Switzerland is well positioned in Nepal and enjoys high standing there. Relations with Nepal have traditionally focused on development. Thanks to its long-term work in Nepal, Swiss development cooperation offers technical advice and aid in implementing development programmes.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
In 1972, Switzerland and Nepal concluded a bilateral agreement on technical cooperation.
Since 2005 Switzerland has applied an integrated strategy unifying development, human rights, peacebuilding and political and diplomatic contacts. As part of the strategy for 2013–2016, Switzerland is investing CHF 35 to 40 million annually in Nepal.
Economic and trade relations between Switzerland and Nepal are not very intensive, and direct Swiss investments in Nepal are minimal.
In 2016 Swiss companies exported goods worth USD 38.3 million to Nepal, primarily timepieces, vehicles, pharmaceutical products and machinery. Swiss imports from Nepal in 2016 totaled USD 1.63 million, mainly textiles and clothing.
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland is working in Nepal to help establish properly functioning and inclusive state structures at the national and local levels. By prioritising human security, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, Switzerland is helping to combat violence, discrimination and impunity.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland aims to improve living conditions and increase food security especially for the rural population. It is supporting the sustainable use of natural resources, such as land, water and forests, as well as the construction of rural roads and bridges, thus facilitating access to markets and services for the groups concerned. In addition, Switzerland is promoting vocational education and training among young women and men to enable them to find work.
Thanks to the construction of properly functioning and reliable irrigation systems and transport routes, the food security of 353,000 households, 60% of which are from disadvantaged groups, has been improved on a sustainable basis. Marginalised smallholder farmers, including many households headed by women, are benefiting from better and more reliable access to resources and are improving their crop yields and opportunities to sell their produce.
Switzerland remains highly respected by the GoN and development partners for its substantial contributions to sectoral development in local governance, rural infrastructure, natural resource management, skills development, migration, human rights and gender equality and social inclusion.
In the aftermath of catastrophic earthquake of 2015, the Swiss Humanitarian Aid in coordination with development cooperation is actively supporting the Government of Nepal in the reconstruction of individual housing, cultural heritage as well as touristic trails.
Swiss nationals in Nepal
As of April, 2017, there are 123 Swiss nationals residing in Nepal.
History of bilateral relations
Since the 1950s the two countries have had a close partnership in development cooperation. Switzerland and Nepal established diplomatic relations in 1956.
Initially several Swiss NGOs were active in Nepal. Official development cooperation between Switzerland and Nepal began after the signing of a bilateral agreement governing technical cooperation. Since 1963 Nepal has been a priority country for Swiss development cooperation.
Switzerland restructured its programme following the Maoist insurgency in 1996 and has supported the search for a political solution to the conflict. Swiss efforts are concentrated on local governance, rural infrastructure, natural resource management, skills development, migration, human rights and gender equality and social inclusion.In 1999 Nepal opened an embassy in Geneva; Switzerland opened an embassy in Nepal in 2009.