Good Nordic practices 

Why Finspång and Kristiansund?
When it comes to SDG localisation, many smaller municipalities have gained much experience in building institutional capacity for progressing towards Agenda 2030. Finspång, with approximately 22,000 inhabitants, has integrated the SDGs into their strategic plan in such a way that one cannot distinguish the plan from the SDGs — the two go hand-in-hand. In Kristiansund with a population of 24,000, the municipality has adapted sustainable development into the everyday lives of the people by embedding the sustainability goals into different local plans as well as the budgeting process. These municipalities have spent several years developing integration tools that work best for their contexts. A difference between the municipalities is follow-up measures and monitoring — here Kristiansund is a Nordic front-runner.


  • Finspång has developed a two-by-two framework for evaluating and prioritising SDGs.
    Local politicians used this framework to plot each of the 17 SDGs according to their level of impact and resource necessities. First, they indicated the existing status of each goal within the work of the local authority. Then they added arrows to each of the plotted goals to demonstrate where they hoped to progress with that goal. The workshop activity enabled participants to comment upon why each goal was placed in its quadrant and further describe any ambitions for achieving that goal. The mapping also helped to identify low-hanging fruit as well as better understanding which goals might require a long-game perspective to achieve - an important basis for prioritisation of goals.
  • Establish a common understanding of Agenda 2030 and prioritize goals in all sectors.
    Finspång also used the two-by-two framework to discuss the status of and contributions to SDGs with staff from all municipal sectors. As an example, teachers in upper secondary schools have been encouraged to use it to determine how their subjects can be taught to be more in line with the SDGs and help students contribute to SDGs. The tool is versatile and can be used by any actors seeking to integrate the SDGs into their work or create a common understanding among different groups. 
  • Translate the 17 goals into the municipal budget and strategic plan.
    After conducting workshops with all municipal departments, plotting out the SDGs’ potential for each of them, Finspång was able to translate the 17 goals into the local context and include them in the Budget and Strategic Plan 2022-2024. The plan specifies local targets and how to measure progress – from reducing poverty to clean water. 
  • Conduct ‘walk-arounds’ in the city to promote the SDGs and local progress.
    These walks are inspired by Asker municipality in Norway to create more visibility around the 2030 Agenda, showcase local SDG initiatives, and explain how residents’ sustainable lifestyle choices can improve quality of life for people and planet. The events also offer opportunities to hear directly from citizens of all ages how they view the local Agenda 2030 efforts. 


  • Kristiansund uses a diagram to interpret the three pillars of sustainability.
    The overlap of environmental, social, and economic factors shows the importance of involving all in SDG localisation. In Kristiansund, a social and environmental city will be tolerable, but not fair or viable; a social and economic city will be fair, but not tolerable or viable, and an economic and environmental city may be viable, but it will not be fair or tolerable.  
Figure 1. The two-by-two framework employed by Finspång for evaluationg SGD localisation.
  • The municipality focuses on 10 SDGs and employs the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) taxonomy to measure these.
    Leaders use an internal management tool called Stratsys to track progress of the 45 economic indicators, 17 environmental indicators, and 29 social indicators defined by the U4SSC collection methodology.  
  • Strong commitment to reporting and sharing results to sustain motivation.
    Kristiansund shares monthly reporting, completed activities, yearly planning, as well as comprehensive planning documents that all involve commentary on and guidance from the global goals.  
  • Concrete KPIs specific to the local context have been identified.
    For example, the city states that it will reduce the GINI coefficient by 10 % (mentioned as one of the U4SSC core, structural indicators linked to SDG 10.2). They have also focused much of their work on identifying which actions are ideal for Kristiansund specifically to pursue.  
  • Kristiansund also uses a model called the multiple criteria decision analysis.
    This provides an action portfolio for local politicians with goals which are measurable, have a documented effect, and are specifically suitable for Kristiansund. The model is a common research tool for analysing and identifying multiple, potentially conflicting choices for decision-making.  
  • Adoption of a climate accounting process. 
    The process tracks to which categories of consumption the municipality's climate footprint can be attributed. The process helps to identify which categories, need urgent attention and other areas that need to be addressed in the future. These methods are just some of the tools that have helped to make Kristiansund a front-runner in their local SDG integration efforts.   
Figure 2. Venn diagram utilised by Kristiansund to emphasise the three-fold nature of sustainability