The Danish government – represented by Development Minister Ulla Tørnæs and Minister of Finance Kristian Jensen – recently launched the Danish national action plan relating to the UN’s 17 Global Goals for eradicating poverty and creating sustainable development world wide. The launch took place in the UN City of Copenhagen, with more than 200 guests representing government agencies, the business community, civil society an d schools.

statements by two ministers

Kristian Jensen, who will be representing Denmark this July at the first Global Goals review at the UN in New York, stated: “Denmark is leading the way when it comes to ensuring sustainable development – both in Denmark and in developing countries. With the national action plan, new Danish legislation will now be assessed in relation to the global goals. This will ensure the incorporation of the goals into our daily legislative work, and we have also committed to reporting annually on our progress.”

Ulla Tørnæs said that she looked forward to using the action plan as a tool for involving Denmark’s public authorities, businesses and civil society in the fulfilment of the Global Goals: “The highly ambitious global goals demand a commitment from us all. Public authorities, the business community and civil society must all work together to create sustainable development and growth. This applies both in Denmark and to our efforts in developing countries, which include collaborations with local authorities to engage a wide range of ministries, agencies, municipalities and private sector companies.”

Download here (only Danish version): Handlingsplan for FN Verdensmål – UM 2017

are we telling the truth?

Much of what is mentioned in the report is useful, and it is also a fair presentation of what Denmark has achieved as a society so fair. However, it is also presented in what you could consider to be a rather ‘over-positive’ interpretation. I therefore tend to agree with many of the comments presented by Knud Vilby in a blog on Globalnyt. Knud Vilby is one of the most knowledgeable commentators on development and aid in Denmark. The following is quoted from his blog:

“The action plan states that all problems have been solved already. It sends a signal that if only all of the 200 countries in the world had economy and production and comsumption and democracy and equality like we have in Denmark, then all problems – including the climate challenge – would be solved. Does the government really believe this is the case?

“Take one example: in the introduction, the government states that economic growth in Denmark already is sustainable. But it is really true that our growth today threatens neither the environment nor the climate? That the world would be just fine if 9 billion people had the same comsumption and production patters like we have? Hardly!

“The action plan presents all the 17 sustainable development goals, and for each of these the government starts with the same statement: Danish policy is in line with the goal, and there will be a sustained effort to realize the ambitions of the goal. Just imagine if the wording had been the following: Denmark agrees with the goal, and the Danish government will try to design and implement legislation that can secure completion of the goal.

The Norwegian example

In many respects we often compare Denmark and Norway, because of our similar histories of building a welfare state, managing a fairly inclusive form of democracy, and also having high ambitions regarding levels and forms of development cooperation. I am therefore also attaching the Norwegian 2030 action plan for the sustainable development goals. In many ways I find the Norwegian report more honest and refreshing than the Danish report.

Download here: Norway 2030 Follow-up