National — sub-national linkages
All municipalities and county
councils follow the same national legislation and essentially have the same
responsibilities and tasks, even though there are great differences between
them. All activities carried out by the municipalities and county councils are
covered by local self-government. This means that the municipalities and the
county councils make independent decisions on local issues, which also provides
the opportunity for local adaptations based on different needs and conditions.
For the 2002 NSDS, ‘reference
groups’ were established involving a number of different stakeholders,
including sub-national representatives.
The 2006 elaborated Sustainable
Development Strategy (SDS) presented a set of indicators, developed by
Statistics Sweden and a working group that involved cooperation between
The Council for SD, which existed
between 2005-2007, was a platform for the link between the different political
levels. The Commission on SD replaced the Council 2007-2009.
National conferences, the so-called
‘Envision’ conferences, have taken 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.
In 2008 The Government has appointed
a Delegation for Sustainable Cities for a two-year period 2008 – 10. The main
task of the delegation was to bring together government, industry and
municipalities in a national platform for sustainable urban development withthe
aim 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.
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.
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
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.
Since the adoption of Agenda 2030 in
September 2015, the EU has expressed a firm determination to become a world
leader in the implementation of the agenda. Sweden has been a strong advocate
for the EU taking the lead on implementation. On June 20, 2017, the European
Union adopted Council conclusions defining the EU's response to Agenda 2030 and
an implementation strategy at EU level. The conclusions emphasized the
importance of achieving sustainable development in the social, economic and
environmental dimension. The conclusions also confirmed that sustainable
development should be integrated into all policy areas.
In May 2017, the EU's new
development policy was adopted: The New European Consensus on Development,
which is aligned with Agenda 2030 and the three dimensions of sustainable
development. Sweden welcomed the Joint Synthesis Report on the Consensus on
Development including the impact of their actions in support of the 2030 Agenda
in developing countries presented by the EU during the High-Level Political
Forum in New York on the 18th of July 2019.
On December 10, 2019, the Council
adopted new conclusions on the EU's implementation of Agenda 2030 highlighting
the need to accelerate efforts both within the EU and in other parts of the
world to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2030. These conclusions urged Member
States to raise the national level of ambition and actively integrate Agenda
2030 into national policies, budgetary frameworks, planning tools and
strategies. Ahead of the new Commission's accession on 1 December 2019,
President Ursula von der Leyen presented the political guidelines for the
Commission's work 2019-2024. The policy guidelines contain six overall
ambitions that clearly use the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a compass.
In the Commission Work Program for 2020 presented on January 29, 2020, the
Commission reaffirms that its work will be guided by Agenda 2030 and that the SDGs
will be at the heart of political decision-making and guide all work in all
areas, both in and outside the EU. Sweden will actively take part in efforts
towards integrating the SDGs in the six priority areas, not least the European
Furthermore, the EU's common foreign
and security policy, including the implementation of the EU's global strategy
and the strategy for resilience in the EU's external action, is important for
the implementation of Agenda 2030. Within the EU's common security and defense
policy, Sweden has worked for a strengthened capacity for civilian and military
crisis management. The Council of Europe's activities are increasingly linked
to Agenda 2030. This also applies in key areas such as human rights, democracy
and the rule of law. Another example of Sweden's contribution to sustainability
work within the Union is the EU decision in March 2017 on the EU emissions
trading system. The new system is aligned with the Paris Agreement and
Objective 13 on combating climate change in Agenda 2030.
This Country Profile has been last updated on: Thursday, 07 May 2020
For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.
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