Switzerland joined the United Nations in 2002. Since then, we have been among the most active countries in the UN. Even before being a member, we took on observer and member roles with various specialized UN agencies, such as the Human Rights Council, which has to a great extent been created thanks to Swiss efforts. Former Swiss President Joseph Deiss also presided over the UN General Assembly from 2010 to 2011.

We are fully aligned with the UN’s goals and values. The Swiss Federal Constitution enshrines key UN objectives, including the alleviation of poverty, human rights and democracy, the peaceful co-existence of peoples and natural resource conservation. As a dedicated and reliable member of the UN family, we provide substantial voluntary contributions to support UN agencies, funds and programmes, promoting sustainable development around the world.

Geneva has been home to the UN’s second most important headquarters ever since the organisation was founded in 1945. The UN holds 6 out of 10 meetings in Geneva! No fewer than 41 international organisations and several UN agencies are located on the shores of Lake Geneva. 

Timeline

Switzerland in the United Nations

2022

In June 2022, the UN General Assembly will elect two Member states of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG).

2015

Switzerland is a driving force behind the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and is committed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

2011

For the first time, Switzerland announces that it seeks a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2023-2024.

2010-2011

Joseph Deiss, former Swiss President, presides over the UN General Assembly.

2009

In line with Swiss commitment to peace and security, the Permanent Representative of Switzerland in New York takes over the role of chair of the Burundi Configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission.

2006

Switzerland initiates the creation of the Human Rights Council.

2002

Switzerland joins the United Nations following a popular referendum. A majority of 54.6% of the population endorsed Switzerland’s membership. To date, Switzerland is the only country to have joined the UN as the result of a popular vote.
Timeline-2002

2000

Following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, Switzerland is one of the first countries to adopt a national action plan in order to strengthen women’s involvement in peace processes.

1990

Deployment of Swiss military observers supporting UN peace operations, among others in the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Mali.
Timeline-1990-w2000-2

1953

Switzerland sends 146 armed military personnel to Korea to monitor the armistice agreement. The Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Korea (NNSC) is still active today in the demilitarized zone.

1948

Creation of the World Health Organization. Switzerland is among the founding members and has since served twice on its Executive Board.

1948

Switzerland was the first state to gain the status of permanent observer of the UN and followed activities closely, with the ability to participate in meetings of the General Assembly, the Security Council and other public meetings of the UN committees.

1946

Dissolution of the League of Nations and creation of the United Nations. Geneva hosts the European headquarters of the UN.

1945

The Charter of the United Nations is signed by 50 states representatives, with the aim of establishing a peaceful world order and promoting social progress.
Timeline-1945-w2000

1919

Establishment of the League of Nations, intended to secure international peace and security. Geneva hosts the headquarters of the organization. Switzerland joins the League in 1920 following a popular referendum.