RESPONDER LogoEuropean Union FP7

ARESwiss Federal Office for Spatial Development, Sustainable Development Section

Within the federal government of Switzerland, the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) has been given the task of coordinating the implementation, periodical evaluation and renewal of a sustainability strategy at federal level and also in collaboration with cantons, municipalities and other stakeholders.

The most important body at federal level is the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC), headed by ARE. Around 30 Swiss government agencies affiliated to ISDC perform tasks relevant to sustainable development. ISDC’s tasks are:

  • Coordination of Confederation policy as it relates to sustainable development
  • Interdepartmental and interagency coordination of Confederation activities which are of significance to sustainable development
  • Joint development of strategies and action plans for Switzerland's implementation of Agenda 21
  • Coordination of the stance taken by Switzerland in international processes, and reporting to international bodies such as the United Nations
  • Fostering relationships within the federal administration as well as with the private sector and civil society

In the context of the Sustainable Development Forum, ARE works closely with cantons and municipalities and promotes sustainability processes at cantonal, regional and local level. ARE supports innovative implementation projects in cantons and municipalities and promotes the application of instruments for measuring and evaluating sustainable development.

In the Federal Council’s “Sustainable Development Strategy: Guidelines and Action Plan 2008-2011”, sustainable production and consumption is defined as one of 8 action areas in the context of a general reorientation of economic development (key challenge 4 - Economy, production, consumption). This topic is at the centre of activities of both ISDC and the Sustainable Development Forum.

For further information, please visit

Persons involved

Daniel Wachter Daniel Wachter, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Head of Sustainable Development Section, will represent ARE in the project. Studies in geography and economics, PhD thesis at the University of Zurich, Switzerland (1980-1990); World Bank, Environmental Policy and Research Division, Washington, D.C., USA (1991-1992); research assistant Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland (1993-1995); Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) since 1996; Adjunct Professor at the University of Zurich since 1995. He leads ARE’s above mentioned activities and is also actively involved in the international debates on green growth and green economy in the OECD, in the European Sustainable Development Network ESDN (member steering group) and in the UN context (member of the Swiss Government’s task force preparing for the Rio +20 summit in Bazil 2012 with green economy as key topic).


© 2024 Institute for Managing Sustainability
Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 1, A-1020 Vienna

The RESPONDER project is funded by FP7 under
the Environment (including Climate Change) theme.