Slovenia in Geneva
Geneva - the center of multilateralism
Multilateralism is becoming increasingly important due to the trend of globalization of contemporary challenges - conflicts, economic issues, climate change, epidemics and others. Effective multilateralism is aiming to address global and local challenges that are becoming increasingly complex. Science is extremely important in connecting the international community, especially in the age of new technologies that fundamentally change our society, close some gaps and open new dilemmas.
Respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights is one of the fundamental segments of Slovenian foreign policy. In the international community, Slovenia stands up for a progressive approach towards the field of human rights, leading to further codification of international human rights law (development of new standards), and at the same time supporting activities for their respect and implementation.
The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, is the central human rights body of the United Nations, established by the UN General Assembly as its subsidiary body in 2006. Slovenia was a member of the Council in 2007-2010 and 2016-2018, in 2018 the Council was chaired by the then Permanent Representative, Ambassador Vojislav Šuc. The Permanent Representation regularly participates in Council's session, the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) and other accompanying activities.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also operates in Geneva. In addition, daily activities in International Geneva are also enriched by the work of the human rights treaty bodies. Prof. dr. Vasilka Sancin is a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and prof. dr. Ernest Petrič is a member of the International Law Commission.
Health, Labor and Social Affairs
Geneva is strongly influenced by multilateral institutions in the fields of health, labor and social affairs. Among them, we highlight the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized UN agency responsible for international public health. It advocates for universal health care, controls the risks and threats to public health, coordinates the response to health crises and promotes health and well-being, including mental health. The organization attracted special attention last year with the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Slovenia fully supports the WHO's efforts in the fight against contemporary health challenges. Slovenia will be a member of the WHO Executive Board in the period 2021-2024.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) is the oldest UN agency, established in 1919. It is the only UN intergovernmental (international) organization whose decision-making organs are tripartite. Thus, the International Labor Conference, the highest organ of the organization, brings together the governments, employers and workers of its 187 member states. In addition, it should be noted that the representatives of the social partners are autonomous in their decision-making, i.e. independent of the decision-making or positions of the government delegates of their country. The main task of the ILO is improving social justice and the status of workers around the world, setting international labour standards, developing policies and designing programs that promote decent work for all. Slovenia was admitted to the ILO in 1992 and regularly attends the annual sessions of the International (Ministerial) Labor Conference and the sessions of the Governing Body three times a year. In June 2021, for the second time in its history, Slovenia was elected as the deputy member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office.
Humanitarian Affairs and Migration
Geneva is home to many UN agencies and international governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the humanitarian and social affairs, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent private institution operating in crisis situations around the world. An important task of the ICRC is education on international humanitarian law (IHL) and the implementation of international IHL standards into national legislations. Occasionally, Slovenian experts are involved in the process.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), together with the ICRC, organizes the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent every four years. In December 2019, the 33rd International Conference of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent took place, within which the Republic of Slovenia co-organized a side event "Water Protection in Armed Conflict", together with the Geneva Water Hub (GWH), the Dutch Red Cross and UNICEF.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a mandate to lead and coordinate international activities to protect refugees and address refugee challenges around the world. Since 2016, the High Commissioner for Refugees has been Italian diplomat Filippo Grandi, who has highlighted five strategic priorities of his mandate: protection, response, inclusion, empowerment and rescue. In December 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which provides for the resolution of refugee crisis situations as soon as they arise, while providing for an inclusive approach.
Through its primarily operational activities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) helps to address the growing challenges of migration management, strengthen understanding of migration issues, promote social and economic development through migration, and preserve the human dignity and well-being of migrants. The Global Compact on Migration (GCM) was adopted at the Intergovernmental Conference in December 2018 in Morocco, where it was supported by 164 countries, and in the form of a resolution in the UN General Assembly on 19.12.2018, where 152 countries voted in favor.
