A Swedish Hub for Localizing SDGs

Sweden is considered to be one of the countries in the best position to deliver on the 2030 Agenda and reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the global Paris Agreement on climate change from COP21 and the New Urban Agenda (NUA). According to the UN, prerequisites for a successful urban development are a high level of decentralisation and local democracy as well as relevant financing at a local level. No other region in the world is characterised by such a far-reaching municipal self-government as the Nordic cities and municipalities. In addition, there are few other examples of local government which have such an extensive self-financing through income tax at a local level.

As a result, Nordic cities often stand out as world-leading on local sustainability. We wish to build on the Nordic local experiences and develop capacity for inclusive urban development (SDG 5, 10, 11 and 17) among cities, municipalities and regions as a means to achieve the other SDGs locally contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda globally.

Global Utmaning and partners host a long-term programme for capacity building in inclusive urban development focusing on local implementation (SDG11) for more equal societies (SDG5 & 10) through multi-stakeholder cooperation (SDG17) linked to the UNSG:s Local2030 initiative. The purpose of the hub is twofold; to gather Swedish and Nordic experiences and good examples of local implementation of the 2030 Agenda; and to improve inter-regional collaboration by providing stakeholder trainings on adapting the SDGs to local governance and urban settings. 

Before the adaptation of the 2030 Agenda, Global Utmaning worked together with UN-Habitat to study governance and leadership models for sustainable urban development. The partnership resulted in the report: Ledarskap för hållbara städer – en internationell utblick which identifies how some cities, worldwide, have been able to successfully promote sustainable development.

A leadership model on sustainable urban development was formulated at the time of the adaptation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. Interviews with policymakers, officials and other stakeholders highlighted practices and factors explaining their success. The results were compiled in the report Nordic Urban Ways – Local leadership, governance & management for sustainable development which was launched at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III in 2016.

To support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, Global Utmaning organized the world’s first regional follow-up conference to Habitat III. The Nordic Declaration on the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda was adopted at the conference. With the adoption, more than 400 Nordic stakeholders committed to integrate and implement SDG11, while at the same time provide support to other cities.

To support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda, Global Utmaning invited in 2017 urban development multi-stakeholders to contributed to the development of a proposal for a National Urban Policy. The policy proposal integrated global agendas in order to support local implementations of the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda. The proposal was further elaborated by multi-stakeholders during the National Urban Forum organised in Stockholm in 2017. In the final proposal Local Implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda – Towards a Swedish National Urban Policy, organisations, companies and municipalities outlined 60 recommendations on what to include in an integrated Swedish urban policy.

As of 2018, Global Utmaning and partners offer trainings and capacity building programmes to support the local implementation of the SDGs in Sweden and globally. We target municipal, regional and national representatives seeking effective means of cross-sectoral cooperation and interactive models to improve their work with sustainable development. In our digital world map – SDGS in Practice – we gather good examples on the local implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

In 2019, a range of partners organised the regional Stockholm Urban Forum. A clear outcome was the identified need for a joint platform to gather and share knowledge on local needs and solutions in implementing the 2030 Agenda. The hub is a direct result of that insight.



Hub steering group  

Architects Without Boarders Sweden
Global Utmaning (administrator)
International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD)
Kounkuey Design Initiative
Living Cities
Plan International Sweden
SKL International
Stockholm Resilience Center
Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (through Glokala Sverige)
Swedish Red Cross
Swedish Union of Tenants
Tillsammans 2030 (Malmö stad, the New Division, Actinate)
United Nations Association of Sweden (through Glokala Sverige)
Viable Cities
White Architects
World Wildlife Foundation Sweden (WWF)
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Northern Europe


A selection of initiatives 

Eastern Partnership Leadership Programme, Kiev 2020-2021
World Urban Forum, Abu Dhabi 2020
Global Feminist Lab, Stockholm 2019
Urban Challenges, Medellìn, 2019-2021
Innovation Pioneers, Stockholm 2019
Stockholm Urban Forum, Alby 2019
Baltic Leadership Programme, Riga 2019
Forum for Gender Equality, Tunis 2019
#UrbanGirlsMovement, Fittja 2017-2019
Forum for Gender Equality, Stockholm 2019
Global Feminist Lab, Paris 2018
Hamilton Urban Lab, Hamilton 2018
World Urban Forum, Kuala Lumpur 2018
Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality, Stockholm 2018
Goa Urban Lab, Goa 2018
National Urban Forum, Stockholm 2017
Habitat III, Quito 2016

Project managers

Joel Ahlgren, joel.ahlgren(at)

Elin Andersdotter Fabre, elin.fabre(at)