Within the framework of the law, the CIDD-ICDO (Interdepartmental Commission for Sustainable Development) is responsible for determining what actions must be conducted and the measures to be taken in order to create a more sustainable society. It will base its decisions 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 form the Federal Sustainable Development Plan (PFDD-FPDO).

The plan, prepared every 5 years, must take up concrete cooperation actions between the federal public institutions to be achieved between now and the end of its term in order to meet the objectives set in the long-term vision. The outline of the Plan's content are set by the law. It must specifically contain:
• the interdepartmental cooperation actions for carrying out 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 meeting 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 incorporating 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. In the end, the federal government takes a decision on the draft. It can amend the text or correct it before final approval. After this 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 a government is formed following the complete renewal of the House of Representatives.