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Hållbar utveckling 2022 Initiative

Hållbar Utveckling is a platform offering education and knowledge exchange about sustainable development, particularly targeting SMEs, larger companies, and public institutions. It was founded in 2012 by CEO Helena Lindemark.

One notable initiative from Hållbar Utveckling is the 2022 InitiativeTM in which they invite organisations to participate in a planned 2022 manifestation of the 50-year anniversary of the first UN conference for sustainability, held in Stockholm in 1972. The 2022 Initiative aims to promote further matchmaking between users and problem-solving actors and networking between actors working for achieving the Agenda 2030 SDGs.

Further reading

Hållbar Utveckling

Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD)

Background
ICLD’s mission is to support democratic participation and change at the local level. With its focus on local democracy, local self-governance and decentralisation, ICLD strengthens local governments’ capacity to analyse, prioritise and implement Agenda 2030 in accordance with their own needs, priorities and resources. The unique combination of practice and theory is a major asset of ICLD. They work closely with Swedish Municipalities and Regions to address challenges in regards to the SDGs. ICLD provides funds and resources to implement SDG:s in partnership with a LDC Municipality with similar strains.

Here is one of ICLD’s ongoing municipal partnership between Växjö municipality in Sweden and An Giang province in Vietnam:

Learnings from Växjö-An Giang water development exchange project
Since 2010, An Giang province in Vietnam and Växjö municipality in Sweden have implemented several partnership projects on environmental issues. A few years back, they became aware of the mutual challenge that surface water is in abundance in both cities, yet is partially of lacking quality. A new project was therefore conceived where the partners would improve their capacity for sustainable water management, while invigorating their democratic processes to better include stakeholders in their planning. Municipal water and sanitation management is seldom top of mind in connection to democratic issues. However, these areas have a large impact on inhabitants every-day life, and therefore the democratic structures for inclusion and participation of inhabitants are important in these issues. The ICLD-funded project allowed for the water and sanitation officials in Växjö’s technical department to reflect on their own democratic processes in relation to their inhabitants.

The three-year project runs until 2021 and aims to, among other things, prepare an integrated water management plan for Long Xuyen-city in An Giang province. So far, the partners have held workshops with key-stakeholders and visited each other for education and field trips related to challenges facing the municipalities. Lectures on capacity building for public consultations with local residents have been held. Some participants have in addition taken part in workshops and case-challenges during an ICLD-training on the municipal partnership programme.

Växjö municipality in Sweden and An Giang province in Vietnam have inspired each other to new solutions through a partnership concerning water management. Their cooperation has led to improvements in the democratic processes and made staff in the water management departments reflect on how they contribute to local democracy. Already, the inspiration from An Giang has contributed to Växjö deciding to develop their own integrated water management plan. Through their partnership, Växjö and An Giang have already shown how processes for an inclusive democracy are important and how it relates to technical issues such as water and sanitation. The project has also shown how municipalities which stand far apart in specific technical solutions can learn from, and be inspired by, each other’s approaches on how to face a challenge, in order to generate mutual benefits in a municipal partnership. 

When working on technical issues, we seldom evaluate ourselves based on how we perform on issues such as participation and inclusion of citizens. But through ICLD, we have got to reflect on what our own democratic contribution in the municipality looks like. How are citizens included in the decision-making process, is the information we send out available to everyone and is our work transparent to the public? By raising those questions we can improve how we do things, says Ingrid Palmblad Örlander, coordinator and engineer at Växjö municipality.


For more information about An Giang and Växjö project, click here.

For more information about ICLD, click here.

For more information about Global Utmaning’s Sweden Local2030 Hub, click here.

The Kalundborg symbiosis

Kalundborg Symbiosis is a partnership between nine public and private companies in the city of Kalundborg, Denmark. Since 1972, these partners have developed the world’s first industrial symbiosis with a circular approach to production. The industrial ecosystem that has been created in Kalundborg is a closed cycle where the by-product and residual product of one company is used as a resource by other companies in the symbiosis. It’s a leading example of local collaboration where public and private enterprises buy and sell residual products, resulting in mutual economic and environmental benefits.
The symbiosis network is located at the Kalundborg Eco-industrial Park and involves a number of actors, including a power station, two big energy firms, a plasterboard company, and a soil remediation company. Other actors include farmers, recycling facilities, and fish factories that use some of the material flows. Kalundborg Municipality also plays an active role.
The Kalundborg Symbiosis is a pioneer in its field and provides expertise and experience to other symbiosis sites across the world and is therefore also one of the partners in the UBIS project.
Challenge

The Kalundborg Symbiosis was developed naturally from the mutual interest of the companies working in close proximity as a means to maximize resource efficiency and profitability. The development was hence not driven, primarily, by environmental or ideological concerns nor by the vision of local authorities. Therefore, it is essential for the symbiosis to continue, that the partners keep finding mutually benefiting relationships.

