Deputy Secretary General at Geneva – Economic Development, Research and Innovation

Nicholas C. Niggli is currently Deputy Secretary General at the Republic and State of Geneva. Under the leadership of the Minister of Economy and Employment, his mission is to strategically position Geneva as a leading hub for sustainable and regenerative economy as well as for digital governance. In this context, Nicholas negotiated the arrival of the Global Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability, which triggered the founding of the Building Bridges initiative focused on making Geneva a leading centre for sustainable, impact, blended and nature finance as well as for green fintech. Nicholas also led the effort to attract the Cyber Peace Institute to Geneva, strengthening the ecosystem’s capacity to leverage technology’s positive effects for planet and humanity. Within the same framework, Nicholas led the negotiations to develop the Trust Valley, an initiative, which aims to boost digital trust at the local, national and global level.

From 2013 to 2017, Nicholas was Head, Economic, Finance, Science & Innovation Section at the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK, a posting for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. In this capacity, he led a diplomatic team defending Switzerland’s interests in the UK, with special focus on innovation. While also  overseeing the Swiss Business Hub UK and Ireland. From 2016 to 2017, he has been engaged on managing the Brexit Referendum dynamics, highlighting and enhancing the importance of the bilateral ties between Switzerland and the UK in London’s top political, economic, financial and think tank circles. From 2002 to 2013, Nicholas was part of Switzerland’s trade diplomacy and was based at the Permanent Mission to the WTO & EFTA. There he covered the Doha Development Round, dealt with Accessions to the WTO as well as with institutional issues in a senior negotiator capacity. In 2011, he was a Member of the team of Swiss diplomats successfully mediating between Georgia and Russia.

From 2007 to 2012, Nicholas was Chairman of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), the world’s most significant public procurement regulatory body. By 2011, he has led negotiations to improve disciplines for this key world economy sector. The resulting agreement is much more development-friendly, created an expansion of the GPA’s coverage by $US100 billion/year and produced a significant breakthrough in the fight against corruption as well as in the move towards sustainability and social responsibility in public procurement processes. In the same capacity, Nicholas concluded a landmark diplomatic mediation between China and Chinese Taipei in 2009. He also led the accession process of China, Jordan, Armenia and the Ukraine to the GPA. During his chairmanship, Nicholas led missions to key emerging countries to discuss GPA Membership with political leaders, while raising political awareness regarding links between good governance and sustainable development.

From 2007 to 2013, Nicholas was Chairman of the Board of the WTO Pension Plan Management Board. In this capacity, he concluded major negotiations on administrative reform including an increase in the retirement age for WTO staff. Nicholas’ responsibilities also included leading the charge on improving the management, governance and investment strategy of the Plan. From 2008 to 2013, Nicholas was a Member of the Advisory Committee of the European Pension Fund Investment Forum, one of Europe’s premier institutional finance network. Born in Basel, Switzerland, Nicholas holds 1st Class Honours Masters Degrees in Economic and Social History & International Relations. He is fluent in English, French, German & Swiss-German while possessing a basic understanding of Russian. A lifelong believer in the power of networks, he has created meaningful bonds with human intelligences across the globe in government, business, finance, academia and civil-society.