The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations Office and Specialised Agencies in Geneva was established by Pope Paul VI on February 1st 1967. At that point in time the Holy See was already member of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1951 as well as of the United Nations Conference on Commerce and Development (UNCTAD) since 1964.

In 1967 the Holy See became Observer to the World Health Organization (WHO) (1967), to the International Organization of Labor (ILO), to UNAIDS, to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and to the International Organization for Migrants (IOM).

It became Observer to the World Trade Organization on July 16, 1997.

The Holy See is Member State of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, 1974), and of the International Telecommunications Union by virtue of Vatican City State.

The Holy See is part to the Geneva Conventions and member of the International Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (ICRC).

List of Former Permanent Observers of the Holy See:

– Rev. Fr. Henri de Riedmatten, O.P (1969-1972) 

– Mons. Silvio Luoni (1972-1978)

– H.E. Mgr. Jean Rupp, Apostolic Nuncio (1978-1981)

– Mgr. Edoardo Rovida, Apostolic Nuncio (1981-1985)

– Mgr. Justo Mullor Garcia, Apostolic Nuncio (1985-1992)

– Mgr. Paul F. Tabet, Apostolic Nuncio (1992-1996)

– Mgr. Giuseppe Bertello, Apostolic Nuncio (1996 – 2001)

– Mgr. Diarmuid Martin, Apostolic Nuncio (2001-2003)

– H.E. Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio (2003- 2016)