The Sustainable Development Goals

The Nordics and SDG 11: Tracking Progress

Introduction

This data tracker analyses the Nordic countries’ progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The goal is comprised of 10 targets.

The Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – are classified into one of five categories for each target:

Met: The country has already met the 2030 target.

On track: The country has not yet met the target but is on track to do so by 2030.

Short distance: The country has not met the target and is not projected to do so but is close to achieving it. This category also applies when the country currently meets the target but is projected to move away from it.

Long distance but progressing: The country is far from the target but is making progress towards it.

Long distance and not progressing: The country is far from the target and is not making progress towards reaching it.

Details on the methodology used, together with the overall assessment for all 17 goals, can be found on our overview page. Note that the analysis is currently work in progress.

Overall assessment of progress

As of mid-2023, this is our assessment of the Nordic countries progress on the 10 targets part of SDG 11:

The Nordic countries’ performance on the different targets part of this goal can be explored further below. Each section follows the same structure:

  • First, the official target text and related indicators is described and the latest global and regional trends are highlighted briefly.
  • Second, where data is available, we then zoom in on the Nordic countries to describe how they are progressing, and assess their likelihood of achieving the target by the 2030 deadline.
  • Note that both sections above strictly uses data from the UN SDG Global Database and/or the OECD.

Target 11.1

By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums

11.1.1Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing

Global trends

In 2020 almost a quarter of the world’s urban population, more than 1 billion people, lived in slums or informal settlements. Since 2000 the share has declined from 31%, yet progress has slowed over the past few years, and is almost unchanged since 2015.

In Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia almost half of the urban population lives in slums. According to the UN, these two regions together with Eastern and South-Eastern Asia account for more than 85% of 1 billion people living in urban slums worldwide.

The Nordics

Urban slums are virtually non-exsistent in Europe. As a measure of inadequate housing, the OECD uses an alternative indicator of housing overcrowding in OECD countries.

The overcrowding rate is defined as the share of the population living in an overcrowded household. According to the EU-definition, a household is considered overcrowding if “less than one room is available in each household: for each couple in the household; for each single person aged 18 or more; for each pair of people of the same gender between 12 and 17; for each single person between 12 and 17 not included in the previous category; and for each pair of children under age 12.”

With the 2030-target operationalised at a overcrowding rate of 3%, OECD data shows that only Ireland, Japan and Canada are currently below this threshold. The Nordics range from 7% (Norway) to 14%(Sweden), with none of them on a trend towards the 2030-target. Only Norway is considered to be at a short distance to the target.

Denmark

Long distance to target, not progressing

Finland

Long distance to target, not progressing

Iceland

Long distance to target, not progressing

Norway

Short distance to target

Sweden

Long distance to target, not progressing

Target 11.2

By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

11.2.1Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and persons with disabilities

Global trends

There is currently no internationally agreed methodology for measuring convenient access to public transport. For informative purposes, one indicator is available at a global and regional level available from the UN SDG Global Database, with “convenient access” defined as public transport being within 500 meters of walking distance to low-capacity transport systems (buses/trams)and 1 km to high-capacity systems (trains/ferries).

Data from 2022 shows that around half the world’s population have convenient access according to this definition.

The Nordics

Given the lack of an internationally agreed methodology, no assessment of progress is performed for the Nordic countries.

Target 11.3

By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries

11.3.1Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate
11.3.2Proportion of cities with a direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically

Insufficient data available to assess global, regional or Nordic country trends.

Target 11.4

Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage

11.4.1Total per capita expenditure on the preservation, protection and conservation of all cultural and natural heritage, by source of funding (public, private), type of heritage (cultural, natural) and level of government (national, regional, and local/municipal)

Insufficient data available to assess global, regional or Nordic country trends.

Target 11.5

By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations

11.5.1Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population
11.5.2Direct economic loss attributed to disasters in relation to global domestic product (GDP)
11.5.3(a) Damage to critical infrastructure and (b) number of disruptions to basic services, attributed to disasters

Insufficient data available to assess global, regional or Nordic country trends.

