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Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

Sweden’s very first Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) was published in 1994 to implement the results of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio 1992. Between 1994 and 2002 the Government presented several publications on each ministry’s different Sustainable Development (SD) activities and priorities. The next National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) was prepared in 2002 and adopted by the Swedish Government in 2004. A further revision of the NSDS was undertaken in 2006. All three dimensions of SD are covered in the NSDS which is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment.



Type of SD strategy

NSDS covers all three dimensions of SD.

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

Ministry of the Environment – Coordination of National SD

Link to the SD strategy

'Strategic Challenges - A Further Elaboration of the Swedish Strategy for Sustainable Development' (2006)

The full list(s) of NSDS objectives as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:

Further information about
the SD strategy process

Previous NSDS: 'A Swedish Strategy for Sustainable Development - Economic, Social and Environmental' (2004) (English summary)


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National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD






-          The Swedish government recently appointed a multi-stakeholder National Committee to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda throughout Swedish society. The Committee will put forward a proposal for an action plan. Civil society organizations, municipalities, academia, private sector and trade unions are at the core of this endeavor.


-          Sweden welcomes the initiative by the Secretary General to establish an SDG Advocacy Group of eminent persons to promote implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in which Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden participates.


-          The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) should become a truly relevant arena for peer-learning and science-based and effective follow-up of SDG-progress. We should all make efforts to contribute and ensure multi-stakeholder contribution and participation.



Sweden has taken the lead in several areas: Committed to be the first fossil free welfare nation in the world. Global Deal to promote decent work in Sweden, but also in EU and globally. Feminist government pushing gender equality, including work to promote peaceful societies. Cohosting a UN-Conference on implementing SDG 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans and marine resources together with Fiji. We will do our share and thereby promote universal nature of the Agenda.




Leading Ministry and
respective unit


All ministers are responsible for the implementation. In addition, the Minister for Public Administration and the Minister for International Development Cooperation have been tasked with specific responsibility for implementation of the Agenda.

Other ministries involved


See above

Main contact point for the
implementation process


Agenda 2030 kommittén

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs

Voluntary National Reviews


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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

For the 2002 NSDS, ‘reference groups’ were established. These groups involved a number of different stakeholders, including sub-national representatives. Ahead of the 2004 NSDS revision municipal and county councils, government authorities and individual citizens in Sweden were invited to contribute their views. The amended strategy from 2006 was developed by four different working groups with participation from different ministries. A coordination unit for sustainable development, with staff from five ministries led and coordinated the work of SD in the government offices.

The 2006 elaborated Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) presents a set of indicators, developed by Statistics Sweden and a working group that involved cooperation between political levels. In the development of the SD indicators a ‘reference group’ of stakeholders was established as well, to contribute to important work of defining meaningful indicators. The main objective of the indicators is to measure the SD activities of local authorities in order to compare them (benchmarking) i.e. the indicators are meant to be used at local level.

The Council for SD, which existed between 2005-2007, was a platform for the link between the different political levels. The Council had about 12 members, including one representative of the sub-national levels. The Council organised seminars and regular exchange between the different political levels. The Commission on SD replaced the Council 2007-2009.

National conferences, the so-called ‘Envision’ conferences, take place biannually. They have been organised by the City of Västerås, the County Council and the Regional Administrative Board of Västmanland in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Association of Municipalities and other sub-national stakeholders. The conferences function as a platform for exchange and offers a possibility of cooperation between the political levels.

The Government has appointed a Delegation for Sustainable Cities for a two-year period 2008 – 10. The delegation will bring together government, industry and municipalities in a national platform for sustainable urban development. The aim is to stimulate urban development projects that both serve to enhance the environment and climate change mitigation as well as to facilitate Swedish environmental technologies export. The ambition is that by using advanced technologies and good planning achieve visions for future cities and sustainable housing solutions in individual neighbourhoods, districts and local communities.

In 2000 the Government summoned a National Committee to implement and develop Agenda 21 and Habitat. The committee submitted its final report in 2003. The report describes future challenges and proposed measures. Currently the municipalities work on LA 21 initiatives. However, several of the municipalities are developing more comprehensive SD strategies.

Sweden has 16 environmental quality objectives for the future state of the national environment. These goals – adopted by the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag – are intended to ensure that, within one generation, the country’s major environmental problems have been solved. The environmental quality objectives describe a state of the environment that is sustainable in the long term. They are a promise to future generations of clean air, healthy living environments and rich contact with nature.

The objectives have served as signposts for environmental action in Sweden since 1999. In June 2010 the Swedish Parliament adopted a Government bill on a new target structure for environmental work, a new organisation and a new basis for assessment of the environmental quality objectives A Parliamentarian committee has been set up to advise the Government on how the environmental quality objectives can be reached. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for the follow-up of the objectives.

