Austria country profile - SDGs and the environment

Briefing Published 02 Dec 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
3 min read
Photo: © Photo by Antoine Petitteville on Unsplash
In May 2020, Austria submitted an SDG VNR to the UN. Climate action is one of the top five highlights in the main messages of Austria’s VNR. In addressing SDGs with an environmental dimension, Austria also focuses on water management (SDG 6), energy efficiency (SDG 7), sustainable agriculture (SDG 2) and forestry (SDG 15) (BKA, 2020).

On the one hand, the VNR covers measures already taken in Austria, while and on the other hand, it provides an overview of current and upcoming challenges (Republic of Austria, 2020). SDGs are anchored in nationwide Austrian strategy documents: Climate and Energy Strategy, Three-Year Programme on Development Policy, Health Targets, Youth Strategy, and Foreign Trade Strategy. SDG references are also included in federal states’ strategies.

In addressing SDGs with an environmental dimension, Austria focuses primarily on SDGs 2, 6, 7, 13 and 15.

In Austria, sustainable development is a constitutional state goal. It launched its SDG actions with a Decision of the Austrian Council of Ministers on January 2016, based on a national stocktaking exercise (UNECE 2016). In line with the universal nature of the 2030 Agenda, the Decision of the Council of Ministers emphasised a mainstream approach: aligning regular national policy frameworks at the sectoral level with the SDGs (taking an ‘SDG lens’) (Republic of Austria, 2020).

Austria addresses the SDGs through its federal ministries in their respective areas of responsibility by integrating the SDGs into their ministerial jurisdiction of policy and administration (BKA, 2016). The Inter-Ministerial Working Group on the 2030 Agenda (IMAG) handles the general coordination and communication of SDG actions. It is chaired by the Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Foreign affairs and involves line ministries that may be associated with SDG actions (UNECE, 2016). Following a multi-stakeholder approach, representatives of federal states, cities, municipalities, social partners, stakeholders from civil society, business and the scientific community interact with the IMAG and are committed to SDG implementation (Republic of Austria, 2020).

The Austrian Court of Auditors is committed to making an active contribution to the SDGs through its audits. The SDGs have been incorporated into most of the auditing activities under the ‘sustainability and intergenerational equity’ theme (BKA, 2016). In addition, all major public policies and projects are now subject to an annual impact assessment in which ministries evaluate whether their measures and individual projects will make a significant contribution to achieving the SDGs (BKA, 2016).


Austria submitted a VNR to the UN in 2020.

Austria`s national statistical agency, Statistik Austria, developed a national SDG indicator set, in close consultation with the EU (BKA, 2016). Based on Statistik Austria’s 2017 National Indicator Set, the preliminary final version of the National Indicator Report was presented in March 2020.


BKA, 2016, Beiträge der Bundesministerien zur Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung durch Österreich, Bundeskanzleramt, Austrian Federal Chancellery ( accessed 23 April 2017.

BKA, 2020, Austria and the 2030 Agenda Voluntary National Review – Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Austrian Federal Chancellery ( accessed 13 June 2020.

Statistik Austria, 2020, Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung in Österreich – SDG‑Indikatorenbericht, Statistik Austria, Vienna, Republic of Austria
( accessed 19 May 2020.

UN DESA, 2017, ‘Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – Documents and Reports’, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA ( accessed 18 October 2017.

UNECE, 2016, Planning, implementation, follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland ( accessed 20 November 2017. 


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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