The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is responsible for ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, protecting people from natural hazards and protecting the environment from excessive burdens. Habitats and ecosystems not only provide shelter to abundant animal and plant life. They also clean water, ensure the pollination of crop plants and regulate climate. In addition, they provide us with food, raw materials and other goods. One of the core tasks of the FOEN is to maintain the diversity of life - biodiversity - over the long term. The sustainable use of water, soil and air contributes to a healthy economy.
Nature can also be dangerous, particularly in Alpine regions of Switzerland where there is a risk of flooding and avalanches. The FOEN works with the cantons, communes and population to ensure that they are adequately protected, either through the distribution of maps showing where hazards are likely to be encountered or through the protection of forests, roads and settlements.
At the international level FOEN representatives attend international gatherings, such as UN conferences on climate change, where they work on behalf of the Federal Council in Switzerland's interests for effective and sustainable policies.