There are two challenges in regard to this when it comes to pricing. Firstly, the prices of the materials delivered by a symbiosis partner have to make economic sense and match the regular market price for such a product. Secondly, companies express concern about ensuring a secure and steady supply of energy and raw materials, as a participant in the symbiosis, one needs to consider the consequences, if a key-partner in the project closes or pulls out of the symbiosis.

Good practices and solutions

Applying the principles of industrial symbiosis to business practices enables companies to cooperate in order to utilise material streams, energy, water and other assets more efficiently, yielding greater overall productivity, resource efficiency and profitability.

The symbiosis established in Kalundborg is about finding mutually benefitting relationships whereby undervalued materials, by-products or waste, rather than being destroyed or sent away, are repurposed for use by another company, typically from a different sector. Having evolved organically over the past six decades, the Kalundborg Symbiosis is today a pioneer and has proven that industrial symbiosis is a model for success, both from a sustainability and profitability standpoint. The model is not only profitable for the partners, who as a result of the symbiosis enjoyed annual bottom-line savings of about 24 million €52, but also for society as a whole. The following are some examples of resources saved through the Kalundborg Industrial symbiosis initiative:

• Groundwater: 2.0 mill. m3/year

• Surface water: 1.0 mill. m3/year

• Natural gypsum: 200.000 tonnes/year

• Oil: 20.000 tonnes/year

• Reduction of CO2 emissions: 275.000 tons

Outcomes & Opportunities

For a symbiosis to work, there needs to be a variety of actors involved in relatively close proximity to each other. The stakeholders need to be diverse with different needs and forms of production to make use of each other’s waste or by-products. The case of Kalundborg also illustrates the strength in self-organizing, the symbiosis arose from the companies themselves without any external interventions. The model of cooperation that followed was simply a practical matter for those involved. Therefore, opportunities for exchange and cooperation needs to be identified in settings where companies already are active and engaged with each other.

Related SDG targets
  • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
  • 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

 

Photo: © Victor Garcia/Unsplash

Wastewater sludge utilization

Vodokanal is a municipal water and wastewater service based in St. Petersburg that provides drinking water to 5,3 million citizens of the city and tens of thousands of companies and enterprises. Vodokanal also collects and treats wastewater to support the implementation of the Helsinki Commission’s recommendations for preservation of the Baltic Sea. St. Petersburg has, through the work of Vodokanal, become the first megalopolis in the world to solve the problem of wastewater sludge utilization, finding alternative utsages of the sledge that otherwise would be hazardious waste.
Challenge

The combination of only these two treatment stages did not ensure the quality of treated effluents stipulated in HELCOM (Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea) recommendations concerning nutrients total nitrogen and total phosphorus (when entering the Baltic Sea water they create a nutrient medium for bluegreen algae, that take in oxygen from water and cause the death of the water bodies living organisms).

Therefore, today, chemical and biological wastewater treatment is introduced at the Vodokanal wastewater treatment plants, which combines enhanced biological nutrients removal with the accompanying chemical phosphorus precipitation. Today, a chemical method for phosphorus removal has been introduced at all the city wastewater treatment plants, using aluminium sulphate, which is the most effective and economical chemical.

Good practices and solutions

Three sludge incineration plants operate in the city at the Central wastewater treatment plant, Northern wastewater treatment plant and South-West wastewater treatment plant. Sludge is incinerated in the fluidized-bed furnaces at the temperature of 870°C. The heat produced by sludge incineration is used for process needs, space heating and power generation for Vodokanal to save energy resources. Flue gases are treated in three stages.

Mechanical treatment is designed for wastewater clarification. This block comprises an inlet chamber, mechanized screens, grit channels and primary clarifiers. The biological treatment includes aeration tanks and secondary sedimentation tanks. The biological treatment process occurs due to vital functions of activated sludge in aeration tanks in continuous contact with atmospheric oxygen injected into the aeration tank. Activated sludge is a biocenosis inhabited by different bacteria, protozoa and multicellular microorganisms which transform contaminants in wastewater and treat them.

