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National Strategies

The current National Strategy for Sustainable Development in Denmark was adopted by the centre-right Fogh Rasmussen government in 2002. However, in June 2007, the Ministry for the Environment launched a project of consultation and public debate with the aim of revising the strategy. This process is called “Green Responsibility” and focuses on measures for greening of public procurements, transport, energy, development assistance, nature conservation, agriculture and waste and recycling. Climate change is regarded as an overarching challenge, and the revised strategy is also part of Denmark’s contribution to fulfilling the common EU objective of 30 % reduction of emissions by 2020. The process consists of both a formal hearing and consultation of the results of the existing strategy and proposed additional measures, as well as public meetings with representatives from the Ministry. The government was supposed to present the revised SD strategy before the end of 2007, but the Government has still not announced the final draft of the strategy. Read more about sustainable development and “Green Responsibility” here.

At the end of 1998, the first plans to develop a national sustainable development strategy were made in the Danish Ministry for Environment and Energy. The formal decision to do so was made in 2000. The Social Democrat-led government of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen published its National Strategy for Sustainable Development in 2001. However in 2001 the Fogh Rasmussen Government took office and revised the former
Social Democratic Government’s 2001 strategy. The current 2002 strategy has a stronger focus on economic growth and the cost-effectiveness of environmental protection, and was called "A shared future - balanced development" (pdf).

The strategy was complemented with a set of Sustainability indicators (pdf). A first update of Denmark's Indicator set was published on 14 November 2003: "The World Summit in Johannesburg and Denmark's National Strategy for Sustainable Development". A second update of the indicators was presented in April 2005 and a third in September 2008. All strategies and indicators are available at the Danish environmental protection agency (EPA).


The Strategy, A shared future - a balanced development, is comprehensively cross-sectoral and shows a multi-dimensional approach, involving all appropriate policy areas.
The Danish Sustainable Development Strategy is based on eight core objectives or principles:

  • The welfare society must be developed and economic growth must be decoupled from environmental impacts
  • There must be a safe and healthy environment for everyone, and we must maintain a high level of protection
  • We must secure a high degree of bio-diversity and protect ecosystems
  • Resources must be used more efficiently
  • We must take action at an international level
  • Environmental considerations must be taken into account in all sectors
  • The market must support sustainable development
  • Sustainable development is a shared responsibility and we must measure progress

Three main sections
The main part of the Strategy is divided into three sections: Cross-cutting activities, sectors, and measures and knowledge. The chapter on sectors focuses on the efforts to integrate environmental considerations in seven selected sectors - agriculture and fisheries (under the heading of "food production"), forestry, industry, trade and services, transport, energy, and urban and housing development. The chapter on cross-cutting activities deals with important social challenges such as the threat from man-made climate change, the correlation between the environment and health, more efficient resource consumption and the protection of biodiversity as well as with Denmark's general international activities. This is an obvious reference to the EU's Sixth Environment Action Program. The last chapter, Measures and Implementation, includes general essential elements as knowledge base, public participation and monitoring. The about 90 indicators (pdf) follow the same system.

Expenditures unspecified
The Strategy does not specify expenditure for the individual areas. After the relationship between benefits and costs of a given initiative have been assessed, decisions will be made according to the current macro-economic priorities. Every chapter contains a paragraph on objectives and activities in the future with partly measurable goals, general statements and declarations of intent or announcements of action plans.


[Last updated: 20.10.2008]