Switzerland and the 2030 Agenda: Domestic policy is foreign policy!

Swiss civil society – organized in the Platform Agenda 2030 – presented its report entitled «How sustainable is Switzerland? Implementing the 2030 Agenda from a civil society perspective».

Platform Agenda 2030 – Press Release of 3 July 2018

Today, Swiss civil society presented its report entitled «How sustainable is Switzerland? Implementing the 2030 Agenda from a civil society perspective».Unlike the superficial report by the Federal Council, it contains an in-depth examination of progress in implementing the UN 2030 Agenda in Switzerland and by Switzerland. In 11 recommendations the Platform Agenda 2030 lays out the measures that will have to be taken in order to set Switzerland on a path of sustainable development.

The UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were recognized by all States in 2015 as a new, universal frame of reference. The 2030 Agenda is aimed not just at developing countries but also holds rich countries like Switzerland to their promise. Besides, it encompasses all dimensions of sustainability, namely the social, environmental and the economic. It defines sustainable development as a global challenge that cannot be tackled in an isolated manner, whether thematically or geographically. Consequently, there is now a focus also on the implications of domestic policy decisions for other countries. The various policy areas must be structured coherently and such that they promote sustainable development. This requires that policy decisions regarding the economy, taxation, social issues, climate and environment must make for significant progress toward realizing the SDGs.

Eva Schmassmann, President of the Platform Agenda 2030, believes that measures are urgently needed to stem the outflow of tax money from developing countries into tax haven Switzerland: «Through tax avoidance and tax evasion, developing countries are losing an estimated US$200 billion in tax revenues annually. They urgently need these funds to pay for implementation in their countries.»

For Marianne Hochuli of Caritas Switzerland, poverty is the greatest social policy challenge facing Switzerland: «To implement the 2030 Agenda, Switzerland must halve poverty within its borders by 2030.»

The 2030 Agenda cannot be implemented without the private sector. Stella Jegher of Pro Natura is in no doubt that: «Multinational enterprises with headquarters in Switzerland must also assume responsibility for compliance with environmental standards abroad and be held accountable for damage caused by them or their subsidiaries.»

For the authors of the civil society report, the Federal Council is clearly painting much too rosy a picture. «The indicators used in the Federal Council's report to gauge progress with respect to dignified work and protected labour rights are pathetic,» says Regula Bühlmann of the Confederation of Swiss Trade Unions. «These SDGs are far from being realized merely by virtue of rising employment among women and a dwindling number of industrial accidents.»

The over 80-page report by Platform Agenda 2030 contains 11 recommendations on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In addition to respecting human rights as well as the limits of the planet, the Platform specifically calls for sufficient resources for implementation, for the 2030 Agenda to be strongly anchored institutionally within the Federal Administration, for legislative planning to be geared towards the 2030 Agenda, and for greater policy coherence for sustainable development.

Platform Agenda 2030 comprises over 40 Swiss civil society organizations and the publication of this report represents its first appearance before the wider public. These organizations are actively engaged in the fields of development cooperation, labour and human rights, environment protection, gender, peace and sustainable economic activity.

Download of the report in English.

Further information:

  • Eva Schmassmann, President, Platform Agenda 2030, Desk Officer for Development Policy and the 2030 Agenda, Alliance Sud, phone +41 (0)76 458 89 52
  • Marianne Hochuli, Executive Board member and Head of Research and Policy, Caritas Switzerland, phone +41 (0)41 419 23 20 (diverted to the mobile phone).
  • Stella Jegher, member of the Executive Board of pro Natura Switzerland, Head of International Affairs, phone +41 (0)79 411 35 49
  • Regula Bühlmann, Central Secretary, Confederation of Swiss Trade Unions, Responsible for Equal Opportunity Policy, phone +41 (0)76 200 90 89

Photos of the Platform's press conference: www.PlattformAgenda2030.ch.

Source: Alliance Sud.