Outcomes & Opportunities

Vodokanal amis to provide accessible water and sanitation services to ensure high quality of life for the customers and sustainable city development, to build the culture of water use and to preserve the Baltic Sea basin. The company operates according to values of sustainability and responsibility: Responsibility before future generations; Responsibility before the customers; Responsibility before the staff; Openness to the public and responsibility before the society. It also operates with an innovative approach focused on learning from international best practices in the field.

Some examples of ongoing programmes of Vodokan to enhance its capabilities includes:

• The Neva Untreated Wastewater Discharge Closure Program: This program envisages, among other things, the completion of the extension of the Northern Tunnel Collector, and the modernization of the Northern and Central Wastewater Treatment Plants to comply with new requirements of HELCOM (The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) regarding enhanced removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.

• Improvement of sewage sludge treatment and disposal technology: Today, all the sludge produced by wastewater treatment is burnt at three sludge in-cineration plants. However, in the previous years (before the incinerators were constructed) sludge was disposed to special landfills. For instance, the area of Severny landfill in Novoselki is about 83 ha. To eliminate a negative impact of sewage sludge landfills on the environment, a landfill reclamation project was designed on the basis of Geotube technology.

Related SDG targets
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 6.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.

 

Photo: © Justin Kauffman/Unsplash

Biogas and fertilizers from bio-waste

Located in Lahti, LABIO is the largest biogas production and refining plant in Finland and it produces biogas, a domestic and renewable product, from waste. It provides a treatment service for bio-waste and water treatment plant slurry for industry, waste management companies and for the general public.
Challange

Previously, bio-waste was largely used as landfill causing difficulties with methane gas production, odours and contributed to a valuable resource and energy loss. The amount of bio-waste is growing globally. With the right treatment, infrastructure and waste management systems, it could be used as a valuable resource for organic soil improvers and fertilisers or extracted, modified or transformed into a range of different bio-based products all replacing fossil-based products such as mineral fertilisers, peat and fossil fuels.

Good practices and solutions

By using municipal bio-waste, bio-waste from food industries, forestry, fisheries, sludge from wastewater treatment plans and biodegradable materials from farming, LABIO is able to produce biogas and fertilizers. It is the largest biogas production and refining plant in Finland, and part of the industrial symbiosis in Kujala Waste Treatment Centre in Lahti. The system developed by LABIO is pioneering, by combining composting and gas production where the compost produced by the biogas production is turned into raw soil materials and fertilisers, it allows the nutrients stored in bio-waste and sludge to be put back into circulation.

Outcomes & Opportunities

The operation of the plant offers an environmentally friendly, reliable, secure and odourless production of biogas and compost. Composting and the recovery of biogas are ideal ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and the carbon footprint. It is also a renewable and domestic energy source. The process is dependent on the development of a successful industrial symbiosis whereby waste products are delivered to the plan where it is upscaled and then released back. This, in turn, requires the cooperation of local neighbouring companies and municipalities.

Related SDG targets
  • 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
  • 7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

 

Photo: © Ivan Bandura/Unsplash

Digital Demo

Challenges

The public sector of Stockholm and Stockholm County needs new forms of partnership to manage some of the most urgent challenges of today and the approaching future decades. Increased pressure on health services, a diminishing supply of fresh water, and an increasing percentage of elderly are a few examples of problems that public actors can no longer handle on their own. In order to secure a socially and ecologically sustainable city, technological solutions need to be developed using a combination of academic, commercial, and practical knowledge. Digital Demo Stockholm (DDS) was initiated by KTH and the two major public actors in the region, the City of Stockholm and the Stockholm County Council. The purpose was to generate innovative solutions to societal problems using digital techniques and to establish lasting structures for trans-sector partnerships in the region.

The companies involve, of which many were already established partners of KTH and its education programmes, had a particular interest in accelerating digital innovations in order to demonstrate these to their many visitors from all over the world. Stockholm, with its relatively small population, is not an important market for any of the companies itself, but rather is an exhibition arena for global investors.

