20 years of UN membership: President Cassis inaugurates Palais des Nations model in Ticino

Melide, 10.09.2022 - On 10 September 2022, President Cassis praised Switzerland's decision to join the UN 20 years ago and inaugurated a model of the Palais des Nations at Swissminiatur in Melide (canton Ticino) as a tribute to International Geneva and a symbol of effective multilateralism. The ceremony took place in the presence of the foreign diplomatic corps.

"Today is a special day. It is exactly 20 years to this day that Switzerland became a member of the United Nations," stated President Cassis during the annual outing of the foreign diplomatic corps in Switzerland. He then inaugurated a model of the UN's European headquarters, the Palais des Nations, in front of around 100 diplomats from all over the world and the director general of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Tatiana Valovaya.

The Palais des Nations model symbolises the global relevance of multilateralism, particularly in today's climate of crisis, and how the international community must join forces to tackle global challenges. During this turning point in history marked by war in Europe and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community can only respond to the major issues facing the world today – war, extreme poverty, energy and global economic crises – if they work together. What is required is decisive multilateral action within the UN framework as well as binding, commonly accepted rules and reform efforts that will enable the community of states to respond to these challenges of the day. As a member of the UN, Switzerland is actively working to this end.

20 years UN membership. Switzerland's successes so far
Switzerland is the only country in the world to have joined the UN after a popular vote. "Looking back on the last two decades, we can see that the people got it right. Since Switzerland's accession, it has achieved a number of important successes at the UN," Mr Cassis emphasised in front of the foreign diplomats. This includes the creation in 2006 of the Human Rights Council (HRC), in which Switzerland played a key role as well as the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which was adopted by all UN member states in 2015. Switzerland was one of the driving forces behind the 2030 Agenda, a global framework for addressing the world's major challenges – extreme poverty, climate change, ecocide, and health crises. Implementing the SDGs has become more difficult due to the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic. The international community will have to scale up their efforts if the SDGs are to be achieved. This is something Switzerland actively pursues at the UN.

Centre of global governance
Back in Melide, President Cassis highlighted the fact that "the spirit of Geneva could now also be felt on Lake Lugano" with the Swissminiatur model representing International Geneva – the "engine room of the global system" hosting some 3,200 international conferences and 4,700 high-level meetings on its lake shores every year (2019). Thanks to its dense network of innovative, scientific and international organisations, representations and NGOs, Geneva has become the place for in-depth exchange and a centre of global governance.

A strong sign of confidence in Switzerland
Over the past two decades, Switzerland has proven itself to be a credible partner with a strong sense of solidarity for the international community. "But the biggest task still lies head of us: Switzerland's seat on the UN Security Council for 2023–24," stated President Cassis. Switzerland's election to the Security Council as a non-permanent member on 9 June 2022 clearly demonstrates the support and trust it enjoys within the international community. During its term, Switzerland will focus on sustainable peace, the protection of civilians, strengthening the Security Council's effectiveness, and climate security.

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