SINGLE COUNTRY PROFILE

Basic Information
Year of approval of the SD strategy and updates

The NSDS was approved by the Estonian Parliament in 2005.

Type of SD strategy

The NSDS covers the basic three dimensions of SD, plus the sustainability of Estonian culture.

  • The viability of the Estonian cultural space
  • The growth of welfare
  • A socially coherent society
  • Ecological balance
Lead ministry/institution in the SD strategy process

The Ministry of Environment was responsible for developing the NSDS. The implementation of the strategy is now coordinated by the Government Office in order to ensure better horizontal integration.

Link to the SD strategy document

In 2021, the long term strategy "Estonia 2035" was approved by the Parliament (https://valitsus.ee/en/estonia-2035-development-stategy/strategy/strategic-goals). The goal of the strategy is to provide a long-term sustainable direction for Estonia´s development.

In 2021, the list of sustainable development indicators were updated and published by the Statistics Office: https://tamm.stat.ee/kategooriad/uro-kestva-arengu-kava?lang=en

Further information about the SD strategy process

In the end of 2021, there will be published co-creation platform kesta.me (https://www.kesta.me/). The aim of the platform is to share relevant information about SDGs and Estonia 2035 and to bring together different stakeholders to join the challenges which contribute to the implementation of SDGs.

In autumn 2021 there will be organized the opinion journey for students to collect new ideas how to implement Estonia 2035 strategic goals.

Agenda 2030 Implementation

Estonia is devoted to the UN Agenda 2030 both domestically and internationally. In addition to the 17 SDGs, Estonia is also focusing on maintaining the viability of the Estonian cultural space pursuant to the “Sustainable Estonia 21” strategy. The SDGs are the basis for the “Estonia 2035” strategy that lays down Estonia’s long-term strategic objectives and relevant policy measures. The SDGs are also implemented by integrating them into government level development plans.

The implementation of SDGs is monitored through a mechanism based on Estonian sustainable development indicators and a regular data based reviews compiled by Statistics Estonia in co-operation with the Government Office and various ministries. The list of indicators was renewed in 2017 to harmonise it with global SDGs. All central governmental indicators are available in the online data-driven “Tree of Truth” that illustrates the status of the goals by governance areas.

Since adopting the UN Agenda 2030 Estonia is presenting the second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at UN 2020 HLPF in July 2020. The first review was presented in 2016. The preparation of the VNR was coordinated by the Government Office in cooperation with the inter-ministerial working group on sustainable development, the Commission for Sustainable Development, and several non-governmental organisations. It is based on the Government’s activity reports, data collected from non-governmental organisations and enterprises, and proposals from ministries and the Commission for Sustainable Development.

Estonia is using national coordination system for sustainable development issues. Commission for Sustainable Development  (established 1996) monitors the implementation of the Estonia’s Strategy on Sustainable Development and publishes appropriate reports, including making relevant proposals to the Government of the Republic to ensure the national long-term sustainable development. To improve the efficiency in implementing the Strategy on Sustainable Development, an inter-ministerial working group for sustainable development was created in 2008. The working group is headed by the Strategy Director and the members of the working group are representatives of ministries concerned with the implementation of the strategy.

Leading Ministry and respective unit

Government Office of Estonia

Other ministries involved

All ministries according to their field of responsibility

Main contact point for the implementation process

Eili Lepik

Government Office Strategy Unit

Eili.Lepik@riigikantselei.ee

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

Voluntary National Review 2016 and 2020.

Vertical Integration

No institutions are officially responsible for the vertical policy coordination, however the local Self-Government Unions are connected to the monitoring of the strategy through Estonian Commission on Sustainable Development (NCSD). The Commission on SD provides a forum for stakeholder involvement.

Local governments are involved in the Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities, which is a member of the Estonian Sustainable Development Commission.

Horizontal Integration
  1. The Commission for Sustainable Development (NCSD) provides a forum for stakeholder involvement and was most instrumental in the preparation of the NSDS. Representatives from national ministries and other governmental institutions participated in this Commission. Since 2009, the NCSD has been reformed in its functions and composition and has been announced as an independent body from the government. The Commission comprises of non-governmental stakeholders and the commission prepares analytical reports on different SD issues.
  2. An Inter-ministerial Working Group, comprising representatives of ministries and the Estonian Statistical Office, has been established in order to coordinate SD issues (e.g. implementation of the NSDS, National Progress Report of EU SDS implementation, SD indicators and monitoring, etc). The working group is chaired by the Strategy Director of the Government Office.
Review

The Inter-ministerial working group, headed from the Government Office prepares internal Progress reports of NSDS. The second report was published in 2009. Different SD issues are also addressed through studies and reports prepared by NCSD every year.

Estonia is among first 22 countries who prepared a national voluntary review in 2016 HLPF. In July 2020 Estonia presented the second review on implementation of Agenda 2030 and global sustainable development goals.  

