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Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

The new Swiss Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-19 sets out the Federal Council's policy priorities for sustainable development in the medium to long term. It also lists the action that the Confederation will take to implement this Strategy during the legislative period. In addition, the Strategy indicates the contribution that Switzerland will make to achieving the United Nations' global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ('2030 Agenda') during this period. The aim in the future is to align the Strategy as comprehensively as possible with the 2030 Agenda to ensure that Switzerland plays a full part in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.


Since 2009, the NSDS is part of the Government Legislative Programme. The two processes of the legislative planning and the SD strategy are strongly linked. This results in various improvements:

·       more efficient coordination,

·       more solid institutional anchoring of the NSDS,

·       broader acceptance of the NSDS

·       more effective integration in the government policy.


A third interim report on the strategy's implementation status was published in at the end of 2013. More information can be found here. Moreover, a new brief guide on 17 key indicators to measure progress towards sustainable development has been published in March 2015. It addressed the question: Is Switzerland on the road to sustainable development? The guide can be downloaded here.

Type of SD strategy

NSDS covers all three dimensions of SD.

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE)

Link to the SD strategy

Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-2019

Further information about
the SD strategy process

General information about SD in Switzerland: Sustainable development in Switzerland – A guide

Good Practice Example: Assessing Sustainability: English | German | French | Italian

Switzerland has commissioned an external evaluation of its SD strategy in 2010. The results of the evaluation have been published in 2011 (click here for the evaluation report in German with summaries in English, French and Italian).

Best practice examples on the regional and local level: German | French | Italian



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National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD



Switzerland started its first implementation activities immediately after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The Swiss Federal Council decided in December 2015 to keep this high level of engagement and contribute in a meaningful way to implementing the 2030 Agenda – both in domestic and foreign policy. In January 2016 the Federal Council adopted the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) 2016–2019 that underlines the need for sustainable development to be a coherent feature of all policy areas. Consequently and wherever possible, Switzerland’s international engagement, in particular its future international cooperation as well as sectoral foreign policies, will also be oriented towards the SDGs.


Within a “transition phase” from 2016 to 2017, a comprehensive programme of work is being put into practice. This work is managed by a temporary inter-ministerial working group with the aim to:


-     clarify institutional arrangements, processes and responsibilities in the Federal Administration for the effective implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda;

-     conduct a baseline study as well as a gap analysis covering all SDGs and targets to identify and define future areas of action to implement the 2030 Agenda;

-     ensure adequate monitoring and reporting by expanding the Swiss system of sustainable development indicators as appropriate.

-     determine the modalities for stakeholder participation in consultations and in implementation partnerships for the 2030 Agenda.



By early 2018, a report summarising these and other efforts as well as formulating respective recommendations for Swiss implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be presented to the Federal Council. Based on the findings from the transition phase and decisions taken by the Federal Council, Switzerland will present a first comprehensive country review at the HLPF 2018.



Leading Ministry and
respective unit



Ministry: Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC and Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA

Unit: Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC


Other ministries involved


Main contact point for the
implementation process
[No information available]
Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs






The Agenda 2030 and the mechanisms of Monitoring and Review


Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-2019


Voluntary National Reviews


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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

In Switzerland, vertical integration mechanisms are relatively strong. Linkages between the federal, regional (cantons) and local levels of governance are managed within the framework of the ‘Sustainable Development Forum’. The Forum was set up in 2001 as an initiative of the Federal Office for Spatial Development. Forum events involve representatives from cantons and cities and take place once a year. The Forum is dedicated to exchanging information on current SD projects and plans, starting up new SD projects, monitoring, and on promoting participation possibilities.

Further information on mechanisms of vertical integration can be obtained from the following websites:

The intensity of vertical cooperation among the various participants has increased on various issues (i.e. sustainable tourism), but also on methodical approaches (i.e. development of new indicators) resulting in the introduction of new instruments in cantons and cities (i.e. Sustainability Assessment).


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Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

The coordination function for SD within the Swiss Government is undertaken by the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC). More than 30 federal agencies are involved in ISDC.

Under the leadership of the ARE, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) together make up the ISDC leadership body.

The tasks of the ISDC include:

  • Coordination of Confederation policy as it relates to sustainable development
  • Inter-departmental and inter-agency coordination of Confederation activities which are of significance to sustainable development
  • Joint development of strategies and action plans for Switzerland's implementation of Agenda 21
  • Coordination of the stance taken by Switzerland in international processes, and reporting to international bodies such as the United Nations
  • Fostering relationships within the federal administration as well as with the private sector and civil society.


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Evaluation and Review

National level:

The Secretariat of the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) is responsible to deliver an annual report on the basis of the information provided by individual governmental departments. ISDC analyses these individual reports and makes them available to the Federal Council, Parliament and the Federal Administration. Since the adoption of the NSDS 2008 - 2011, two annual reports have been published in 2009 and 2010.

In 2010, Switzerland commissioned an external evaluation of its SD strategy. The results of the evaluation were published in 2011 (click here for the evaluation report in German with summaries in English, French and Italian).

