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.


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 (12680)

Object 25 – 36 of 12680

Women, Peace and Security

Switzerland advocates for women to play an active role in conflict prevention and peace processes, in reconstruction efforts and in post-conflict reconciliation. At the same time, women should be better protected – especially from sexual violence. Switzerland reaffirms this commitment in its national action plan.

Swiss Peace Supporter 3/2018

“Capacity development – turning knowledge into practice” is a multifaceted concept and a key component of international cooperation. How can people be empowered to act? How can police capacities be strengthened in crisis-stricken countries such as Mali? What role do international organisations play in this? Apart from the focus topic, the 03/18 edition also includes articles from Ukraine and Colombia.

FDFA Action Plan against Torture

The fight against torture and ill-treatment has long been a Swiss foreign policy priority. The action plan maps out how Switzerland intends to uphold the absolute and universal ban on torture and ill-treatment, as well as the steps it will take to ensure its effective implementation.

Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda in Swiss International Cooperation

The Implementation Concept addresses all state and non-state actors associated with Swiss international cooperation.

The relation between international law and national law in Switzerland

By looking at examples, the brochure explains the interaction between international law and Swiss law. Where and when does which law apply and how does one influence the other?

Swiss Peace Supporter 2/2018

The latest edition of SPS focuses on 'Kosovo, a country in transition', with articles on SWISSCOY's move from a field camp in Prizren to Camp Novo Selo, dealing with the past and this young state's long path to democratization. In addition to the focus theme, this edition also includes current reports from Colombia, Western Sahara and the Central African Republic.

Report on Effectiveness: Swiss international cooperation in the field of gender equality 2007-2016

Gender equality is essential to achieving sustainable development. The study, which was carried out by a team of external experts, comprises an assessment of three distinct project and programme portfolios during the period from 2007 to 2016 that reflect our approach to implementing the FDFA’s gender equality policy.

Object 25 – 36 of 12680

Links (7523)

Object 7513 – 7523 of 7523

International Committee of the Red Cross

The ICRC is committed to responding rapidly and efficiently to the humanitarian needs of people affected by armed conflict or by a natural disaster occurring in a conflict area. Hostilities can explode without warning; natural disasters can strike unexpectedly and their effects may be multiplied in countries already riven by war. In the face of such unpredictable emergencies, the ICRC attaches great importance to its ability to deploy rapidly in the field.


With the enlargement contribution, Switzerland helps to reduce economic and social disparities within the enlarged European Union.

Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation in 2013–2016

For the first time, the Message on Switzerland’s International Cooperation describes in one document the tasks of humanitarian aid, development cooperation, economic and trade policy measures within the framework of development cooperation, and cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe.

OECD and education

The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners to maximize results for the AIDS response.

Object 7513 – 7523 of 7523

Videos (110)

Object 49 – 60 of 110

Publisher SDC

Vocational training and youth employment in Albania: SDC Project

The AlbVET project supports efforts by the Albanian government to reform the Albanian vocational education and training system and to make vocational training more responsive to the needs of the labour market. Theoretical understanding is enriched by promoting practice-oriented learning. Among other things, public and private actors are encouraged to offer traineeships and to participate in vocational training projects for young people.

Publisher SDC

The SDC and its successes

Accomplishments of Swiss development cooperation (Film on the institution)

Publisher SDC

Humanitarian Aid

Brief information on emergency relief during natural disasters and conflicts (Film on the institution)

Publisher SDC

Regional Cooperation

Brief information on the bilateral programmes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (Film on the institution)

Publisher SDC

The SDC: A Trailer

The SDC: A Trailer on the Switzerland’s public development agency (Film on the institution)

Publisher SDC

India: From water management to climate change

The State of Maharashtra is the second most heavily-populated in India, with 96 million inhabitants, of whom more than half depend upon agriculture to make their living. The greater part of their land depends, for its cultivation, upon the monsoon rains. Unfortunately soil impoverishment as well as a non-sustainable exploitation of water supplies and natural resources has resulted in land degradation. Droughts and famines have forced numerous inhabitants to migrate.Since the beginning of the 2000s, the SDC has been working with a local organization, the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR). Specialising in the communal management of water supplies, this partner has helped to set up projects in 31 districts. Working with the local populations, the WOTR has enabled some 950 villages to protect themselves from recurring water supply problems.However, since 2000, local climate conditions have altered considerably. The farmers can no longer rely on their ancestral knowledge and are often taken by surprise at the timing and frequency of the rains, which can be torrential just as they can be insufficient.

Publisher SDC

Portrait of an SDC employee in Serbia

Portrait of an SDC employee in Belgrade, Serbia: Beatrice Meyer (Film on the institution)

Object 49 – 60 of 110