Within the framework of the law, the CIDD-ICDO (Interdepartmental Commission for Sustainable Development) is charged with deciding the actions and measures to create a more sustainable society. These decisions are based on the long-term vision and on the Federal Report on Sustainable Development of the Sustainable Development Taskforce of the Federal Planning Bureau. These actions constitute the Federal Sustainable Development Plan (PFDD-FPDO).

The plan is drawn up every 5 years, and must contain concrete cooperated actions for the federal public institutions. The actions must be achieved by end of term of the plan in order to meet the objectives of the long-term vision. The main points of the plan are set by law. It must specifically contain:
• the interdepartmental cooperation actions with a view to honor the international and European commitments (Rio + 20 among others) and the objectives set in the long-term vision,
• the guidelines for federal public services,
• the mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the plan.

The Federal Sustainable Development Plan is drafted in 3 phases:

1. Experts from various federal administrations that meet within the "federal strategy" working group of the CIDD-ICDO, establish the preliminary draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Plan. This text includes a first proposal for the measures and actions that the federal public services will have to implement.

2. This preliminary draft is submitted for public consultation. The Federal Council for Sustainable Development (CFDD-FRDO) is required to issue an opinion on the preliminary draft. CIDD-ICDO reviews all the comments received and, if necessary, it amends the text. At the end of this stage, the result is a draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Plan, which is sent to the federal government.

3.  The federal government makes the decision on the draft. It can amend the text or correct it before final approval. After the approval by the federal government, the text of the Federal Sustainable Development Plan is considered final.

Since the adoption of the 1997 act, two federal sustainable development plans have been developed, implemented and evaluated: PFDD-FPDO 2000-2004 and PFDD-FPDO 2004-2008. The latter was extended to this day.

The process for developing plans was extensively revised under the 2009-2014 Parliament session.

The plans have become the main instruments for implementing the Federal long-term strategic vision for sustainable development (only exists in French and Dutch), approved by the Government in 2013.

Moreover, any new federal plan for sustainable development must be decreed within twelve months after the installation of a government and the House of Representatives.