Advancing sustainability work in Nordic municipalities


How can municipalities share knowledge and good examples of how to work with Agenda 2030 and the SDGs? This was discussed at a recent workshop and matchmaking event for Nordic municipalities, arranged by the SDSN member Nordregio. Together with the Swedish municipality of Strängnäs, the SDSN Northern Europe secretariat attended the event contributing with a workshop on the use of the SDG Impact Assessment Tool in a municipality context.

Municipalities have a crucial role to play in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs in Nordic countries. Municipalities implement many of the national political decisions. They are also the ones that plan and perform activities like social services, construction of infrastructure and housing, and waste and environmental management.

To implement the SDGs on a local level, the Nordic Council of Ministers wants to speed up knowledge sharing among municipalities across national borders. Acting on this, Nordregio gathered representatives from about 15 municipalities from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Åland in Stockholm on the 13-14 October to build relationships with each other and share knowledge and good examples of work for sustainable development. The two days event included pitches and workshops on the topics of Governance, steering, and indicators; Engaging citizens and stakeholders; and Climate policies and the SDGs as well as in-depth matchmaking activities.

“Without the engagement of municipalities, the Nordic countries will not reach the SDGs. Therefore, we welcome initiatives like this and are happy to have been invited”, says Martin Eriksson, the network manager of SDSN Northern Europe.

At the event, Martin Eriksson and Hilda Klingvall from the SDSN Northern Europe secretariat and Anders Härnbro from Strängnäs municipality presented the SDG Impact Assessment Tool. The participants were able to test the tool in a workshop and Anders explained how Strängnäs used it.

“Based on the tool, we developed a methodological process to evaluate the impact on the SDGs that suits our operations. Then we used the tool to evaluate the construction of an old people’s home, procurement of food in the municipality, and the construction of a new highway connection”, says Anders Härnbro.

Anders in front of an audience
Anders Härnbro from the Swedish municipality of Strängnäs talks about when they did an SDG impact assessment for a new departure from the motorway.

So, is the SDG Impact Assessment Tool of use for municipalities?

“After speaking to Anders and people from other municipalities, we believe that the tool can be a great resource for municipalities when evaluating different projects and initiatives at the local level. The event enabled us to identify more Nordic municipalities that want to test and evaluate if the tool can help them in their sustainability planning and their work. Hopefully, we can jointly design a process that makes the SDG Impact Assessment Tool a valuable resource to municipalities in the Nordics”, finishes Martin Eriksson.

Check out the freely available SDG Impact Assessment Tool >>

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