A little girl on a field during golden hour.

Sustainable Development Goals - Action plan for a sustainable future

17 global goals for a better world – that is the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, a plan of action for a sustainable future for our planet and generations to come. Sweden’s environmental objectives address national challenges, specifically with respect to environmental sustainability.

What is the Agenda 2030?

In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution containing 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, for a better world: Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. More detailed specified in 169 targets and 231 global indicators, the goals address the three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental. No goal can be achieved at the expense of another one – and success is required in all areas for the goals to be reached.

Sweden’s environmental objectives for achieving the Global Goals

As Sweden’s environmental objectives were established by the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament), they set the tone for national initiatives. The environmental objectives are well established since many years and more precise in terms of the quality required for a healthy environment than the goals in Agenda 2030. This level of detail is necessary for monitoring environmental progress and, in doing so, understanding what measures to prioritise.

Covering all three dimensions of sustainability, Agenda 2030 strengthens environmental initiatives, creates opportunities for innovative thinking, and encourages work in new constellations. 

We need both national and global transformation

To reach the Global Goals and the national environmental objectives, transformation is needed in society – both nationally and globally. This requires a transition towards sustainable consumption and production processes. In this way, we can limit climate change and preserve the functions of ecosystems, so that we, and future generations, can utilise their services.

No country or group must be left outside the development process. This is why the implementation of Agenda 2030 requires global solidarity, emphasizing the responsibility of nations to help reduce environmental problems in other countries.

Ensuring implementation of the Global Goals

Monitoring of the implementation of Agenda 2030 is carried out by the UN and progress is reported on annually during the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, HLPF.

To better reflect the national context and challenges, each country can produce its own supplementary indicators. They also have the option to produce a Voluntary National Review to present at the HLPF. The Swedish Government presented its first Voluntary National Review at the 2017 HLPF. The review shows that while Sweden had a favourable starting point, it faces some significant challenges.

Statistics Sweden, SCB, has been assigned to coordinate statistical monitoring to determine how Sweden meets the 17 SDGs and the 169 targets in Agenda 2030.

How the Swedish EPA contributes to the Global Goals

The work of the Swedish EPA is based on Sweden’s environmental objectives and its outdoor recreation objectives. The environmental objectives address the environmental dimension in Agenda 2030, while the outdoor recreation objectives relate to the environmental, social and economic dimensions. 

The Swedish EPA is involved in cooperation nationally, within the EU, and globally. We work in cooperation with other government agencies, municipalities, the private sector, and organisations on reaching the environmental objectives and the SDGs.

The Director General of the Swedish EPA and the equivalents of around 80 other government agencies are working together to implement Agenda 2030 in Sweden within the framework of the DG Forum. In a joint letter of intent, the DGs have expressed their intention to contribute to the implementation of Agenda 2030 by integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development into their activities based on their respective core missions. Since the beginning of 2020, the Public Health Agency of Sweden has had responsibility for coordinating the DG Forum’s activities.