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A colleague of mine from the World Bank in DC just forwarded me the link to this post so I'm coming late to the conversation. From 2006-2008, I conducted health services research in rural Mongolia, including spending several months in the Mongolian countryside at soum hospitals and at the homes of bag feldshers (bagiin emch). What I found most surprising in my work was how important it was to understand herding issues in order to work on problems of rural health services. For those not familiar with Mongolia, herders suffered through an unprecedented three zud (dzud) in three consecutive years, from 1999-2002. In addition to zud, drought and sandstorms both have significant negative impacts on herders. These events are highly interrelated and indications are that the frequency of these events is increasing. Echoing Arshad, yes, climate change does play a role in disasters such as this current zud. The vulnerability of herders is acutely connected to human activities - activities of individuals, communities, government institutions, and the private sector. Andrei Marin states that "the impact of these shocks cannot be attributed to bad weather alone", poverty and changes to government assistance also play a major role (A. Marin, Global Environmental Change 2009). Because of the profitability of cashmere, the Mongolian goat population has grown to four times the population during pre-1990 period; as a result Mongolia is now the world's second biggest producer of raw cashmere, representing the 15-20% of the world total. This rapid increase is contributing to land degradation, which in turn creates dangerous underlying conditions for herders and their animals. In response to your questions, what is needed is a set of multiple, *concurrent* strategies to mitigate risk to herders in the medium-term. Why the emphasis on concurrent approaches? (1) As Zach suggests, it is important to provide herders with choices. Concurrent approaches are one path to cultural preservation. (2) There will not be a single, "silver bullet" approach, so concurrent approaches are likely to be more effective. Strategies like the Index Based Livestock Insurance project may be highly effective for mitigating risk, but more needs to be done. From my work in the rural health sector, it became quickly apparent that some of the best improvements can come from leveraging knowledge already embedded within the culture (see Positive Deviance approaches). There is a potential for improved forecasting and early warning systems, especially as mobile phone networks are finally extending beyond soum centers. I am not suggesting the answers, simply saying that more innovative, evidence-based, complementary strategies need to be employed. I'm glad that the World Bank is thinking not only about an immediate response, but also about approaches to reduce herder vulnerability to natural disasters. Thanks for presenting these issues in this format and for presenting translated text in Mongolian. If there is a way for the comments to show up on both Mongolian and English versions (even if not translated), I would recommend it. Би энэ блог дээр манай бодол Монголоор бичээүй. Та асуулттай байвал, надруу коммент бичээрэй. -Жаспаал