Federal Council sets out coordination of decision-making for the UN Security Council

Press releases, 10.11.2021

Switzerland is a candidate for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2023–24. In preparation, the Federal Council has set out at its meeting on 10 November 2021 how decision-making would be coordinated during its term on the Council.

The Federal Council decided in 2011 on Switzerland’s candidature for a UN Security Council seat, following consultations with Parliament over a number of years. The election will be held in New York in June 2022 and preparations are under way for Switzerland's planned membership in 2023–24. Switzerland's candidature is an important objective of the country's Foreign Policy Strategy for 2020–23. Today's decision meets one of the Federal Council's annual objectives for 2021.

Federal Council to decide in important cases
No new bodies would be created to coordinate decision-making during Switzerland's term on the Security Council. Switzerland intends instead to make use of tried and tested consultation and decision-making mechanisms. The Federal Administration already has such mechanisms in place for statements and voting in the main UN bodies, e.g. the UN General Assembly or the Human Rights Council.

In important political matters, the Federal Council would decide. This would be the case for major decisions affecting domestic or foreign policy (e.g. the recognition of an internationally disputed territorial claim) or if the Security Council votes on a new sanctions regime (most recently for Mali in 2017) or authorizes a military intervention (as in Libya in 2011). The Federal Council would also decide in cases where government departments take different positions. The deadlines for Security Council business can be very short. The FDFA would therefore inform the other departments about important upcoming business at an early stage.

Regular information on Security Council seat
The coordination and decision-making mechanisms will be tested in autumn 2022. If Switzerland is elected, it will be able to participate as an observer in all Security Council meetings for three months prior to taking its seat. During Switzerland's term, Parliament, the media and the public would receive regular information about Switzerland's activities on the Security Council.

Security Council resolutions
The Security Council adopts between 50 and 70 resolutions per year. The majority of the resolutions concern matters on which Switzerland already has an established position (e.g. concerning access for humanitarian aid in conflict areas) or which recur regularly, such as the extension of ongoing UN peace missions or sanctions regimes.

Further information:

Switzerland's seat on the UN Security Council. Involvement of Parliament. Federal Council report of 11 September in response to postulate 19.3967, Council of States Foreign Affairs Committee, 19 August 2019 (concerning regular information to the fore
Switzerland's candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2023–24 term. Report of the Federal Council report of 5 June 2015 in response to postulate 13.3005 submitted by the National Council Foreign Affairs Co
Link FDFA website on Switzerland's candidature for the UN Security Council

Address for enquiries:

For further information:
FDFA Communication
Tel. +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service +41 460 55 55


The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs