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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SWEDEN

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency administers the development cooperation programme.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The major objective of all Swedish development co-operation is to reduce poverty. Sweden is pursuing this objective by selecting poorer countries as recipients and developing specific country programmes for them.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information available

Programmes and Projects 

No information available

Status 

No information available

Challenges

No information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information available

Information 

No information available

Research and Technologies 

No information available

Financing 

No information available

Cooperation

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has set up a task force on poverty reduction. The task force has, in their report entitled Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods, recommended some areas of particular relevance for actions to reduce poverty, for instance, good governance, gender-sensitive strategies, integration of environmental policies, and institutional capacity-building.

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This information is based on Sweden's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of Labour is responsible for activities in this area. The Swedish National Labour Market Board and the Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development are also involved. The Government cooperates with labour unions in this field, and there are special programmes to support women in the labour market.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information available

Programmes and Projects 

No information available

Status 

Sweden views population issues from a holistic perspective, advocating the adoption of a wide range of measures to ensure the balance between population growth and existing resources. The basis for all measures should be the needs of the individual and freedom of choice. Priority is given to the fight against poverty, measures for the empowerment of women and increased access to education and health care including sexual and reproductive health and rights. This position is a cornerstone in Swedish multilateral as well as bilateral development cooperation. Sweden is a major donor both to the UN Population Fund and to the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Challenges

No information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information available

Information 

No information available

Research and Technologies 

No information available

Financing 

No information available

Cooperation

No information available

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This information is based on Sweden's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

Equality in health is a top priority. Vulnerable groups are, among others, underprivileged women, non-European immigrants and blue-collar men. The high unemployment rates are likely to be a risk factor for health problems for affected persons as well as for their families, including children.

Sweden considers health matters to be among the most important prerequisites for sustainable development, and Sweden has for many years been and still is one of the main contributors to disease prevention and health promotion activities.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information available

Programmes and Projects 

The environmental efforts in many fields such as car exhaust norms, air quality norms, fresh water quality, noise abatement, heavy metals also aim at improving the conditions for good health. A special investigator has been appointed to draw up an action programme for the reduction of environmentally related health hazards with a view to proposing mitigating actions.

Status 

Health impacts on issues of consumption patterns in food consumption habits. A decreased use of saturated fats, alcohol and tobacco is promoted, as well as an increased use of dietary fibres. Alcohol use per inhabitant above the age of 18 years is set to decrease by 25% between the years 1990 and 2000.

Malignant melanoma is increasing by five percent annually. Through information campaigns, the National Radiation Protection Institute (SSI), in collaboration with other national authorities and health care agencies, is attempting to alter people's sunbathing habits given the linkage between solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation and skin cancer. Information includes daily UV radiation forecasts (the UV index) which has been supplied to news media since 1993 through the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. The widespread use of sun-beds has become a new cause of concern regarding increased UV exposure.

Challenges

No information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information available

Information 

No information available

Research and Technologies 

No information available

Financing 

No information available

Cooperation

The first and second World Health Conferences in Ottawa and Adelaide resulted in the Ottawa Charter and the Adelaide Recommendations. The 1991 World Health Conference in Sundsvall, Sweden, pointed out the need for Supportive Environments for Health. In a 1994 bill entitled, Invest in health - Health a top priority the Swedish Parliament emphasized the World Bank standpoint on the necessity of health investments.

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This information is based on Sweden's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For the WHO National Environmental Health Action Plan for Sweden, click here.
To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:
Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies 

The Agenda 21 Committee encourages partnerships, mobilizes resources, provides information and assesses the needs of different population groups.   The Environmental Protection Agency provides information and training on the environment to teachers and with other organizations supports a local network with environmental know-how and information on Agenda 21.

The Government has made a change in the Higher Education Ordinance, emphasizing the universities obligation to interact and co-operate with other parts of society, both public and private. The Government is currently assessing the need for a national center of knowledge for sustainable development. The center would assimilate and compile useful information for all stakeholders working with Agenda21, and disseminate relevant research, good ideas and best practices. The center would also provide a linkage between municipalities, organizations and business on one hand, and universities, researchers and other sources of knowledge on the other hand.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

 In the School Act from 1985 for compulsory schools, upper secondary education and municipal adult education, care for the environment is emphasized.  All regulations in law and ordinance for the Swedish education system are, as it relates to the environment, in line with Agenda 21.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

Major Groups that are members of the Agenda 21 Committee also participate in activities in this area. 

