Switzerland grapples with the mounting effects of climate change, such as intense heatwaves, prolonged droughts, and increased natural disasters. In response, the Swiss Confederation initiated the “Adaptation to Climate Change” pilot program to explore viable solutions.
The program, led by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), involves various stakeholders, including ten federal offices and over 500 individuals from public and private organizations. With a budget of 9.4 million francs, the initiative adopts an “integral approach,” engaging all relevant actors and sectors from the outset.
One project under the program, “Climate: Suitable Materials for Cities,” conducted simulations to assess the impact of building materials on urban microclimates. The findings favored light-colored ventilated facades to counter the heat island effect in cities.
Another project, “Neuchâtel Viticulture,” explores adapting vineyards to climate change through the use of alternative grape varieties and higher-altitude cultivation. However, concerns arise about land-use conflicts and changing consumer preferences.
Pilot projects in the program have demonstrated the feasibility of gradual climate adaptation, though challenges remain due to limited resources and the complexity of climate impacts across various domains.
As the program concludes, it aims to share insights from successful projects across Switzerland and promote widespread application. While prioritizing climate change adaptation, program manager Guirec Gicquel emphasizes the significance of continued efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Recognizing climate change’s diverse global impacts, Switzerland supports international aid through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The country seeks to promote climate-compatible development and risk management strategies in vulnerable regions.