International Geneva. Uncovered and visualized

Geneva and the over 45 international organizations located here do not always receive the attention they deserve.

This is an onsite edited excerpt of the G|O Briefing newsletter

For the past 45 years, the Fondation pour Genève has worked to foster and strengthen links between ‘local’ and ‘international’ Geneva, and to promote the city, both in Switzerland and abroad, as the world center of global governance. Just last week, the Swiss Diplomatic Club—with the Centre d'accueil pour la Genève Internationale (CAGI), one of the Foundation’s many offshoots—held its annual meeting, largely dedicated to honoring the tireless efforts and contributions to International Geneva of Ivan Pictet, the Foundation’s outgoing President. In his farewell speech in front of a few hundred guests–including UNOG’s D-G Tatiana Valovaya– Pictet shared his thoughts on the “future of diplomacy,” clearly seeing a continuous role for Geneva on the international stage. International Geneva is more than just its impressive number of international organizations and NGOs.

“Geneva and the over 45 international organizations located here do not always receive the attention they deserve. Many current developments in international politics and multilateralism are reflected in International Geneva, with future global trends often being foreseen here at an early stage,” writes Olaf Wientzek, Director of Multilateral Dialogue Geneva—a sponsor of the Briefing– in the foreword to the Foundation’s recently published “Concise Atlas of International Geneva, 2019-2020.

That editors in London, New York and elsewhere might be oblivious to the role of Geneva can be understandable, what is not is a local mainstream media reducing coverage of its own journalistic backyard. The Tribune de Genève, however, has decided to do just that: it is closing its bureau at the Palais and making its International Geneva correspondent redundant. The closing of the UN bureau will deprive the paper of an insider’s access, handicapping future coverage.

Needless to say, newsroom-bound reporters have a harder time amassing knowledge and developing networks of sources—essential ingredients when covering what is a highly complex beat. Senior leadership at the Tribune—the group also owns 24 Heures and Le Matin—tells The G|O, however, that reporting on International Geneva remains of “importance.” It claims that while it won’t have a dedicated correspondent any longer, it aims for “extended coverage of International Geneva, which will be organized over the next few weeks.”