Permanent missions of the Member States that comprise the United Nations are established to organize and coordinate their participation in the work of the Organization. The United Nations is currently made up of 193 Member States, of which 179 permanent missions are accredited to United Nations Office at Geneva. Non-member States (2 presently in Geneva), intergovernmental organizations and other entities (17 presently in Geneva), may also be invited to participate as observers in the work of the United Nations, and as such may maintain a presence in Geneva to this end.
The establishment of permanent missions on a customary basis was codified in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which recognized that such practices contribute to the development of friendly relations among nations, irrespective of their differing constitutional and social systems. Diplomatic personnel working for these missions and observer offices are accorded certain rights, privileges and immunities as outlined in the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations concluded between Switzerland and the United Nations on 29 April 1946 and relevant conventions.
With the Protocol and Liaison Service as the focal point, UNOG performs representation and liaison functions with the accredited permanent missions and observer offices to facilitate and support their participation in the work of the Organization.