Civil society participation
There have been several official processes during the first half of 2017 regarding development and follow-up on the 2030 Agenda. Civil society was invited to attend the processes and contributed in an open and transparent way. The government appointed an independent national committee – the Swedish Delegation for the 2030 Agenda – which has been working in a consultative process to develop a gap analysis and an initial suggested action plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Sweden. The report was handed over to the government on 1st June 2017. During 2017 the Delegation held various cross-sectoral and cross thematic consultations.
Sweden is conducting a Voluntary National Review this year. In the process of writing the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance formed an external reference group with participation from different sectors of society, including civil society, local communities and the private sector. Civil society representatives are part of the official delegation to the High-Level Political Forum.
Political leadership and policy coherence for development
The Swedish government stresses that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda needs a ‘whole of government’ approach. However, two ministers have been given specific responsibilities. The Minister of Public Administration at the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the national implementation while the Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the international aspects of the implementation.
Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGD), is said to be one of the key tools for achieving the 2030 Agenda. It is a policy for global development with a common objective for all policy areas, aiming to ensure policy coherence and to contribute to global development, while balancing conflicts of interest between different policy areas and the guiding principles of PGD. The policy states that three perspectives must permeate all parts of the government’s policies: a rights perspective based on international human rights conventions, the perspective of the deprived and socially vulnerable, and gender equality. The government reports biennially to the parliament with the most recent report occurring in 2016. The action plan for a Feminist Foreign Policy was presented in the beginning of 2017. The policy states that Sweden’s feminist government has made gender equality a key priority. It sets out an action plan for contributing to gender equality, linking it to the 2030 Agenda.
The Swedish civil society acknowledges that both the PGD and the Swedish feminist foreign policy are crucial instruments for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The PGD has been in place since 2003, and has managed to create a more ‘whole of government’ approach to sustainable development in many ways. However, Swedish civil society has been critical regarding the extent to which Sweden pursues conflicting interests. For example, Sweden continues to sell arms to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates even though both countries are carrying out airstrikes against Yemen.
Another example is the adoption of the new temporary legislation on asylum rules, which essentially makes it impossible for persons who have received asylum in Sweden to reunite with their families. Without the possibility of family reunification, women and children are left behind in conflict areas. The Swedish civil society stresses that these examples contradict PGD and feminist foreign policy, as well as the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda.
The Voluntary National Review shows that Sweden is at the forefront of fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has unique conditions for implementation. The government has taken a global lead on SDG 14 and the oceans, and is a ‘pathfinder country’ in the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. At the same time, it is pointed out that Sweden still faces challenges, for example regarding inequality and carbon footprint. Even though Sweden’s output of greenhouse gases decreased by 14% between 2008-2014, Sweden is nonetheless contributing to an increase of greenhouse gases globally. Emissions owing to imports for consumption and production are increasing and not following the positive domestic trend.16 Issues that are not described thoroughly or analysed in the review are several challenges at the international level, for example the above-mentioned arms trade and migration concerns.
Financing the 2030 Agenda
The Swedish government lives up to its 1% Official Development Aid (ODA) target and civil society supports the commitment and Sweden’s level of ambition when it comes to pushing at the EU level and internationally for the ODA quantity and quality commitments. However, from 2015 there was a negative trend, with an increase in the share of ODA spent on refugee costs in Sweden.
In 2017, Sweden developed a report on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development with examples from the government as well as from the private and public sector. The report includes different areas such as capital flight, micro and climate finance, and it is welcomed by the civil society. It aims to engage different stakeholders and to ‘trigger a movement towards a more action-oriented dialogue in various national and international forums, such as the Financing for Development Forum’.17 However, it does not allow room for increased ambition.
News for 2017 is that the Swedish government has developed new measurements of wealth as a complement to the GDP, to highlight the sustainability of the economy and people’s quality of life. The new measurement was included in the 2017 financial spring bill.
Monitoring, follow-up and review
The government has declared that the 2030 Agenda will be an integrated part of the existing decision-making bodies. However, there is no national institutional mechanism that draws together and coordinates the tree dimensions of sustainable development. Moreover, there is no parliamentary oversight committee for the 2030 Agenda.
In conclusion, Sweden has a strong commitment on the local, national and global level. However, it is yet to be seen how the government will take care of the action plan delivered by the Swedish Delegation for the 2030 Agenda. The civil society in Sweden is calling for a concrete roadmap to guide them to 2030.Läs hela rapporten/read the full report