Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-2019

In its Sustainable Development Strategy, the Federal Council sets out the areas on which its sustainability policy will focus. It highlights sustainable development priorities for the medium to long term. The Strategy's Action Plan describes the measure that the Confederation will institute during the legislative period to meet its objectives. In addition, the Strategy lays down the contribution that Switzerland will make to achieving the United Nations' global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) during this period.

Under Articles 2, 54 and 73 of the Federal Constitution, sustainable development and efforts to promote it are parts of the Confederation's overall remit. Since 1997, the Federal Council has set out its political intentions for the implementation of sustainable development in Switzerland in a dedicated strategy. This provides a reference framework for the direction in which Switzerland should continue to develop in certain key areas. The Strategy's aim is to ensure the coherent sustainable development of our country. This includes coordinating Confederation activities and ensuring that they are in line with action by the cantons, communes, business and civil society.

The fifth Sustainable Development Strategy, for the 2016-2019 period, was adopted as part of Switzerland's broader legislative planning process. It contains a target framework, structured by topic, which comprises the Confederation's long-term vision and specific targets up to 2030. The 2030 Agenda that was adopted by the United Nations in September 2015 plays an important role here. The Agenda is already reflected in key points of the Strategy, which is to be brought even more closely into line with the UN document in the future. In the longer term, the objective is to gear the Strategy as closely as possible to the 2030 Agenda and thus ensure Switzerland's contribution to achieving its Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, by 2030.

To meet the aims that have been set, the Strategy contains an Action Plan setting out domestic policy measures for the 2016-2019 period in nine action areas. The Strategy also focuses more closely on Switzerland's international engagement, because closer coordination between domestic and foreign policy is a particularly important element of implementation. Finally, the Strategy describes the most important instruments and provisions which come into play in the Federal Administration's efforts to achieve sustainable development.

Sustainable development policy is a long-term process that necessitates cooperation between all levels of government and with partners from business, civil society and the scientific field. These actors were therefore involved in the strategy review process in the form of a stakeholder dialogue, the outcomes of which (see synthesis report) served as one of the bases for the present Strategy. In the future, cooperation on sustainable development is to be maintained as an ongoing process that will be heavily influenced by the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals in particular. Furthermore, the participatory processes which arrive at national and international sustainability policies will be amalgamated into a single '2030 Dialogue for Sustainable Development'.

The Federal Office of Spatial Planning ARE is responsible for both sustainability policy at federal level and the Sustainable Development Strategy. Coordination within the federal government is handled by the Inter-departmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC), which unites representatives of around 35 federal agencies.