Introduction to the 2030 Agenda

This training aims to provide you with insight into how you can help achieve the Global Goals of the 2030 Agenda, a universal agenda for driving change towards a sustainable society. The training is mainly intended for government employees, but of course, it can also be useful for others.

The training consists of four sections and takes 20-30 minutes to complete.

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1/4 - Learn about the global goals

What is the 2030 Agenda?

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution 70/1 “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The Agenda asserts that by 2030, the countries of the world are committed to eradicating poverty and hunger, fighting inequalities and building peaceful, equitable and inclusive societies. Other commitments include realising human rights, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls; and ensuring that the planet and its natural resources remain protected in the long term. The 2030 Agenda delegation has described the agenda as “the global community’s current definition of what sustainable development means”.



The political declaration is based on numerous declarations and resolutions agreed on and signed by United Nations Member States.

The most important of these include the Beijing Platform for Action / Fourth World Conference on Women’s Rights (1995), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).


The 2030 Agenda includes 17 goals and 169 targets. Together, they balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental. A key element of the Agenda is that it will be implemented in partnerships between governments, the private sector, civil society, and the UN system. Implementation is also to be done in solidarity with those who live in poverty and vulnerability across the globe. No one will be left behind.


Funding is crucial for our success in realising the 2030 Agenda. Individual countries have the primary responsibility towards their citizens to implement the 2030 Agenda. The international community has a particular and shared responsibility for countries facing the greatest challenges and those with the weakest institutions.


How can we follow Sweden’s progress towards implementing the 2030 Agenda? Naturally, there is a follow-up included - at the international, national and local level. The UN has developed a global indicator framework, and each country regularly reports on developments to the UN. In addition to the formal reporting, other regular follow-ups are also done at the local level. These consist of compilations, comparisons and ranking lists of the efforts by municipalities and regions.

Statistics Sweden has been tasked with coordinating the statistical follow-up on how Sweden will reach the 17 goals and 169 targets in the 2030 Agenda. These efforts are carried out in close cooperation with various other Swedish authorities and with support from other actors, such as civil society. Progress is tracked by global indicators decided by the UN and by national indicators produced by Statistics Sweden and a number of other authorities. At the global level, the goals are tracked by more than 230 indicators. An additional 50 nationally adapted indicators are used for the national follow-up.

In addition to the global and national indicators, the Council for the Promotion of Municipal Analysis (Rådet för främjande av kommunala analyser) has selected some 50 key indicators that can support municipalities and regions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Work to improve follow-up of the 2030 Agenda at the global and national level is ongoing. This means that both indicators and data sources are continuously refined and developed.

These are the 17 global goals

Which of the 17 goals makes your heart beat a little faster? What goals are relevant to your agency?

Click on the goals to learn more

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 3

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Goal 4

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Goal 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 6

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Goal 7

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Goal 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Goal 9

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

Goal 10

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Goal 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Goal 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 14

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Goal 15

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Goal 16

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Goal 17

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.


The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are integrated and indivisible, which means that no goal can be achieved in isolation. In fact, achieving one goal makes it easier to achieve others. For example, if more people have access to clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), better conditions are created for human health (Goal 3). One concrete outcome is that when the health of children improves, more children can attend school.

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have clearly shown how all aspects of sustainability are linked, as well as the importance of global collaboration. In short, the direction pointed out by the 2030 Agenda is more important than ever.

We need a holistic approach and cross-sectoral coordination to achieve our goals. Therefore, we cannot work on the 2030 Agenda in silos or as an isolated project. Instead, we must integrate the Agenda into various projects and activities.



Do we really need the 2030 Agenda? Are we not already more advanced than other countries when it comes to sustainability?

It is true that Sweden is advanced when it comes to many aspects of sustainable development. However, achieving the goals in the 2030 Agenda still means that we are facing a major transformation. This is the “decade of action”. We have less than ten years to reach the goal of a sustainable society.

True OR False?

Respond to the statements below to unlock the next section.

Sweden will not achieve the goal of zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045, given the existing control mean and measures implemented today. More reforms will be required.

Domestic carbon dioxide emissions are decreasing, but not at the rate required to meet the goals. Swedish consumption also contributes to emissions abroad.

The proportion of people living in severe material deprivation has declined in Sweden and is now the lowest in Europe.

However, some groups still suffer from economic inequality, for example, foreign born persons and unemployed persons.

The gender pay gap has narrowed in the 2000s.

