Switzerland's multilateral engagement is a long-term commitment which focuses on continuity. To best defend its foreign policy interests in the multilateral arena and participate in shaping the ever more complex international environment, Switzerland seeks to ensure it is adequately represented in international organisations.

To this end, Switzerland has defined the following objectives:

  • Ensuring Swiss participation in political bodies and committees

  • Having Swiss nationals appointed or elected to strategic executive roles in international organisations

  • Promoting young talent to further pursue Swiss interests in international organisations.

Swiss participation in political bodies and committees of international organisations

Switzerland has steadily increased its presence and visibility in international organisations since joining the United Nations in 2002. It does this by way of political campaigns to support Swiss candidacies (as a country and as individuals).

Switzerland is currently a member of the following international organisations:

  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), 2019-25
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), 2021-25
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 2023-2026
  • Universal Postal Union Postal Operations Council (UPU-POC), 2022-25
  • Universal Postal Union Council of Administration (UPU-COA), 2022-25
  • Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICSICH), of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2020-2024
  • United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, 2021-2024
  • Statistical Commission (UNSD) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), 2021-2024
  • UN Security Council, 2023-2024
  • UN World Tourism Organisation, Programme and Budget Committee (UNWTO-PBC), 2023-2027

Swiss nationals holding executive roles in international organisations

Candidates are either elected or appointed, depending on the position and the organisation. The FDFA, sometimes in collaboration with other federal departments, campaigns to have Swiss nationals appointed or elected to executive roles.

The following is a list (non-exhaustive) of Swiss nationals holding executive roles in international organisations:

  • Philippe Baechtold, Director PCT Service Department, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General, Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), 2023-28
  • Mô Bleeker, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Thomas Cottier, Member of the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • Daniel Fink, member of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), for the period 2018–20 and 2021-24
  • Marianne Gasser, Head of Damascus Office for United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
  • Major General Patrick Gauchat, Head of Mission of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO)
  • Henri Gétaz, Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  • Sabina Handschin, Chair of the Council of the International Bureau for Education (IBE) of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
  • Marie-Claude Hofner, Member of the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), 2023-2027
  • Philip D. Jaffé, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2023-2027
  • Marcel Jullier, member of the Committee on Contributions, 2023-2025
  • Walter Kälin, expert of the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement
  • Christine Kaufmann, chair of the Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Andreas Krause, Member of the High-level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence
  • Nora Kronig Romero, member of the Executive Council of the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2023-2026
  • Renato Krpoun, chair of the ESA Council at delegate level, European Space Agency (ESA), 2023-2025
  • Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
  • Nicolas Levrat, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Office of the High-Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Beatrice Maser, Special Representative for Western Europe, International Finance Corporation (IFC) 2022-2024
  • Bobjoseph Mathew, President of the International Committee of Legal Metrology (CIML), International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML)
  • Niklaus Meier, member of the Governing Council of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), 2024-2028
  • Chitra Narayanaswamy, Director and Controller, Department of Programme Planning and Finance, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • Daniel Neuenschwander, Director for Human and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Bruno Oberle, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Stéphane Rey, member of the Advisory Group of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, 2022-2024
  • Philippe Richard, Vice president of the international Committee for Weights and Measures, International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM)
  • Markus Schefer, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), 2023-2026
  • Florian Schütz, Chair of the Working Party on Security in the Digital Economy (SDE) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Director Health and Multilateral Partnerships at the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Dorothea Winkler, member of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), 2017–20 and 2021-24


Promoting young talent

Switzerland promotes young talent by funding UN Youth Volunteer and Junior Professional Officer (JPO) positions.

Careers in international organisations

Last update 15.05.2024


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