SUCCESS STORIES – Mandakhbat Sereenov
Australian Awards for Development
Student Name: Mr. Mandakhbat Sereenov
Institution: University of Melbourne
Scholarship Period: Jan 2001 – Aug 2008
Intake Round: ADS 2009
Course Name: Master of Science
Level of Study: Master of Laws
Field of Study: Mining Law
Themes: International Legislation
Mandakhbat Sereenov’s contribution to the development of legislations and agreements for mining in Mongolia
Mr.Mandakhbat started his career working as an assistant to the Vice Minister and State Secretary of Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs in 2003, and later joined the Legal Policy Department of the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs.
In his work at MOJHA, Mr.Mandakhbat soon found he was particularly interested in the legal and economic aspects of the Nation’s natural resources sector.
“I identified the challenges the Government of Mongolia faced in developing an investment agreement with foreign countries in the mining sector and wanted to change the current agreements in order to make the best possible use of them for the development of Mongolia. At the same time, I also had long term professional interest in arbitration and business laws, as well as earning foreign languages“ -Mandakhbat said.
“So I applied specifically for an AusAID scholarship seeing the advantage of being provided with English Language training. I chose to apply for Melbourne University, as it was one of the highest ranking Universities in Australia for the study of law.”
Mr Mandakhbat observed that he was able to improve his academic knowledge and gain skills in research.
“I found the course subjects to be very relevant, with a range of examples incorporated from Australia and other OECD members, and from developing countries. I learned a lot about comparative law, and methods to access laws. These technical and language skills were critical to sourcing legal information for use in drafting laws for Mongolia, and also in working with foreign advisers such as those from Germany and Unites States.” he said.
“I was also able to improve my English language proficiency in Australia.”
While studying in Australia, Mr Mandakhbat’s family members accompanied him, “and we enjoyed very much the environment that was convenient and comfortable for living and studying.” he said.
Upon returning in August 2008, he re-joined MOJHA in the Legal Policy Department, and began to draft an investment agreement for the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project, an international, large-scale copper and gold mining investment involving Ivanhoe Mines (Canada) and Rio Tinto (Australia).
Mr.Mandakhbat facilitated the Government Working Group meetings between the Minister and mining representatives and assisted to prepare supporting legislation. Following conclusion of his work on the OT agreement he worked on procedural law pertaining to drafting legislation for which he was secretary of the Working Group.
“I was proud that I worked on first ever biggest investment agreement negotiation in Mongolia using my new skills and knowledge and the professional contact I made with academic staff during my time at Melbourne University.” Mandakhbat said.
“Using the academic contact with the University I initiated to organize jointly with the Melbourne University the Australian Leadership Award Fellowship Program to enhance the capacity of the legal specialists to confidently develop and manage the complex stakeholder interactions arising in the oversight of legislative programs. As a result of the program, the participants gained the skills and information necessary to allow them to not only draft responsive, inclusive and rights-based laws, but to model and advocate for appropriate forms of policy development in Mongolia.” he said.
“I was also worked on a project which is “cleaning” the law of Mongolia. The methodology, which was approved by the Minister, involves starting with the laws related to civil and economic matters and identifying overlaps, contradictions and loopholes then providing comments to improve coherency with other related laws. This was one of the significant reforms carried out in our legal area.”
Mandakhbat is very pleased that the quality of his work has been significantly recognised in a number of government awards that he has received.
In 2009, he was promoted to a senior officer and then promoted again to become Deputy Director of the legal policy department of the Ministry.
“From my childhood I always wanted to be a leader. My future is to be a leading public servant and become one of the best lawyers in the country. In this role, I will continue to support the Government in providing an appropriate degree of regulation of investment in the country.” he said.
“I would advise potential ADS/ALAS applicants to study and learn English as well as possible. The most important thing is to clearly identify what you want to study and how that can benefit your country’s development and your future career.”