Last updated on:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

In Switzerland, vertical integration mechanisms are relatively strong. Many cantons and communes have defined their own strategies for sustainable development.

Linkages between the federal, regional (cantons) and local levels of governance are managed within the framework of the ‘Sustainable Development Forum’. The Forum ensures that the different levels of state authority remain in contact and exchange information. In addition, the federal government’s programme promoting sustainable development also provides targeted support to initiatives that help strengthen sustainable development. A special focus is placed on strengthening cooperation with the cantonal sustainability offices and officers, who also serve as the first point of contact for the municipalities. The Forum is convened once a year, and keeps practitioners from all levels of government abreast of the current developments within and outside of Switzerland.

In addition, the federal government engages in a dialogue with the umbrella organizations for Switzerland’s cities and communes.

The ‘Network of Cantonal Sustainability Departments’ (NCSD) was founded in June 2018. The main objectives of the NCSD are: 1) Support sustainable development with respect to the 2030 Agenda; 2) Strengthen the Swiss-wide intercantonal cooperation; 3) Support experience sharing; 4) Support the drafting of reports for the federal level; 5) Active and common perception of cantonal interests with respect to those at the federal level (technical-practical level); and 6) Practical support of the conferences of the cantonal governments and further cantonal conferences.

Further information on mechanisms of vertical integration can be obtained from the following websites:

The new Swiss online platform "Toolbox Agenda 2030 for Cantons and Municipalities" (available in German, French, and Italian) of the Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE supports cantons and municipalities in the implementation of the Agenda 2030. Based on a collection of measures and examples, it shows how various cantons and municipalities are already implementing the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. As a source of information and inspiration, the toolbox aims to motivate users to also contribute to a more sustainable Switzerland. The Toolbox was developed in collaboration with experts from cantons and municipalities, the Network of Cantonal Sustainability Offices (NKNF), the Swiss Association of Municipalities (SGV) and the Swiss Association of Cities (SSV) as well as other stakeholders.

There is a short video available on Toolbox Agenda 2030 (in German, French and Italian).