The last word

Why Geneva?

CARE established its Secretariat in Geneva almost two years ago. The rationale for this move was essentially to get closer to some of CARE's key international partners in the area of the environment, humanitarian response, health and NGO coordination. As the «humanitarian capital», Geneva brings together a number of key stakeholders. Interestingly, while New York has always been the focus of the more political debates around issues of international peace and security, Geneva has focused on the operational dimension of humanitarian response, which is of primary importance for CARE.

Denis Caillaux, Secretary General, CARE International

GRID was attracted to Geneva in mid-1985 by the presence of so many UN agencies, and an offer by State of Geneva to support one of the first two GRID centers .Our work then attracted broader support the federal government, and a partnership with the University of Geneva. This has proved to be so successful that it has been renewed twice, most recently for 2006-09. Other UNEP and University of Geneva bodies or programs have considered the Partnership Agreement as a potential model for proposed activities: on environment and diplomacy as well as, a Swiss proposal to establish an environment and sustainable development «pole» in Geneva; etc.


«There is a fabulous opportunity in Geneva for teaming individuals who have a wealth of experience, expertise and talent in various disciplines and institutions. This potential needs to be further exploited.»

Randall Harbour, Executive Secretary, Geneva International Academic Network

Although not absolutely essential from a programmatic perspective, co-location of the three treaty secretariats for the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions at International Environment House in Geneva makes it easier for them to share administrative services and work together on programs that have common objectives.

Nik Kiddle, New Zealand mission

«Many international organizations, major NGOs and enterprises as well as banks are based in and around Geneva. In the field of environment and sustainable development, we believe that this potential for synergies needs to be further exploited as more can be leveraged in terms of joint strategies or actions for developing sustainable lifestyles, including sustainable construction and livelihoods. With its central location in Europe and Swiss neutrality, Geneva has a high potential to offer.»

Luc Giraud-Guigues, Manager, Corporate Partnerships at WWF International

Geneva hosts a vast array of international organizations and related institutions, some of which, like the UNEP/UniGe/IUHEI/IUCN/UNITAR supported environmental diplomacy program, provide curricula and training in the field of multilateral diplomacy. Geneva has long acted as a major forum for multilateral relations and diplomacy, with an academic community to support, understand and take advantage of that role and position. So locating the training program in Geneva has been a logical choice for the institutions involved.

Frits Schlingemann, Senior Adviser of UNEP in Geneva and member of the Scientific Committee for the Environmental Diplomacy Programme, Geneva

«The Greening of Finance starts in Geneva...»

Paul Clements-Hunt, Head, UNEP Finance Initiative

The GEO Secretariat came to Geneva essentially for practical reasons, the hosting offered by the WMO, but we have found the city to be a very good place to be heard globally (position d'énonciation). This is because Geneva represents a very powerful idea. It embodies the ideal of shared interests, collective action and shared ideals. As a result, when I tell people that GEO is based in Geneva I do not have to explain the principles by which we operate.

José Achache, Secretariat Director Group on Earth Observations

A green movement for public health is needed. People in charge of health, environment, industry and issues such as transport should have a platform for dialogue. Geneva would be the ideal place for such a Forum.

Dr Maria P. Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment, WHO.

«Geneva was selected because of its accessibility with respect to the principal markets in Europe and of the exceptional quality of life that the canton offers...»