Switzerland School Trip Country Profile

Switzerland

Country Profile

Renowned world-wide for its spectacular panoramic scenery, Switzerland is also one of the most developed countries in the world. The country comprises three main linguistic regions: French, German and Italian.

Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and is now a global centre for diplomacy and peacebuilding, science and technology, trade, and the coordination of international environmental protection, human rights, and humanitarian relief. Many United Nations (UN) agencies have their headquarters in Geneva: over 40 UN organisations and 200 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are located here.

Geography and Environment

Switzerland is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura. The Swiss Alps cover 65% of the country's surface area, and were formed 100 million years ago, when the African tectonic plates collided with the Eurasian plates. Its glaciers represent 44% of the total glaciated area in the Alps.

People looking at Swiss Alps at Night

Switzerland's ecosystems are particularly fragile and sensitive to climate change. In 2008, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that the volume of ice in the country's glaciers had decreased by an alarming 13% since 1999. Many valleys are separated by high mountains, often forming unique ecologies which experience pressure from visitors and grazing.

Switzerland has one of the best environmental records in the developed world, and 56% of electricity is generated from hydroelectricity. This significantly contributes to a nearly CO²-free electricity-generating network. Your visit will also examine how new hydropower schemes are being designed to reduce the pressures on the environment from climate change.

Switzerland's dramatic scenery and geology, together with its accessibility to the world's leading scientific research and United Nations organisations, make it a truly educational and inspirational destination!

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Swiss Alps