Switzerland's presence in international organisations

The FDFA promotes the representation of Switzerland and its interests in international organisations.

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), 2018–21

  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 2019-22

  • Universal Postal Union Postal Operations Council (UPU-POC), 2017–20

  • Universal Postal Union Council of Administration (UPU-COA), 2017–20

  • International Bureau of Education (IBE) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2015–19

  • Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO (IHP/UNESCO), 2015–19

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:

  • Laurence Boillat, member of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), 2017–19

  • Pascal Clivaz, Deputy Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), 2013–16 and 2017–20

  • Hans Dreyer, Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

  • 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

  • Henri Gétaz, Secretary General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

  • Thomas Greminger, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

  • Philip D. Jaffé, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2019-2023

  • Marcel Jullier, member of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), 2017–19

  • Christine Kaufmann, chair of the Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

  • Daniel Kipfer Fasciati, ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da-esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

  • Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 2014–17 and 2017–20

  • Philippe Lazzarini, Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP)

  • Mirko Manzoni, UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Mozambique

  • Niklaus Meier, member of the Governing Council of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), 2019-23

  • Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

  • Peter Messerli, member of the group of experts for the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR)

  • Benoît Müller, Director, Copyright Management Division, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

  • Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at the European Space Agency (ESA)

  • Philippe Richard, member 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), 2019-2022

  • Christoph Schelling, appointed to the Bureau of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2016–19

  • Frank Schneider, Vice Chair of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR), 2017–19

  • Christine Schraner Burgener, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar

  • Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Director of Partnerships and Non-State Actors and Director a.i. of Coordinated Resource Mobilization at the World Health Organization (WHO)

  • Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary General and Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

  • Martin Steinacher, Director for Finance and Human Resources at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

  • Dorothea Winkler, member of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), 2017–20

  • Jean Ziegler, member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, 2016–19

News

Ambassador Mirjana Spoljaric Egger appointed UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator of UNDP, press release, 17.08.2018

Swiss expert Philip D. Jaffé elected to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, press release, 29.06.2018

Markus Schefer elected to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, press release, 12.06.2018

Daniel Kipfer Fasciati appointed as Ombudsperson for UN counter-terrorism sanctions regime, press release, 31.05.2018

Christine Schraner Burgener appointed UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar, press release, 26.04.2018

The UN appoints Swiss expert Stefan Mogl to the Leadership Panel of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism charged with investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria, press release, 08.05.2017

Switzerland reappointed to UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, press release, 20.04.2017

Election of Frank Schneider as vice chair of the IFIAR, press release, 04.04.2017

Swiss professor to co-chair group of experts for the first Global Sustainable Development Report, media release, 12.01.2017

Election of International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission members, press release, 09 December 2016

First Swiss member in Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), press release, 07 November 2016

Swiss expert becomes member of UN Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, press release, 04 November 2016

Switzerland elected to the UN Human Rights Council from 2016, press release, 28 October 2015

Hans-Jörg Bannwart re-elected to Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, press release, 27 October 2016

Universal Postal Union: second mandate for Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz, press release, 06 October 2016

Hans Dreyer wird Direktor bei der Ernährungs- und Landwirtschaftsorganisation der Vereinten Nationen (FAO), press release, 29 March 2016

European Space Agency: Daniel Neuenschwander appointed Director of Launchers, press release, 16 March 2016

Christoph Schelling, Ambassador and Head of SIF Tax Division, appointed to Bureau of OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs, press release, 22 January 2016 

Syria conflict: Switzerland welcomes and supports efforts of UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, press release, 22 September 2015

Arms Trade Treaty to set up secretariat in Geneva, press release, 27 August 2015

Switzerland to head the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee, press release, 15 October 2014

Delegate for humanitarian aid, Manuel Bessler, appointed to the Advisory Group of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, press release, 01 September 2014

Switzerland to chair the Codex Alimentarius Commission, press release, 15 July 2014

Patricia Schulz from Geneva re-elected to serve second term in Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, press release, 26 June 2014

Swiss national appointed commissioner-general of UNRWA, press release, 20 November 2013

Swiss diplomat appointed to high level position in the UN System, press release, 31 May 2013

Election of Prof. Lucius Caflisch as chairman of the International Law Commission, press release, the Federal council, 11 May 2012