International organizations

Image of member states’ flags flying in front of United Nations headquarters in New York.
Flags of member states flying in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York. ©UNPhoto/JCMcllwaine

Switzerland’s international ties are many and varied. Firstly, it is a member of an array of international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Francophonie Organization, which enjoy close economic, political, social, cultural and scientific ties with the European Union.

Secondly, Switzerland is host to numerous international organizations and conferences: Geneva is one of the world’s most important centres for international cooperation (“International Geneva”). 

International organizations in Switzerland

25 international organizations based in Switzerland, 22 in Geneva

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

The world’s largest regional security organisation; 57 participating states in North America, Europe and Asia; platform for promoting action and dialogue, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, cooperation and trust

Swiss presence in international organizations

Switzerland and its commitment to international organizations

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA)

The EFTA promotes trade between its member countries; the EFTA Convention and free trade agreements form the basis of this cooperation

United Nations

193 member states and worldwide legitimacy; UN commitment to security, peace, fighting poverty, human rights and protecting natural resources

International financial institutions

Switzerland’s involvement with the Bretton Woods Institutions – the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund; commitment to development and economic stability and to fighting poverty in developing countries and emerging economies

Council of Europe

With 47 member countries, a major intergovernmental organization in Europe focusing on safeguarding and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law

NATO: Partnership for Peace

Military and political alliance between 28 states; Switzerland is a NATO partner country and part of the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

34 member countries working for democracy, market economy, expansion of the global economy, economic development, high employment and better living standards

The International organization of La Francophonie

Coordinates relations between its member states and governments; commitment to solidarity, peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in French-speaking countries

The Asia-Europe Meeting

ASEM is an intergovernmental forum for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. Switzerland has been a member since 2012.