The last word

Ambassador Blaise Godet

Ambassador Blaise Godet

Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva since 2004. He is a career diplomat and was previously head of the Political Affairs Directorate of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, from 2001 to 2004.


Prospects for International Geneva

The international character of Geneva is clearly evident from the large number of international organizations, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations present in the city. Of a total of 25 organizations with which the Swiss Confederation has concluded headquarter agreements, 22 are located in Geneva. In addition, Geneva is the seat of more than 70 NGOs, and 158 countries have established missions or representations in the city. The UN Office at Geneva is the United Nations headquarters in Europe, making it, together with New York, one of the two main world centers of international co-operation.

International Geneva, with its community of more than 35,000, extends well beyond the territorial boundaries of the State of Geneva. The Canton of Vaud is home to the World Conservation Union (ICCN) and the WWF, based in Gland, the International Olympic Committee, based in Lausanne, as well as some 30 international sports federations and other important NGOs. However, this privileged position is not to be taken for granted. It is important to monitor both the public authorities and the private sector on a daily basis with the aim of strengthening their commitment. The infrastructure and the conditions of establishment offered to the international organizations, the representatives of developing countries and the NGOs are an integral part of this commitment, but at the same time the support has to be provided with an open mind toward the new aspects of global governance. This is the idea behind the "Geneva Network" initiative (, launched by a group of prominent international figures in the city, whose activities are crucial for the continued success of Geneva as a host city to international organizations.

The diversity of International Geneva - enriching in many respects - nevertheless demands a coherent policy. This is why the Federal Council has asked Parliament to set out in one law the main instruments of Switzerland's host-country policy. The Confederation's host policy focuses on those specific areas where synergies should be generated, with the aims of raising the attractiveness of Switzerland as a host nation and of maximizing the effects of international co-operation. In Geneva, the priority areas of action are peace, security and disarmament; humanitarian affairs and human rights; health; labor, economics, trade and science; sustainable development and the environment.

In the field of sustainable development in particular, this booklet shows that the changes that are needed cannot be brought about by environmentalists alone. It will be necessary to set up many different alliances and partnerships with an equally wide range of players. Nowadays, the distinction between the three pillars of sustainable development is of little relevance because the challenges we are facing call for comprehensive responses that combine economic growth, social progress and environmental protection at the global level.

The Swiss Confederation would like to thank its partners, WBCSD, IUCN and UNEP, as well as all those who have contributed to the production of this brochure. Thanks to this partnership, the many different areas of concrete co-operation it portrays will be an inspiration to us in developing more joint initiatives and in further contributing to the search for solutions to the challenges confronting the world today.