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Switzerland’s Permanent Representations in Geneva
The Swiss Confederation is represented in Geneva by 2 permanent missions:
- Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the other international organizations in Geneva
- Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
The task of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the WTO and the EFTA is to monitor the work of organizations with an economic remit, including a number of United Nations bodies, such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). This mission is led by Ambassador Remigi Winzap, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the WTO and the EFTA.
The Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office (UNOG) and to the other international organisations in Geneva, better known to most people as the “Swiss Mission”, is the responsibility of Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office (UNOG) and to the international organisations in Geneva. Ambassador Urs Schmid is Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The Swiss Mission is the body representing the host country in its relations with the international Organisations and other permanent representative bodies. It has a dual role:
On the one hand, its Multilateral Division, led by Ambassador Urs Schmid, Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland and special Representative of Switzerland to the Human Rights Council, performs all the tasks specific to multilateral diplomacy, in just the same way as other permanent missions. These include representing Swiss interests, liaison activities, negotiation, providing information, participating in the activities of the various organizations, protecting national interests, and so on.
On the other hand, the Swiss Mission’s Host Country Division, led by Ambassador Amadeo Perez, Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland, functions like the protocol department, in the broad sense of the term, of a ministry of foreign affairs. This division manages the status of some 200 permanent missions and delegations, 35 international organizations and approximately 42,000 persons. As manager of this regime, the Host Country Division is entrusted by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) with the issue and withdrawal of legitimation cards, which entitle holders to benefit from the status granted them in their dealings with the Swiss authorities.
In accordance with diplomatic practice, the Swiss Mission is the appointed interlocutor of the federal, cantonal and municipal authorities in all matters pertaining to the international organizations established in Geneva and the permanent missions in Geneva. These matters include disputes, the admission of new organizations, the organization of conferences, the provision of security services, problems relating to receiving foreign nationals, and support for the Confederation. The Swiss Mission also serves as a diplomatic channel, as provided for in the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations, between the permanent missions and the Swiss authorities (federal, cantonal and municipal). It also performs “public relations” duties and keeps the general public informed about the various issues relating to the international organizations and the permanent representative bodies.
In its complex role as representative of the host country of international organizations, the Swiss Mission is actively supported by the authorities of the Republic and canton of Geneva, the City of Geneva and the canton of Vaud, more particularly by
- the Protocole Service of the Republic and canton of Geneva
- the Public Relations Service of the City of Geneva
- the Office of Public Affairs of the Canton of Vaud
In addition, the Swiss Mission works closely with the Geneva Welcome Centre launched in 1996 by the Swiss Confederation and the State of Geneva to guide, inform and help the members of the International community working et living in the Geneva region. Other institutions contribute to the notoriety of International Geneva and collaborate in this context with the Swiss Mission.
Permanent Mission of Switzerland
to the United Nations Office and to
the other international organisations
Rue de Varembé 9–11 (6th floor)
P.O. Box 194
CH – 1211 Geneva 20
Tel.: +41 (0)22 749 24 24
Fax: +41 (0)22 749 24 37
Permanent Mission of Switzerland
to the WTO and the EFTA
(UN/ECE, UNCTAD, ITC)
Rue de Varembé 9-11 (5th floor)
CH - 1211 Geneva 20
Tel.: +41 (0)22 749 25 25
Fax: +41 (0)22 749 25 55