Good practices & Solutions

Forming a think tank consisting of partner representatives, DDS decided to match its demos against an already existing challenge-driven inventory of societal challenges in the City of Stockholm. These challenges were broken down into workshops during which a number of possible demo projects were picked out. The industrial partners assumed a project managing role for each demo and then applied for funding from Vinnova’s R&D programs. Openlab supported DDS with a process manager, using Design Thinking as a chosen methodology for creating innovative solutions. Testing, evaluating, refining, and re-testing is thus a regular process throughout the DDS operations and its demo projects.

“DDS … is more like a big learning process than it is a project”

DDS is heavily dependent on commitment from the leadership. Being a cross-sectorial collaboration, it demands more of its participating individuals than it would if run by only one actor. The steering group has to be ready to intervene in case there is no progress.

The procurement of innovative products and services faces obstacles from Swedish legislation. To tackle these obstacles, DDS appointed a policy council with the specific task of clarifying the necessary legal, operational, and commercial frames in which the partners need to operate.

Outcome & Opportunities

In 2018, DDS had six on-going independent demo projects: iWater, Tech Tensta, Smarta lås (Smart Locks), Smarta trafikljus (Smart Traffic Lights), Safe user-centred healthcare and social care in home environments, and Energy Efficient Healthcare. The results have been tested and presented, for example, in May 2018 at Openlab.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

Each participating actor needs to acknowledge the benefit they gain from the partnership. Municipal politicians need to understand the value of them achieving political leverage from innovation within DDS; business leaders need to see that they attract investors even though not achieving direct gains from the process; and researchers need to appreciate the relationships and networks that they build during the process.

Related SDGs
  • 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  • 7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
  • 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 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.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
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

The Oukasi Saving Scheme

In 1992, Mrs Rose Molokoane founded the Oukasi Saving Scheme in South Africa. It later became the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP), one of the federations under Slum Dwellers International (SDI).
Challenge

Oukasi is a very small township of informal character, 35 km out of Pretoria in South Africa. With support from the government, the settlement could install water and sanitation facilities, as well as electricity. However, this infrastructural support did not match the number of people living in the community and the infrastructural systems in the town were constantly overloaded. Electricity shedding, toilets breaking, sewage leaking on the streets and water shortage were part of the everyday life.

Good practices & solutions

In search for alternative ways of addressing Oukasis challenges, a team of delegates travelled to India to meet with a group of women in India that had organised a local collector/treasurer collective in their informal settlement. Inspired by these women the Oukasi saving scheme came to be. It sought to address four main challenges within the community: Stay-at-home women burdened with caring duties and without income or resources; General unemployment; A misconception of landownership and; Attention from the government.

Outcome & opportunities

One outcome of the saving scheme has been a new found confidence in the women involved. It educated most of them in how to the small amount of money they had and gave them the knowledge of managing bigger sums of money. The main reason for this newfound empowerment cannot be found in the money itself but the sense of community that occurred when the women got together to help each other out of poverty. After being successfully implemented in Oukasi, the saving scheme expanded to the whole of South Africa and lay ground for the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP), an organisation now established in 9 provinces and a federation under Slum Dwellers International (SDI).

Lessons learned & recommendations

In order to succeed with development, it is important for the people and the government to cooperate and create sustainable change. SDI is encouraging people to empower themselves and come together to talk with one voice. It is important, especially for the poor people, to organize themselves and show the government the change they want to create. That way it is possible to shape the policies that later defines the urban landscape.

Related SDG targets
  • 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
  • 1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions
  • 2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular
    the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
  • 3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
  • 5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • 6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • 7.b By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries,
    in particular least developed countries, small island developing States
    and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Rose Molokoane

#Women4Cities

FEDUP

Public- Private- People- Partnerships

In 2012, Penang city was the first local authority to practice and implement a gender responsive participatory budgeting in Malaysia. At the time, the mayor in the municipal council of Seberang Perai in Penang was Mrs Maimunah Mohd Sharif. To solve the municipality’s financial difficulties, she introduced the Public- Private-People- Partnerships (4P’s).
Challenges

In 2012, Seberang Perai municipal council had a low municipal finance. The services offered by the city council and the ongoing project, were not meeting the demands or needs of the citizens or businesses active in the area. This led to a high level of unpaid property taxes and assessments, which in turn resulted in low finances for the municipality.

Good practices & solutions

To solve the financial troubles and regain the citizens’ trust, the municipality implemented two strategies; (1) gender responsible budgeting and (2) the“4 P ́s”. The process started with asking city dwellers to rate the city council and identify areas that needed improvement. In 2012, the city was graded and achieved a satisfactory score of 64%. It was clear that implemented policies and public space solutions were not suitable for everyone residing in the city and something needed to be done. A gender perspective in both the city budgeting and planning was implemented. However, the subject of gender was sensitive, so it was incorporated through the technical term universal design, meaning that the solutions were to benefit everyone. The thesis in practice meant that if it is good for a pregnant lady, it is good for everybody, or if it is good for an old woman, it is good for everybody. The city formed the Penang women development cooperation to look into gender perspectives of existing policies and in this way institutionalise a gender perspective in the governmental policies.

The second strategy the ”4 P’s”,– Public- Private- People-Partnerships. The city had a tremendous amount of public spaces, lighting systems, and streets to maintain and many public facilities to update but lacked the means for doing so. Trying to find a solution to this problem, the mayor turned to private communities in Penang for support. A majority of companies in the area usually focused their corporate social responsibility budget on the city’s community centres for the elderly or orphanages, making it hard for these centres to facilitate the amount of money. Instead the mayor proposed that the private sector take responsibility for one or some of the city’s public parks. The city council formulated a transparent strategy to deal with the cooperation, giving advertising rights to the company or private community but reserving the final say regarding both the advertisement and the design of the park.

All designs were submitted and approved by the full council and then the company or private community implemented them and took care of the public space on a five-year lease. Due to this many public spaces improved tremendously. However, it started without the involvement of the people, which inevitably resulted in many projects not meeting the actual needs of citizens. After reviewing the target projects, the city council added another P to the model, the people.

Outcome & opportunities

The main outcome of the initiatives was the regained confidence and trust in the government, making city actors willing to pay their assessments again. This was only possible through good governance; with competency, accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of doing things. The 4 P ́s create a balance between the different city stakeholders which strengthen all parties. The private sector started to help the city manage and maintain spaces that would not be prioritized otherwise. When preparing the 2018 city budget, after several years of gender responsive participatory budgeting, the city had reached a satisfactory level of 92%.

Lessons learned & recommendations

First of all, it is of primary importance to analyse the challenges vital to the own city. Then, it is time look for the best practices elsewhere. Learn from the best practices globally and then apply them to the local context. This approach creates an integrated, holistic, sustainable development plan of policy, which have the opportunity to address the source of the problem rather than creating solutions ad hoc.

This integrated, holistic, sustainable development plan of policy has to be translated to the local government and translated into an action plan. When creating the locally driven action plan, every sector has to be involved. The strength lies in a combination of a top down and bottom up approaches that creates a convergence of ideas. It is key to not only create a good plan or a good policy but an implementable policy.

Related SDG targets
  • 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women
  • 5.1.1 Whether or not legal frameworks are in place and girls everywhere
  • 5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
  • 6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 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.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…
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels 16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public- private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Maimunah Mohd Sharif

#Women4Cities

UN-Habitat

Rural Women’s Assembly

Afrikagrupperna is a non-profit, non-party-political and non- religiously-based solidarity organization with a vision of a just world. The organization originated in the solidarity movement in Sweden in the late 1960s. Afrikagrupperna works to strengthen the civil society that is already in place in a south African context. Together with partner organizations in southern Africa, the Afrikagrupperna has worked for over 40 years to ensure that people have access to their rights.
Challenge

The UN has predicted that the world population will increase to around 9.6 billion in 2050, and to a large extent, this will be on the African continent. In Africa, the population will double or more, and according to the prognosis the African population will increase to about 2.4 billion by 2050. When the population increases, the movement and settlement patterns change from rural to increasingly urban. In order to secure an inclusive and equal development, as well as sustainable and long term based, Afrikagrupperna focus on securing the rights of rural women through a feminist point of view.

Good practices & solutions

Since the organization has been established for so long it has gathered a great experience of development cooperation and use well tested methods based in a deeply rooted ideology. However, only recently has the organization adopted a strong feminist strategy. This
in order to secure that the most vulnerable groups, women and children, are prioritized within their development work. Some projects specifically target women and children, but all development cooperation have a feminist perspective throughout. One example is the Rural Women’s Assembly, an initiative that organize rural women within the whole southern African region. The Rural Women’s Assembly is one of the most important ways to reach the groups that will be the future urban citizens.

