Implementation and Monitoring of the 2030 Agenda in Swedish Municipalities
Abstract: The 2030 Agenda consists of environmental, economic, and social perspectives with 17 universal sustainability goals with 169 targets for the world to meet by the year 2030. Sweden is historically known for its sustainability work, and the Swedish government decided to continue that work by making an action plan for the 2030 Agenda with the expectation that municipalities and regions will execute most of the work. The targets were initially presented with individual global indicators so that progress can be measured, the Swedish government decided to provide more useful indicators for the municipalities’ monitoring process. The problem is that most Swedish municipalities have not yet started to implement the Agenda even though there are only ten years left to accomplish it. There is a lack of research done on the 2030 Agenda on a municipal level, so it is difficult to know what is stopping municipalities from adopting the 2030 Agenda. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify crucial factors affecting the undertaking regarding the implementation and measurement of the 2030 Agenda for Swedish municipalities. Thirteen people representing the three segments; politicians, strategists, and operational offices, from five different municipalities, were interviewed for this study. The chosen municipalities were Gothenburg, Malmö, Umeå, Norrköping, and Västervik. The municipalities are at various stages of implementing the Agenda, and this provided a realistic and fair view of the crucial factors affecting them. These interviews were complemented with three pre-study interviews to, together with literature study, accommodate triangulation. All interviews were semi-structured to allow the interview subjects to speak freely about their view of the implementation and monitoring process regarding the Agenda. This study concludes that many factors are affecting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Depending on strength and weaknesses in each municipality and segment, the experiences of struggles vary. The synoptic conclusion is that the Agenda requires committed and knowledgeable leaders; a cross-sectional way of working within the organisation; collaborations with both private and public stakeholders but also research institutions; information and educational activities for the organisation, stakeholders and citizens; a holistic view where all three perspectives are handled simultaneously; integration of the Agenda in existing governance documents, processes, and systems; behavioural change in citizens; allocation of resources for this cause; execute proper analyses and assessments both for implementation and monitoring of all targets. The implementation benefits from having networks where an exchange of experiences can take place; a dedicated team pursuing the implementation; getting national support in forms of resources, guidance or change of regulations; following the Municipal Adaptation Plan, MAP, process for strategic planning.
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