Trivia: Switzerland

Here’s a quick one for you trivia lovers, Pub Trivia: True or False? Is Switzerland a member of the UN?

True – Switzerland is indeed a member of the UN, having been sanctioned to membership on 10th September 2002. Switzerland is actually the 190th member country at the UN.

For a very long time the country had sternly refused to join the UN, but the turnaround would come in 2002. Since the formation of the UN in 1945, Switzerland had always taken a distant stand when it came to matters related to the organization, especially since they considered the UN to lack the ability to stay neutral in matters affecting the member countries. It is an acceptable fact that taking a neutral stand in as far as the UN is concerned is not an easy task especially when we consider the fact that different countries have different vested interests in whichever situation is being discussed, and some have to choose their allies well.

1986 voting

In 1986 the country took the decision on whether or not to join the UN to a vote, and 2/3 of the voters determined that there was no pint in joining the United Nations. One of the main concerns that the Swiss had was that they did not wish to see their military being mandated to engage in conflicts or conflict resolution on other countries, which would further see their borders come under threat from retaliatory attacks. This was a stern case for their point on neutrality.

Even without Switzerland, the UN increased their membership by getting other countries on board. Over time, the Swiss came to realize that they had more reasons to gain than to lose from joining the UN, and it is because of this that in 2002 they decided to join the UN.

2002 voting

As was the case in 1986 the country once again set to a vote to determine whether or not they would be joining the UN, and this time the results would be in favor of joining the UN. More than 55% of the votes cast were in favor of joining the UN, after which the country officially submitted their application for membership to the UN Secretary General.


Once their application was approved, Switzerland was officially inculcated into the UN family, and since then they have become active participants, getting deeply involved in issues concerning neutrality and political concerns.

Interestingly enough Switzerland had been home to the UN, and this was their main concern for not being members to the UN, that they would not be considered impartial in any matters of discussion.

Observer role

Before they applied to and were accepted into the UN, Switzerland’s role in the UN was as an observer, and as a result they had no right to any seat as elected members of the UN Security Council.

Besides that however, they have before and since been active participants in a number of UN institutions, including the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UN Industrial Development Organization among many others.


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