Swiss Health Foreign Policy

As the federal health authority, the FOPH is one of the addressees of the Federal Council's health foreign policy. This policy commits the federal protagonists to a consistent point of view for international purposes.

Inauguration speech of federal Councillor Alain Berset at the 69th World Health Assembly, Geneva (CH), 23th of May 2016

Working with others internationally to ensure better health for everyone

In matters of public health, Switzerland cooperates with States at the international level with the aim of achieving the best state of health for everyone. On the basis of this principle and applying its foreign policy on health, Switzerland:

  • cooperates with and intensifies its relations with individual States on the basis of mutual interests ;
  • expresses clear and consistent positions on global health issues in its relations with other States and within the international organisations ;
  • works with the key national players in the health sector in order to ensure the long-term consistency and legitimacy of the external positions it adopts.

The need for consistency on the international stage

Due to the complex nature of relations between the many different health players at the international level, Switzerland was one of the first States to adopt an interdepartmental policy strategy. Focused on some twenty objectives, classified in three areas of action, the country's health foreign policy addresses the following stakeholders:

  • federal bodies, such as the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health;
  • medical and scientific institutes, including hospitals, clinics, the universities and research centres;
  • other non-State players, namely foundations, associations, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

The specific interests of these bodies are reconciled in an amicable process, aimed at producing a unique reference point for use by official representatives of Switzerland. This joint approach ensures that Switzerland's envoys are always able to speak with a single voice and conduct negotiations on a clear and sound basis. In lending force and consistency to the country's position, Switzerland's foreign health policy boosts its capacity to defend its interests and steps up its contribution to global health.    

Last modification 19.07.2018

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
International Affairs Division
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Tel. +41 58 464 55 65

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