The Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the other international organisations in Geneva, better known to most people as the “Swiss Mission”, is the responsibility of Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the international organisations in Geneva. The Swiss Mission is the body representing the host country in its relations with the international organisations and other permanent representative bodies. It has a dual role:
About the Mission
The Multilateral Division defends Switzerland's interests at the international organizations and institutions of International Geneva. It has four thematic sections:
- Global Affairs
- Humanitarian Affairs
- Human rights
The Multilateral Division works closely with the competent federal authorities to define, defend and promote Switzerland's priorities in the various international organizations, as well as to ensure the development and implementation of the decisions taken by these institutions.
Among these priorities is Switzerland's commitment to a strong and effective multilateralism that is able to respond to global challenges. Switzerland submits reform proposals to increase efficiency and promotes synergies between the various Geneva-based institutions.
In addition to international organizations, the Multilateral Division maintains and develops links with NGOs, the private sector, academia and think tanks. These different actors all contribute to the work of International Geneva and participate in the development of new and more inclusive forms of governance.
The Head of the Multilateral Division is also the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the only permanent multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, which makes Geneva the main global platform for disarmament and arms control. Numerous disarmament instruments (Biological Weapons Convention, Arms Trade Treaty, Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention) and actors active in this field are established there.
Host Country Division
The Host State Division contributes to strengthening Geneva as a centre of global governance. It fosters the development of the hosting and working conditions of the international public service community, adapting them to changes in the multilateral system. It has three thematic sections:
- Privileges and Immunities
- Security and General Affairs
- Real estate and framework conditions
The Swiss Mission also serves as a diplomatic channel, within the meaning of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the headquarters agreements, between the permanent missions and international organisations and the Swiss authorities.
The Swiss Mission is actively supported by the authorities of the cantons of Geneva and Vaud as well as the City of Geneva. Its direct partners are mainly:
- the Presidential Department of the Canton of Geneva
- the External Relations Service of the City of Geneva
- the Office of External Affairs of the Canton of Vaud
The Centre d'Accueil de la Genève Internationale (CAGI), created in 1996 by the Confederation and the State of Geneva, is also a direct partner of the Swiss mission. The CAGI aims to orient members of the international community working and living in the Geneva region and to contribute to their integration into the local community.