Financial innovations for biodiversity: The Swiss Experience


O. Schelske

Type of Document:
Conference Proceeding or Document



Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Not Available


Overview: In Switzerland, the issue of biodiversity protection is addressed through several sectoral policies. This paper analyzes two cases of sectoral policies: ecological direct payments, which are within the realm of Swiss agricultural policy; and the activities of the Swiss Foundation for the Conservation of Cultural Landscapes (Fonds Landschaft Schweiz, FLS) which is within the realm of Swiss conservation policy. Both cases represent examples of the use of financial instruments for the protection of biodiversity.

One of the most highly regulated and controlled sectors in Swiss economy, Swiss agriculture was reformed in 1992 due to the GATT Uruguay Round. Agricultural price and income policies were separated and domestic support prices were decreased. Swiss agriculture became multi-functional. Its objectives are now to ensure food supply for the national population, to protect natural resources (especially biodiversity), to protect traditional landscapes and to contribute to the economic, social and cultural life in rural areas. On one hand, direct payments are used to ease the transition of Swiss agriculture toward global and free market conditions. On the other hand, direct payments are offered to those farmers who are willing to use more ecological and biodiversity-sound management practices. This paper shows the design and success of these direct payments.

Another instrument for biodiversity protection is the Swiss Foundation for the Conservation of Cultural Landscapes (Fonds Landschaft Schweiz). It was set up by the Swiss Parliament during Switzerland s 700-year celebration in 1991. The Foundation supports specific projects for nature and landscape conservation, for example the conservation and sustainable use of old orchards, corridors of regional ecosystems, or old chestnut plantations in southern Switzerland. The Foundation is financed by federal, cantonal and communal authorities and by private donations.

Biodiversity protection policies are beginning to be implemented into agricultural and landscape policies. Because biodiversity protection is a broad concept, a concentration on funds from agricultural and landscape policies will not be sufficient. Therefore, instruments focusing on other sectors should be suggested.

Additional Bibliographic Information

Presented at a workshop on Financial Innovations for Biodiversity, Bratislava, Slovakia, 1-3 May 1998

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