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, 2020-2021
  • UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2020-2022
  • Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2019-23
  • 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

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)
  • Peter Binder, member of the Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2019–23
  • Peter Blattner, President of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE)
  • Pascal Clivaz, Deputy Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), 2013–16 and 2017–20
  • 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
  • Thomas Gass, co-chairman of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), 2019–21
  • Marianne Gasser, Head of Damascus Office for United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
  • Henri Gétaz, Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  • Heidi Grau, OSCE Special Representative for Ukraine
  • Philip D. Jaffé, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2019-23
  • Marcel Jullier, member of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), 2017–19 and 2020-22
  • 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)
  • Daniel Kipfer Fasciati, ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da-esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
  • Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 2020-23
  • Mirko Manzoni, UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Mozambique
  • Beatrice Maser, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Director for the Middle East and North Africa
  • Bobjoseph Mathew, Vice 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), 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)
  • Chitra Narayanaswamy, Director and Controller, Department of Programme Planning and Finance, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at the European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Urs Niggli, Member of the Scientific Group, 2021 Food Systems Summit
  • Bruno Oberle, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Stéphane Rey, member of the Advisory Group of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, 2020-2022
  • 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), 2019-22
  • Christine Schraner Burgener, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar
  • Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Director Health and Multilateral Partnerships 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