Switzerland and the World – Facts and Figures

With its 170 representations abroad, Switzerland not only represents its own interests but also those of other states via protecting power mandates. Its commitment to development aid puts it among the leading countries in terms of GDP percentage. In its capacity as a neutral country, Switzerland has turned Geneva into a global hub for international organisations. The EU plays a central role in Swiss foreign policy.

  • ·Switzerland has over 170 foreign representations (embassies, consulates, cooperation offices and missions), and some 200 honorary consulates.
  • Switzerland joined the UN in 2002.
  • Relations between Switzerland and the EU are founded on bilateral sectoral agreements: Bilateral Agreements I (1999) and Bilateral Agreements II (2004).
  • In 2020 Switzerland allocated 0.48% of its GDP to development aid, approximately CHF 3.3 billion, making it one of the OECD DAC’s top ten. 
  • The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) is a pool of 700 stand-by specialists who can be quickly deployed for emergency aid in response to a conflict or natural disaster.
  • Since 1953 a handful of observers from Switzerland and Sweden have been stationed at the demarcation line between South and North Korea. Their job is to monitor compliance with the ceasefire agreed between the two countries over 60 years ago.
  • Since the Second World War, Switzerland has represented the diplomatic interests of 35 countries as part of protecting power mandates, five of which remain in force today. The best-known is the representation of US interests in Iran, which dates back to the hostage crisis of 1979/1980. Switzerland still has a protecting power mandate for the US in Iran.
  • For many years, it aided the talks on the Iranian nuclear programme. These negotiations came to an end with the signing of an agreement in 2015.
  • International Geneva is home to some 750 NGOs, 177 representations of foreign states and many other organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, which work in the international cooperation field.