In 2000, women’s income was 76.6 percent of men’s income. In 2010, ten years later, the corresponding figure was 79.5 percent. However, in the last two years the gains have been minor, from 82.3 percent in 2016 to 82.6 percent in 2018.

Since the 2002 general elections, voter turnout in Sweden has dropped.

Since the 2002 elections, turnout in Swedish general elections has increased with each election. In the 2018 general elections, voter turnout was at 87 percent. Swedish voter turnout is high when viewed from an international perspective, but it is uneven. Voter turnout differs by 15-17 percent between those born in Sweden and abroad, between levels of education, and between those with high and low income.

2/4 - The 2030 Agenda means change

The clock is ticking

Sweden is well-placed to achieve the Global Goals. In general, we rate well in international comparisons, for example by having a well-developed tax system and stable public finances. Yet there is no lack of challenges.

Unequally distributed issues

Many problems in society affect people unequally. Here are some examples.

  • People with disabilities have a harder time finding jobs than the rest of the population.
  • Overcrowded living situations mainly affects foreign-born people with a non-European background.
  • Election turnout is high but unevenly distributed between native and foreign born persons, high and low educated persons and between people with high and low income.
  • Men are more exposed to violence than women, but women are more exposed to sexual offenses.
  • Swedish pupils are improving their reading comprehension and mathematics skills and the proportion of young people who neither work nor study is dropping. At the same time, more young girls and boys are being bullied.
  • Suicides are decreasing slightly, but have increased in the younger age groups in the 2000s.
  • More women than men have reduced mental well-being, and younger women are faring the worst.

Objectives and statistics

The number of countries in the world that drafted and adopted the 2030 Agenda is 193.
Sweden’s greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 26 percent since 1990. The largest reduction occurred between 2003 and 2014, but the rate of change has now slowed.
In 2010, women spent an average of 45 minutes more per day than men on unpaid work.
Sweden has already achieved the goal of at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2020. According to preliminary statistics, the share of renewable energy in 2018 was about 55 percent.

Sweden’s greatest challenges

Inequalities between groups

Economic inequality is not decreasing. There are also inequalities in the areas of health, housing and exposure to violence.

The national environmental objectives

It remains unclear how Sweden will manage to achieve many of the national environmental goals.

Violence, abuse and bullying

Violence and abuse are not diminishing. More young people are being bullied.

The government has overall responsibility

While the Government is ultimately responsible for Sweden’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda, government agencies also play an important role.

It is up to the government agencies to implement the Agenda in concrete terms, in collaboration with municipalities and regions. In fact, one could say that you are already working directly with the 2030 Agenda. Many of the national goals, decided by the Riksdag, are often more ambitious than the Global Goals.

Your agency and all other government agencies make it possible for other community actors to contribute by developing guidelines and making decisions geared towards sustainable development.

The Public Service Ethos

Most likely you are familiar with the Common Basic Values for central government employees. If not, you will have the opportunity to acquaint yourself with them now. The purpose of the Common Basic Values is to ensure public administration that is efficient, based on the rule of law and free from corruption and abuse of power. It consists of six principles.

On the other hand, you may not be familiar with how the Common Basic Values are linked to the 2030 Agenda. What do they have in common? In fact, each principle in the Common Basic Values is directly linked to a target in the Agenda.

Click on the different values to see the link

Free opionion formation
Respect for equal value, freedom and dignity
Efficiency and service
Common Basic Value:


You work in the service of our citizens and ensure that decisions taken by the Riksdag and the Government become reality. You conduct yourself in a way that helps to build and maintain trust in the authorities and in the State.

Linked to:

Target 16.7

Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

Common Basic Value:


You are familiar with and abide by the laws and regulations that apply. The principle of legality means that activities carried out by government agencies are governed by the rule of law.

Linked to:

Target 16.3

Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

Common Basic Value:


People must be able to trust that, as a government employee, you act objectively and impartially. Therefore, you take into account any conflicts of interest that may arise. This means that you report any sideline job and conflict of interest to your employer and you clearly act in a non-corrupt way.

Linked to:

Target 16.5

Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

Common Basic Value:

Free opionion formation

Openness is a basic principle of democracy. Freedom of speech, freedom to disclose information and publicity apply. The government institutions are prohibited from investigating and from taking reprisals. This means that an employer is not permitted to seek out sources of information or whistle-blowers, nor punish anyone who has expressed critical opinions in the media.

Linked to:

Target 16.10

Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

Common Basic Value:

Respect for equal value, freedom and dignity

You treat all people equally and with respect. This means that you do not compromise on human rights or discriminate against anyone on grounds of gender, age, ethnicity or disability.

