Practical Information

Welcome and thank you for your interest in participating in the United Nations World Data Forum 2021, which will be held from Sunday, 3 to Wednesday, 6 October 2021 in a hybrid format, in Bern, Switzerland.


Since the conference is linked to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we strive to ensure that the event is as sustainable as possible. We strongly encourage you to follow our recommendations and to behave in a sustainable way. Thank you!

To see the sustainability concept of the UNWDF 2021: https://roadtobern.swiss/sustainability/


We are closely monitoring the situation around Covid-19 in Switzerland, in Europe and worldwide. The situation in Switzerland and Europe is stable with a regional increase. We are aware that outbreaks are to be expected at all times. We provide the latest information on our site during the coming weeks and months.

The information about travelling to Switzerland and the health situation updated on this page (update done on 28 September 2021):

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All participants of the UN World Data Forum requiring a visa will receive a letter of support from the Swiss Confederation (see below further information on the registration and visa process).

The Government has released some amended entry regulations on the 24th September 2021.


For all information you need to travel, we strongly advise you to complete “The Travelcheck”. This informs you whether you need to apply for a visa and what restrictions are currently in place when planning your trip to Switzerland.

In case you are fully vaccinated (with a WHO-accepted vaccine) or you have had Covid-19 in the last 6 months, a confirmation is sufficient to enter the country besides the completed entry form. In that case, you are exempt from the test requirement. You’ll find everything you need to know in the section Information on the entry form.

If you are not fully vaccinated (with a WHO-accepted vaccine) or unable to prove that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months, the test requirement applies in addition to the requirement to fill out an entry form. You will be asked to provide proof of a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test twice:

  • On entry:Get a PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or rapid antigen test (not older than 48 hours) at your departure location. You will need to present the test result together with the completed entry form on arrival;
  • 4-7 days after arrival: A few days after your arrival, you will need to get another PCR test or rapid antigen test in Switzerland. The result of this test must be reported to the cantonal authorities in the form of a COVID test certificate. You’ll find the contact details in the section Contact details of the cantonal authorities.

Some general information:


To access to the venue a valid COVID-19 certificate is necessary (Swiss & EU/EFTA certificates). Such a certificate confirms that you are:

a) Fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) or the European Medical Agency (EMA) and other EFTA states;

b) Fully recovered from a COVID-19 disease within the last 6 months;

c) That you have been tested negative with a PCR test recognized by the Swiss Authorities or an Antigen Rapid Test.

The certificates to present must be conform to either Swiss or EU/EFTA standards of certification.

In case that you are unable to present such Swiss or EU/EFTA certificate, the Procurement Center will be set up to convert or issue such certificate, if you are fully vaccinated with one of the below mentioned vaccines. For attendees that have not been fully vaccinated, the center does also propose Antigen Rapid Tests to obtain a certificate for 48 hours.

  • Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty® / BNT162b2 / Tozinameran)
  • Moderna (Spikevax® / mRNA-1273 / COVID-19 vaccine;)
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria® / AZD1222 / Covishield™);
  • Johnson & Johnson (COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen). ()

The opening hours for the Procurement Center are

Saturday, 2.10.2021 – 2pm – 6pm

Sunday, 3.10.2021 – 10am – 6pm

Monday, 4.10.2021 – 7.30am – 7pm

Tuesday, 5.10.2021 – 7.30am – 7pm

Wednesday, 6.10.2021 7:30am – 2pm

For participants requiring a PCR test for their return into their home country, they may set an appointment on site AT THEIR PERSONAL EXPENSE.


To participate in the United Nations World Data Forum, you will be able to register via the UNWDF page starting from 15 July until 31 August.
Upon confirmation of your attendance, you will receive a formal confirmation, which will allow you to collect your personalised security badge at the venue. If you need a visa, you also will receive an invitation letter by the Swiss Confederation.
If you have any questions regarding the registration, please contact us under dataforum@un.org


Your personalized security badge can be collected at the entrance area of the conference venue ( during the below indicated times.

To collect your personalized security badge upon arrival at the venue, please provide us with your passport submitted upon registration, a Swiss or EU/EFTA COVID-19 certificate, a copy of your letter of approval by Indico (the UN registration system).

The opening hours to pick up your personalized Badge are:

Saturday, 2.10.2021 – 2pm – 6pm

Sunday, 3.10.2021 – 12pm – 8pm

Monday, 4.10.2021 – 7.30am – 8pm

Tuesday, 5.10.2021 – 7.30am – 8pm

Wednesday, 6.10.2021 07.30am – 4pm

To avoid queuing we do strongly recommend to pick up your badge as soon as possible upon you arrival to Bern.


Kursaal Bern
Kornhausstrasse 3
3000 Bern
Tel. +41 31 339 55 00, Website: https://kursaal-bern.ch/en


In light of the current entry restrictions taken by the Swiss authorities in response to the coronavirus, persons subject to visa requirements are invited to submit their application in accordance with the usual procedures to the Swiss representation responsible for the person’s place of residence. Please visit the website of the responsible Swiss representation for further information regarding the rules of entry into Switzerland, necessary documents (e.g. travel insurance etc.) to request a visa and details to book an appointment. Persons in possession of a valid visa as well as persons exempted from visa requirements must inquire about boarding requirements. If necessary, the Swiss representation responsible for the person’s place of residence may issue a laissez-passer free of charge. For sanitary measures, please consult the website of the Federal Office of Public Health.

If you require a visa or a Laissez-passer to enter Switzerland and informed us via the registration tool, we will confirm your in-person registration and provide you with a letter of support to your indicated e-mail address in due course. Please make sure the information you entered during registration matches your passport information, including your full name as it appears in your passport.

