SINGLE COUNTRY PROFILE

Basic Information
Year of approval of the SD strategy and updates

Iceland does not have a National Sustainable Development Strategy, but uses Agenda 2030 as an umbrella for essential national strategies. Iceland has also focused on integrating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into the five-year financial plans. By linking the goals to government policies, the government wants the implementation to be more specific and provide better investment opportunities.

Type of SD strategy

Iceland has set 65 priority targets that are implemented through targets set for various policy areas in the government’s five-year fiscal strategy and various other government policies and programmes.

Lead ministry/institution in the SD strategy process

The Prime Minister´s Office and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Link to the SD strategy document

Iceland does not have a National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Further information about the SD strategy process

Information on Iceland's overall work towards the SDGs (in English and in Icelandic).

Iceland's data for Sustainable Development Goal indicators (in English and in Icelandic). 

 

Agenda 2030 Implementation

Iceland has set 65 priority targets that are implemented through targets set for various policy areas in the government’s five-year fiscal strategy and various other government policies and programmes. To improve efficiency and oversight in policy formulation and planning, it was decided to set priority targets. It is, however, important to note that the priority targets do not exclude work on implementing other targets.

Leading Ministry and respective unit

The Prime Minister’s Office is responsible for national implementation and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the international representation of Iceland.

Other ministries involved

All ministries are involved along with Statistics Iceland, the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities and the Parliament.

Main contact point for the implementation process

Ásta Bjarnadóttir (asta.bjarnadottir@for.is)

Links to main websites/documents on national implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs
Vertical Integration

Implementation of the SDGs by the Icelandic authorities is the task of both administrative levels, the state, on the one hand, and local authorities, on the other. The Association of Local Authorities has a representative in the government’s SDG working group. With the involvement of the Association, the introduction of SDGs is approached as a joint project of the state and municipalities, as they have an important role for successful implementation of the SDGs.

A task force at the national level is to be created to strengthen the vertical coordination of the SDGs. The task force will be comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Local Governments, the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, Statistics Iceland, and the government’s working group for the SDGs. One of its main tasks is to secure data for a specific set of indicators for the municipalities.

Horizontal Integration

A working group consisting of representatives from all ministries, the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland,Statistics Iceland and the Parliament, as well as observers from the Youth Council for the SDGs and the UN Association in Iceland has been working on the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals since 2017. The representative of the Prime Minister’s Office is chairman of the group and the Foreign Ministry’s representative vice-chairman.

According to the government’s decision, the principal task of the working group initially was to analyse the status of the targets for the SDGs, draft a status report with proposals on prioritisation of targets for the government, and set forth proposals for future arrangements and procedures in connection with the implementation of the goals in Iceland. In particular, the SDG working group was to look at how to integrate the implementation of the SDGs with government policy and planning and how to work on implementation of the goals in cooperation with domestic stakeholders.

Review

From the outset, Statistics Iceland has had a representative in the SDG working group to provide advice and support, not least in the basic work required to lay the cornerstone for the SDG statistics. Statistics Iceland now manages the structure of the SDG statistics in Iceland.

The working group initially turned to various institutions to find reliable data sources and examine where data might be lacking. The working group concluded an agreement with ISS of the University of Iceland on quality evaluation of the data available, to ensure that the data is internationally comparable and that that all indicators are clearly defined. The analysis was carried out by a broad network of Icelandic scholars, based on the work of the leading experts in each subject area. The outcome of this work was a detailed report on evaluation of the data and databases related to the SDGs, which proved to be a solid basis for further statistical work. 

The working group’s national status report was published in June 2018 and provides insight into Iceland’s position vis-à-vis the targets in both the domestic and international arena. The first Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on Iceland was based to a considerable extent on that work. In preparation for the VNR, the government’s SDG working group cooperated and consulted with various parties on the analysis, implementation and presentation of Iceland’s position relative to the goals. In addition to the afore-mentioned consultation with the University of Iceland, both bilateral and open meetings were organised, as well as conferences on the SDGs with participation from the private sector and civil society. This VNR report was also made available in the government’s electronic consultation portal (www.samradsgatt.is) to encourage public debate and invite the opinions of various parties. These opinions were taken into account in writing the final report.

Indicators

Statistic Iceland launched a website in late 2019 with the Icelandic data for the UN indicators (in English and in Icelandic)

Participation

The government’s SDG working group has cooperated and consulted with various parties on the analysis, implementation and presentation of Iceland’s position relative to the goals. In addition to a consultation with the University of Iceland, both bilateral and open meetings have been organised, as well as conferences on the SDGs with participation from the private sector and civil society.

In 2019 the working group launched an information portal on the SDGs (only available in Icelandic).

Subnational Activities

The Association of Local Authorities has the role of integrator and co-ordinator at a local government level. In formulating its strategy for 2018-2022, the Association of Local Authorities emphasises awareness raising of the SDGs among municipalities, as well as active dissemination of information and advice on implementation.

These main threads in its strategy were drafted in part in consultation with the government’s working group.