The UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world's shared plan of action to ensure social justice, good health, and to stop climate change and the loss of natural diversity. Particular emphasis is placed on seeing the environment, the economy and social development as a whole, and on access to legal protection for all, with well-functioning, responsible and inclusive institutions in all areas.

- The Sustainable Development Goals affect all aspects of the local government sector's work. The UN itself has estimated that two-thirds of the 169 sub-goals can only be achieved with active involvement of the local government sector. KS therefore expects the government to actively involve and listen to the local government sector in its further work on the action plan”, says Bjørn Arild Gram, president of KS.

KS supports the municipalities in their work

Many municipalities and county authorities base their strategic planning efforts on the SDGs, both to ensure sustainable service provision and future-oriented local and regional development. This is also in line with national expectations for regional and municipal planning 2019 - 2023. In dialogue with its members, KS has looked at how we can motivate, support and encourage members' work to develop innovative and good services for citizens and inclusive communities through the SDGs. Efforts are being made to translate the global goals into a local context, develop measurement systems for progress, create arenas for networking and sharing of experiences, as well as encouraging political commitment, willingness to change and citizens acceptance.

Partnership is necessary

To succeed with the Sustainable Development Goals, new and strong partnerships are needed. Authorities, business and civil society must work together to achieve sustainable development. The municipalities already cooperate with the business community, with universities and colleges, with NGOs and citizens to create a greener and more sustainable society so that welfare can be preserved. A united local government sector has sustainable development as a general goal.

The Sustainability Boost

The initiative ‘The Sustainability Boost’ is a joint effort that is based on the enormous pace of work in the municipalities and counties. Here, several municipalities, county authorities, organizations and companies together with KS have initiated cooperation with the UN on the smart and sustainable development of cities and communities. The purpose is to unite forces so that Norway can achieve the ambitions of Agenda 2030. Everyone who can and will help will be invited – across sectors. Results and solutions from Norway can contribute to sustainable value creation nationally through the transfer of knowledge and provide solutions to cities and communities throughout the world.

- The local government sector's ambitions for achieving the goals of sustainable development and the lessons learned from the broad commitment to the Sustainability Boost will be a good starting point for the work on a national action plan. Through their involvement with the Sustainable Development Goals, Norwegian municipalities and county authorities have gained considerable experience and knowledge that can be shared with national authorities. The local government sector is ready to contribute to the work on a national action plan, says Gram.