Switzerland wants to contribute to the protection of the world's heritage by becoming a member of Unesco's World Heritage Committee.
The foreign ministry cited its technical knowledge and experience when it announced on Monday that it would bid for a seat on the committee. The elections, at which all 185 member countries are eligible to vote, will be held in October 2009.
Twelve of the 21 seats on the body, responsible for the protection of cultural and natural sites around the world, will then be vacant.
Switzerland has been a member of Unesco, the United Nations cultural, scientific and educational body, since 1975.
The organisation's World Heritage List comprises 878 sites of cultural or natural importance, of which nine are in Switzerland.