UN

Image of the flags of the United Nations member states flying in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva in 2014
In front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, home to the United Nations, the flags of the 193 member states line the "Allée des drapeaux". © UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

With its 193 member states the United Nations Organization (UN) is the only organization capable of providing a forum that allows all the nations and actors on the world stage to come together to discuss the many issues of worldwide importance that arise. The UN is universal in a sense unmatched by any other organization, both in terms of the subjects it deals with, its members, its involvement in decision-making processes, in creating international norms and standards and its unrivalled international presence. Despite certain shortcomings, it enjoys a unique legitimacy throughout the world.

74th UN General Assembly

Flags of the UN member states in front of the UN Headquarters in New York.
End of September the 74th General Assembly begins in New York. © Keystone

This year’s priorities – human rights, UN reforms and science diplomacy – are in line with Switzerland’s two key strategic areas for its commitment to the UN for the period 2012-22: peace and security, and UN reform.

Dossier

The range of challenges facing the world, notably security, peace, combating poverty, promoting human rights as well as safeguarding natural resources, make Switzerland’s involvement in the United Nations indispensable. Since joining the UN in September 2002, Switzerland has been an active and innovative member. Membership offers Switzerland the opportunity to participate in the search for solutions to global problems and to accept its share of responsibility for exerting a positive influence on world affairs. However, the UN also offers Switzerland the ideal forum within which to represent its own national interests.

The focus of Switzerland's activities at the UN is in three areas:

  • Launching and supporting its own initiatives
  • Strengthening the presence of Swiss nationals at all levels of the organization
  • The day-to-day activities of Switzerland’s permanent missions to the UN (Geneva, New York, Vienna) and of Swiss delegates with the United Nations' special organizations and programmes (Rome, Paris, Nairobi)

Geneva is the main seat of the United Nations in Europe and, with New York, is one of the two major centres of multilateral cooperation. Despite Switzerland’s relatively small size, thanks to “International Geneva” the Confederation is able to “box above its weight” in the international arena, making it that much easier to achieve foreign policy objectives.

Documents (12538)

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Swiss Guidelines on human rights defenders

Switzerland supports the work of human rights defenders and aims to improve their protection on the ground from arbitrary treatment, threats and violence. The FDFA's guidelines on the protection of human rights defenders serve as a framework for the Swiss representations abroad.



30 years of Swiss participation in election observations: Review and outlook

This anniversary publication places Switzerland's election observation operations in their historical context, explains the comprehensive approach behind election observation and electoral assistance from different perspectives, and sets out some of the new challenges we face in the digital age. The analysis and statistics are complemented by field reports from 30 years of election observation.



Swiss Peace Supporter 3/2019

This issue assesses the progress achieved and new challenges faced in implementing the anti-personnel mine ban convention. The 4th Review Conference, to be held in Oslo in November 2019, will provide an opportunity to renew the treaty's commitment to a mine-free world in response to some recent, worrying statistics. In addition, we look back on the 30th anniversary of Switzerland's participation in international election observation missions.



Swiss Peace Supporter 2/2019

On 23 June 1999, the Federal Council made the decision to participate in the UN military peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. Since then, 620 women and 7,880 men have been involved in peacekeeping operations with the ‘Swiss Company’, abbreviated to SWISSCOY. This latest edition of ‘Swiss Peace Supporter’ tracks the progress of the peacekeeping mission. It also includes eye-witness reports of election monitoring in Ukraine and Nigeria.




Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU: 2018 Annual Report

Information on the results achieved in the last three remaining country programmes that are still under way, e.g. mine clearance in Croatia, the promotion of SMEs in Romania and decommissioned trams from Basel improving Bulgaria's public transport system. The report also briefly explains the background to the second Swiss contribution to selected EU member countries.




The UN is reviewing how it operates to achieve the sustainable development goals



Swiss Peace Supporter 1/2019

Switzerland's successful history of international peace support operations began 30 years ago with a contingent dispatched to the United Nations mission in Namibia. This edition of Swiss Peace Supporter looks back on the contributions made by Switzerland to peace support operations since 1989. A captivating account by Adolf Ogi and reports from the field will give you an insight into Switzerland's engagement in the UN.



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Videos (110)

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