Outcome & opportunities

If rural women get the possibility to mobilize and work together, they increase their possibilities to secure other many human rights, such as sexual and reproductive health rights. The sexual
and reproductive health rights are threatened globally, that is a setback for all human rights, and it is the first sign of a threat. For women to have the possibility to have larger meetings, to mobilize, to feel secure enough to meet without a threat is a crucial building block for a sustainable society where women are an active part of the community both locally and globally. Involving women is key to reach a sustainable development all over the globe, especially in the fight against climate change, democratic setbacks, human rights and our possibility to decrease poverty and reach food sovereignty within the global south. Mobilizing, offering safe spaces and being able to support grassroot movements are important methods to reach a sustainable development and integrate a feminist perspective within all development cooperation work.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Over the decades, Afrikagrupperna have found the only way to create sustainable development is to listen to those who’s rights are threatened. It should not be top down when it comes to development. The model of core support is one way the organisation work to realise this vision. By supporting local organisations with core funding it becomes possible to actively listen and navigate the landscape of civil society on a local level. In regard to this, Afrikagrupperna has also found that a feminist approach is a valuable tool in strengthening civil society and creating resilience.

Related SDG targets
  • 3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • 5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 15.6 Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public- private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnership
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Louise Lindfors

#Women4Cities

Afrikagrupperna

Pro-poor proactivity

The organization Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) was founded in 1984. They work in India as a part of an alliance with Mahila Milan and NSDF. SPARC works together with Slum Dweller International (SDI) in a Global Network.
Challenges

How do poor people, who are the main subjects of development interventions, become proactive and central to the solution? When SPARC began their work in 1984, they were working with women who lived on the streets of Mumbai facing routine evictions. It was a vicious circle where pavement dwellers were seen as a threat to society and therefor evicted, but because of their social and economic position they had no choice but to remain on the street and face new evictions when their settlement was rebuilt.

Good practices & solutions

SPARC undertook a first enumeration of all the people who lived on the pavements to show the municipality that they were the country’s poorest people. It showed that the dwellers consisted of landless people from rural areas that had come into the city to find work and food for themselves and their children. The reason they lived on the pavements was because their earnings did not cover the cost of public housing.

Over a ten-year period, the organization continued to work with pavement dwellers and continued to collect data about informal settlements as well as work with women’s groups within these communities. The data was then presented to the municipality, the state government, the national government and international agencies. The organization wanted to apply pressure and demand accountability by pressing the central government to take responsibility of finding a solution for people residing in informal settlements. It is because of absenct development investment in the dwellers’home cities and districts that they have come to live on the pavement of Mumbai or in informal settlements.

To incorporate the community women, a house designing competition was held where the winning sketch was later built. This method has been used, in different parts of the country, by community women to build houses. It demonstrates that the people are capable to build houses that meet their needs when they are given the opportunity. The federation work together with the government to finance the building and possible relocation of informal settlements.

Outcome & opportunities

It is now a local government policy to relocate and assign land to evicted slum of pavement dwellers. SPARC continues their work in other parts of the country, using the Mumbai experience as a blueprint. This has become an international precedent. In both India, South Africa and in many other countries, the local SDI federations have formed their own financial and construction company. This blends the money coming in from different actors and helps poor women to take up contracts to build their own houses.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Everyone can use these strategies to help their local authorities to prioritize and invest in the projects that attends the needs of the poor people. It is however crucial to have great local knowledge to be able to approach and involve the informal settlement in the development process as well as in dialogues with local authorities. SPARC stresses that it is of vital importance that urban development needs to be in collaboration between the municipality and the people, as it helps build the much needed trust between the parties. Additionally, for a solution that is sustainable, women need to be at the centre of it.

All the federations within the SDI family, help the neighbourhoods to collect good quality comprehensive data about themselves. The point is to either help aggregate the data at the city level or disaggregate the data to a community or a neighbourhood level, because no city gathers data about informality. This kind of census does not have a classification. So, by poor people gathering data about themselves, they produce quantitative information that forces the municipality to look at these people as requiring acknowledgment. This is a perspective that has been ignored and should be elevated in order to truly commit to, and achieve, the SDGs.

Related SDG targets
  • 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
  • 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.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…
  • 16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision- making at all levels
  • 17.16 Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Sheela Patel

#Women4Cities

SPARC

Slum Dwellers International

Testbädd Gröna Solberga

The test bed in Solberga is a form of research and demonstration facility where small companies, researchers and various organizations cooperate with the residents to find solutions together for the housing sector’s environmental challenges.

