Switzerland and the World – Facts and Figures

Switzerland pursues an active foreign policy. The aim of this policy is to strengthen relations with neighbouring states and the European Union (EU), and improve stability in Europe and the wider world. Swiss foreign policy also seeks to bolster and expand the country's strategic partnerships and multilateral engagements.

View of the United Nations building in Geneva with the flags of different countries
The United Nations Office in Geneva © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

  • Switzerland has over 170 foreign representations (embassies, missions, consulate generals, cooperation offices), and some 200 honorary consulates.
  • Switzerland is a member of 8 international organisations.
  • Switzerland joined the United Nations (UN) in 2002.
  • Relations between Switzerland and the European Union are founded on bilateral sectoral agreements: Bilateral Agreements I (1999) and Bilateral Agreements II (2004).
  • In 2015 Switzerland allocated 0.52% of its GDP to development aid. The main beneficiaries of this aid are:  Kosovo (CHF 65 million), Nepal (CHF 41.5 million), Syria (CHF 35.2 million) and Mozambique (CHF 34 million).
  • The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) was deployed in Nepal in 2015 in response to the earthquake, in the Philippines in 2013 following typhoon Haiyan, and in Japan in 2011 following the tsunami.
  • Since 1953 a handful of observers from Switzerland have been stationed at the demarcation line between South and North Korea. Their job is to monitor compliance with the ceasefire agreed between the two countries over 60 years ago.
  • More than 27,000 international civil servants work in Geneva.
  • To date, Switzerland has represented the diplomatic interests of 35 countries as part of protective power mandates.  The best-known of these mandates is the representation of US interests in Iran, which dates back to the hostage crisis of 1979/1980. Switzerland still has a protecting power mandate for the United States in Iran.
  • For many years, it aided the talks on the Iranian nuclear programme. These negotiations came to an end with the signing of an agreement in 2015.
  • International Geneva is home to some 350 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 175 representations of foreign states and many other organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, which work in the international cooperation field.

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