Securing economic development in Switzerland’s mountainous regions

The Swiss federal government has issued a report outlining how it intends to further secure economic development in Switzerland’s mountainous regions. After analyzing the relevant challenges, EBP assisted in the drafting of the report.

How does the federal government plan to secure the economic vitality of the mountainous regions and effectively counteract the ongoing exodus? This very question was posed in a petition submitted by Swiss National Council member Heinz Brand to the Federal Council. In March 2017, the Swiss National Council followed up on Brand’s petition with its own appeal to the Federal Council. EBP was then commissioned by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to assist in the drafting of the requested report.

Challenges faced by Switzerland’s mountainous regions

Working together with sofies and the Swiss University of Economics & Tourism (HES-SO Valais/Wallis), EBP conducted a comprehensive current-state analysis. The analysis outlines the various challenges faced by Switzerland’s mountainous regions and enumerates the risks and opportunities for the various types of mountainous regions. The EBP team then discussed its findings with representatives of the relevant federal, cantonal, regional and municipal agencies, as well as with various scientific experts and representatives of various interest groups.

Existing instruments

The federal government already makes a wide array of well-calibrated and proven instruments available to the mountainous regions to help them meet their special challenges. The report describes the contribution these instruments make when it comes to securing the economic existence of the mountainous regions, and also specifies what the Federal Council plans to do to reinforce and expand upon these instruments.

NRP pilot measures for the mountainous regions

Using the report as a reference, the federal government is planning to introduce special measures for Switzerland’s mountainous regions in the framework of its New Regional Policy (NRP) initiative, which is pegged to the 2020-2023 period. The measures are precisely targeted to the specific challenges involved and have the goal of better exploiting the economic potential in regions that are especially peripheral. The impact of the pilot measures will then be assessed and used as a reference for a revision of the Regional Policy in 2024.

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