Environment and climate

Hands holding a  plant as a symbol of environmental protection
An environmental policy ensures protection of the country’s livelihood. © CC0

The FDFA co-ordinates and contributes to Switzerland's foreign policy on the environment. It works closely with national and international stakeholders to ensure that Switzerland's environmental policies are in line with its overall foreign policy.

Environmental problems do not stop at the borders. Without concerted global efforts, we will never meet the major environmental challenges of our time, such as dealing with climate change or desertification and degradation of agricultural land, which have a significant impact on human security. Switzerland's commitment to global environmental policy serves to preserve the resources on which we depend and safeguard them in the long term, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Switzerland is a land-locked country, closely interconnected economically with other countries, and as such is particularly concerned by cross-border and global environmental issues.

International cooperation

Switzerland is committed to the elaboration and application of international conventions to ensure bilateral, European and global cooperation in areas such as climate protection, biodiversity, marine protection and the safe handling of chemicals and waste. Switzerland seeks to make efficient use of resources and of the synergies that exist between a wide variety of stakeholders: only that way can progress be made in global environmental protection efforts.

Geneva – leading centre of global environmental policy

Geneva has positioned itself as an important centre of global environmental governance. Most of the international organisations located here have a strong link to environmental issues. The 70-plus organisations concerned with environmental issues make a major difference by coordinating their efforts and sharing experiences, for example in the Swiss-supported Geneva Environment Network (GEN). Switzerland is actively committed to further developing Geneva's leading role.

Swiss foreign policy instruments on the environment

The FDFA makes sure that Swiss foreign policies are coherent in terms of their environmental impact. This enables Switzerland to present itself in international bodies as a convincing partner with credible positions, and thus safeguard its interests. Switzerland facilitates cooperation on foreign environmental policy within the Federal Administration in various ways, including through interdepartmental committees on climate, water and forestry. It also promotes dialogue and the involvement of the scientific and business communities and civil society.