Challenges

Housing accounts for roughly 40% of energy use in Sweden, making apartment and facility renovation and innovation an essential prerequisite for reaching SDGs 6 and 11. Moreover, many urban areas in Sweden are facing increasing risks of flooding from heavier rainfalls due to climate change.

The current standard procedure when launching a testbed is to address particular residences and almost never local communities as a whole. This was partly the reason why the Solberga Testbed, labeled by its organisers as “The most living testbed in Sweden”, was launched in February 2018 by IVL and Stockholmshem, funded by ERUF platform Grön Bostad.

The main objective of the testbed is to promote better management of stormwater, surface water and waste. Companies and researchers are invited to join the testbed for experimenting with new solutions and behavioural change for reducing energy use in various contexts while contributing to a viable area and its social value.

Stockholmshem have clear financial goals in attracting business and residents to Solberga, where they own a considerable amount of apartments. The residents are included insofar as they are able on a voluntary basis, endangering a broad long-term citizen commitment. Grön Bostad wish to improve the environmental management conditions in Solberga while attracting private and public actors as well as citizens to keep the process going, hopefully by far outliving the project itself. On top of that, the structural fund has to approve of the results reported.

Good practices & solutions

Using a smaller community for trial-and-error activities with the possibility to fail repeatedly is considered crucial for a successful testbed. Therefore, creating good relations with the residents is key, thereby creating acceptance for a quantity of ideas to be tried out in their daily life. Companies wanting to be a part of the trials is also a welcomed feature.

Residents are invited to participate in test projects such as urban gardening and surface water management through workshops and casual activities. Stockholmshem is known to house many environmentally committed tenants, further facilitating the ongoing work of the testbed.

Outcome & opportunities

Of the solutions tested, notable examples are surface water being diverted into urban gardening use and reducing smell in local waste management in order to facilitate placing waste collecting stations close to residents. Surface water, putting significant pressure on water treatment systems, will be led through specially designed drain pipes instead of down the general municipal draining system. Preserved in local facilities, it will be utilized in hydroponics (water-only gardening) managed by urban gardening company Kretsloppsbolaget. The smell-reducing technology is provided by waste management company Bioteria. In a longer perspective, the organisers hope to contribute to an enhanced circular economy in the area. The project is open for new cleantech companies as long as they want to be included, with Stockholmshem also harboring hopes of appealing to the social aspect as well as the ecological, for example involving the residents in urban gardening, thereby improving social trust and community in the area.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Involving citizens can be difficult, as they do not possess the same time schedules and possibilities as other involved actors; it is particularly necessary to foster good relations with them, as well as with housing owners. Being allowed to fail with experiments occurring in their own environment requires a high level of trust and understanding. Collaborative projects cannot be written, they need to be equally conducted and tried in practice as they need to be prepared and planned. This may be obvious to many, but in academia it is hardly commonplace.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Grön Bostad, Stockholmshem, local residents, cleantech SMEs, IVL.

Further reading

Gröna Solberga

Norra Djurgårdsstaden

Challenges

Developing Norra Djurgårdsstaden (NDS), a completely new urban district for 12 000 residents and workplaces for 35 000 people, has been a significant feature of the last two decades of planning in central Stockholm and, naturally, a huge challenge. It was, however, only half-way through the process that the Stockholm City Council in 2009 decided to profile NDS as an internationally competitive hallmark of sustainability, inspired by the previously successful development of Hammarby Sjöstad. This serves municipal marketing purposes while it promotes sustainable and innovative models of urban planning, construction and development that can be adopted by future projects.

Good practices & solutions

Developing a sustainable city district cannot be done by merely assigning the task to the Development Administration at the municipal administration; close co-operation is needed with other departments, construction, housing and other companies, residents and academia. A particular organisation was built up solely for working with NDS, with thematic groups of experts breaking down the many different project goals into specific sustainability requirements. Co-creation of problem definitions and ideas was also present at an early stage by necessity, as those involved in the long and complex development process had different experiences, knowledge, vocabulary and view of the problem, meaning that they needed to develop common frameworks in order to work together. In 2008, KTH conducted a series of future workshops, gathering experts and stakeholders around issues such as transport and energy, in order to gain a broad understanding of the challenges and possibilities of NDS. The outcome of these workshops implied a way forward for developing NDS. In 2010, a World Class Agreement (Swedish: världsklassavtal) was developed by around 100 different actors – including construction companies – regarding NDS. Again, when revising the NDS sustainability vision and targets in 2017, a similar process was conducted, in which researchers, different city administrations and companies, developers, by then established residents and others were involved in working out future challenges and objectives. Requirements specifications have been emphasised throughout the project. First, sustainability requirements are set at a high level.

