A memorable visit from SDC General Director Patricia Danzi

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Local news, 05.11.2023

Some months ago, Patricia Danzi, the General Director of SDC and Vice Minister of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), paid a weeklong visit to Mongolia. Our team was very much looking forward to this visit and excited to receive a mission from the Head Office. 

Patricia Danzi, SDC Director General with Ulziisaikhan, General Secretary of Mongolian Parliament
Patricia Danzi, SDC Director General with Ulziisaikhan, General Secretary of Mongolian Parliament ©SDC

Our Mongolian partners in the government, civil society, and private sector Were also excited to show the results of 20 years of SDC support in Mongolia. The delegation from SDC headquarters met with high-level government partners and had great opportunities to gain insight into SDC programmes in Mongolia, particularly governance and agriculture in Ulaanbaatar, and during field visits to Tuv and Darkhan provinces.

The achievements and successes of the SDC-supported projects in Mongolia were very much appreciated and acknowledged. It was underlined that Swiss support contributed at all levels, vertical and horizontal, to making progress in addressing the country’s challenges.

Ambassador Jürg Burri from the Swiss Embassy in Beijing joined the mission as a newly accredited ambassador. This resulted in a highly appreciated combination of diplomats and international cooperation specialists. This joint mission, with colleagues from Bern and Beijing, resulted in enriched discussions about future cooperation between Switzerland and Mongolia with government partners backed by embassy support.

The General Director’s mission aimed to back SDC’s phase-out of bilateral cooperation in Mongolia. One of the important goals of the SDC phase-out—or, as we here at SDC Mongolia call it, the “graduation” process—was to explore and operationalize the potential of new cooperation modalities between Mongolia and Switzerland.

With SDC’s phase-out from Mongolia in mid-2024, we are confident that new doors will open, from something as special as the development of mountain rescue operations or customs and border control risk management to issues as broad as climate change. We are excited to share some hints of what’s on the table as the result of many fruitful discussions with Mongolian partners.

Inter-parliamentary technical exchange between Mongolia and Switzerland: Mongolia continues to strive to maintain its democracy, neutrality, and independence. Patricia Danzi was impressed by the way Mongolian people interact with authorities in a very open and direct way, without any fear of punishment, and the government’s commitment to solidifying democracy. The General Director described this by saying, “Mongolia is a jewel of Democracy in the region.” Cooperation on strengthening parliamentary democracy in Mongolia backed with technical support from the Swiss Parliamentary Services, is yielding impressive results. SDC will support the continuation of inter-parliamentary technical exchange between Mongolia and Switzerland.

Establishment of the Geneva Center of Security Policy Training Centre: Due to the recent geopolitical changes on a regional and global scale, we can clearly observe the importance of maintaining regional and global cooperation for peace and security with all countries. Mongolia’s efforts to strengthen regional and global peace and security are highly appreciated. The Geneva Center of Security Policy regional training centre will be established in Ulaanbaatar, with the first training starting in September 2024.

Climate change: Mongolia’s unique geographical location and the scale of its territory define its significant role in mitigating climate change and its adverse effects. We expect more cooperation with a special focus on mitigating climate change with Green Climate Fund support from different multilateral funds and organizations, e.g., the EBRD, UNDP, ADB, etc. One important area of cooperation between Mongolia and Switzerland is the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through joint climate protection programs and projects in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and building efficiency.

Potential cooperation between Swiss and Mongolian businesses: Several Swiss chambers of commerce have expressed interest in visiting Mongolia to explore possible business activities.

Capacity building of Mongolian customs and border control with SECO support: Another great development is the extension of SECO support into a full-fledged four-year project supporting the risk management of Mongolian customs and border control.

Trilateral agreement between Mongolia-Switzerland-China on emergency management: Building on the successful cooperation between the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Swiss humanitarian aid, NEMA is working on expanding to trilateral cooperation between Mongolia, Switzerland, and China.

A major exhibition at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich: The exhibition will take place in autumn 2025, presenting a new image of Mongolia and its history to the Western public. It will focus on Mongolia's pivotal role in the exchange of culture, techniques, and commodities in Eurasia in the 1st to 14th centuries, from the time of the Hunnu to the last Mongolian empire. It will showcase the cosmopolitan character of the nomadic states in Mongolia, the esteem of craftmanship and knowledge, and religious tolerance.