OECD warns Switzerland on nature protection

Peer review highlights conservation as problem area amidst strong environmental policy performance

Swiss nature needs better protection, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned. In its latest national environmental performance review, the organisation states that Swiss nature suffers from the effects of "continuous urbanisation, agricultural modernisation and the development of transport and tourism infrastructure." Switzerland has the highest percentage of rare, endangered or extinct bird species in the OECD area, and among the highest for animal and plant species, it notes. The country has allocated insufficient funds for combating this problem, the OECD warns. It recommends that the government should adopt a "more vigorous policy" on protected areas, should integrate environmental concerns into tourism policies and should improve the monitoring of nature conservation. Switzerland's performance on nature protection contrasts with a good to outstanding record in other areas, such as reduction of air and water pollution, according to the review. The OECD also praises Switzerland for "moving towards," more use of economic and voluntary measures in its environment policy. In particular, it approves of the recently introduced charges on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the sulphur content of heating fuel (ENDS Daily 17 November 1997), describing them as "very promising."

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