Stephen Fevrier will provide support, guidance and back-up on international trade matters and co-ordinate the Commonwealth’s trade-related technical assistance to small states delegations at the office.
The Geneva office provides subsidised office space for Commonwealth small states’ diplomatic missions to aid their participation in the discussions and decision-making of the many international organisations in Geneva. It also supports other Commonwealth small states not physically present in Geneva, who may need assistance in representing their issues.
The Commonwealth Small States Office was established following the decisions taken by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meetings in Kampala in 2007 and Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.
The Commonwealth Secretariat, Canton of Geneva and the Swiss Confederation, Australia, India and Singapore have all donated towards the office.
The office includes a business centre for tenants and visiting small states delegations attending multilateral meetings. It is within walking distance of the offices of the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization.
Mr Fevrier said: “Geneva is an international centre for diplomacy, and providing small states with a presence there is important to ensure that they are able to project their national interests in international negotiations and in particular on matters of trade and the economy.”
Maldives, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat have all taken up offices at the Geneva office. The Bahamas, Vanuatu and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States are also expected to move in later this year.
The Commonwealth Small States Office opened in January 2011 and is modelled on the Commonwealth Office in New York.
As well as providing a base for small states delegations, it can also be used by Commonwealth Secretariat staff and experts assisting member countries in areas of work that take place in Geneva, including trade, human rights, health and labour.
A resident human rights adviser is also due to join the office.
For more information contact:
Commonwealth Small States Office, Geneva
15b Chemin Louis-Dunant (3rd Floor)
Tel: +41 (0)22 730 1700
Fax: +41 (0)220730 1717
Email: [email protected]