Global Affairs

flags of the United Nations member states flying in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva in 2014
In front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, home to the United Nations, the flags of the 193 member states line the «Allée des drapeaux». © UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The Global Affairs Section represents, defends and promotes Switzerland's interests in formal and informal meetings and in other processes of international organisations, States and other entities in relation to health, labour, digital and technology, peace and security, sustainable development, science, research and education, intellectual property, environment, and global governance.


The World Health Organization (WHO) is the principal United Nations agency for global health and is responsible for setting public health standards and policies. The section monitors the governing bodies’ work in accordance with the priorities of Swiss foreign health policy in close collaboration with the competent services in Bern (directorate: Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). The section contributes to the governance of UNAIDS and monitors the global health response through the ACT Accelerator, including the COVAX initiative on vaccines. It contributes to the strengthening of global health and its Geneva-based actors, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the GAVI Alliance for Vaccines and others.


The International Labour Organization (ILO) has a mandate to promote social peace and improve workers' rights around the world and to encourage job creation and global growth. The section coordinates its work within the ILO with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and monitors the work of the governing bodies. It also supports the follow-up to the ILO Centenary and the theme "Future of Work". 

Digital and technology

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technologies. The section (directorate: the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM)) participates in the governing bodies sessions. The section collaborates closely with the Geneva Internet Platform and promotes exchanges on the future of digital governance and data and statistics issues (with the Federal Statistical Office). 

Peace and security

Geneva is a unique place for exchanges, reflection and action in the service of conflict prevention and sustainability of peace. The section promotes the consideration of these concepts and supports events and processes in this regard. It monitors the peace and security-related activities of UNOG, other international organisations, academic and non-governmental actors including those based at the Maison de la Paix, and supports the work of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Sustainable Development

The section contributes to accelerating the implementation of the Agenda 2030 through the different formal and informal spheres of political dialogue in Geneva. It actively supports the work around the financing of sustainable development goals and works closely with the SDG Lab, United Nations Development Programme and other public and private actors. It monitors the implementation of the reform of the development system in Geneva. 

Science, research and training

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is one of the world's leading scientific laboratories. As part of the Swiss delegation led by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SEFRI), the section participates in the meetings of CERN's governing bodies. The section conducts structured exchanges with the IBE, UNIGE and IHEID as well as with other academic actors beyond Geneva, promotes the connection between science and diplomacy and supports the work of the GESDA foundation. The section also encourages think tanks to contribute to the reflections and discussions carried out in Geneva, notably in partnership with the Think Tank Hub

Intellectual Property

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) provides protection for works of the mind used in commerce (inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, emblems, names or images) through patents, copyrights and trademark registrations. In close cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), the section follows WIPO’ governing bodies where it represents the Swiss interests. 


In addition to the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Geneva is home to the Joint Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention, the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the European headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and in Gland the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Section monitors the work of these actors under the leadership of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and MeteoSwiss, and works closely with the Geneva Environment Network (GEN)

Global governance

The section accompanies the work of platforms for cooperation that bring together actors, ideas and expertise from International Geneva. These platforms aim to exploit Geneva's potential to develop cross-cutting synergies on a wide range of topics. In addition to providing a space for exchange and networking, they allow new ideas to be tested and make a substantive contribution to global governance. It also supports the participation of all States in multilateral processes through the DiploFoundation, which encourages the development of the skills of the Geneva delegations.