Basic Information
Year of approval of the SD strategy and updates

The first National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSDS) was adopted by the Government in 2002 and implemented as a National Plan for Sustainable Development (SD) in 2004. A new NSDS was presented to the Norwegian Parliament as a chapter in the National Budget for 2008. The strategy was updated in 2011. In all subsequent National Budgets since 2007, the Government’s follow up of the NSDS has been reported in a separate chapter. All ministries and Statistics Norway contribute to the reporting.

Type of SD strategy

The NSDS covers both the economic, the environmental and the social dimension of SD. A set of SD indicators was developed in 2005, and has been developed since. The set, now consisting of 17 indicators, is is used to monitor the development. The ministries use the indicator set in their reports on sustainable development issues. Statistics Norway has a key role in the monitoring process through an annual report on developments in the indicators and an analysis of underlying factors behind changes.

Lead ministry/institution in the SD strategy process
Link to the SD strategy document

No information available. 

Further information about the SD strategy process

No information available. 

Agenda 2030 Implementation

No information available. 

Leading Ministry and respective unit

No information available. 

Other ministries involved

No information available. 

Main contact point for the implementation process

No information available. 

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

No information available. 

Voluntary National Reviews

Norway submited its first Voluntary National Review in 2016.

Norwas submitted its second VNR in 2021.

Vertical Integration

Implementation of national SD priorities at the regional and local levels of governance is achieved through a strategic network named ‘Vital Municipalities’. It has to a large degree replaced the former LA21 processes. Vital Municipalities is an agreement on cooperation between the National Association of Local and Regional Authorities (NALRA) and the Ministry of the Environment. A supplementary agreement named “Green Energy Municipalities” has been implemented between the Government and 21 municipalities and 1 county. See a more detailed description of the initiatives under “Sub-national activities” below.

Horizontal Integration

The Ministry of Finance has a secretariat that handles sustainable development issues, both domestically and abroad.


The Government presented a new, updated NSDS – The Norwegian Strategy for Sustainable Development – in the National Budget 2008. It has later been updated in 2011. The intention behind the strategy is to guide sustainable development efforts by the authorities, municipalities, NGOs, companies and individuals. It is also intended to mobilise support for joint efforts.

The strategy focuses on how Norway can contribute to sustainable development globally and achieve sustainability nationally. Clear objectives and appurtenant indicators is important in order to make challenges visible, and to raise support for necessary measures. Norway’s SD strategy focuses on seven policy areas covering environmental, economic and social challenges:

  1. International cooperation to promote sustainable development and combat poverty
  2. Climate change, the ozone layer and long-range air pollution
  3. Biodiversity and cultural heritage
  4. Natural resources
  5. Hazardous chemicals
  6. Sustainable economic and social development
  7. Sami perspectives on environmental and natural resource management.

As part of the process of developing the new strategy, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance initiated a peer review of the Norwegian NSDS. It was conducted by a group of Swedish experts, with support from a representative from Uganda on trade and aid. The group delivered its report "A Peer Review of Norway's Policy for Sustainable Development" in 2007. The report has been supplemented with a foreword by the Minister of Finance and a short summary (pp 11-13) that describes how the recommendations from the review team is followed up in the new strategy. 

A summary of the peer review process was distributed at the ESDN Conference 2007 in Berlin.

In the process of revising the NSDS in 2011, stakeholders were invited to comment on to what extent the current way of reporting on SD had an appropriate form with respect to the need of local government, NGOs, industry and the public. Moreover, stakeholders were asked whether the reporting and selected indicators at the time reflected new knowledge on central areas of development. Finally, the revision also invited stakeholders to reflect on the discussion of indicators for well-being.  Nearly 40 organisations gave written comments during the process.

