The Global Goals

The Nordic Countries and SDG 13: Climate Action

Tracking the progress of the Nordic countries towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 13

In 2015, all United Nations (UN) member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), establishing a global agenda to create a better world by 2030. This data tracker looks at Nordic countries’ progress towards achieving SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. The goal comprises 5 distinct targets.

Using the latest official data, we first explore global trends and then zoom in on the Nordic countries to make an assessment of: i) a country’s current distance to target based on the most recent data, and ii) a country’s likelihood of achieving the target by 2030 based on current trends. The Nordic countries 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.

The assessment follows the methodology developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for monitoring country level progress towards the SDGs. Note that while we adhere to the OECD methodology, the OECD is not affiliated with the analysis and calculations presented here.

Further details on the methodology:

Target levels in 2030: If the UN’s SDG framework does not explicitly set target levels for 2030, the analysis follows the target end-values chosen by the OECD as relevant for OECD countries, following either the level achieved by the best performing countries in the OECD or with reference to international agreements.

Distance to target: A country’s distance to the target is measured in OECD standardized units. A short distance is defined as less than 0.5 units away, and a long distance is more than 0.5 units away. Values are normalized based on the most recent observations for OECD countries.

Trend assessment: Historical data for a country is analyzed for a clear increasing or decreasing trend. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient between observed data and time is calculated. A coefficient greater than +0.2 and significant at the 10% level indicates a clear increasing trend, while a coefficient less than -0.2 and significant at the 10% level indicates a clear decreasing trend. No assessment is made unless a minimum of three years of data within a five-year period is available for a country on a specific indicator.

Likelihood of reaching target in 2030: Monte Carlo simulations are used to estimate the likelihood of reaching target levels by 2030. 10,000 simulations are performed per country for each target. A country is classified as having a high likelihood of reaching the target if more than 75% of the randomized projections meet the target level. If fewer than 75% of the projections meet the target, the likelihood is classified as low.

Please be aware that this analysis is continually evolving. We monitor for new data daily from the UN and OECD databases, and when new data is released for a target, we update the country assessment accordingly. As a result, the text and visualisations may change at any time. Consult the changelog at the end of the page for details on revisions and updates.

Target 13.1

Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries


13.1.1Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population
13.1.2Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
13.1.3Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies

Global trends

Target 13.1 measures progress both by looking at human and economic costs of disasters, as well as by countries’ adoption of disaster risk reduction strategies at a national and local level.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe effect on the disaster-mortality rate, reversing the progress made from 2015 to 2019 in decreasing the distaster-mortality rate.

In 2020, a total of 80 countries reported near 300 000 deaths caused by disasters, of which the pandemic COVID-19 related. This figure is, according to the UN, significantly underreporting deaths caused by the pandemic, with the World Health Organization estimating 4.5 million excess deaths caused by he pandemic at the end of 2020.

In terms of risk reduction strategies, as of 2021, 123 countries had implemented national disaster risk reduction strategies under the Sendai Framework. 97 of these countries had done so at both the national and local levels.

The Nordics

Data on the Nordic countries for this target is limited, which makes cross-country comparability difficult. Therefore no overall assessment is given for this target.

Notably, concerning risk reduction strategies (indicators 1.5.3 and 1.5.4), only Finland and Norway have implemented such strategies in accordance with the Sendai Framework. Norway has a score of 0.98 for its level of implementation, measured on a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 being the highest. By comparison, Finland has a score of 0.75. In Finland, 100% of all local governments have implemented local strategies in line with the national strategy, while 98% of all local governments in Norway have done so.

Target 13.2

Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning


13.2.1Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
13.2.2Total greenhouse gas emissions per year

Global trends

The Paris Agreement sets out a goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). The latest data for 2021 shows that the global mean temperature rise was at 1.11 ± 0.13 °C above pre-industrial levels, with 2021 one of the seven warmest years recorded, highlighting the need for decisive climate action.

Under the Paris Agreement each Party to the agreement is required to establish a climate action plan, called a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which is to be updated every five years. As of April 2022, a total of 193 parties had submitted such NDCs, and 13 parties had submitted their second updated NDC.

To reach the target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 °C greenhouse gas emissions have to be cut by 45% by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), and achieve net-zero by 2050. However, the current trends imply a trajectory where global emissions will increase by 14% over the current decade.

The Nordics

In 2020 total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden were around 45-55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. Over the last decades, Denmark, Finland and Sweden have all managed significant emission reductions, albeit from a higher starting level than Norway and Iceland. In Iceland, emission levels have been stable at around 3-4 million tonnes per year.

In all the Nordics emission intensity both per capita and per unit of GDP has decreased over the past decades. Across both indicators, Iceland has the highest emission levels and Sweden the lowest.

Notwithstanding the importance of the target, an assessment of progress is not performed as relevant end target values will depend on national circumstances and adopted policies.

Target 13.3

Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning


13.3.1Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment

Global trends

There is ongoing work to develop the indicator used to measure progress towards this target. Each of the four components of the indicator (policies, curricula, teacher education, and student assessment), are measured by a range of criteria which taken together are given a score between 0 and 1, where 1 entails full mainstreaming of the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). As of 2022, no data is currently available at the global or regional level.

The Nordics

At a Nordic level, Denmark, Finland and Sweden took part in the first round of measuring this indicator (2017-2020). The data showed that as of now, only Sweden has fully mainstreamed GCED and ESD into their national education policies.

Given the lack of data over time, no trend assessment is given for this indicator. New data is set to be released during 2024.

Target 13.a

Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible


13.a.1Amounts provided and mobilized in United States dollars per year in relation to the continued existing collective mobilization goal of the $100 billion commitment through to 2025

Global trends

The latest data for 2020 shows that while climate finance levels have increased, the total amount is still approximately $17 billion short of the $100 billion target. Note that the initial target was to achieve $100 billion annually in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, the target deadline has been extended to 2025.

The Nordics

Target not assessed at country level.

Target 13.b

Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities


13.b.1Number of least developed countries and small island developing States with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Global trends

Insufficient data to analyse trends at the global or regional level.

The Nordics

Target not applicable to the Nordic countries.

About the data

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


  • First release August 2022
  • Data and text update December 2022
  • Data and text update in April 2023 following the release of new data by the UN

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