Swiss definition of sustainable development

The topics of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development range from poverty and climate change to peacebuilding. In the interests of policy coherence, the Federal Council defines its understanding of sustainable development as follows: Sustainable development enables the basic needs of all people to be met and ensures a good quality of life everywhere in the world, both now and in the future.

Sustainable development takes into account the three dimensions – environmental responsibility, social solidarity and economic performance – in an equal, balanced and integrated manner and takes into account the carrying capacity limits of global ecosystems. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), with its underlying principles and 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, forms the frame of reference.

The Federal Council's understanding of sustainability is based on the definition set out in the 1987 report "Our Common Future" by the World Commission on Environment and Development ("Brundtland Commission"). According to this, sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable development is not a voluntary task for the Confederation and the cantons. Article 2 ("Purpose") of the Federal Constitution declares sustainable development to be a national objective, and Article 73 ("Sustainability") calls on the Confederation and the cantons to strive for "a lasting balance between nature and its capacity for renewal on the one hand and its utilisation by humans on the other".