Switzerland developed a method to assess political projects from a sustainable development perspective: Sustainability Assessment: Conceptual framework. In the course of this framework, sustainability assessment guidelines for federal agencies and other interested parties have been developed. These guidelines have been drawn up to help sustainability assessments to be carried out as efficiently as possible and in accordance with standard principles. They set out a procedure in nine steps and provide additional support in the form of a Sustainability Assessment Excel Tool that enables the relevance of an initiative to be reviewed from the sustainable development perspective and allows its impacts to be recorded in outline terms. The guidelines are available for download in English | German | French | Italian

Local level:

Different sustainability assessment instruments are used on the local level. A guide published in 2007 in German and French by the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) gives cantons and municipalities an orientation.


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Indicators and Monitoring

National level:

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO), the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) joined forces to create the MONET measurement system. Now, MONET is a joint activity of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). With about 73 indicators, this monitoring tool facilitates regular reporting on the status and progress of SD throughout Switzerland.

Experience gathered since the MONET indicator system went online in 2003: Some elements were in need of improvement, e.g. the system was difficult to read as initially it was too large, some indicators lacked relevance, there were gaps in the system and international comparability was limited. The MONET system was revised in 2009and is now more in line with the themes of the European Union’s SD indicators system. The revised system now has 75 indicators (instead of 130), twelve of which are new.

The sustainable development monitoring (MONET) has been revised in 2016. The revised MONET indicator system reflects the varied aspects of sustainable development in Switzerland. The revised system enables monitoring of Federal Council’s renewed strategy on the subject by attaching particular importance to the UN's 2030 Agenda goals. The newly designed system is comprised of 73 indicators, 22 of which are new. This range of indicators now allows the topic of gender equality to be highlighted by means of a selection of indicators. The MONET system is published on the internet by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The list of updated MONET indicators as of 23 June 2009 can be accessed in German at

or in French at

The indicators are updated once a year in autumn:

Global dimension of Sustainable Development 

In order to achieve a better observation of global problems and the way in which they evolve, the monitoring of sustainable development in Switzerland (MONET) is being extended. A set of indicators measures interplays between Switzerland and other countries.

To the global dimension indicators

Measuring Sustainability in Switzerland (MONET)

Local level:

Cantons and municipalities, with the support of the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), have created since 2003 ‘cercle indicateurs’ as a common platform for indicators and monitoring on the local level. German | French | Italian


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Switzerland has a tradition of involving a broad range of stakeholders in Sustainable Development planning. In the period from 2012 to 2015, Swiss stakeholders were involved in two parallel public dialogues – one on Switzerland’s engagement regarding the 2030 Agenda, led by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through an inter-ministerial task force, the other regarding the new SDS, led by the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and through the Interdepartmental Sustainable Develop-ment Committee (ISDC). The stakeholders’ interests, points of view and objectives with regard to sus-tainable development were considered and discussed. Both processes encompassed representatives of civil society, business, academia, politics and the Federal Administration, while the SDS, because of its national focus, was additionally consulted with the cantons.

Stakeholder feedback through these consultations was integrated into Switzerland’s position on en-gagement regarding the 2030 Agenda. The Swiss position paper was adopted by the Federal Council in June 2014 and resulted in a negotiation mandate for the Swiss delegation in the intergovernmental nego-tiations on the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in 2015.

The dialogue with institutional stakeholder groups from business, civil society, academia and politics regarding the new SDS provided proposals for a long-term vision and the targets which should be met by 2030 (oriented towards the SDGs) as well as the identification of actions that the Confederation should take in the 2016–19 period to achieve its medium-term targets. The outcomes of this dialogue were collated into a synthesis report which served as one of the bases for the new strategy. The work to revise the SDS also involved closer cooperation with the cantons and communes. They were included in the process of developing the strategy as part of the broad stakeholder dialogue. For the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, however, the subnational level will have to be involved even closer.

These processes have been consolidated since autumn 2015, resulting in a new and comprehensive consultation procedure, the “2030 Dialogue on Sustainable Development”. It will ensure that the out-comes of the stakeholder dialogue continue to provide input and that all relevant stakeholder groups are involved in ongoing processes linked to the Confederation's sustainable development policy cycle of monitoring, planning, implementation, evaluation and reporting.


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Sub-national activities

Regional SD strategies:

16 regional (canton) sustainability processes, 234 on municipality level (Spring 2016).

LA 21 initiatives:

234 municipalities have a sustainable development process. These municipalities are home to about 35 percent of the Swiss population. Common topics are sensitization, territory and mobility. Here are some numbers and facts: German | French | Italian | English

There are subsidies and support available from the national level: German | French.


Background information on assessing cantonal and municipal projects can be found here.


Information on the SD indicators for cities and cantons can be found here: German | French | Italian.

Contact details:

The responsible persons for SD on the sub-national level can be found here.


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This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 30 October 2017

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.


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