Europe and Central Asia

Switzerland - SVS/BirdLife Switzerland

BirdLife Partner

Founded in 1922
63000 members
Staff: 18
Wiedingstrasse, Zurich, CH, 8036
Tel. +41 44 457 70 20; Fax +41 44 457 70 30

Mission of the organisation

The mission of the SVS/BirdLife Switzerland is the protection of birds and biodiversity from a local to the international level and by this making a contribution for a natural environment and for people.

Key Activities

How does SVS/BirdLife Switzerland take action?

  • To make a significant contribution for the conservation of biodiversity, SVS/BirdLife Switzerland focus their activities on clear priorities, based on the analysis of the problems birds face in Switzerland, and on carefully evaluated solutions
  • As a federation of several hundred local, cantonal and regional organisations, SVS/BirdLife Switzerland are active in the conservation and restoration of habitats and sites, in the implementation of species action plans, and in lobbying, education and providing information
  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland also supports projects on an international level

Habitat conservation

  • Our vision is that all the landscape should be a place for birds and biodversity
  • The alpine habitats still hold large natural habitats. SVS are active to preserve them from overexploitation by recreation activities
  • Intensive agriculture is one of the main reasons for the decline of many birds species. SVS lobbies for a nature-friendly national agriculture policy and helps to create new habitats
  • Forest habitats in Switzerland are often are still very natural. SVS actively attempts to influence the national forestry policy and the development of labels (FSC)

Site protection

  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland works in a number of demonstration reserves and develops new pratices for their management
  • Many of the local, cantonal and regional organisations of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland have their own nature reserves
  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland lobbies for a legal protection of the country’s IBAs and the waterfowl sites of national and international importance

Species Action plans

  • In the species work of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, the first step is the identification of those species for which the country has the highest responsiblity
  • For globally threatened species and the other most endangered species SVS/BirdLife Switzerland develops species action plans on a national level working together with sientific organisations and authorities
  • The implementation of species action plans is one of the main activties of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland and its member organisations

International projects

  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland supports projects for the protection of birds and the conservation of biodiversity in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Mediterranean region and Africa, as well as worldwide
  • For these projects SVS/BirdLife Switzerland works together with other BirdLife Partners in those countries. In this way SVS/BirdLife Switzerland is an active part in the supporting system of BirdLife International for the development of a strong and active conservation NGO community

Motivating people

  • Public awareness and nature education of young people are important in the Swiss political system of direct democracy which gives its citizens the possiblity to vote several times a year on changes to the national constitution and laws
  • The SVS is active in the motivation of the population for the conservation of biodversity through the mass media and through programmes aimed at the youth
  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland runs two of the six main nature information centres of the country and helps to develop new centres
  • For public awareness SVS/BirdLife Switzerland publishes booklets, pratical guides and four journals in German, French (and partly in Italian)

How does SVS/BirdLife Switzerland work?

  • The board is the strategical body of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, the secretariat the operational one
  • The staff of the national headquarters (one in the German- and one in the French- speaking part of the country) are supported by working groups and hundreds of volunteers on all levels from local to national
  • With a common campaign for 3 to 5 years SVS/BirdLife Switzerland focuses the activities of all levels of its organisation to one important subject including activities like 'Bird of the Year'
  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland's work is based on a long-term strategy and on regular reviews of its programme. By monitoring its activites SVS/BirdLife Switzerland can ensure it is being efficient and try to do even better

Working with partners

  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland works together with other conservation NGOs, scientific institutes and the authorities for the conservation in the cantons and on a federal level
  • Other SVS/BirdLife Switzerland partners are land owners and users and their organisations, companies and foundations

Recent Achievements

  • The Swiss agriculture policy is based on the rule that famers only get subsidies from the federal government if they have at least 7% of natural habitats. Now, after lobbying of SVS and other NGOs they can profit from additional incentives if they reach a certain ecological quality on theses patches of land.
  • Many proposals of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland are now a part of the federal strategy for the forest area of the country. But the lobbying will go on...
  • IBAs are now recognized as a part of a future Emerald network of the country, and work for the offcial designation of the first sites, including a few IBAs, has started
  • Thanks to the right to bring cases of illegal development in sites of national importance to the court, SVS/BirdLife Switzerland could prevent the destruction of several sites. But now some political parties are trying to change the law which gives the NGOs that right....
  • SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Environment have developped a common strategy for species action plans based on our study on those species for which the country has the highest responsiblity. Species action plans are implemented for several species including one for the Corncrake. These activities brought back the species as a regular breeding bird after an absence of more than 20 years
  • A new Cormorant plan is being developed by all stakeholders including SVS/BirdLife Switzerland which leaves the birds in winter undisturbed on the lakes and allows chasing them away only on rivers. Breeding will not be prevented except on rivers/sites with important habitats for endangered fish species
  • After an intensive information campaign run by SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, the federal and cantonal authorities are now aware of the problem of introduced bird species and they have agreed to take action against Ruddy Duck and Ruddy Shelduck
  • The development of the two Supported Partners of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, GCCW in Georgia and SOVS in Slovakia, is very encouraging
  • After a fund raising campaign, a series of projects in the Mediterranean and Western Africa can be supported. In collaboration with Vogelbescherming Nederland four projects of BirdLife Indonesia can be finished
  • The council and the assembly of the delegates agreed to support the BirdLife Sumatra Initiative as soon as the details of the project are known
  • The two SVS/BirdLife Switzerland nature information centres in Neeracherried and La Sauge run very well. New initiatves together with other NGO partners are in preparation
  • During the last few years SVS/BirdLife Switzerland published a series of booklets on important subjects of nature conservation including simple field guides on birds, amphibians, reptiles, grasshoppers and orchids

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