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), 2021-25
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 2019-22
  • Universal Postal Union Postal Operations Council (UPU-POC), 2022-25
  • Universal Postal Union Council of Administration (UPU-COA), 2022-25
  • 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
  • Statistical Commission (UNSD) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), 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)
  • Didier Chambovey, Chair of the General Council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), 2022-23
  • Thomas Cottier, Member of the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • Daniel Endres, Assistant Secretary-General and UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for East Africa 
  • 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 and 2021-24
  • Christian Frutiger, Chair of the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN), 2022
  • Marianne Gasser, Head of Damascus Office for United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
  • Major General Patrick Gauchat, Head of Mission of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO)
  • Henri Gétaz, Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  • Sabina Handschin, Chair of the Council of the International Bureau for Education (IBE) of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
  • 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)
  • 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, Special Representative for Western Europe, International Finance Corporation (IFC) 2022-20204
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Bruno Oberle, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Stéphane Rey, member of the Advisory Group of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, 2022-2024
  • 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
  • Thomas Schneider, Chair of the Committee on Artificial Intelligence, Council of Europe, 2022-23
  • Florian Schütz, Chair of the Working Party on Security in the Digital Economy (SDE) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Director Health and Multilateral Partnerships at the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Georges-Simon Ulrich, Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), 2022
  • Pierre von Arx, head of the mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Uzbekistan
  • Dorothea Winkler, member of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), 2017–20 and 2021-24

Promoting young talent

Switzerland promotes young talent by funding UN Youth Volunteer and Junior Professional Officer (JPO) positions.

Careers in international organisations

Last update 26.10.2022


UN Division

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