Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD is an intergovernmental organisation whose 38 member countries share a commitment to democracy and the market economy. Its mission is to promote public policies that improve the well-being of all populations around the world. To do so, it provides a forum where governments can combine their efforts and share their experiences. The OECD also carries out analytical and comparative work for member countries, issues recommendations and establishes recognised international standards.

Environment Policy Committee

OECD Environmental Strategy and the environmental element of its biennial programme of work.

To do so, it oversees various groups tasked with a number of environment-related themes, such as climate, biodiversity, water, waste and green finance. The Green Growth Strategy is also implemented by joint working parties with other OECD committees active in the areas of the environment, trade, development, agriculture, taxation and sustainable transport.

The Environment Policy Committee meets at ministerial level every four years. The last Ministerial Conference was held in Paris on 30 and 31 March 2022, with the theme 'Ensuring a Resilient and Healthy Environment for All'. The ministers paid particular attention to the central issues of climate and plastics. The Ministerial Declaration that emerged from the conference emphasises the key role of the OECD in supporting the development of transformative and innovative policies and standards to build stronger, sustainable, carbon-neutral, resilient and inclusive economies. Ministers invited the OECD to reinforce its work, including updating OECD standards on the environment, developing a new global report on the state of the world's environment, as well as work on the digital and net-zero transitions, on trade and environment, on reform of environmentally harmful subsidies, and on the environmental aspects of effective ocean management.

Chemicals and Biotechnology Committee

The Chemicals and Biotechnology Committee (CBC) was established on 1 January 2021. Previously there was a working group under EPOC dealing with chemicals, pesticides and biotechnology, which was dissolved under the CBC.

The main objective of the CBC is to support the development, harmonisation and improvement of the management of chemicals (including nanomaterials, pesticides and biocides) and products of modern biotechnology in Member and Partner countries, with a view to contributing to sustainable development by protecting human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals and products of modern biotechnology, preventing the creation of non-tariff trade barriers, reducing the costs to countries and industry, and promoting the convergence of chemicals management systems.

Environmental Performance Review of Switzerland

The OECD Environmental Performance Reviews Programme conducts peer reviews of environmental conditions and progress in each member country. The analyses are supported by a broad range of economic and environmental data and lead to recommendations. The reviews are often used to promote the environmental agenda in member countries and by environment ministers to initiate changes in policy.

The OECD’s 3rd Environmental Performance Review of Switzerland (2017) shows that despite progress, Switzerland still has a very high environmental impact. Further efforts are required particularly in protecting biodiversity and water quality.

GREEN Action Programme

Switzerland supports the OECD GREEN (GReen Economy and ENvironment) Action Programme, launched at the 1993 Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Lucerne. This programme aims to guide improvements to environmental policies in the countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) by promoting the integration of environmental considerations in economic, social and political reform processes.

Switzerland's commitment and interest

Around 30 Swiss delegates are actively involved in OECD activities in the environmental sector. The OECD's analytical work, such as on calculating the costs of inaction or on the use of economic instruments in climate policy, provides a basis for political decision-making and improving environmental governance.

For Switzerland and other industrialised countries, the OECD provides a framework for discussion and reflection which facilitates the development of alliances and common positions outside the context of international negotiations, such as in the area of climate change, biodiversity, or trade and the environment. In addition, in the chemicals sector, the OECD's work on harmonisation and good laboratory practice allows member country governments and industry to save more than CHF 200 million a year.

Further Information

Last modification 27.06.2023

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