Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis visits Mongolia

Press release, 05.04.2018

The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, is travelling to China and Mongolia this week for his first official visit outside Europe.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis was welcomed to Mongolia with a khadag (a ribbon for honour) and a bowl full of dairies according to Mongolian tradition.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis was welcomed to Mongolia with a khadag (a ribbon for honour) and a bowl full of dairies according to Mongolian tradition. © FDFA

On 5 and 6 April, Mr Cassis will be in Ulaanbaatar for a political dialogue with Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar Damdin, with whom he will talk about the close partnership between Switzerland and Mongolia, in particular through the SDC's development programmes. The two ministers will also sign a Visa Agreement on the exemption of the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic, service and official passports. The development of Mongolia's considerable economic potential will be discussed. The country has a subsoil rich in raw materials and is ideally located close to the economic giants China, Japan and South Korea. Mr Cassis will then pay a courtesy visit to President Khaltmaa Battulga.

The Swiss Federal Councillor will visit the Songinokhairkhan district, the ger district (suburb) of Ulaanbaatar, where SDC is working to tackle some of pressing urban challenges like air pollution, rural migration and insufficient basic public services. Mr Cassis will also visit two SDC project sites in Tuv and Selenge aimag. At the spring camp of a herder family, he will be acquainted with the Green Gold Animal Health Project, which has contributed to improve the livelihood of herders through the promotion of sustainable rangeland management, better animal health and market access. He will also visit a mercury-free gold processing plant of the Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project (SAM). The SAM project was instrumental in the formalisation of artisanal mining in Mongolia.

Mongolia's economic development – with which Switzerland has been associated through the SDC since 2001 – is a success story. Situated between China and Russia, Mongolia stands out for its democratic political system and free market economy.

The SDC is active in several areas such as agriculture and food security, vocational education and training, as well as the governance sector. The SDC is well known in Mongolia for its successful potato program in the agriculture sector, where it helped Mongolia become self-sufficient in the potato production. Switzerland has also promoted and supported the development of vocational training by giving a special attention to closely link the supply and demand of the labour market. In the governance sector, Switzerland successfully introduced the development of a network of one-stop shops to bring public administrative services closer to the citizens. This model was further taken up by the Government of Mongolia to scale it up nationwide.

For furhter information:

Swiss Cooperation Office Ulaanbaatar
Tel: 331422
Email: ulaanbaatar@eda.admin.ch