Safety net measures for Mongolian herders: Coping with risks in a Transition Economy: Mariko Okamoto
Mongolia’s transition to a market economy left its citizens vulnerable to formidable risks. One was unemployment caused by economic instability. Another was dzud, or ‘white death’: freezing winter conditions that cause large numbers of cattle deaths. Damage caused by dzud was exacerbated by the termination of communistera state-managed risk-reduction policies and cooperative societies. Political instability and depleted funds prevented the social welfare system from functioning adequately during the transitional period. People who had previously enjoyed steady employment, or avoided poverty by way of social services provided by the state, became poor. Many Mongolians could not have possibly predicted how changes in the social and economic system would impact upon their lives. Hence, the population was highly vulnerable and exposed to serious risks.