Tuesday, May 20, 2014

50 years of diplomatic relations, 10 years of development cooperation: Switzerland and Mongolia celebrate a double jubilee

Bern, 19.05.2014 - In 2014, Switzerland and Mongolia celebrate their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of Swiss development cooperation in Mongolia. To mark this occasion SDC director Martin Dahinden will travel to Ulaanbaatar from 20 to 22 May where he will meet high-level government representatives and represent Switzerland at the official celebrations.

Switzerland and Mongolia established diplomatic relations on 22 May 1964. In his capacity as representative of the Swiss government at the 50th anniversary celebrations, Martin Dahinden, director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs will meet the Mongolian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bold Luvsanvandan, the vice-minister for Industry and Agriculture, Tuvaan Tsevegdorj, the Minister of Labour, Sanjmyatav Yadamsuren and the head of the “Justice Coalition” party, Battsereg Namdag, in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, on 21 May 2014. The talks will focus on bilateral relations and Switzerland's activities in the context of development cooperation. Other subjects of discussion will be cooperation on migration, the fight against human trafficking and the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE. Mongolia is the most recent state to join the now 57-member organisation.

Since establishing diplomatic relations, Switzerland and Mongolia have maintained friendly contacts and, since 2008, political consultations have taken place at a two-yearly rhythm, most recently on 24 March 2014 in Bern. Switzerland has an excellent reputation in Mongolia. In particular, Switzerland's model of direct democracy is highly regarded in Mongolian government circles.

Decentralising the system of government is a priority of Swiss development cooperation in Mongolia. In addition, the SDC supports Mongolia in promoting civil society. Other thematic priorities of Swiss development cooperation over the past ten years, during which the countries' bilateral relations have been considerably expanded, are agriculture and food security as well as vocational education and training and small-scale mining. In agriculture, the SDC is currently involved in potato and vegetable growing (improved varieties, seed and storage), providing support for herders’ cooperatives for the purpose of improving use of pasture land, wool marketing, building up veterinary facilities and introducing a national livestock insurance scheme. In the field of vocational education and training, the SDC focuses on the employability of young people and adults, and supports the Mongolian government among other things in developing short-term professional training programmes and advisory services.

The SDC cooperation office in Ulaanbaatar was opened in 2004. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been present in the country since 2001, following the third successive "dzud" – drought in summer followed by heavy snow in winter causing serious losses of livestock.

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