switzerland: focus on pro natura
The world of Pro Natura
Pro Natura – FoE Switzerland – is the opinion leader on nature protection amongst Swiss NGOs. Pro Natura counts more than 100,000 members and 25, 000 donors. The organisation was founded in 1909 in order to raise money for the first national park of Switzerland. It is still the only park in this densely populated country.
In 2001 Pro Natura started the campaign 'Let’s create a new national park!'. The main goal is to create additional parks in Switzerland in order to preserve this country’s great biodiversity and mountainous landscapes. At the moment, 2 projects are underway. There is still a long way to go, as Pro Natura takes a bottom-up approach. Every park has to be democratically legitimized before it can be established in the regions concerned. With help from Pro Natura, the initiatives to establish protected areas are being taken up by local and regional communities.
Another Pro Natura campaign is 'Free our rivers!'. The campaign calls for more space for rivers, streams and beavers.
Besides the main campaigns, Pro Natura is managing some 600 nature reserves all over the country, covering more than 1030 square kilometres. The creation and management of reserves is one of the main tasks of Pro Natura.
Environmental education is also an important field of activities for Pro Natura. Campaigns designed for schools and a documentation service for teachers give ideas and involve thousands of children every year. The Pro Natura Centers in Aletsch (Valais, Alps) and Champ-Pittet (on Lake Neuchatel) offer special programs for schools and youth groups. A youth magazine is offered to all young members of Pro Natura.
Communication is more important than ever. Pro Natura explains the wonders of nature and the need for conservation. The Pro Natura Magazine is published six times a year and distributed for free to all members. Media work, regular press releases and a variety of other publications contribute to the organisation’s communication efforts.
Pro Natura stands for sustainable policy in all nature-related fields. It forms a pressure and lobbying group in cooperation with other national and international environmental organizations. Legal action is taken if necessary to protect nature's rights. During the last few years, Pro Natura has been putting more and more emphasis on globalization and its negative impacts on the environment.
Besides being the Swiss member of Friends of the Earth, Pro Natura is founding member of The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. Pro Natura also take part in regional networks such as Friends of the Earth Europe and the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps, CIPRA.
Pro Natura has an annual turnover of 10 million Euros. 70% of this amount comes from donations, collections and membership fees. There are 65 employees at the national office and about 45 employees in the cantonal offices.