Switzerland Achieves Successful Compromise Between Economic Development and Environmental Conservation

By Anne Nabakwe

The Perspective
Adelboden, Switzerland

Posted June 20, 2002

Switzerland has managed to achieve a successful compromise between economic development and environmental conservation in many domains of its socio-economic development strategies that have guaranteed the country’s continued economic growth.

‘’In many domains, whether in regional policies, transport policies, tourism or agriculture, Switzerland has succeeded in making this compromise,’’ said Switzerland’s Federal Councillor for Economic Affairs, Pascal Couchepin.

Couchepin was one of the keynote speakers at an international conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions held in Adelboden on the 16th June 2002.

The conference has brought together stakeholders from various mountain region countries of the world to share information regarding the challenges and possibilities to promote Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD).

The Swiss official gave examples of Switzerland’s successful economic and environmental conservation achievement saying meadows and grazing ground were maintained by agriculture while tourist infrastructures were well integrated into the landscape, artisan enterprises and an intact natural environment with its torrents and forests. These images were the result of a close overlapping of the country’s economic and social lives.

Couchepin however warned that while Switzerland did not pretend to have answers to all questions raised in connection with the rural development in mountain regions, the federal government was ready to contribute towards positive outcomes to the debate.

He hoped that the Adelboden conference would lead to a common declaration that would be presented at the World Summit meeting in Johannesburg on the one hand, and to tangible propositions for programmes aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development in mountain regions on the other hand.

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