Norway country profile - SDGs and the environment

Briefing Published 02 Dec 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
Sustainable natural resource management and climate change mitigation and adaptation are priority areas for Norway. It has identified several targets that pose challenges, including sustainable consumption and production; improving urban air quality (SDG 11); halving food waste and reducing waste generation (SDGs 12, 3); and reducing the impact of invasive alien species (SDG 15) (UN DESA, 2016).

Norway`s action towards SDGs with an environmental dimension focuses primarily on SDGs 3, 7, 11, 13, 14 and 15.

As for the crucial area of climate change, a national follow-up of the Paris Agreement will constitute the main basis for action to fulfil SDG 13. Addressing the responsible use and protection of oceans and marine environments is particularly pressing. This is important for Norway and other coastal states whose livelihoods and welfare depend on the sea (UN DESA, 2016). Recently, Norway adopted an action plan for biodiversity as a tool for achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (SDG 15) (UN DESA, 2016).

After the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, the Norwegian government developed a national plan for their implementation and follow-up. To ensure policy coherence and coordination, the Minister of Foreign Affairs established a project on the post-2015 development agenda and an Interministerial Contact Group, which analysed the SDGs in terms of their potential consequences and challenges for the country (UN DESA, 2016). 

Responsibility for each of the 17 SDGs has been given to a coordinating ministry which consults with other ministries to follow up various targets under the goal concerned. In each ministry, targets have been assigned to individual units, thereby distributing the responsibility for implementation of the SDGs across all levels of government (NORDEN, 2017). 

Norway views civil society engagement as vital to the national ownership of the 2030 Agenda. The government conducts consultations with stakeholders on SDG implementation and places emphasis on the private sector and business to achieve scaled-up implementation and financing for the 2030 Agenda (UN DESA, 2016). Norway regards participatory, inclusive, and representative decision-making as fundamental for a well-functioning society. Participation is vital for ensuring the national ownership necessary for an effective and transparent follow-up of the SDGs. As far as spreading knowledge about them is concerned, the recommendation by the Ministry of Education to include the SDGs as part of the curriculum in schools is valuable (UN DESA, 2016).

Norway has begun to incorporate the global SDG indicators in its national context. It will define additional national SDG indicators, where necessary, to ensure comprehensive monitoring at the national level (UN DESA, 2016). 

Norway submitted a VNR to the UN in 2016.

Norway has a reporting system in place for its national targets. Each year, the ministries will report their progress toward the SDGs to the Norwegian parliament (Storting) in their budget proposals. This is a vital as the annual budgets are key political documents for policymaking (UN DESA, 2016).


NORDEN, 2017, Sustainable Development Action – the Nordic Way, TemaNord 2017:523, Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen, Denmark, accessed 26 October 2017. 

UN DESA, 2016, Norway: Initial Steps towards the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA, accessed 5 October 2017.


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


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage


Document Actions