74th UN General Assembly

Monday, 23.09.2019 – Friday, 27.09.2019

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis in discussion with Ukrainian foreign minister Osman Vadym Prystaiko.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis in discussion with Ukrainian foreign minister Osman Vadym Prystaiko. © FDFA

Swiss President Maurer and Federal Councillor Cassis represent Switzerland at the UN GA.

On 24 September, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer, addresses the General Debate at the opening of the 74th UN General Assembly (UN GA) in New York, where he presents Swiss foreign policy priorities in the context of the UN for the coming year.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis represents Switzerland during the ministerial (high-level) week in New York at various events on current topics. He also holds bilateral discussions.

Switzerland's priorities

This year’s priorities – human rights, UN reforms and science diplomacy – are in line with Switzerland’s two key strategic areas for its commitment to the UN for the period 2012-22: peace and security, and UN reform.

Switzerland's priorities for the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (PDF, 337.2 kB, Englisch)

Twitter Switzerland-UN 

24 September 2019 – Sustainable Development and climate change

Federal councillor Ignazio Cassis addresses the WEF Sustainable Development Impact Summit.
© FDFA

At the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact summit, Mr Cassis underlined the vital role of innovation in achieving social, economic and environmental goals. "Innovative approaches are key to developing workable solutions to the challenges of the future, such as reducing CO2 emissions." Science and business have a leading role to play in this area.”

On 23 September the Swiss president presented Switzerland’s national climate goals at the UN Climate Action Summit. Switzerland also presented its PACTA initiative for climate-friendly investments at the pre-summit.

Speech by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the WEF Sustainable Impact Summit, 24 September 2019

Speech by the Swiss President at the Climate Action Summit, 23 September 2019 (fr)

Switzerland and the Netherlands present initiative for climate-friendly investments, FOEN press release, 20 September 2019

24 September 2019 – EU event on Syria

Federal councillor Ignazio Cassis addresses the EU conference on Syria at the UN in New York.
© FDFA

At the Syria event, the head of the FDFA called for innovative approaches to respond to the increase in violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism in Geneva, which since 2017 has been gathering evidence on violations in Syria, is an excellent example of how the scientific and diplomatic communities can work together to create synergies and strengthen human rights.

Speech by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, 24 September 2019

24 and 25 September 2019 – Bilateral meetings on the margins of the UN General Assembly

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis in discussion with Ukrainian foreign minister Osman Vadym Prystaiko.
© FDFA

The presence of many members of foreign governments offers Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis the opportunity to establish new contacts and strengthen existing bilateral relations.

In addition to participating in a variety of events being held in connection with the 74th session of the UN General assembly, the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is also using his stay in New York to hold bilateral talks with representatives of UN member states and a range of organisations. Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis met various foreign ministers in New York, including his Austrian, Eritrean, Omani and Ukrainian counterparts.

24 September 2019 – President Maurer calls on international community to follow global "compasses"

President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer, presents Switzerland's foreign policy priorities in connection with the UN to the UN General Assembly.
© UN Photo/Cia Pak

During the United Nations (UN) ministerial week, President Ueli Maurer described the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions as "compasses of values" that are ever increasing in importance in a time of great uncertainty. The digital transformation and, in particular, data protection as part of human rights were also a focal point of his speech to the UN General Assembly.

23.09.2019 – Climate change on the agenda at the UN General Assembly

Ducks swimming on the East River against the Manhattan skyline.
© FDFA

Global warming, tension between China and the United States, the impact of the Israeli elections on the Middle East question and attacks on oil installations in Saudi Arabia – there is no shortage of pressing issues this year at the traditional opening of a new session of the United Nations. These and many other problems will be discussed at great length at the UN in New York during this coming week of 22 September.

Immersed in the General Assembly, Blog FDFA interactive

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