Target 11.6

By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management

11.6.1Proportion of municipal solid waste collected and managed in controlled facilities out of total municipal waste generated, by cities
11.6.2Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5 and PM10) in cities (population weighted)

Global trends

11.6.1. Waste collection and management

Waste collection and management play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of cities. The latest data from 2021, shows that on average 82% of municipal solid waste was collected, with 55% being managed in controlled facilities.

Regional data shows that collection rates vary significantly between regions. Many lower- and middle-income regions have a large gap between collection coverage rates and the share of waste managed in controlled facilities. Thus, not all of the collected waste is managed in controlled facilities.

11.6.2. Air quality

The second indicator on air quality is measured by looking at the mean annual concentration of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in cities. Gauged by this indicator, air quality has improved both worldwide and in most regions over the past decade, as the mean annual concentration has declined.

The Nordics

For the first indicator on waste management (11.6.1), the OECD uses data on the share of municipal waste generated that is recovered through recycling and composting. The 2030 target is set at 53%, which was the level of top OECD performers in 2015. Currently, none of the Nordics have reached this target.

With regards to the second indicator of air quality (11.6.2), OECD data shows that while all the Nordics have improved air quality compared in recent years, and all are on track to staying below 10 micrograms per cubic meter in 2030.

A combined assessment of both indicators shows that the Nordics are within short distance to the required targets (less than 0.5 OECD standard deviations away).

Denmark

Short distance to target

Finland

Short distance to target

Iceland

Short distance to target

Norway

Short distance to target

Sweden

Short distance to target

Target 11.7

By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

11.7.1Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities
11.7.2Proportion of persons victim of physical or sexual harassment, by sex, age, disability status and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months

Global trends

Data from 2020 shows that around 45% of the world population living in urban areas had convenient access to open public spaces.Convenient access is defined as having an open public space within a 400-meter walking distance. Regionally, the share ranges from almost 8 in 10 people with access in Australia and New Zealand, to close to 3 in 10 people in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

No data available at the global or regional level for indicator 11.7.2.

The Nordics

No data is available for the Nordic countries to assess progress.

Target 11.a

Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning

11.a.1Number of countries that have national urban policies or regional development plans that (a) respond to population dynamics; (b) ensure balanced territorial development; and (c) increase local fiscal space

Global trends

The latest data from 2020 shows that over 150 countries worldwide have in place national urban policies or regional development plans meeting the criteria of the target.

The Nordics

All the Nordics have in place national urban policies or regional development plans, and have thus already achieved this target.

Denmark

Target is met

Finland

Target is met

Iceland

Target is met

Norway

Target is met

Sweden

Target is met

Target 11.b

By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels

11.b.1Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
11.b.2Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies

Global trends

As of the end of 2022, 126 countries had implemented national disaster risk reduction strategies under the Sendai Framework. 102 of these countries had done so at both the national and local levels.

The Nordics

Finland and Norway are the only Nordic countries to have implemented national disaster reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework. Norway has a score of 0.98 for its level of implementation (0.0 lowest – 1.0 highest) with Finland at 0.75. In Finland, 100% of all local governments have implemented local strategies in line with the national strategy, with 98% of all local governments in Norway doing so.

Denmark

Long distance to target, not progressing

Finland

Long distance to target but progressing

Iceland

Long distance to target, not progressing

Norway

Target is met

Sweden

Long distance to target, not progressing

Target 11.c

Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

No indicator is currently available (under development).

Explore the other goals

SDG 1

No Poverty

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SDG 2

Zero Hunger

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SDG 3

Good Health and Well-Being

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SDG 4

Quality Education

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SDG 5

Gender Equality

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SDG 6

Clean Water and Sanitation

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SDG 7

Affordable and Clean Energy

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SDG 8

Decent Work and Economic Growth

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SDG 9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

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SDG 10

Reduced Inequalities

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SDG 12

Responsible Production and Consumption

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SDG 13

Climate Action

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SDG 14

Life Below Water

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SDG 15

Life on Land

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SDG 16

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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SDG 17

Partnerships for the Goals

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About the data

Details on the methodology used, together with the overall assessment for all 17 goals can be found on the overview page. Note that the analysis is currently work in progress.

The data presented on global, regional, and national trends are from the UN SDG Global Database and the OECD unless otherwise stated.

Note that the regional groupings used in the visualisations follow the UN regional classification for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Qery supports the Sustainable Development Goals.