Report on Policy Coherence for Development 2016

The report analyses the effects of Norwegian policies on development as they relate to each of the targets under SDG 16 on Peaceful and Inclusive Societies. The main objective of Norway’s development cooperation is to assist developing countries in promoting their own economic and social development. Norwegian policy in areas that are not targeted at development is primarily intended to promote Norway’s own welfare and security. Nevertheless, policy in these areas can also have repercussions for living conditions in poor countries and for global issues that affect all countries. Policy coherence for development means that when promoting national interests, Norway should seek to avoid undermining development in poor countries, and – where possible – to enhance development in these countries. This involves identifying and realizing synergies between development policy and other national and foreign policy. Policy coherence for development also increasingly involves ensuring that national policies promote global public goods that benefit all countries, not least the poorest, for example in the area of climate change and the environment.


The Norwegian SDI set is rooted on the so-called ‘capital approach’ which places the concept of ‘welfare’, measured as ‘National Wealth’ in a wider sense, at the centre.

A set of national indicators has been developed covering the seven policy areas in the SD strategy. The set consists of 17 indicators for assessing whether development trends in different areas are progressing in a sustainable direction. Two indicators, standards of maintenance of protected buildings and income distribution, have been added since the initial set was elaborated in 2005 ('Indicators for Policies to Enhance Sustainable Development'). Also, changes have been made to some of the other indicators to make them more politically relevant. In the revision in 2011 some further adjustments to the current set were done. In addition, a couple of the indicators covering biodiversity were replaced by a Nature Index. 

The updated indicator set can be found in chapter 6 of the National Budget 2012 (in Norwegian).


To ensure that the Government's sustainable development strategy becomes a basis for decision-making in both the public and the private sector, the Government is pursuing a policy to encourage industry, NGOs, the public administration, schools, educational institutions and individuals to participate.

Subnational Activities

Regional (SD) Strategies:

All the 19 counties in Norway were among the first to sign up to the Local Agenda 21 initiative. A few of the counties, like Nordland and Akershus, also developed county-level Local Agenda 21 strategies. Though most of the LA21 activities have been at the municipal level, the regional project in Nordland, which supports local processes, is one of very few activities where the LA21 concept is still actively used. 

LA 21 initiatives:

The concept ‘Local Agenda 21’ with its broad and participatory approach has lost much momentum over the last years in Norway, as in many other countries. In practice, references to Local Agenda 21 are now seldom made. Instead, there are now two nationally coordinated SD projects at the local level: ‘Vital Municipalities’, which has replaced much of the focus on LA 21 and a supplementary agreement named ‘Green Energy Municipalities’.

  • ‘Vital Municipalities’ is an agreement on cooperation between the National Association of Local and Regional Authorities (NALRA) and the Ministry of the Environment. The agreement was signed in 2006 and runs for a 5 year period (from 2006-2010). It was signed before the new NSDS strategy, but is referred to in the NSDS. More than 200 municipalities take part in the network, close to 50 per cent of all Norwegian municipalities (status: mid-2008). The goal was to include 200 of the 430 Norwegian municipalities. The municipalities taking part in this network have to direct attention to one or two topics central to one of the three dimensions of SD. Energy and climate is the most popular topic.

‘Green Energy Municipalities’ is an agreement between the local authorities and the Government (represented by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Ministry of the Environment). The program was established early 2007 and 21 municipalities and 1 county are designated to participate. The program’s goal is to make municipalities support work on energy efficiency, renewable energy, such as bio-energy, and to reduce green house gas emission.

About 70 per cent of the municipalities made a commitment to LA21 by signing the ‘Fredrikstad declaration’. About 40 per cent had some kind of LA21 activities in 2003-2004. Much of the LA21 activities withered after the national support programme were terminated from 2001. 


The municipalities participate (e.g. by political and administrative leadership, and other relevant personnel from the municipal administration). Stakeholders from regions, business, labour, environmental organisations etc., mostly from the central level, participate in the network gatherings, referred to as “learning arenas“. A similar mix of stakeholders takes part in the local work.