Indicators

The goals of the four areas of sustainable development in Estonia – viability of the Estonian cultural space, growth of welfare, social cohesion and ecological balance – have been defined in the national strategy “Sustainable Estonia 21” adopted in 2005. In the framework of sustainable development, all those areas are observed as a whole, meaning that development cannot be sustainable if one area improves while the situation in another area deteriorates.

“Indicators of Sustainable Development” was published by Statistics Estonia in 2018. In the survey conducted in 2011–2012, Statistics Estonia mapped and analysed the relevance and quality of the indicators of sustainable development used in Estonia. The renewal of sustainable development indicators started in 2016. The aim was to enclose indicators that help to measure the achievements in the fields of SDG-s so the next indicator based reports on sustainable development will give information about performance in Estonian sustainable development goals and also global SDG-s. New list of indicators was composed in cooperation of inter-ministerial working group, Estonian Statistics Office and Estonian Sustainable Development Commission in 2021.

The indicators for sustainable development are updated quarterly and can be found on the website of the Estonian Statistical Office. The implementation of SDGs is monitored through a mechanism based on Estonian sustainable development indicators and a regular data based reviews compiled by Statistics Estonia in co-operation with the Government Office and various ministries. All central governmental indicators are available in the online data-driven “Tree of Truth” that illustrates the status of the goals by governance areas.

There are more than 100 indicators (incl. 11 key indicators) with their trends available on Eurostat’s website for measuring progress towards the goals of the EU sustainable development strategy both on the EU level and in individual Member States.

Participation

In 1996 The Estonian Commission on Sustainable Development was established. The Commission was led by the Prime Minister and co-chaired by the Minister of Economy and the Minister of Environment. The Commission was composed of 28 experts in the field SD, including representatives from government (6), parliament (5), governmental institutions (5), academia (9), business (1) and NGOs (2). The objectives of the Commission were to advise the Government on issues related to SD, develop different sectoral options and comments, present them to the national and local governments, and submit proposals for new legislation.

At present, the Commission consists of 22 representatives of different non-governmental organisations. The Strategy Unit in the Government Office acts as the secretariat of the Sustainable Development Commission and provides link to the government sector and to the Europe 2020 strategy. The NCSD helds regular meetings on crucial SD topics and forwards the result of these participatory discussions to the government. It also organises various events like SD conferences and ad-hoc events in crucial SD issues. In all these participation mechanisms the role of the NCSD is to increase ownership and serve as an information exchange platform for stakeholders. In 2016 NCSD launched a comparative analysis of Estonian Sustainable Development Strategy “Sustainable Estonia 21”, which gave answers on how much the Estonian strategy is in compliance with Agenda2030.

In April 2018, the Estonian Coalition for Sustainable development was founded by active stakeholders who want to do closer cooperation in implementing the SDG-s. The government Office and Ministry of Environment also joined the coalition. The Coalition is planning to create a web-based platform for better involving different actors from different sectors into SDG implementation. The Coalition is aimed for more practical issues – concrete cooperation projects and joint actions.

Since the SDGs are implemented on a national level through policymaking then it is important to have the SDGs integrated on a strategic level. In Estonia, all of the government level development plans have to be linked to the SDGs. Since 2018 we have been drafting long term strategy “Estonia 2035” which also takes into account the SDGs. The involvement process of Estonia 2035 has been very broad and different stakeholders and civil society have got the chance to influence the outcome and state the most important future goals.

Subnational Activities

On local government level, there has been four comprehensive SD initiatives that relate to Rio 1992 agreement and Alborg Charter from 1994 and which have led to led to composing SD action-plans (Local Agenda 21). These initiatives have involved different stakeholder groups. The strategies have been consulted with the public and adopted by the local city government. These four initiatives are:

  • Kuressaare Agenda 21 (adopted in 1997) 
  • Tartu Agenda 21 (adopted in 1998) 
  • Viljandi Agenda 21 (adopted in 2002) 
  • Pärnu Agenda 21 (adopted in 2004) 

Taking SD in broader sense, then lots of SD field initiatives and activities are implemented through general local development strategies and local budgets. Most of Estonian cities and local governments have developed their own long-term development strategies.

Participation of stakeholders in sub-national SD activities 

The general practice is that different stakeholder groups are involved in drafting the important strategies and action plans or they are consulted during the implementation process. As said before, not all the regions have their own SD strategies, but most of the SD issues are covered in general regional development strategies.

Evaluation and review mechanisms at the sub-national levels, also in the context of your NSDS (plus indicators used on sub-national level).

Concerning the Aalborg process, there are several local governments that have adopted the Aalborg Treaty – Tartu, Tallinn, Narva, Häädemeeste, Märjamaa. Local governments, which have joined the Aalborg Treaty, give the overview of the situation in the baseline review.

Mr. Ott Kasuri from the Association of Estonian Cities Ott.Kasuri@elvl.ee