Linked to:

Target 16.b

Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

Common Basic Value:

Efficiency and service

You combine efficiency with service and accessibility. You inform, guide and advise in a simple and understandable way and as quickly as possible. You also perform your tasks efficiently and manage resources responsibly.

Linked to:

Target 16.6

Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

We have a shared responsibility

The 2030 Agenda emphasises that to achieve the goals, it is necessary that all social actors are involved and take a shared responsibility. The Agenda presupposes that attitudes and behaviours change, at both the individual and society level. Creating and developing a means of dialogue is needed for the Agenda to be implemented.

True or False?

The Common Basic Values consist of six principles. These principles reflect fundamental requirements in the Instrument of Government and other laws on the authorities and government employees.

The Instrument of Government and other laws provide the external framework for all government activities. Together, they reflect the principles that unite government employees, regardless of function and occupation.

There is a direct link between the Common Basic Values and your personal responsibility as a government employee.

As a government employee, you must follow the general rules, as well as the rules that are specific to your agency's activities.

The Common Basic Values aim to create government agencies that are efficient, legally certain and free from corruption and abuse of power.

The fact that you, as a government employee, adhere to the principles of the Common Basic Values in carrying out your tasks, also contributes to citizens’ confidence in Swedish government agencies.

3/4 - Your role as a government employee

As a government employee, you play an important role

You are needed for Sweden to succeed in its commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda. Your skills, experience, contact network and commitment are crucial both now and for future generations.

Change takes time. Everyone must work towards the same goal to speed up the rate of change. As a government employee, you have great potential to contribute to new and innovative processes and paths to achieve the goals in the 2030 Agenda. In this way, Sweden can become a model country that other countries want to emulate.


What is needed to implement the 2030 Agenda? A decisive factor is the need for all parts of society to be involved and to cooperate. This can be illustrated by eight building blocks that represent essential structures, processes and working methods. All the building blocks are connected, and all are equally important. As an individual employee, you can make a difference by contributing to any of the building blocks.



You may be wondering whether you, as an individual civil servant, can really make a difference in the work on the 2030 Agenda. The answer is unequivocally YES, you can! Here are a few tips on what you can do in your workplace.


  • Read about the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Learn about work on the 2030 Agenda in your own workplace.
  • Find out how your responsibilities relate to the 2030 Agenda.


  • Together with your manager, draw up an individual action plan based on your agency’s needs and conditions.
  • Find an issue you are passionate about and initiate a dialogue at unit and staff meetings or workplace meetings to guide the work of the unit, department or agency towards any of the goals in the 2030 Agenda.
  • Read the goals and strategy documents for your agency and see how they align with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Is there anything that needs to be adjusted or clarified?
  • Identify the Sustainable Development Goals your unit or agency is working on.
  • Explore networks and collaborations.
  • Investigate which collaborative projects and opportunities for development are relevant to the 2030 Agenda.


  • How can we apply the 2030 Agenda in our activities?
  • Which of the goals are most relevant to us and the field we work in?
  • How can our agency develop existing collaborations to contribute to the 2030 Agenda?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of starting collaborations with other authorities?
  • Are there any networks we can connect to at the local or national level?
  • Can you share examples of successful collaboration? How can we learn from these?
  • Can you share some good examples of working on the 2030 Agenda? Please describe.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the scope and design of the 2030 Agenda?
  • What obstacles can pose a challenge to work on the 2030 Agenda? How can we address them?


How well we manage to implement the 2030 Agenda in Sweden and achieve the Global Goals largely depends on how well various social partners cooperate. To achieve the goals effectively, government agencies and other stakeholders must coordinate their efforts.

Prerequisites for successful collaboration:

  • awareness that collaboration is crucial but not the sole solution to all problems
  • an understanding of the partner’s perspective
  • adequate resources
  • awareness that differences of opinion may arise - this is an inevitable part of cooperation
  • awareness that regulations can sometimes be an obstacle, perhaps because they are outdated and need updating.


There are already established networks and forums for collaboration between authorities. Here are a few of them.

DG Forum

In the DG Forum, government agencies hold a strategic dialogue at the management level. At the same time, the DG Forum also creates opportunities for collaboration, cooperation and partnerships at the operational level.

The starting point for the DG Forum is a joint letter of intent, in which the government agencies undertake to work together to help implement the 2030 Agenda. The letter of intent also states that efforts towards the implementation will take place within the framework of their respective core missions by integrating the three dimensions of sustainability, that is, the social, economic and environmental dimensions.


