Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland
Head, International Affairs Division
Franz Perrez is the Head of the International Affairs Division at the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). In this capacity, he is also the Swiss Ambassador for the Environment and represents Switzerland at all important international negotiations in the area of the environment. After studying law in Bern and Paris, Franz worked at the Directorate of International Law at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). He left the FDFA to study for a Master of Laws in the fields of international law and international environmental and economic law at the New York University School of Law. He completed his studies in New York with a doctoral thesis on the topic of sovereignty as a principle of cooperation. He then returned to Switzerland and took up a position at the WTO division of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). This was followed by a move to the FOEN where he was the Head of the Global Affairs Section of the International Affairs Division. In this capacity, among other activities, Franz Perrez led the campaign for the establishment of the secretariats of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva, represented Switzerland at the United Nations Forum on Forests, negotiated on behalf of Switzerland in the areas of chemicals, governance and environmental trade at the World Summit on Sustainability in 2002, and initiated the Swiss Task Force on Sustainable Public Procurements, the process for the exploitation of the synergies in the international chemicals and waste regimes, and the country-led initiative by Indonesia and Switzerland to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention. As Switzerland’s ambassador for the environment and chief negotiator for environmental issues namely climate change, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, Franz Perrez was leading the Swiss delegation to the Rio+20 conference, he was President of the Basel Convention (COP 11 in 2013) and President of the Rotterdam Convention (COP 8 in 2017) and he was facilitating the negotiations on mitigation of the Paris agreement. Since 2008, Franz Perrez is also a lecturer for international environmental law at the University of Bern School of Law. He was a panellist in the WTO dispute on tuna-dolphin between Mexico and the US (WT/DS381). He has widely published in the area of international environmental law, international environmental governance, the relationship between trade and environment and public international law.