Second, from an early stage, assigned developers need to declare their data on a regular basis so that requirements can be carefully followed up. Third, the main incentive for living up to requirements is not, as is usually the case, a fine, but open declaration of achievements in NDS’s annual sustainability reports. Not wholly unexpected, many developers anticipated a failure to meet requirements; thus, developing sustainability competence became a highly emphasised part of the process at an early stage. Forum för hållbara lösningar (Forum for Sustainable Solutions) was initiated in 2012 and has held around 20 events where material industry can meet developers to talk about innovative products and businesses. A capacity development programme is held since 2010 of knowledge sharing between involved actors in construction and sustainable development processes. The capacity development programme particularly demonstrates the progress of NDS, but also generally discusses innovative solutions to building sustainable housing. While many actors initially showed reluctance to participate, it only required for a few to join the competence development process for others to follow and subsequently compete with each other regarding learning about sustainability. The close dialogue with constructors also helped to improve project management’s requirement specifications.

NDS works with 5 overarching strategies, each encompassing the three dimensions
of sustainable development:
1) A vibrant city.
Emphasising the public space as an important area for equality and accessibility for all.
2) Let nature do the work
Harnessing green and blue qualities in improving life quality; for example, laying green rooftops is essential in order to meet requirements.
3) Accessibilty and proximity
Providing proximity to societal services and making fossil fuels as redundant as possible by promoting cycling and pedestrians.
4) Resource efficiency and climate responsibility
Creating smart management systems of energy, waste and engaging in a sharing economy. Moreover, a particular centre for re-use and restoration of used materials
and goods creates new value for artisanry connected to these practices, thus enabling a form of circular knowledge.
5) Participation and consultation

Local collaboration within and between neighbourhoods is emphasised through digital and analogue means. In order to experiment and push boundaries in NDS, R&D projects were welcomed to create innovative solutions with NDS as testbed. All projects were coordinated by the NDS strategic sustainability group, promoting projects in particular areas of interest to form a balanced and diverse portfolio of  outcomes. Projects mainly worked according to triple or quadruple helix models, including C/O City, who developed new tools for assessing green qualities in built environment. 7For the NDS project management, the internal anchoring process of the unusual collaboration forms with construction actors, other cities and research institutesultimately took approximately 3-4 years to accomplish; however, the dialogue that has originated out of this process has become particularly beneficial and probably unprecedented for the City of Stockholm. Moreover, the close dialogue format breeds a higher level of respect and understanding due to mutual learning between actorsand their objectives, as well as an environment of constructive criticism.

No particular method has been utilised to foster co-creation apart from general project management tools; managing the chain of ownership by establishing contact higher up in the municipal management structure, and horizontally between departments, has been key to having the right expertise present at as many meetings and forums as possible.

Outcome & opportunities

NDS is currently the home of 6 000 residents having successively moved in since 2012. NDS won the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Awards in 2015 in the category of sustainable city district, awarded at the UN Paris Climate Conference. Through its high requirements, NDS has implemented a rich variety of sustainable solutions and more are waiting to be implemented. While apartments will be costly, the new land allocation agreement assigns developers to shaping properties in order to maximise accessibility in public spaces to attract a diversity of citizens.

Lessons learned & recommendations

The early stage is crucial for success in terms of co-creating sustainable solutions and knowledge. Aspects in need of particular attention in this regard are: clarifying the objectives and involvement of each actor, working on a strategic level, harnessing leadership, not giving up, have the courage to evaluate regularly, internal anchoring, revising targets, supporting the creative process and a general intuitive feeling. A particular significance is paid to including sustainable goals from the beginning, instead of pasting it onto already existing structures. A challenge hitherto unmanaged in NDS is the continuous documentation and preservation of knowledge generated in the process, in order to ensure that it lives on into other projects.

Further reading

Norra Djurgårdsstaden