From emergency relief to development cooperation: Switzerland has made a successful contribution to sustainable development in Mongolia. We look back over a 20-year partnership.
Switzerland–Mongolia: a 20-year partnership
The word 'Зуд' [English: zud] signifies a terrifying weather phenomenon in the Mongolian steppes. Temperatures during a zud can drop to
-50 °C, with lethal consequences for people and animals. Three consecutive zuds between 1999 and 2002 killed 11 million animals and robbed thousands of nomadic families of their livelihoods – a catastrophe for a country where nomadic pastoralism is one of the most important economic sectors. At the time, the SDC provided much needed emergency relief.
After the zuds, Switzerland stayed on to strengthen Mongolia's long-term resilience in the areas of democracy, human rights and gender equality, climate change and the environment, and inclusive economic development. The SDC assisted the Mongolian government during the country's transition from a centrally planned economy to a socially-oriented market economy with democratic institutions. The country has made significant political, social and economic strides since the adoption of its democratic constitution in 1992, and has equipped itself with a solid foundation for future sustainable development.
After 20 successful years, Switzerland's development cooperation efforts in Mongolia will draw to a close in 2024. Switzerland is phasing out its support in a responsible manner, taking care to ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved to date.
In the winter of 2001, Switzerland started humanitarian operations when thousands of Mongolian herders lost swathes of cattle and their livelihoods. Stefanie Burri, who heads the SDC's office in Mongolia, looks back on how the SDC began its work in the country and what has been achieved since then. She also explains why and how Switzerland is phasing out its activities in Mongolia.
Although Mongolia is a country of herders, the land cannot cope with the overexploitation caused by the current 70 million livestock. With vast areas slowly turning into desert, the Green Gold project aims to promote pasture management in order to prevent desertification. To date, an area five times the size of Switzerland has been saved thanks to the project.
Swiss activities in Mongolia are also aimed at encouraging local people to advocate for their concerns, including access to public services that meet the needs of their communities.
Parliamentary services learn from each other
The SDC is particularly committed to democratisation and decentralisation in Mongolia, as requested by the Mongolian government. This partnership with Switzerland's parliamentary services is a true story of success and friendship.
La collaboration entre les services parlementaires de la Suisse et de la Mongolie, une réussite sur les plans professionnel et humain
Una storia di successo e amicizia tra i Servizi parlamentari della Svizzera e della Mongolia
Mongolia through the eyes of young people
Young artists from Mongolia paint a picture of their country and its future with striking photography. Here is a small selection of images from the current exhibition.
The SDC in Mongolia's 'Past-Present-Future' is a photo competition in which young artists portray the SDC's development work and the SDGs in Mongolia through photography.
Through their pictures, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 show us their own interpretations of Mongolia in the past, the present and the future.
The competition is a joint initiative of the Mongolian Ministry of Culture, the SDC and the Mongolian University of Culture and Arts. The winning pictures were selected by a jury and will be exhibited all over Mongolia.