Foodstuffs and therapeutic products, drinking water, energy, logistics, ICT – these are just some of the products and services that are essential to the functioning of our society and economy. It is the role of the economy to ensure the availability of goods and services, as stated in the Swiss Constitution.

Cooperation between the private sector and the state

If shortages occur and the economy is unable to fulfil this role, then the state can intervene in the market and introduce targeted measures to close gaps in the supply of essential goods and services (subsidiarity). This happened, for example:

  • in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic: NES came into play on several occasions, releasing stocks of antibiotics and FFP2 and FFP3 masks, and temporarily lifting the ban on Sunday driving and night driving so that pharmacies and other vital services received necessary supplies.
  • in the dry summer of 2018, when the water level in the Rhine was extremely low and ships could not be laden to capacity.
  • in 2018, when oxytocin, a substance used to aid in difficult births, was in short supply.

The duty of the state to ensure national economic supply is enshrined in Article 102 of the Federal Constitution.

The system of NES is based on cooperation between the private sector and the state.

Representatives from the main sectors of the economy assume a management role providing their experience and professional knowledge. In a crisis the existing structures in the private sector are exploited to fulfil tasks on behalf of the state.

The strength of the NES organisation lies in the strong links between these members of the different sectors of the Swiss economy. Their specific knowledge and rich experience benefits security of supply in our country enormously. In a globalised economic world, such networking is vital to meeting the supply mandate professionally.

Strategic principles

The supply of goods and services is based on different supply processes, which present different risks. The strategy for economic national supply therefore contains sub-strategies for each supply process.

All sub-strategies have one thing in common: they distinguish between a precautionary phase and an intervention phase. In the precautionary phase, national economic supply strengthens the resilience of supply processes. The aim is to avoid state intervention as long as possible. In addition, it prepares support measures, or measures that are used in a crisis.

In the intervention phase, the prepared measures are used in the supply processes - depending on the severity of the shortage.

It should not be forgotten that the supply processes are interdependent and require certain resources.

Last modification 22.12.2023

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