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This paper looks at Switzerland to examine the role of a small state during the negotiations of the Cartagena and the Nagoya Protocols to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The influence of this small country was substantial at some point in the negotiation processes and on important features of the protocols. The main explanatory factors for this influence are identified as the competence and the tactical skills of the Swiss delegations as well as the flexible and timely mandates they received. This was reinforced by the way the position formation process was organized at the domestic level, namely a lead ministry strongly committed to the process and an efficient coordination between domestic actors, including the delegations. The Swiss delegations were thus able to support the progress of the negotiations, and in parallel to secure some of their interest, by assuming entrepreneurial and intellectual leadership strategies in function of the evolution of domestic and international constraints and opportunities.