First Step 2000-2003


Protection against Natural Hazards - vision and strategy of PLANAT

Former Councillor of States Hans Danioth (UR) filed a motion in the federal parliament on 29 September 1999, which requested a comprehensive and interlinked strategy for improved protection against natural hazards in the Swiss Alps. The Federal Council responded by extending the strategy to cover all of Switzerland and not only the Alpine areas. On 8 November 2000, Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger, Minister for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, mandated the national platform natural hazards (PLANAT) to deal with this motion. A working group appointed by PLANAT first developed a vision and then a strategy for the «Protection against Natural Hazards».


The strategy defines seven measures to optimise the protection against natural hazards in Switzerland:


  • Determination of protection goals for life and limb and for belongings.
  • Preventive measures, response and recovery mechanisms are equally considered to manage the prevailing risks. The necessary legal, procedural, economic and personnel conditions are provided to guarantee this equality.
  • Periodic studies are carried out to assess hazard and risk development and any changes in system vulnerability. Additionally, the effectiveness and efficiency of implemented measures are regularly evaluated.
  • Clarification of legal specifications for dealing with residual risk.
  • Nature is included in the protection strategy, and given the necessary space whenever possible. The necessary research for improving hazard management is implemented and hands-on training and further training are improved.
  • Consolidation of international collaboration in the field of natural hazards.


On 20th August 2003, the Swiss Federal Council took notice of the vision and strategy report on «Protection against natural hazards» by PLANAT and initiated the second step of «Swiss Strategy for the Protection against Natural Hazards». The strategy developed by PLANAT conforms to the Federal Council’s policy of sustainability, as well as to the principles of a consistent safety policy anchored in the strategy of Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC).