Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs

For the first time in history, the international community has set itself comprehensive targets for sustainable development in the context of Agenda 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015. Eleven of the 17 goals concern the environment – directly or indirectly. The Federal Office for the Environment actively promotes the implementation of the SDGs within its field of competence.

Agenda 2030 represents an important milestone for sustainable development and, accordingly, for the efforts to protect the global environment. Agenda 2030 constitutes the globally valid framework for the resolution of the biggest challenges facing the world today, for example extreme poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and health risks.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and their 169 targets form the core of Agenda 2030. The Federal Council welcomed the SDGs, and ‘official Switzerland’ aims to contribute to their attainment. However, the state is not alone in being called on to act here. The SDGs can only be attained through the concerted effort of all sectors of society.

The environmentally-relevant SDGs

Environmental and resource policy is affected directly or indirectly by 11 of the 17 SDGs and 169 of the targets. The following SDGs are of particular relevance to the environmental dimension of sustainable development:

  • SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems

The FOEN’s commitment

Agenda 2030 is based on the paper entitled “The Future We Want”, which was adopted at the Global Sustainability Conference in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. The FOEN is the lead agency within the federal administration for this process (Rio+20). In the follow-up process for the development of Agenda 2030, the FOEN was represented in the Swiss delegation and was able to contribute to the development of the content of the SDGs on environmental and resource issues. In 2021, the Federal Council adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy (2030 SDS), which sets out the Confederation's priorities for implementing the 2030 Agenda, also contributing to the overall coherence of sustainable development policy. The FOEN participates in the 2030 Agenda Steering Committee and the 2030 Agenda Advisory Group. 

Importance of Agenda 2030 for international environmental and resource protection

Through its foreign policy, including foreign economic policy, international cooperation and the sectoral foreign policies, Switzerland is expressly committed to sustainable development. Through its involvement in sector-related international processes (including multilateral agreements, bilateral contracts, regional and global (UN) programmes), the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN contributes directly to promoting the goals of an intact environment and the more careful use of natural resources as an essential precondition of the social and economic dimension of sustainable development.

Further information

Last modification 21.04.2023

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