The FDFA consists of the organisational units at head office in Bern and the network of Swiss representations abroad, which includes embassies, consulates, cooperation offices and missions.
Organisation of the FDFA
The FDFA's head office in Bern is composed of eight departments:
The General Secretariat coordinates business for Parliament and the Federal Council and is responsible for the FDFA's communication and information.
The responsibilities of the State Secretariat include the maintenance, coordination and ongoing development of Switzerland's bilateral relations with other states, cooperation with organisations such as the UN, and Swiss policy on security, peace and disarmament.
Directorate of Political Affairs
The Directorate of Political Affairs gauges global challenges, develops foreign policy strategy and tries to identify areas of tension or potential flashpoints.
Directorate for European Affairs
The Directorate for European Affairs is the federal government's centre of expertise for all matters concerning EU integration.
Directorate of Public International Law
The Directorate of Public International Law ensures that Switzerland fulfils its obligations and is pro-active around the world in promoting respect for and the further development of international law.
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation implements the Federal Council's foreign policy strategy in the areas of humanitarian aid, development cooperation and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as in regional and global cooperation.
Directorate for Resources
The Directorate for Resources manages the FDFA's human, financial, logistical, IT and other resources as a centre of expertise and as a service provider.
The FDFA has more than 170 representations around the world, safeguarding diplomatic interests, providing consular services and playing an active role in international cooperation. The representations abroad include embassies, consulates, cooperation offices and permanent missions to international organisations:
An embassy is the official representation of a state in another state. It safeguards diplomatic relations and supports Swiss business in the host country.
A consulate is the most important link between Swiss citizens abroad and the authorities in Switzerland. Its main task is to assist Swiss citizens living abroad.
A cooperation office represents the SDC in a priority country, implementing programmes with local staff.
A mission is a state's permanent diplomatic representation to international organisations.