The head of DETEC is Simonetta Sommaruga. She has been a member of the Federal Council since 2010. She is President of the Swiss Confederation in 2020.
Nature needs space to thrive. But humans are taking up more and more of the space available – building houses, roads and railways which carve up the countryside. Valuable pastureland and moorland is disappearing. Transport, industry and agriculture contaminate lakes and rivers and pollute the air with harmful substances. This has drastic consequences for biodiversity, with the numbers of many animal and plant species in decline. In Switzerland, eighty per cent of reptile species and 40 per cent of bird species are now endangered. Some species have already disappeared completely, for example the crested lark and the osprey.
«DETEC works to preserve the diversity of flora and fauna.»
No fruit without bees
These changes usually go unnoticed, even though the natural resources upon which we depend are being destroyed. The decline in insect populations has a direct effect on our food supply: if there are no longer any bees to pollinate plants, then no fruit can develop. Biodiversity is also the basis for clean drinking water and good quality air. The decline in biodiversity also affects some areas of the economy, such as the pharmaceutical industry. A range of different organisms provide the basis for the production of certain drugs, such as antibiotics. And aspirin, for example, was once extracted from willow bark.
The need to act quickly
For all these reasons, the Federal Council wants to ramp up efforts to prevent habitat loss and the decline in animal and plant species. It has adopted an action plan of measures designed to take rapid effect, to be implemented by DETEC along with the cantons, the farming community and nature conservationists. DETEC is working to ensure that particularly valuable habitats for animals and plants are preserved and interconnected – e.g. via continuous hedges, naturally flowing streams and rivers, forest edges rich in natural diversity and open spaces in built-up areas. It also aims to reduce pollutants in the soil, water and air and to limit soil loss. Furthermore, DETEC promotes environmental education activities to boost knowledge about the importance of biodiversity – with projects at all levels, from primary schools to vocational schools –based on the premise that well-informed citizens take care of the environment.
Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and CommunicationsDETEC
DETEC is Switzerland’s ’ministry of infrastructure’. Roads, railways, power lines: all the things that hold our country together fall within DETEC’s remit. The department is also responsible for Switzerland’s soil, water, air, flora, fauna and the countryside. These natural resources are the bases of life, but are under pressure due to human activity. Maintaining these resources is one of DETEC’s principal responsibilities.
||CHF 12.58 billion
|Staff (full-time positions) 2018
General secretariat GS-DETEC
The overlapping nature of many items of business requires extensive coordination with DETEC’s specialised offices and other departments. The General Secretariat takes on this task. It prepares items of business for the Federal Council, supports political planning, acts as an intermediary between DETEC and Parliament and is responsible for the department’s external communication. In addition, it also acts as owner of Swiss Post, SBB, Swisscom and Skyguide and supervises the implementation of the strategic aims set out by the Federal Council.
Federal Office of Transport FOT
The Federal Office of Transport FOT manages the progressive expansion and financing of rail infrastructure. It carries out the tasks set by the Federal Council and Parliament, monitors compliance in terms of cost and deadlines, and is also responsible for safety supervision in public transport.
Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA
The FOCA ensures the high safety standards in Swiss civil aviation, which are primarily based on internationally agreed standards. In addition to its supervisory activity, it is responsible for the preparation and implementation of decision-making on civil aviation policy. The office is actively involved in international aviation organisations to ensure that Switzerland’s interests are taken into account.
Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE
The Federal Council’s energy policy is oriented towards improving energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy sources, particularly hydropower, the further development of the electricity grid, and on increasing energy research and international cooperation. It puts these energy policy principles into practice and draws up, for example, regulations on the energy consumption of household appliances, consumer electronics, light bulbs and electric motors. The aim is to ensure that Switzerland will still have sufficient, safe, affordable and environmentally friendly energy supplies in the future.
Federal Roads Office FEDRO
FEDRO is mandated by the Federal Council and Parliament to take responsibility for extending and maintaining the national roads network. In addition, it is also responsible for the implementation of the ’Via sicura’ road safety Programmes:, the aim of which is to further reduce the number of people killed or injured in road accidents. Only well-trained drivers with safe vehicles should be driving on safe roads.
Federal Office of Communications OFCOM
Making calls, sending emails or text messages, surfing on the internet – all this requires a powerful communications infrastructure. OFCOM helps to ensure that this is the case throughout Switzerland. It distributes the revenues from television and radio licence fees to the regional broadcasters and to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, and ensures that print media benefit from reduced postage rates. It also oversees the provision of payment services by Swiss Post.
Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Natural resources such as water, soil and air are under pressure because they are frequently being over-exploited. Switzerland’s environmental policy aims to ensure that the country’s natural resources remain intact for future generations. One of the FOEN’s key tasks is to conserve ecosystems with their flora and fauna as the basis of life. The FOEN also concerns itself with the causes of climate change and its consequences. It supports cantons and communes to prepare for flooding, rockslides and avalanches by keeping protective forests intact or by renaturalising rivers to protect roads and residential areas.
Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE
Coping with a growing population, increasing mobility and greater demand for living space – as well as protecting the countryside: these are the parameters within which ARE operates. To protect land that is becoming ever more scarce, it promotes and oversees legislation on residential development. ARE contributes to improving coordination between transport infrastructure and urban development. The spatial concept drawn up jointly by the Confederation, the cantons, cities and communes under ARE’s lead sets out the guidelines for future spatial development.
Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI
The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI is responsible for ensuring the safe operation of nuclear installations in Switzerland. ENSI therefore supervises Switzerland’s five nuclear power stations, the interim storage sites for radioactive waste and the nuclear research units at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the University of Basel.