Under the 2030 Agenda, Sweden, like other high-income countries, is to support developing countries in strengthening their public institutions (target 16.6). Today, more than 40 Swedish government agencies are actively pursuing this. They contribute unique competence in their specific fields, as well as administrative knowledge based on democratic principles. The goal is to strengthen institutions in developing countries to benefit people living in poverty. The agencies have a number of networks that help streamline cooperation in areas such as the legal and health sector, tax and statistical areas or land rights. At an annual Authority Forum, current efforts, trends and synergies are discussed.


The Social Sustainability Forum is a forum that contributes to developing society in a socially sustainable way. Through an exchange of knowledge and experience, the Social Sustainability Forum helps reduce health inequalities and meet people’s basic needs and rights.

The Social Sustainability Forum is managed jointly by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and the Public Health Agency of Sweden.


The purpose of the County Administrative Board Network is to make it easier for individual county administrative boards to fulfil their mandate in the appropriation directions, and their role as regional main actor. Through the network, the county administrative boards aim to:

  • contribute to skills development, knowledge transfer and exchange of experience, for example through lectures based on the Government’s focus areas for the 2030 Agenda
  • contribute methodological support on how the county administrative boards can integrate the 2030 Agenda and cross-sectoral perspectives into their operations and with regard to various actors in the counties
  • participate in missions and initiatives that develop follow-up and evaluation of the global sustainability goals
  • have a dialogue with external partners, including the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.
All county administrative boards are now working on the 2030 Agenda. Although this is being done within the framework of existing operations, there are also many examples of new working methods and collaborations, often with a cross-sectoral focus, inspired by the 2030 Agenda.


Statistics Sweden brings together and coordinates a network of authorities, ministries and other organisations responsible for the production, development and availability of the indicators in the national statistical follow-up of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Sweden.

The members of this network cooperate actively both to improve national monitoring and to report data and statistics from Sweden at a global level. Active coordination and collaboration produce significant efficiency gains. Having specially appointed contact persons for Agenda follow-up at government agencies and ministries has been a success factor.


We hope that you now have a better understanding of the 2030 Agenda, and how important you and your colleagues are for its implementation. You may even have ideas on how you can work towards the goals of the Agenda in your own role. Don’t underestimate your ability to make a difference! Trust in the power of community. As a final step, you now have a chance to test your knowledge.


Once you have answered the questions below, you will have completed the training and will receive a diploma.
1. How many Global Goals are there in the 2030 Agenda?
2. How many countries in the world drafted and adopted the 2030 Agenda?
All 193 United Nations member countries
3. Which actors should be involved in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?
Governments, the private sector, civil society and the UN system
Politicians, business leaders and higher education institutions
Individuals, elected officials and MPs
4. At what levels is work towards the 2030 Agenda followed up?
Municipal, regional and national level
Private, public and national level
International, national and local level
5. What are the four components of the 2030 Agenda?
The political declaration, 17 Global Goals & 169 targets, funds, implementation
The political declaration, 17 Global Goals & 169 targets, funds, follow-up & evaluation
Increased knowledge, 17 Global Goals & 169 targets, funds, follow-up & evaluation
6. Which option is not one of the goals in the 2030 Agenda?
Ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of people of all ages
Reduce the capacity for implementation of the Global Goals in developing countries
Achieve equality and the empowerment of all women and girls
7. What are the main challenges in Sweden at present?
Homelessness, unemployment among young people and declining levels of achievement in school
Inequality between groups, the national environmental goals as well as violence, abuse and bullying
Financial resources in health care, lack of resources in the military defense and environmental work at local level
8. Which actor has the ultimate responsibility for Sweden’s efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda?
Government agencies
The Government
9. Which alternative does not form part of the Public Service Ethos?
Efficiency and service
10. Which conditions are highlighted as particularly important for achieving the Global Goals?
Increased collaboration and innovative working methods
Working in silos and treating the Agenda as an individual project
Focus on the individual activities and my agency's area of expertise
Show my result

4/4 - Final words

This is the decade of action

Thank you for taking the time to go through this training. We hope you enjoyed it and that it will come to good use.

Further reading

We hope that you now have a better grasp of the 2030 Agenda and what Sweden’s commitment means for you. You can learn more about the 2030 Agenda if you like. Below, we have collected links to the websites of various government agencies and organisations, as well as documents about the Agenda that we think may be of interest to you. Good luck!







Feel free to contact:

Muhanad Sammar
Statistician at Statistics Sweden and project manager for this training.