Foreign minister Didier Burkhalter gave a speech in Bern on Thursday in which he stressed that holding state authorities accountable is essential to a successful democracy.
The Annual Democracy Forum of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) promotes democracy in countries around the world, and Switzerland has chaired the organisation’s council of 28 member states for the past year, under the theme, “Accountability as a central element of deepening democracy”.
"Development is only sustainable when it benefits everybody everywhere, without distinction or discrimination," said Burkhalter in his speech. He said that the accountability of state institutions “requires institutional checks and balances between the different branches of government and the ability of citizens to participate in democratic processes”.
The foreign minister also spoke about Switzerland’s role in developing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“We worked hard to ensure that democratic governance featured prominently on the new Agenda,” Burkhalter said.
Exporting Swiss model
Also attending the forum on Thursday was Mongolian foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren. Mongolia will take over the role of International IDEA chair from Switzerland in 2016.
Purevsuren and Burkhalter met to discuss bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the two countries. Burkhalter assured the Mongolian foreign minister that Switzerland would continue to support development within Mongolia, and provide the nation with expertise in their quest to become a neutral state like Switzerland.
Mongolia has also expressed interest in the Swiss direct democracy model. Therefore, decentralisation of the system of governance and development of civil society are one of the priorities for Swiss development cooperation with the central Asian country.
swissinfo.ch and agencies