There are several aspects to keep in mind for municipalities looking to strengthen leadership and integrate the Agenda 2030 goals into local planning and budgeting tools.
Build Nordic partnerships for knowledge exchange.
Approaching other municipalities for ideas about how to localise the SGDs is fruitful to avoid reinventing the wheel. Municipalities can do this within their own regions or across borders. A new collaboration network of six large Finnish cities, organised through Kuntaliitto, has proven useful to accelerate SDG achievement through knowledge exchange about steering tools, VLRs, etc. Team Finspång took a trip to Asker in Norway to learn from an experienced Nordic front-runner.
To maintain progress, sustainable development efforts should be incorporated in both short- and long-term visions, steering tools, action, and monitoring.
The 17 goals must be integrated into every aspect of municipal governance. This requires a transition away from a checklist mentality and towards the SDGs as a holistic disposition of governance that becomes inseparable from everyday work and life in municipalities. Start with an analysis of which municipal sectors could impact which goals, and discuss how the goals could be used to enhance quality of life and attractiveness of the community.
Where is the most impact seen? Use metric systems to measure progress.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be important as markers of action and progress, but local adaptation is the basis for determining which goals and actions are suitable for each municipality. Ultimately, it is about building knowledge and capacity about where the greatest and least impact is taking place. Leaders from Kristiansund suggest that identifying documented effects and tracking implementation through a smart steering system is important to sustain momentum, highlight impact, and celebrate progress.