The city of Geneva, with a population of just about 180,000, is home to no fewer than 32 intergovernmental organizations, 250 nongovernmental organizations and 170 diplomatic missions to the United Nations. This “smallest of big cities”, as it is often described, holds twice as many international conferences as New York, with its 10 million inhabitants.
This unique international presence did not materialize overnight. Geneva has a long and distinguished history as a centre of international diplomacy, humanitarianism, and world trade. Important landmarks include the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (1863), the establishment of the headquarters of the League of Nations (1919) and the International Labour Organization, and the location of the European offices of the newly formed United Nations in 1946, paving the way for an impressive list of specialized UN agencies to settle in Geneva, including the World Health Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the International Telecommunications Union.
Among the nongovernmental organizations with headquarters in Geneva are many working in the humanitarian field, such as the World Organisation against Torture; those focusing on the environment, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Union; and those devoted to the links between trade, business and social issues, such as the World Economic Forum and the World Trade Organization.
For more information and a listing of IOs/NGOs in Geneva, click here