Switzerland’s good offices for the benefit of peace

Hosting the Summit on Peace in Ukraine in Switzerland was an example of Swiss good offices. What exactly are Swiss “good offices” and what are some of the conflicts that Switzerland has helped settle?

Switzerland is regularly asked to host peace talks, negotiations and high-level meetings.

Switzerland hosted the first Summit on Peace in Ukraine from 15-16 June 2024 at the Bürgenstock Resort above Lake Lucerne. It provided a forum where world leaders from nearly 100 countries could discuss paths towards a just and lasting peace in Ukraine, based on international law and the UN Charter.

This was the latest in a series of examples of Switzerland playing an instrumental role in fostering peace. Through its good offices, Switzerland has accompanied over 30 peace processes in more than 20 countries in recent years.

Promoting peace is enshrined in the Swiss Federal Constitution. Building peace is among Switzerland’s foreign policy priorities. With its neutrality, humanitarian tradition, experience and expertise, Switzerland enjoys a high degree of integrity in promoting peace. It is a sought-after partner in fostering and building peace worldwide. Switzerland’s inclusive and consensus-driven political system adds to the appeal and credibility of its good offices.

What are good offices?

“Good offices” describe efforts of a third party to help settle a conflict between two or more parties peacefully. Good offices range from providing technical and organisational services for the well-functioning of peace talks or negotiations (e.g. providing a conference venue), to facilitation, mediation and negotiation support and participation in peace processes.

Switzerland’s good offices consist of three areas:

  • Switzerland as a host state for peace talks or negotiations
  • Switzerland as a facilitator or mediator or in support of peace negotiations
  • protecting power mandates (see below)

When do they come into play?

Switzerland deploys its good offices:

  • if it adds value through its expertise and reputation as honest broker
  • if there is a request
  • if it furthers its interests (peace, security, stability, economic and social wellbeing) 

You can find more information on good offices here as well as in this Federal Council report, available to download in German, French or Italian.

What Switzerland offers

Based on the premise that ultimately all conflicts will be settled through a negotiated solution that requires compromise, Switzerland works directly or in a supporting role as an impartial third party towards creating the political conditions necessary for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Swiss good offices – some examples

This is a non-exhaustive list of conferences and meetings that were part of peace processes or otherwise important meetings for maintaining a peaceful world order, most held on Swiss soil within the ambit of Swiss good offices.

Last modification 24.06.2024

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