2030 Agenda: President Cassis calls for innovation, diversity and determination to implement the Sustainable Development Goals
Bern, 12.07.2022 - Switzerland has made progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. If it is to achieve the SDGs by 2030, however, it will have to pick up the pace. This was underlined by Jacques Ducrest, Delegate of the Federal Council for the 2030 Agenda, at the official presentation of Switzerland's second comprehensive voluntary national review to UN member states in New York. Representing Switzerland at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), State Secretary Ducrest highlighted three priority themes: responsible consumption and production; climate, energy and biodiversity; and equal opportunities and social cohesion. The Federal Council adopted Switzerland's voluntary national review on 4 May 2022.
In a video message at the beginning of the presentation, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis stressed that innovative approaches, diversity and determination are required to achieve the SDGs. Moreover, "there can be no sustainable development unless society as whole is involved", added Cassis. Switzerland's message also included statements by sustainable development actors from the private sector, academia and civil society, as well as representatives of the cantons and communes, outlining their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Swiss delegation to the HLPF also included official representatives from the federal government as well as the business community, civil society and the communes.
Moving in the right direction but not fast enough
Viewed globally, Switzerland had a favourable starting position when the 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015. Since then, it has made considerable progress towards achieving some of the SDGs, for example in education, healthcare provision and ensuring rule-of-law institutions. However, Switzerland is still not entirely on track to achieve all of the SDGs by 2030, whether in domestic or foreign policy. This is also confirmed by the figures in the statistical annex to the national review. The annex was prepared by the Federal Statistical Office.
- Responsible consumption and production: despite efficiency gains, Switzerland's patterns of consumption and production continue to be based on high resource use. In 2020, about 6.1 million tonnes of municipal waste were generated in Switzerland – nearly 703kg per person. Switzerland is thus one of the highest producers of municipal waste in Europe.
- Climate, energy and biodiversity: in the area of renewable energies, Switzerland is moving in the right direction, and per capita energy consumption is also decreasing. Nonetheless, there is still considerable pressure to act to have a secure and climate-neutral supply of energy in place by 2050. Switzerland's energy dependence on other countries has also been highlighted by current geopolitical developments.
- Equal opportunities and social cohesion: equality between women and men is still not a reality in Switzerland: in 2020, women earned around 14% less than their male colleagues. Nevertheless, the Swiss electorate's clear endorsement of marriage for all is an important step towards legal equality and freedom from discrimination.
Despite the progress made, Switzerland must therefore pick up the pace if it is to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Switzerland's pioneering role
Switzerland has digitalised the entire 2030 Agenda process. This innovative Swiss approach optimises each step of the stocktaking survey (baseline assessment), from the gathering of information to publication, in a standardised process. The database serves as the starting point for both the voluntary national review – a relatively brief, strategic document that outlines the most important aspects – and for the website (www.SDGital2030.ch). The website provides a comprehensive stocktaking survey of the 17 SDGs and 169 targets. Switzerland is currently examining with the UN whether this innovative digital platform can also be made available to other member states.
This digitalised stocktaking survey makes the process significantly more democratic and seeks to reflect Switzerland's diversity. As President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis underscored, diversity is one of Switzerland's strengths: "Our ability to move our ideas forward rests on collective action – from local projects to efforts at the national level to international cooperation".
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 2030 Agenda sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, covering areas ranging from the fight against poverty to education, food security, gender equality, the protection of marine resources and terrestrial ecosystems, and access to clean energy. For the Federal Council, the 2030 Agenda is the appropriate framework for tackling the world's shared challenges. Having adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015, the UN member states are now called upon to implement the SDGs and to regularly publish voluntary national reviews on their progress towards implementing them.
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