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The Sustainable Fibre Alliance’s (SFA) Dzud Emergency Support Fund has moved into its second phase of activities focusing on longer-term help for herder communities. This update on its work is provided by UNA JONES, CEO and founder of the SFA

MONGOLIA – Since the last report of the SFA aid to herder communities in dzud-affected regions of Mongolia during March this year, relief efforts have moved into the second phase of action, providing further support to herders as well as delivering much-needed feed to Mongolian wildlife.

Throughout April, the SFA Mongolia team has provided food and supplies to 1,760 herder households of 20 cooperatives in the three easternmost provinces, where dzud has hit the country hardest, bringing provisions to over 300,000 livestock animals.

Protecting biodiversity and conservation of habitat is one the five key principles of the SFA standards. Due to the harsh climate conditions, herbivore wildlife across many of the regions of Mongolia have been severely affected with the lack of vegetation available for grazing leading to high death rates.

Many animals have ventured down from the mountains in search of food, travelling long distances to do so. Therefore, alongside provisions for herder communities, the SFA team has also transported and distributed 2,000 kg of nutritious grass hay bales and 2,000 kg of salt minerals to key corridors for native herbivore wildlife, such as red deer, gazelle and roe deer.

According to the UN’s report on the dzud livestock loss, the country has suffered a loss of 11.11% livestock as of the end of April 2024, with a total number reaching a devastating 7.19 million. Even though the weather is turning, and the situation is starting to improve, the SFA’s aid remains crucial to supporting the now exhausted livestock and newborn offspring.

Livestock loss in Mongolia due to the dzud has hit 7.19 million

As the surface of the ground thaws and the warm spring air circulates, goat combing season has begun and will last now until the end of May.

With generous donations and kind offers of support from their members and partners, as well as internally, the SFA has raised over £153,000 so far for their dzud emergency fund effort.

Alongside the emergency fund to help with the immediate disaster relief, SFA has established a Community Development Fund to support the recovery of herders affected by climate crises, such as dzud. This longer-term planning is crucial to strengthen the capacity and capability of herder organisations in disaster preparedness, risk management and improved governance. The impacts of climate change are increasing in intensity and frequency across the country.

As part of its next steps and actions, the SFA is planning to carry out a comprehensive socio-economic research study in understanding climate risk impact, with specific focus on dzud risk and diverse drivers of herder resilience, as a critical way to support herder communities and build better systems changes holistically.

If you would like to learn more about the SFA’s efforts in supporting herders and building climate risk resilience, please reach out to the team below. Additionally, the SFA team will be hosting its Disaster Risk Committee Consultation meeting towards the end of the month and is encouraging anyone who would like to support herder’s climate risk resilience to join the discussion and get involved.

Please email the team at info@sustainablefibre.org to find out more.

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