Bilateral relations Switzerland–Nepal

Nepal and Switzerland look back on over 60 years of close collaboration. Bilateral relations were first established in the early 1950s, when Switzerland pioneered approaches in the agriculture, rural development and skill development sectors. While development cooperation remains a pillar of the relations between the two countries, a focus is equally set on political cooperation, trade and investment promotion as well as cultural and scientific exchanges.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Nepal were established in 1956 and have been strengthening and broadening ever since. Since 2016, the two countries conduct biannual political consultations covering the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, including policy, trade and human rights.Switzerland and Nepal have signed three bilateral agreements: on technical cooperation (1972), regular political consultations (2015) and accompanying persons (2019).

Treaty database

Economic cooperation

The bilateral trade volume has significantly increased in recent years, but there is still potential for growth. Trade capacity in 2021 amounted to CHF 37.5 million, with Swiss exports to Nepal amounting to CHF 46 million, which consisted mainly of precious metals and pharmaceutical products. Imports from Nepal – mainly textiles and clothing – amounted to CHF 8.5 million.

The Nepal Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industries was formed in 2015, with the aim to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The chamber currently consists of around 50 members, including Swiss investors, Swiss companies doing business in Nepal, as well as local Nepali companies maintaining close business ties to Switzerland.

Nepal Swiss of Commerce and Industry

Peacebuilding and human security

After the end of the decade-long armed conflict in 2006, Nepal embarked on a journey to address the root causes of the conflict, namely poverty, social marginalisation and discrimination. The 2015 Constitution enabled a political transformation from a centralised unitary government to a federal government system, allowing for greater inclusion of the population in the political process. The implementation of the constitution is therefore key in addressing the root causes of conflict, and in leading Nepal towards a lasting peace. Switzerland supports Nepal in its state and peacebuilding process through both development cooperation and peacebuilding instruments.

Federal state building represents a core priority of the Swiss Cooperation Programme 2023-26 for Nepal. Furthermore, Switzerland also continues to support Nepal in its transitional justice process, which is an integral part in the conclusion of the peace process. Switzerland engages with political leaders to ensure that the federal state fulfils its responsibilities with respect to transitional justice, and it provides technical expertise in the Nepali-led process upon request.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Nepal and Switzerland look back on over 60 years of collaboration and partnership. Until today, Nepal remains a priority country for Swiss development cooperation.

In partnership with the Government of Nepal and guided by the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, Switzerland supports the democratic development of the new federal state in Nepal. The Swiss Cooperation Programme 2023-26 aims to contribute to the improvement of socio-economic wellbeing of women and men, and support an inclusive and accountable federal state in Nepal. Switzerland pursues this goal by working across three complementary and interlinked intervention areas:

  1. Federal state building
  2. Employment and income
  3. Migration

Approaches focused on federal state building, climate change as well as gender equality and social inclusion are mainstreamed across all Swiss interventions.

Development and Cooperation, Nepal

Swiss nationals in Nepal

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 120 Swiss nationals (including 37 dual nationals) were living in Nepal at the end of 2022.

History of bilateral relations

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Nepal in 1956, bilateral ties between the two countries have been continuously broadening and deepening.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been working in Nepal since the 1950s, and Nepal remains a priority country for Switzerland’s development cooperation.

Switzerland established a consular agency in 1956 and opened an Embassy in Kathmandu in 2009.

Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland, Dodis