Initiatives

Robert Cramer

Robert Cramer, State Councillor in charge of the Department of Territory for the Republic and State of Geneva, is responsible for protection of the environment and nature, transport and land-use planning. A graduate in law from the University of Geneva and a court lawyer, he was the legal adviser for several antinuclear associations and WWF from 1982-1997. He joined the Geneva Green Party in 1984 and sat in the Cantonal Parliament from 1985-1993. In 1997 he became the first Green elected to the Government of the Republic and State of Geneva, and was Cantonal President in 2004.

Introduction

Geneva, a center of excellence for international initiatives

Incorporating sustainable development principles into public as well as private action is today essential. However, such integration is complex, requiring scientific, economic and political knowledge. It requires cross-disciplinary approaches and taking account of phenomena that go beyond regional and national boundaries through collaboration and better coordination at all levels. Geneva has notable advantages that enable it to meet this challenge.

The «capital of peace and human rights», Geneva is also at the centre of the largest «green» network on on the planet. It has become the principal global coordinating structure for action in the field of the environment, with 52 intergovernmental bodies, 24 specialized NGOs and nine academic institutions. A real pole of excellence has developed here. And, naturally, these organizations have found a home in International Environment House I and II, created with the support of the Geneva authorities and the Swiss Confederation. In this respect, I would like to note that, conscious of its particular responsibility in this field, Geneva was the first Swiss canton to adopt a law implementing Agenda 21 as approved at the Rio Summit. This law applies to all public authorities and guarantees economic efficiency, social solidarity and ecological responsibility in all domains of public sector activity.

At the same time, the institutions of the canton and of the city of Geneva have developed a whole range of instruments for sustainable development, with local companies, international organizations and even diplomatic missions. The «Fкte du dйveloppement durable» taking place every year in June in the heart of our city, brings together bodies as different as UNEP, Geneva authorities and local environmental associations. Coming together, sharing, reflecting together, innovating, creating, deciding and, above all, showing by doing, is a reality in Geneva.