Denmark country profile - SDGs and the environment

Briefing Published 02 Dec 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
Photo: © Photo by Antoine Petitteville on Unsplash
Denmark considers the implementation of the 2030 Agenda key to accelerating its economic and societal transformation for a sustainable future.

Denmark initiated its SDG implementation by setting up an Interministerial Group on Sustainable Development to ensure coordination among all relevant institutions and stakeholders. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for coordinating the national implementation of the SDGs, while line ministries are responsible for designing policies that address the SDGs, as appropriate. The Ministry of Finance is also responsible for EU follow-up to maintain a holistic approach and create linkages to the national follow-up, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the SDGs in the context of the UN and other international forums. Both Ministries coordinate their efforts closely (Danish Government, 2017).

Denmark’s action towards SDGs with an environmental dimension focuses on SDGs 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 15.  

The government recognises the importance of making the SDGs concrete and actionable. In 2017, the country adopted its Action Plan on the implementation and follow up of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The Plan is centred on the 5ps: prosperity, people, planet, peace and partnerships and was formulated according to the need to adapt SDG targets to national circumstances. It reflects the government’s ambition to prioritise SDG actions (Danish Government, 2017).

Under the ‘planet’ cluster, Denmark considers itself as a front-runner in the transition to a green economy (SDG8), sustainable use of natural resources and energy efficiency (SDG 7). The government is dedicated to continuing an ambitious and efficient green transition while, at the same time, ensuring jobs and competitiveness (SDG 8). It acknowledges the need to further reduce GHG emissions (SDG 13). Denmark also aims to continue to prevent and limit the spread of contaminating agents that are harmful to human health (SDG 3), and to maintain a strong agriculture and food industry (SDG 2) that continues to focus on sustainability and resource efficiency (SDG 15). Having a rich biodiversity, Denmark aims to promote opportunities to enjoy nature, to prioritise the protection of marine life (SDG 14) and to stop the regression of biological diversity (SDG 15). In this context, the government has set out 10 concrete national targets on biological diversity; the protection of the marine environment; preventing and limiting contamination with harmful agents; sustainable cities; the circular economy; sustainable companies and products; sustainable food; a reduction in GHG emissions; and renewable energy (Danish Government, 2017).

Denmark submitted a VNR to the UN in 2017.

Denmark has also selected water (SDG 6), energy (SDG 7), a green economy, green growth, and resource efficiency (SDG 12) as its priority areas for sustainable development (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, 2017).

The government is working on legislative proposals on the SDGs and plans to establish an SDG fund on external action. Denmark also recognises the need for all civil society actors to contribute to achieving the SDGs (Danish Government, 2017).

The Danish Action Plan is complemented by 37 national targets and measurable, quantifiable national SDG indicators. The Interministerial Group on Sustainable Development explores possible modalities and constraints in the national follow-up and reporting mechanisms (Danish Government, 2017).

Since 2018, Denmark has produced an annual progress report on the Action Plan and its 37 national targets. This report gives a summary of SDG implementation and identifies the necessary adjustments to the existing implementation plans. The progress report is publicly available and is submitted to the Danish Parliament. In addition, the government will present a status report every four years. This status report will include the same elements as the progress report but may also may contain information on existing and potential initiatives to achieve the SDGs (Danish Government, 2017). 


Danish Government, 2017, Report for Voluntary National Review: Denmark’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Finance, Copenhagen, Denmark ( ) accessed 27 October 2017. 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, 2017, ‘Verdensmålene for bæredygtig udvikling’, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark ( accessed October 2017.

UN, 2017, Compilation of Main Messages, United Nations, New York, USA ( accessed 24 January 2018.


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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