Twenty years after joining the UN, Switzerland sought its first non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for a two-year term. The Federal Council approved the candidature and submitted it in 2011 after extensive consultations with Parliament. The Federal Council and Parliament confirmed Switzerland's candidacy on numerous occasions. Elections for the term running from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024 were held in New York on 9 June 2022. The UN General Assembly elected Switzerland with 187 out of 190 votes. This is the best result achieved by a country from the Group of Western European and Other States since Switzerland joined the UN in 2002. It is a clear vote of confidence and an indication of the support enjoyed by Switzerland in the international community.
The seat allows Switzerland to advance its efforts in favour of peace and security within the UN and around the world. Since joining the UN in 2002, Switzerland has held key positions in all of the organisation's major bodies except for the Security Council. The Federal Council identified Switzerland's membership as a key part of its Peace and Security thematic focus area in its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23.
UN Security Council membership...
- is a key instrument in promoting Switzerland's foreign policy interests and values. A peaceful global order based on the rule of law is of major importance for our country, whose export-oriented economy depends on open markets with clear rules. Peace and stability are essential for prosperity and development.
- is in line with Switzerland's good offices and engagement in peace policy. A seat on the Security Council will allow Switzerland to put its long-standing expertise and credibility in the peaceful settlement of disputes to work for the international community.
- increases Switzerland's foreign policy weight and the potential for joint decision-making on such matters as the UN site in Geneva, which is of economic importance. With a seat on the Security Council, Switzerland can also directly influence the direction of the UN's work and the efficient use of funds.
Security Council membership does not entail any additional legal, political or financial obligations towards the UN. Switzerland's membership is fully compatible with Switzerland’s neutrality, as detailed in the Federal Council's report of 5 June 2015. In the Security Council, independent voices such as Switzerland's – that are committed to a global order based on the rule of law and promote dialogue between the various camps – are more important than ever. This has also been highlighted by the experiences of other neutral and non-aligned countries such as Austria and Ireland, who have already sat on the Security Council several times and continue to seek further terms as non-permanent members.