Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development consists of 17 global goals for a better world. It is an action plan for the prosperity of the people and the planet. Sweden's environmental objectives address the ecological dimension of the global sustainability goals on a national level.
In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution with 17 global goals for a better world: Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The goals are specified in 169 targets. Agenda 2030 is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. The global sustainable development goals are integrated and indivisible. The three dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, social and environmental – are all equally important.
Sweden's environmental objectives have been decided by the Riksdag and constitute the national objectives that contribute to us attaining the environmental dimension of the global sustainable development goals set out in Agenda 2030. At the same time, Agenda 2030 can also revitalise and provide new conditions to implement and achieve the Swedish environmental objectives.
Sweden's environmental objectives specify in concrete terms what Sweden must do, nationally and internationally, to contribute to realising the environmental dimension of Agenda 2030. The 16 environmental quality objectives are significantly more detailed when it comes to the environmental quality required for a good environment in relation to the goals of Agenda 2030. However, Sweden's environmental objectives relate to the quality of the Swedish environment, even though environmental problems in Sweden are due to negative environmental impact both within and outside the national borders.
In order to attain the Swedish environmental objectives, the structures governing the environmental efforts need to be developed further with the help of priorities made throughout society, intermediate goals and concrete plans of action.
In order to reach the global goals and the Swedish environmental objectives, our society needs to undergo a transition, both nationally and globally. It will also require transitioning to more sustainable consumption and production in order to limit climate change and preserve the function of the ecosystem so that we, as well as coming generations, can benefit from it.
The Agenda emphasises a global partnership and global solidarity. In doing so, Agenda 2030 reinforces the responsibility to contribute to the reduction of environmental problems also in other countries.
In making choices for a sustainable transition of society, pros and cons need to be weighed in terms of the environmental, social and economic dimensions. It will be necessary to actively look for new constellations and collaboration formats in order to find synergies and manage conflicting goals in order to speed up the transition.
The work within the United Nations (UN) on Agenda 2030 and international conventions thus supports Sweden's efforts to attain the Swedish environmental objectives, and vice versa. The global sustainability goals and the environmental quality objectives are mutually reinforcing transition. Agenda 2030 can also reinvigorate the environmental efforts and opportunities for innovative thinking and working in new constellations, where the three dimensions of the Agenda can amplify one another. The determination of world leaders to take bold and transformative steps to implement the Agenda makes new international priorities and measures possible. In the long term, this may result in new conditions in the public and private sectors in terms of what can be achieved by developing technologies and markets.
A transparent and integral framework for follow-up and review under the UN is being developed. This framework is intended to contribute to the implementation of Agenda 2030, where the follow-up of the global development is produced under the direction of the UN and presented in a progress report to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Decisions have been made regarding 232 unique global indicators for follow-up of the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Each country may also formulate its own supplementary indicator and present a national progress report to the meeting of the HLPF. Following a Government commission, Statistics Sweden has presented the Government with a proposal of such national indicators. The Government presented a national progress report at the HLPF meeting in 2017. This report shows that Sweden has favourable conditions as well as important challenges ahead.
As of 2017, the annual follow-up of the national environmental objectives accounts for how the year's initiatives per environmental quality objective contribute to reaching the global goals. However, the details of how the national follow-up of Agenda 2030 is to be integrated with the national follow-up of Sweden's environmental objectives are unclear.
Sweden's environmental objectives and the outdoor recreation objectives provide the foundation for the work of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Sweden's environmental objectives contribute to the environmental dimension, while the outdoor recreation objectives relate to the environmental, social and economic dimensions of Agenda 2030. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is involved in collaboration, nationally and within the EU, with government agencies, municipalities, industry and other organisations, both within the framework of the environmental objectives and to promote the global goals.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency drives and coordinates efforts to achieve Sweden's environmental objectives together with others, for example via the Environmental Objectives Council and in-depth evaluations of the environmental objectives. One example of this is the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency submitting 33 proposals for measures to the Government in the in-depth evaluation of 2015. The evaluation was based on documentation provided by some 20 government agency and other stakeholders.
Together with the Director-Generals of some 50 government agencies, the Director-General of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is part of a network for the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Sweden. These agency heads have declared their intention to contribute to the realisation of Agenda 2030 by integrating the three sustainability dimensions in their activities based on their core missions.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has also, like several other government agencies, contributed documentation for Sweden's implementation of Agenda 2030 in a number of government commissions, also referred to as the survey commissions.
The initiatives of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency primarily contribute to the sustainability objectives relating to biodiversity, climate, health and sustainable consumption, but they are also important to the objectives concerning an inclusive society, sustainable cities and sustainable industry.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency integrates Agenda 2030 into the international efforts. Agenda 2030 is taken into consideration within bilateral and multilateral measures, as well as other international processes that we are involved in, for example within the climate convention, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has extensive experience and substantial expertise in environmental administration and governance. We share these through education and exchange of experiences in support of countries that need to improve their capacity for the national implementation of Agenda 2030.