Switzerland contributes to improved citizens’ participation, inclusion of the civil society in state policy and better access to public services. It also supports the vulnerable rural and peri-urban population with programmes related to agriculture and food security, as well as to labour markets through vocational skills development. Based on the international cooperation strategy 2021-2024, Switzerland will phase out its bilateral cooperation programme in Mongolia by 2024, after 20 years of successful collaboration.

After the breakdown of communism in late 1989, Mongolia has undergone social and economic changes with a successful transition to a democratic multiparty system and a market economy. The country’s progress in poverty reduction, fuelled by an unprecedented mining boom until 2013, has suffered a setback. As a result, poverty increased from 21.6% in 2014 to 29.6% in 2016. Nevertheless, Mongolia’s rich mineral resources provide it with a historic opportunity to lift itself into the ranks of industrialised countries within a generation, but such rapid development is also linked to socio-economic risks as it may challenge and question traditional ways of life, hierarchies and access to resources.

Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Mongolia

SCS Mongolia 2018-2021
SCS Mongolia 2018-2021 © SDC

The overall goal of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2018-2021 is to contribute to the empowerment of Mongolian citizens and institutions towards an equitable, green and prosperous society, leaving no one behind. SDC will achieve this goal through interventions in three complementary domains:

(1) Agriculture and Food Security;
(2) Basic Education and Vocational Training; and
(3) Governance.

This Swiss Cooperation Strategy in Mongolia is in line with the overall goal of the Swiss Federal Council’s Dispatch on International Cooperation 2017-2021 and its strategic objectives. The Dispatch lists Mongolia as one of Swiss development cooperation’s priority countries. All three domains of intervention respond to the priorities of the Government of Mongolia. The Cooperation Strategy focuses on areas in which Switzerland provides added value and has particular credibility and experience.

Given the country’s resource wealth and its considerable achievements in poverty reduction, and in the light of current discussions on the nature of SDC’s involvement and programmes in Middle Income Countries, this Cooperation Strategy will prepare the ground for a transformation of Switzerland’s engagement in Mongolia.

During the transformation phase, full attention will be given to the sustainability, institutionalisation and consolidation of current projects and results. At the same time, the portfolio will evolve in order that a post-2021 engagement with a reduced budget and different intervention modalities will be possible or a phasing out can be initiated. A decision will be made in 2019 to ensure coherence with the next Dispatch on International Cooperation.

The financial volume of Swiss development assistance to Mongolia will decrease from CHF 13.5 million to 12 million in the period 2018-21.