The city of Geneva has a long tradition of hosting international organisations. For that reason, reference is made to "International Geneva". This acknowledges not only its pivotal role in terms of cooperation but also its position at the forefront of multilateral diplomacy.
Facts and figures about International Geneva
International Geneva in numbers
- 43 international institutions, organizations, bodies and secretariats in Switzerland, among 37 in Geneva
- 179 states represented in Geneva
- 260 permanent missions, representations and delegations in Geneva
- 22,500 members of organizations with headquarters agreement in Switzerland, among 21,500 in Geneva
- 1,100 members of organizations with tax agreement in Switzerland, among 920 in Geneva
- 1,400 members of international bodies, among 815 in Geneva
- 2'700 members of non-gouvernemental organizations in Geneva
- 4,000 members of permanent missions, representations and delegations in Geneva
- 3,300 meetings annually with a total of 221,000 delegates from around the world
Since the founding of the Red Cross in 1863, International Geneva has evolved considerably into what is now one of the foremost centres of global governance. It thus embodies the significant international humanitarian commitment made by the Swiss Confederation and by Geneva itself.
Switzerland has been host to international organisations and conferences for more than 150 years. This role of host state is firmly rooted in Switzerland's tradition of humanitarianism and policy of making its good offices available. International activities take place in Basel, Bern, in the canton of Vaud and above all in Geneva. The city of Geneva itself is host to 37 international institutions, organizations, bodies as well as a secretariat established under a treaty, approximately 400 NGOs and the permanent representations of 178 member states of the United Nations (UN), and also those of the two non-member of the UN (observers).
International Geneva – or the international interests of Switzerland through Geneva – is a valuable instrument and most significant platform for Swiss foreign policy. Through its long-standing humanitarian tradition, it symbolises the core values that the vast majority of the Swiss population recognise as their own.
Finally, International Geneva is an essential component of Geneva's identity and acts as a major economic driver for the whole of the Lake Geneva region.
Recognised areas of expertise
The policy of actively welcoming and continually adapting to the needs of international organisations, representations of their respective member states and of civil society has made Geneva – and hence also Switzerland – a recognised centre of expertise in the following areas:
- peace, security and disarmament
- humanitarian action and humanitarian law, human rights and migration
- labour, economics, trade, science and telecommunications
- the environment and sustainable development
Centre of global governance
New York, where the UN headquarters is situated, and Geneva are the world's main centres of multilateral diplomacy. Geneva is the most active centre of global governance, however, with over 3,300 meetings annually, bringing together approximately 221,000 delegates from all around the world. Some 4,400 prominent figures, including heads of state and government, ministers and other dignitaries, travel to Geneva each year.
Annual expenditure of several billion francs
The institutions that make up International Geneva have large budgets and the whole region's economy benefits greatly from that. In 2017 the international organisations' and institutions' expenditure amounted to CHF 6.189 billion.
Jobs within international cooperation
International Geneva gathers a multitude of jobs contributing to peace, rights and well-being worldwide. A short-films serie produced by the "Radio Télévision Suisse" (RTS) illustrates them.