Since 1987, following the definition provided by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), Switzerland has recognised sustainable development as part of its social, economic and ecological strategies. The definition of sustainable development as a “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” has been a thread in Swiss policy-making since then.
Sustainable development is a national objective that concerns both federal and cantonal levels. The Articles 2.2, 54 and 73 of the Federal Constitution provide the legal frame of their obligations. Since 1997, the Federal Council has implemented these obligations through specific sustainable development strategies (1997, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2016).
In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and sustainable goals, Switzerland commits to developing frameworks and actions to ensure its realisation.
“The Strategy aims to ensure the coherent, sustainable development of Switzerland. This includes coordinating Confederation activities and ensuring that they are in line with action by the cantons, communes, business and civil society.”
On the Sustainable Development Strategy for 2016-2019, several goals for the 2030 Agenda were declared:
“it is important to promote aspects such as national cohesion, mutual understanding, and interregional solidarity. Taking linguistic and cultural diversity into account, efforts to foster shared values should be continued. Continuous dialogue plays a key role here. (…) The social and cultural development of the individual is one of the primary goals of human development. Cultural aspects must, therefore, be considered in any form of political action. In addition to this wholesale inclusion, sustainable social and societal development also demands targeted promotion and measures for the creation and preservation of culture and heritage.”
Through the strategies of social cohesion and cultural Participation, the Confederation intends to address equality and cultural diversity. Fostering a culture in a broad social understanding contributes to the economy, to inclusion, and peaceful societies. Culture, therefore, contributes to sustainable development through the recognition of fundamental human rights.