The Swiss have officially launched their programme for the United Nations 2010 Year of Biodiversity, with an aim to boost threatened species and raise awareness.
Environment Minister Moritz Leuenberger, who was present to mark the official campaign opening along with leading experts and environmental non-governmental organisations, has pointed to the importance of biodiversity both ethically and economically.
“The conservation of biodiversity is of central importance for Switzerland’s sustainable development, because it not only guarantees an ecological balance but also prosperity for the economy and society,” said a government statement.
In the same statement, Leuenberger said that biodiversity generated millions of Swiss francs through forestry, farming and tourism. But native species are disappearing, he added. For this reason a national strategy is being developed and Switzerland will be involved internationally in protecting biodiversity.
At the campaign’s launch in the capital, Bern, on Tuesday, Leuenberger said that Switzerland was no model country when it came to biodiversity.
A 2007 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found more animals and plants were threatened or had disappeared in Switzerland than anywhere else in Europe.
Switzerland’s lack of a national action plan was a major criticism of the OECD report on Swiss environmental policies.
swissinfo.ch and agencies