It is the responsibility of each participant to have adequate travel and health insurance for the whole duration of this trip. The organizer cannot be held liable for any incidents related to the travel to or within Switzerland.


EFTA, the European Free Trade Association, will cover the costs to participate at the UNWDF 2021 for a limited number of participants from Statistical Institutes of ENP East & ENP South regions who will make a presentation. The funding will be given on a “first come-first served” base. So please, send your file with all relevant information to UNWDF@bfs.admin.ch.


You are free to choose any hotel according to your needs and preferences. In general, we strongly recommend choosing a hotel that is within walking distance of the conference venue or easily reachable by public transportation.

To guarantee a reservation, most hotels require a valid credit card number (including expiration date). Please add the credit card details during your booking process. The hotel will possibly verify your credit card by deducting the amount of CHF 1.00. The amount will not be charged and the payment will be settled at the hotel on arrival.

These specially negotiated prices via the provided link (see below the information on the booking platform) are not valid when booked through an online operator (e.g. booking.com, etc.). The rooms will be charged in case of a no-show or a cancellation less than 48 hours before the arrival date (see the conditions received with your confirmation).

Should you require any assistance with your hotel booking, you can contact “Bern Welcome” (meetings@bern.com).

Link to the booking platform: here. The access code of the booking platform is provided to all participants of the conference along with the registration confirmation.


In general, we recommend travelling by train and the public transport system, which is well developed in Europe and Switzerland. We understand that, depending on the point of departure, travel by plane cannot be avoided. We are therefore happy to inform you that Swiss International Air Lines (the Lufthansa Group airlines) is the Official Carrier of the UN World Data Forum in Bern as well as the other events prior to the Forum in Bern. The Swiss national airline, which operates one of the most sustainable fleets, offers all participants up to 10% discount on the standard fares. We also ask you to offset your CO2 emissions. The flight can be offset directly while conducting the booking.
More information can be found on the following website:
Compensaid – fly CO2-neutral | SWISS.

The reduced conference fares are specially marked with a white triangle and, depending on the chosen fare, allow you to change or cancel your flight with complete ease. All reductions depend on the type of fare, route and availability. They are valid on the entire Lufthansa Group route network for flights to Switzerland (flight numbers LX1 – 2999 and LX 7400 – 7465); including flights operated by partner airlines under an LX flight number (LX 8000 – 8999).

Link to the booking platform: here. The access code to the booking platform is provided to all participants of the conference along with the registration confirmation.


Bern does have a small airport. However, the nearest main airport is located in Zurich. The main travel options to reach Bern by public transportation are the following:

From Zurich Airport:
Direct train to Bern (travel time approx. 1h 20min)
Single ticket:
• 1st class – CHF 98.00
• 2nd class – CHF 56.00

From Geneva Airport:
Direct train to Bern (travel time approx. 2h)
Single ticket:
• 1st class – CHF 96.00
• 2nd class – CHF 56.00

From Basel Airport:
Bus to Basel SBB, then direct train to Bern (travel time approx. 1h 30min)
Single ticket:
• 1st class – CHF 78.00
• 2nd class – CHF 47.00

If you book your ticket in advance, you may be able to buy a supersaver ticket, which is often half price. For more information, please see the link here.

Please note that the supersaver ticket is only valid for the selected travel date and service (specific train).

Timetable information can be found on the website of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).


On foot and by bike you can reach the Conference Venue as usual via the Kornhausbrücke and the Kornhausstrasse.

If you are staying at a hotel within the perimeter of Bern and sourroundings your hotel will issue a free “transportation card” (“BernTicket”). You may reach the Kursaal with the bus n°10 from Bern train station (platform L, direction “Ostermundigen, Rüti”) to the temporary stop “Kursaal” at the end of the “Kornhausbrücke” bridge.

If you book a hotel room in Thun, please note that in order to get to the conference venue in Bern and back, you will need a ticket for public transportation. There are multiple-journey tickets available. You can find more information on this topic at any Swiss railway station or via the following link.

If the weather in Bern is still mild in October, it is also convenient and easy to get around by bike.

We are pleased to inform the conference participants that they can use PubliBike free of charge during 7 days. You need to download the PubliBike app (for free), register and you can enjoy the first 30 minutes of each ride for free.

More information how to use this offer: here. The access code the platform is provided to all participants of the conference along with the registration confirmation.


For the official Opening on Sunday 3rd as well as the Gala-Dinner on Tuesday, 5th evening we strongly recommend business attire.

For the duration of the Forum there are no dress code restrictions, however, provided the fact that this is an official UN conference we do recommend business or business casual attire.


Please note that Switzerland uses the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While it is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in Euros so that visitors can compare prices.


The voltage in Switzerland, as in most of Europe, is 230V/50 Hz. Switzerland uses type C (2-pin) and type J (3-pin) plugs (type C 2-pin plugs also fit J sockets). Most power sockets are designed for three pin round plugs. The standard continental type plug with two round pins, applied for many electrical travel products, can be used without problems.

Please note that Switzerland may have different electrical plugs than used in your country (220VAC/50Hz).


Free wireless access is available at the convention centre. There is free WIFI in many restaurants and public buildings. In addition, travelers WiFi can also be a good way to use cheap internet.


The working language of the UN World Data Forum 2021 is English. We provide International Sign Interpretation for the plenary sessions. No other simultaneous interpretation will be provided.


The average temperature in Bern during the time of the conference may range from 5°to 15° degrees Celsius. Please check the weather forecast prior to your departure: MeteoSwiss


Together with the other European countries of the CET time zone, Switzerland applies summer time between the last Sunday of March and the last Sunday of October (CET + 1 hour).


The local number for all emergencies is 112.
For other emergencies directly related to your attendance at the UN World Data Forum 2021, you may contact the Event Team at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs at sts.events@eda.admin.ch .