Sweden has a long tradition of so-called study circles, organized under a number of different and independent study associations, often in close co-operation with NGO's, including environmental and sustainable development NGO's. The study circles are based on voluntary work and interest, promoted by small grants provided by the Government through the study association, based on the number of participant in each circle. Its objective is to develop basic democratic values in society by giving all citizens the opportunity to develop their general knowledge and skills. It has a very important role in increasing public awareness. Although the study circles can focus on almost any subject, many of them are being directly linked to environment and sustainable development issues. Most of the study organizations also show a high profile in this particular area. Therefore, study circles have become common as a means to promote the local Agenda 21 processes.

Programmes and Projects 

Projects have been introduced to eliminate gender stereotyping, e.g., to encourage women to choose technical and scientific studies and for men to choose studies in teaching and nursing.  The pedagogical programme for pre-schooling is divided into three fieldstones of which one is nature. 

Challenges

No information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Swedish educational system is working to make environmental issues a central principle through all levels of education and particularly in upper secondary school.  Environment perspectives shall be taken into consideration in all subjects and education programs at all levels of the education system. Universities and university colleges promote ecological sustainable development. 

Education is freely accessible to the poor up to university level. It is compulsory for children from 7-16 years of age, which is to be provided by the local community. Higher education is generally regarded as an essential requirement to get employed and thus avoid poverty. Therefore, higher education is stimulated and encouraged in a number of ways.

Another way of increasing public awareness is by giving the population at large information through television news, public service announcements and programs focussing on natural sciences. Information about Agenda 21 efforts, local and regional, has been disseminated by special campaigns, mainly in the metropolitan areas. Innovative education, public awareness or training activities related to sustainable development include The Baltic Sea Project, which involves schools in countries around the Baltic Sea and the "Skogsknyttarna " project, aims to put 3- and 4-years olds in contact with nature and learn to enjoy being out in the open air. A similar project, the "Skogsmulle School", where pre-school children can learn about the forest and the countryside. "The Forest Wanderers" is a follow -up project for older children where they discover nature away from home in their search for different plants and animals and learn to make their own discoveries and observations.

Information 

No information available

Research and Technologies 

Some of the general objectives for research are to generate significant new knowledge about nature, society and culture and give perspective on the position of humans in the universe, in the ecosystems of the planet earth and in history and to contribute to the preservation and development of health, culture, welfare and environment for all individual and groups of the population and for future generations.

Financing 

No information available

Cooperation

No information available

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This information is based on Sweden's submission to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

Local authorities play important coordinating roles on regional urban planning.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Almost all local authorities have now adopted municipal master plans pursuant to the Planning and Building Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

Sweden's land-use policy integrates the conservation of biological diversity with other land-use issues. Comprehensive municipal planning is being strengthened. The report Sweden in 2009: Proposals for a Vision was prepared by the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning on aspects of the promotion of sustainable development. It was circulated during 1996 for comment, and extensive nationwide consultations with various agents were held to present the results of their deliberations. 

Shore protection is also a priority area, and has been expanded to include not only access for the public to shores and waters as before but also the protection of plant and animal life. Mountain areas and archipelagos are also important in terms of physical planning due to their great importance for tourism and outdoor activity, both nationally and internationally.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

Local authorities play important coordinating roles on regional urban planning.

Programmes and Projects 

No information available

Status 

About one in eight Swedish homes (or about 530,000) are estimated to have radon concentrations which exceed the limit of 200 becquerel per cubic metre for new buildings. Of these, between 150,000 and 200,000 homes have radon gas concentrations which exceed 400 becquerel per cubic metre, which is the limit for a "sanitary nuisance". Remedial measures for a homeowner can cost between US$ 4,500 and US$ 12,000. A State grant is available to cover half the cost of remedial action, but the maximum grant is approximately US$ 2,300. Remedial procedures, however, have too often failed to have the intended effect. The National Radiation Protection Institute (SSI) has therefore initiated training for contractors and consultants. Concerned municipal authorities have a good knowledge of radon and associated risks. An information campaign was started in 1995 calling upon the general public to carry out measurements and to take remedial action on the hazards of radon.

Challenges

Problems confronting sustainable urban development in Sweden include: the risk of de-populating rural and urban areas; growing traffic needs as they relate to the use of parks and green spaces for roads and highways; loss of services; and increased segregation.

Research and Technologies 

Sweden has commissioned a study on the possibility of designating areas in and around urban communities as national city parks. A number of problems have arisen due to businesses in the recreation sector organizing activities in certain areas (given the Right to Public Access). In response, the Environmental Protection Agency has suggested practical solutions.

Financing 

No information available

Cooperation

Sweden is working with the EU in developing the European Spatial Development Perspective, focussing on urban system development, infrastructure, landscape management and transboundary cooperation, among others. This is important with respect to the allocation of EU funds.

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This information is based on Sweden's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For national information on exploitation of land and water for housing, industry and infrstructure, click here.
Click here to access "BEST PRACTICES FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS"
For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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