In 1979, the Federal Political Department was renamed the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). At the same time, the position of FDFA state secretary – the number-two person at the Department – was created. The competences of the Department were increased in sectors such as disarmament, human rights, and science policy. In 2002, the Switzerland’s accession to the UN reflected the extension of the activities of Swiss diplomacy into the realm of international organisations.
In parallel to the expansion of the FDFA headquarters in Bern, the Swiss diplomatic and consular network has not ceased to develop. From the time that the first permanent representations abroad opened back in 1798 (in Paris with a legation that is today an embassy, and in Bordeaux with a consulate), Switzerland’s foreign network has expanded and comprised 173 foreign representations (embassies, missions, consulates-general, and cooperation offices of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC) in 2013.