Switzerland's climate is changing. Since measurements began, the country has warmed by an average of 2.5 °C – double the global average. As a result, risks such as heavy precipitation, flooding, heatwaves and drought are also increasing. All parts of the country are affected, from urban, low-lying areas to high-alpine regions, from the Jura to Ticino, as well as all economic sectors, including agriculture and forestry, the health sector and energy generation. In order to prepare Switzerland for climate-related changes, a holistic management approach is needed – one that adopts a cross-sectoral, cross-stakeholder, Switzerland-wide and comprehensive perspective.
Actionable decision support
With this in mind, the Confederation has launched a programme called 'Decision Support for Dealing with Climate Change in Switzerland: a cross-sectoral approach', or 'NCCS-Impacts' for short. It is run by the National Centre for Climate Services (NCCS – see box). For the first time, this programme brings together resources in order to take a comprehensive look at the impacts of climate change and possible options for action and to develop actionable bases for decision-making. Fourteen private-sector and research organisations are involved in implementing the projects. On 5 June 2023, they gathered for the official programme kick-off, laying the foundations for future exchanges.
In several interlinked projects on various focal themes, experts from a range of fields, from forestry to economics and communication, are working together across disciplines and in partnership with practitioners. The NCCS-Impacts programme is headed by Andreas Fischer from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). "With experts from many fields taking part in the projects, we have assembled a unique array of specialist knowledge," he says. "This means that we can address the complex impacts of climate change on Switzerland as comprehensively as possible and prepare effectively for future challenges." Strong cooperation between the disciplines and efficient knowledge transfer are key to the programme's success.
The first results from the projects should be available by the end of 2025. These could include interactive web tools, recommendations for action or fact sheets tailored to specific stakeholders. These climate services are intended to support economic, social and political decision-makers in implementing sustainable measures to deal with climate change.