Permanent Representation to the WTO The status of permanent representation/delegation to the WTO and its agents is determined by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961, which is applied accordingly, as well as by the relevant sections of the Headquarters Agreement between the Federal Council and the WTO. A WTO member can, if he wishes, create his own mission/delegation to the WTO, with the agreement of the WTO, without necessarily opening a permanent mission/delegation to the COMMERCE ORGANISATION. Geneva, Switzerland, home to the WTO, is a unique place with many UN and other international organizations, as well as missions to the WTO. The William Rappard Centre (CWR) is the name of the building that has housed the WTO secretariat since the creation of the WTO in 1995. It is the venue for consultations, negotiations and other meetings among members, and includes facilities such as meeting rooms and offices, as well as other facilities such as the gymnasium, cafeteria and bank. The original location of the William Rappard Centre was part of an estate consisting of the Rappard and Bloch properties and containing two mansions. The original Villa Rappard was built in 1785 and renovated in 1894. Villa Bloch was demolished in 1957 to make way for the extension of the south wing of the William Rappard Centre. Villa Rappard and the land north of the original site was acquired by the ILO in 1963. The Swiss Confederation purchased the property in 1921 and offered it to the League of Nations in 1923. In the same year, the Swiss architect George Epitaux (1873-1957) was commissioned to build the new ILO headquarters. Construction took three years and the new building was inaugurated on June 6, 1926.
Wings were added to the northeast (1937), southwest (1938), south (1951) and southeast (1957). In 1975, the ILO moved to the nearby Grand Saconnex and the property belonged to the Foundation for International Organizations (FIPOI), the Swiss Confederation and the canton of Geneva. In 1977, the building was named the William Rappard Centre after the Swiss diplomat William Rappard (1883-1958) and occupied by the secretariat of the GATT, UNHCR and the Library of the Graduate Institute. Geneva is ideally located at the gate of the Alps and at the western end of Lake Geneva (Lake Geneva). This is where the United Nations European headquarters, the Red Cross headquarters and some 20 other international organizations are located. It is also home to the permanent missions of more than 160 countries representing their governments in the city`s international organizations. All WTO staff are headquartered at the WTO headquarters – the William Rappard Centre (CWR) – in Geneva, Switzerland. The CWR was designed as part of post-World War I efforts to create a society of nations and related institutions that would promote peaceful conflict resolution. It was established in 1923 and has been the home of the WTO and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), since 1977.
In 2008, the CWR was renovated and expanded, allowing all members of the WTO secretariat to be housed under the same banner.