The Federal Council’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2012-2015

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

In its new «Sustainable Development Strategy» – the fourth of its kind since 1997 – which it adopted on 25 January 2012, the Federal Council reiterates its commitment to sustainable development in Switzerland and sets out its working programme for the next four years. The strategy also represents an important contribution on the part of Switzerland to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro («Rio+20»), since it details the Federal Council’s policy plans with regard to the «green economy», the main theme of the conference. Furthermore, the strategy will now form an integral part of the Federal Council’s regular legislative planning cycle and, as such, has gained considerable institutional weight.

In focus: the action plan

The strategy is built around an action plan which provides responses to ten key challenges, including redoubling efforts to protect the climate, the ageing of society and the stability of public budgets. As well as recapitulating a number of important, ongoing measures, it contains sixteen new measures adopted by the Federal Council. These include the «Energy Strategy 2050», which seeks to secure the electricity supply for the long term. The aim of «mobility pricing» is to guarantee adequate funding for transport infrastructures and reduce the bottlenecks affecting the road and rail networks. Sustainable development must feature more prominently in teaching and research in Swiss tertiary education. The tax system must make greater allowance for environmental issues without curbing economic development. Integration policies need to be developed in a manner that promotes social cohesion. And development cooperation programmes must be geared more towards a «green economy».

Sustainable development not yet a reality in every sphere

The strategy also reviews Swiss policies on sustainable development over the last twenty years. It reveals that progress has been made in this regard in certain areas such as procurement contracts and construction. However, the MONET system of sustainable development indicators clearly demonstrates that, in numerous areas, Switzerland is still not developing in a sustainable manner.

Retaining proven instruments

The strategy also encompasses a number of proven instruments that will remain in use: the process of monitoring sustainable development illustrates how the situation is evolving in a number of areas. By evaluating sustainable development, we are able to determine the economic, social and ecological repercussions of the federal government’s projects. Furthermore, the federal government will continue to support cantonal, regional and municipal sustainable development processes (local Agendas 21) and engage in closer dialogue with representatives of the economy, science and civil society. The Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) is responsible for the overall coordination of the strategy.

Link to the Sustainable Development Strategy 2012-2015:

Further information: Daniel Wachter, Head of the Sustainable Development Section, Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE

Tel. 031 324 14 50 /