Switzerland's election to the UN Security Council
On 9 June 2022, the UN General Assembly elected Switzerland as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year period from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024. During its term, Switzerland will use its strengths to promote peace and security and position itself as a neutral bridge-builder, and promote its interests through direct contact with the major players on the international stage.
Today, Switzerland was elected to the UN Security Council by the UN General Assembly in New York with 187 of 190 votes. Since Switzerland joined the UN in 2002, no country in the Group of Western European and Other States has been elected with a better result. It is a clear vote of confidence and an indication of the support enjoyed by Switzerland in the international community.
"We are delighted with this election. We approach this task with respect, and are ready to engage constructively and assume responsibility as a member of the Security Council", said President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis, who was present at the election.
The UN Security Council and Switzerland pursue the same goals
The Security Council's mandate to promote international peace and security is in line with the main mission of Switzerland's foreign policy. Under its Federal Constitution, Switzerland has a duty to contribute to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and the preservation of natural resources. Its first seat on the Security Council will enable Switzerland to fulfil this mandate even more effectively. It also fulfils a priority of the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23 in the area of peace and security. Switzerland will be able to use its seat on the Security Council to promote its stance more strongly and thus exert influence on international developments as a credible partner.
"We want to exploit Swiss expertise to work for peace and represent our values in the world, and as a neutral country, to be part of the search for compromise and solutions," added the Swiss president, as he explained the role Switzerland intends to play on the Security Council.
In these difficult times, it is important for countries like Switzerland to play a constructive role in the Security Council and to promote dialogue. "This dialogue is difficult, but necessary to strengthen multilateralism and make it more focused. Key issues like climate change, pandemics, poverty or migration can only be tackled together," Ignazio Cassis said in New York.
Switzerland intends to set four priorities for its seat on the Security Council: building sustainable peace, protecting civilians, addressing climate security and enhancing the effectiveness of the Security Council. Before these priorities are formally adopted by the Federal Council, they will be submitted to the foreign affairs committees of the National Council and the Council of States over the summer.
More than ten years preparing for UNSC seat and term in office
Twenty years ago, the Swiss people voted to join the UN. In 2011, after extensive consultations with Parliament, the Federal Council submitted Switzerland's application for a seat on the Security Council. In 2015, a Federal Council report confirmed the compatibility of this mandate with Swiss neutrality. Switzerland presented its candidacy and profile under the slogan 'A plus for Peace'. Preparations are now under way for Switzerland's term on the Security Council. In recent months, the Federal Council has set out coordination and decision-making processes within the Federal Administration and, in consultation with the foreign affairs committees, the modalities for parliamentary participation.
Permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council
Established in 1946, the Security Council is one of the main UN bodies. It is composed of five permanent members (France, Russia, the United States, China and the United Kingdom – the 'P5') and ten non-permanent members (the 'E10') elected by the UN General Assembly for a two-year term. Switzerland was elected today along with Malta, Japan, Ecuador and Mozambique. Albania, Brazil, Ghana, Gabon and the United Arab Emirates will also continue to be represented in 2023.
Although permanent members have a veto, they still depend on non-permanent members, as draft resolutions need at least nine votes to be adopted by the Security Council. In addition, the nonpermanent members regularly provide important thematic impetus for the Security Council's work.