Geneva is a home to a number of multilateral environmental agreements. As one of the hotspots for global environmental governance it plays an important role in developing and implementing the global environmental and climate agenda. The environment has been further strengthened in recent years as one of the key horizontal cross-cutting issues for many Geneva institutions.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) supports the development of meteorology, hydrology and related geophysical sciences, and works on standardization of meteorological observations and measurements. The Permanent Mission, together with the WMO co-organized events on cyber security of water infrastructure (November 2020 & April 2021) and on water and migration. Slovenia joined the WMO Water and Climate Coalition.
Founded in Geneva in 2016, the Group of Friends on Water and Peace (GoF) aims to address issues related to water and peace, the challenges and opportunities provided by water and water cooperation. The group was established to support the Global High-Level Panel for Water and Peace (GHLPWP). The Geneva Water Hub (GWH) acts as the GoF Secretariat. Slovenia has been chairing the group since January 2020.
Slovenia is currently co-chairing the Convention on the protection and use of transboundary watercourses and international lakes and will host its 10th Meeting of the Parties in the second half of 2024. With this Slovenia will take over the Chairmanship of the Convention for the period 2024-2027.
At the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, a resolution on the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment was adopted at the initiative of Slovenia and like-minded countries.
The Permanent Representation is in charge of monitoring various developments in the field of international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts in Geneva, primarily the Conference on Disarmament.
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) has been the central forum for disarmament in the international community since its establishment in 1979 and has 65 members. Slovenia has observer status in the CD, which is renewed every year. Important international disarmament agreements have been established in the past under the CD and its predecessors.
The Permanent Representation also monitors and represents Slovenia within the framework of the review processes of certain conventions in the field of disarmament, including the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (the Ottawa Convention), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW).
In the field of economic and trade affairs, Slovenia is actively involved in the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization responsible for the multilateral rules governing trade among its members. It was established by the Marrakesh Agreement in the framework of the Uruguay Round of the multilateral trade negotiations and has been operating since 1995. Slovenia became a member in 1995. The Permanent Representation monitors the negotiations and work of various committees and participates in drafting national positions that contribute towards the common EU positions.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is a United Nations body responsible for integrated approach towards trade and development and other related areas such as investment, finance, technology, entrepreneurship and sustainable development. Although, as members of UNCTAD, all EU members have the right to act independently in the intergovernmental committees of this organization, the practice of joint representation, where the EU is represented by the country holding the presidency, has been established. The Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia in Geneva monitors the activities of the organization, including the work of its committees, reports and participates in the formulation of common EU positions.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is one of the five UN regional commissions whose mission is to promote sustainable development and economic cooperation between the countries of the region, notably through the coordination of national policies, regulations and practices. The most important body within the UNECE is the Commission, which meets every two years in April.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been operating within the UN since 1967 as a specialized agency to ensure and expand the protection of intellectual property through cooperation between countries. Through the Permanent Representation, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Intellectual Property, Slovenia regularly participates in meetings and coordinates positions with other EU Member States.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an organization founded in 1971, based on a public-private partnership, and at the same time represents one of the most influential think tanks in the world. The Permanent Representation supports the cooperation of the Republic of Slovenia with WEF in the fields of entrepreneurship, sustainable development, the circular economy, artificial intelligence and the Western Balkans.
Science and Digitalization
Geneva opens up many opportunities in the fields of science, digitalization and sustainable development, as the academic institutions, think tanks and international organizations operating here have a long tradition and extensive expertise.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a specialized UN agency for information and communication technology, working in the fields of radio communications (ITU-R), telecommunications development (ITU-D) and telecommunications technology standardization (ITU-T). It is one of the oldest international organizations, developed from the International Telegraph Convention signed in 1865. Slovenia was admitted to the ITU in 1992. The Permanent Representation, together with the Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, is involved in the activities of the ITU.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world's largest particle physics laboratory based on the border between Switzerland and France. Due to the need to distribute huge amounts of data from their experiments, the organization became the cradle of the World Wide Web. In 2017, Slovenia acquired the status of associate member as a preliminary phase of membership in CERN. The Permanent Representation, together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, strengthens scientific, professional and economic cooperation with CERN.