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The Environmental Objectives System – Generational Goal, 16 Environmental Quality Objectives and a number of Milestone targets

  • Published on December 9, 2019

The overall goal of the environmental objectives system is to hand over to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems in Sweden have been solved, without increasing environmental and health problems outside Sweden’s borders.  The environmental objectives system form part of the foundation for Sweden’s implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its SDGs.

The environmental objectives system

In 1999 the Riksdag adopted a number of environmental quality objectives to give clear structure to environmental action. This has led to what we now call the environmental objectives system:

• A generational goal defining the direction of the changes in society that are needed within a generation in order to achieve the environmental quality objectives.

• Environmental quality objectives describing the state of the Swedish environment that environmental action is to result in.

• Milestone targets directing the way to the changes in society needed to achieve the environmental quality objectives and the generational goal.

 The objectives set in the system send a long-term signal to all actors in society on what the Government and the Riksdag want to achieve through the environment policy and how this interlocks with other policy areas.

 The generational goal:

The overall goal of environmental policy is to be able to pass on to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems have been solved, without increasing environmental and health problems beyond Sweden’s borders. This calls for an ambitious environmental policy – in Sweden, in the EU and in international contexts. The generational goal means that the conditions for solving environmental problems are to be met within one generation and that environment policy should be directed towards ensuring that:

• ecosystems have recovered, or are on the way to recovery, and their long-term capacity to generate ecosystem services is assured,
• biodiversity and the natural and cultural environment are preserved, promoted and used sustainably,
• human health is exposed to minimal negative environmental impact, while the positive impact of the environment on human health is promoted,
• ecocycles are resource-efficient and as far as possible free from hazardous substances,
• natural resources are managed well,
• the share of renewable energy increases and use of energy is efficient, with minimal impact on the environment, and
• patterns of consumption of goods and services cause the least possible problems for the environment and human health.


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