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The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) 

The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is responsible for the sustainable use of natural resources, including soil, water, air and forests.  

The FOEN’s tasks include minimising natural hazards, protecting the environment and reducing risks to human health from excessive pollution, maintaining biological diversity and representing Switzerland in international environmental policy arenas.

Environmental policy is policy on resources

Natural resources are limited. Often already overexploited, their use continues to intensify. The aim of Swiss environmental policy is to ensure that natural resources are maintained over the long term and continue to be available to future generations

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) contributes in four key areas. At national level, it is responsible for protecting the population against natural hazards. It protects the environ­ment and human health by reducing the adverse effects of pollut­ants, noxious substances and noise. It works to preserve and promote biological and landscape diversity. Finally, the FOEN is responsible for Switzerland’s international environmental policy.

Current priorities

  • Limiting climate change
  • Greening the economy
  • Conserving and using soils
  • Reducing natural hazards
  • Maintaining biological diversity

Legislative basis and mandate

The Swiss Constitution, together with 10 federal acts and 52 sta­tutory ordinances, establishes the basis for Swiss environmental policy. The FOEN is the federal centre of competence designated to implement this policy. It also has ministerial functions. The FOEN’s four prime tasks are:

Knowing the facts

Environmental monitoring provides facts and figures on the state of the environment and changes to it. This gives early warning of environmental problems.

Preparing legislation

Working on behalf of the Federal Council and Federal Assembly, the FOEN lays the groundwork for statutory instruments designed to maintain natural resources and safeguard their sustainable use.

Assisting implementation

The FOEN helps cantonal authorities and other executive agen­cies implement laws and ordinances. This work involves, for in­stance, providing guidance on enforcement, designing economic incentive systems and voluntary schemes, providing advice on protective measures and acting as agent for payments for ecolog­ical services.

Representing Switzerland abroad

The FOEN is responsible for Switzerland’s contributions to inter­national environmental policy. Switzerland’s aim is to make such policy integrated, comprehensive and efficient. Work concentrates on selected themes: climate, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, forests and water.

Means of implementation

 To carry out its work, the FOEN has some 450 staff on its pay­roll in 2011. It administers a budget totalling around CHF 1.4 bil­lion. A good 41 per cent of these funds are disbursed to the cantonal authorities, while 50 per cent go to the Swiss public (redistribution of incentive tax revenues). The directorate consists of Dr. Bruno Oberle (Director) and Willy Geiger, Andreas Götz, Christine Hofmann and Gérard Poffet (Vice Directors).



Website: www.environment-switzerland.ch


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Type Title Restrictions Owner Modification date and time File size Edit
GeoPoint BAFU Switzerland David Egilson 29/11/2011, 20:28
JPEG FOEN logo jpeg Download David Egilson 12/12/2011, 15:53 156 KB
JPEG FOEN organigram jpeg Download David Egilson 12/12/2011, 15:53 26 KB