10 Next steps

Picture of SDG building blocks spread across a country road.

Photo: The North West / Ole-Martin Sæthermoen

The Government wants to be the main facilitator of everyone contributing to Norway being able to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Technology and knowledge

Norway needs to focus more on a data-driven economy that is founded on well-functioning digital ecosystems. These can be central to achieving global climate and environmental goals, green transformation and more sustainable production and consumption. Establishing global digital ecosystems for environmental data requires broad collaboration between the private sector, research communities and governments. Estonia has taken the initiative to establish an alliance of countries, the Data for the Environment Alliance (DEAL). This is in line with the Norwegian Government’s objectives in the White Paper on Digital Transformation and Development Policy (2019–2020). In addition to strengthening the collection of environmental data that is open, accessible, comparable and of high quality, the goal is for such an alliance to contribute to SDGs by creating financial incentives for the private sector.

Digital technologies need to contribute to green transformation and sustainable use of resources in several sectors. Society is becoming more and more connected, both between people, human to machine and machine to machine. Among other things, this paves the way for streamlining the energy sector and for energy efficiency in existing and new buildings. Furthermore, the new technology enables new solutions in transport and mobility. Autonomous vehicles, intelligent traffic management and sharing mobility, more efficient and resource-saving food production through smart solutions for fertilisation and feeding in agriculture and aquaculture are all examples of how technology can contribute to sustainable solutions.

Universities, colleges and research institutes contribute to the development of knowledge and innovation in business and the public sector. More attention needs to be given to the interaction between those who develop and those who will use the knowledge, whether this is the business community, organisations, the municipal sector or the state. Furthermore, we need to focus more on open access to research, so that more people get the chance to contribute to solutions that make people’s lives better. Knowledge must be shared in order to be aligned with the intention of increased collaboration across the board to achieve the SDGs.

Engaging civil society and the private sector

Civil society has a significant role in development work, both nationally and globally. This role is particularly significant in the efforts in social and environmental sustainability, where the organisations mobilise significant resources in the work. Voluntary organisations, private foundations and social entrepreneurs make important contributions to the efforts to include vulnerable groups in working life and society. The Norwegian Government will continue its efforts to improve the conditions for social entrepreneurs so that they can contribute to solving challenges in society, especially by getting more people into working life.

The business community’s efforts are central. The ability to innovate, the competence and the capital in the private sector is crucial to achieving the SDGs. Many private companies are well on their way to developing strategies for their efforts. Companies that are adapting their products, services and business models to sustainable solutions.

Supporting regional and local municipalities

County and local authorities are key players in realising sustainable development. They are closest to the population, companies and organisations, and are responsible for large parts of the social and physical infrastructure that affect the population’s living conditions and development opportunities. County and local authorities are service providers, property managers, employers and purchasers, and through this have a great influence on development locally and regionally.

The county authorities are responsible for the regional social development in their own county. The public sector has a key role in working with the SDGs, across the administrative levels and the sectors. The administration can be a driving force and facilitator to help ensure that the available instruments and the many actors pull in the same direction.

We need to implement a comprehensive approach within the public sector that drives and facilitates measures that will help us achieve the 2030 Agenda. Laws and regulations, economic instruments and budgets, research, public procurement, digitalisation and technology – together with new cross-functional collaborations – need to work together to create solutions and deliver the changes we need.

Using procurement to change the market

Every year, the public sector purchases goods and services to the tune of NOK 560 billion. How this money is used has an impact on how sustainable, digital and innovative the public sector will be. By setting requirements and demanding new and more sustainable solutions, public purchasers can contribute to new thinking and innovation in the supplier market. The Norwegian Government will use public procurement as a tool to stimulate markets to think sustainably and contribute to achieving the SDGs. The new and simplified regulations for procurement that came into force on 1 January 2017 provide a framework for that. The new regulations entail significant simplifications and more flexibility. The state and the municipal sector need to use the procurement regulations to promote sustainability to a larger degree.

Getting several types of instruments and many actors to pull in the same direction is a challenge for everyone. In Norway we need to work towards a whole-of-government approach, where different authorities and sectors work together to achieve the goals in the 2030 Agenda.

Strengthening government coordination and coherence

The societal challenges in the sustainability agenda are complex, and joint efforts across sectors and levels of government are required. The ministries must work together to solve societal challenges, and working effectively across policy areas and across the interfaces between the functions is a challenge. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation therefore appointed a working group whose remit was to submit a proposal for a new strategy for the development of the ministerial community for the period 2021–2025. The proposals in the report Good on our own – best together (2021–2025) relate to working more as a group, strengthening the connections in policy implementation and utilising resources better. By working in networks, the prerequisites for handling complex connections can be improved. One proposal is to establish core groups in selected areas that will work with complex issues. These have participants from the ministry management and work with areas where the ministries are dependent on each other to achieve the goals. Core groups are underway in two areas: better coordination of work for vulnerable children, and young people and joint competence initiatives in the ministries.

The Government is considering establishing a core group for the SDGs. The purpose is to develop a common knowledge base and understanding of the further work, and through this strengthen the coordination ambitions for the SDGs in the ministry community. A common knowledge base is crucial for being able to follow up complex issues and develop new policies to achieve the SDGs.

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