UNESCO and Rio Tinto sign partnership to support sustainable development in Mongolia

04 December 2023

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia -– Global mining company Rio Tinto and UNESCO have today agreed to establish a comprehensive long-term partnership that is specifically designed to foster sustainable development initiatives in Mongolia.

During the signing ceremony held in Ulaanbaatar, the parties announced their first joint project, focused on promoting sustainable tourism through cultural and geo-heritage initiatives in Mongolia – home to several UNESCO world heritage sites and Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper project. By leveraging the combined expertise and resources of both organisations, this collaboration also aims to facilitate the establishment of Mongolia’s first geopark at supporting geological science.

Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for East Asia said “This collaboration signifies a commitment to the shared values of sustainable development and reflects a collective dedication to fostering responsible practices in the mining industry, ensuring that economic growth goes hand in hand with the protection of humanity’s most exceptional heritage and treasures on our planet. 

“By joining forces, UNESCO, Rio Tinto Mongolia and the Government of Mongolia will intensify Mongolia’s involvement in the International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme to promote the study of geosciences and geological processes in order to establish new geoparks as well as to set new standards for ethical and environmentally conscious resource extraction. 

“The project activities outlined in these agreements underscore UNESCO and Rio Tinto Mongolia's determination to preserve Mongolia's rich cultural heritage and diverse ecosystems. Through initiatives that promote education, community engagement, and technological advancements, we aspire to create a blueprint for responsible resource development that can be replicated globally”.

Amarjargal Khenchbish, Country Director of Rio Tinto in Mongolia said “Rio Tinto is honored to collaborate with UNESCO in this partnership. By uniting our respective strengths and resources, we are determined to make a meaningful and lasting impact on Mongolia's sustainable development. At Rio Tinto, in providing the materials the world needs, we work in remote and sensitive environments like the Gobi Desert. We recognize our responsibility as stewards of natural resources and are committed to preserving the natural environment for future generations and promoting Mongolia’s unique heritage on the world stage.”

Within this partnership, Rio Tinto and UNESCO will collaborate on three key areas:

  • Sustainable Tourism: Promoting Mongolia’s sustainable practices both domestically and internationally and raising awareness about the importance of preserving and celebrating cultural and natural heritage.
  • Environment and Climate Change: By harnessing their combined expertise, the partners will support better environmental and climate change management practices across Mongolia.
  • Quality Education: Rio Tinto and UNESCO will work towards ensuring high-quality, equitable, and inclusive Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs, building on Rio Tinto’s previous investments in the sector. By providing a new generation of Mongolians with specialized technical skills and knowledge, the partners aim to drive sustainable growth and socio-economic progress across the country.


Rio Tinto Mongolia
Media Relations

+976 88033696


Category: Oyu Tolgoi