In 2008 the Swedish government presented six identified global challenges that constitute the base of a policy for global development. The policy is formulated in a communication Global Challenges –Our responsibility that addresses the question of how Sweden effectively can contribute to equitable, sustainable global development that will enable poor people to benefit more fully from the globalization process. The policy for global development includes effective development cooperation of high quality and a coherence policy embracing all policy areas. The Government Offices in Sweden is working in accordance with the policy to undertake coherent action to achieve the policy’s objective of promoting equitable and sustainable global development. The aim is helping poor countries to meet challenges specific to them, promoting synergies between policy areas, remedying policies that hold up development in Sweden and the EU as well as tackling global challenges that hinder equitable and sustainable development.


EU linkages

The renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (EU SDS) that was adopted in June 2006 foresees that Member States bi-annually report on how they address the priorities of the EU SDS. Sweden has published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in June 2007. During the Swedish Presidency of the European Union a follow up of the EU SDS was made and a report was submitted to the Council.




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Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

Between 2003 and 2007 Sweden had a Coordination Unit for SD. Its task was to coordinate SD within the Government Offices, function as a think-tank and promote the further development of the NSDS. The revised NSDS was prepared by the Coordination Unit for SD in cooperation with a cross-departmental working group. Generally, all ministries are involved in the implementation of the NSDS.

A working group on Green Economy with participants from different ministries has been established in 2010. The working group is led by the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications and meets regularly.

Within the Swedish Government Offices the coordinative responsibilities of the SDS are shared between several ministries. The Ministry of Social Affairs, with support from the Ministry of the Environment, is responsible for the coordination of the Nordic SD cooperation. The EU SDS is coordinated by the Prime Ministers Office while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for coordination of the global SD work.




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Evaluation and Review

The first revision of the NSDS from 2002 took place between October 2003 and April 2004. The revised 2004 NSDS is, however, not a review in its traditional sense, but more of an update that prioritizes objectives. In March 2006, the Government presented an elaboration of the 2004 NSDS.

Sweden was a peer country in the peer review process of the Norwegian NSDS that took part between October 2006 and March 2007.



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Indicators and Monitoring

The 2006 NSDS formulates a set of 91 indicators for sustainable development. The indicator set, which comprises 12 headline indicators, is structured around 6 thematic areas and has been developed on the basis of the work of Statistics Sweden.

The full list(s) of indicators as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:


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In 2007 an advisory Commission on SD, which replaced the Swedish Council for SD, was set up by the Swedish Government. The Commission was to strengthen cooperation and deepen the analysis of issues related to sustainable development. Its remit expired at the end of the Swedish presidency of the EU in 2009. The Commission was chaired by the Swedish Prime Minister and the members were representatives from national ministries, the business sector, NGO’s and the research community. Vice chairs of the Commission were the Minister of Finance and the Minister for the Environment. The Commission on SD was a forum for discussion, analysis and dialogue with the aim of stimulating broader discussion in the society on SD. One objective was to analyse SD issues and develop cross-sectoral action strategies. Climate change was the major focus of the Commission in 2008. Generally, the Commission was  contributing to the NSDS, the EU SDS, international cooperation on SD and to the preparation of the Swedish Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2009. More information can be found at:

For a detailed documentation of all advisory and participatory councils (for SD and/or the environment) in this country, please go to the EEAC website at and click on one of the listed institutions.


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Sub-national activities

The Swedish Energy Agency is responsible for the national energy restructuring process in Sweden. The objective of this restructuring is to build a sustainable and effective energy system. The Sustainable Municipality programme is one of the efforts in order to achieve this objective. It was launched in 2003. The current programme 2008-2011 involves more than 20% of the Swedish municipalities.

There is also a climate network of 20 municipalities and one County Council. These municipalities commit themselves to lower greenhouse gas emissions, learn from each other and support others and cooperate internationally.

The Swedish Association of Municipalities and Regions occasionally arranges seminars, activities or publications on SD. Many municipalities take part in international cooperation projects and networks such as Aalborg commitments, ICLEI, CEMR and The European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign.

The County Administrative Boards are since 2008 commissioned to work in broad collaboration with regional climate and energy strategies. To co-ordinate the work on regional climate and energy strategies the County Administrative Boards in the three metropolitan counties have received 2.2 million SEK while the other boards obtained 1.3 million SEK for 2010. Three so-called pilot boards for green development have been appointed in 2010 for a three-year period. The pilot board will support other county boards and the development of the work on regional climate and energy strategies and thus the transformation to a green economy. These boards have in 2010 received an additional payment of 1 million SEK each.



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This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 30 October 2017

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.


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