Introducing SPPGA Practitioner Fellow Dorjdari Namkhaijantsan

Dorjdari Namkhaijantsan

This Winter 2024, SPPGA welcomes practitioner fellow Dorjdari Namkhaijantsan who is an economist and the country manager for the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

We caught up with Dorjdari to ask him a little bit about his background and what he’s looking forward to as he joins SPPGA this winter as a policy practitioner fellow:

What has been a meaningful moment in your career that underscores the need for good public policy?

Throughout the final decade of the 20th century, I witnessed monumental changes as the lives of millions underwent an instantaneous transformation during the painful transition from one political and economic system to another in Mongolia and neighboring countries. Many people were caught unprepared and fell into numerous traps that ensued. I could see firsthand how public policy can enhance the lives of many, but when not well-thought-through, it can also fail to reach the masses and result in misery for many. The lack of effective public policy, skills, or institutions was glaringly evident.

Subsequently, I have experienced over two decades of mining booms and busts, witnessing the mismanagement of natural resources. This time, I was in a position to participate in shaping policies around mining with the hope of benefiting my country from its mineral wealth. Extraordinary profits from mining can address numerous issues, but they can also undermine effective policies and end up as a lost opportunity for generations.

These two developments sparked my interest in public policy. Simultaneously, in a small country amidst chaotic changes, tangible shifts could occur instantly, allowing one to witness the results of new policies or policy changes in a short time period. This motivates me to concentrate on shaping new policies.

What are you most looking forward to engaging in as an SPPGA Practitioner Fellow?

I am confident that I will relish the return to an academic setting and reflect on how policy work in practice can benefit from the experience and knowledge of professors and students. Given that the challenges posed by the energy transition for fossil fuel-dependent countries demand innovative solutions, I hope to deepen my knowledge about these subjects and return home with fresh ideas that will ultimately contribute to shaping policies on energy transition.

I am genuinely excited about learning from all the talent at UBC and sharing my experiences with others. Interactions with professors and students will undoubtedly be fruitful for my future work. Additionally, I am hopeful that my practical experience will be beneficial to those working on mining governance and energy transition policy and research.