New Asker, Norway, 31 October 31, 2017-- New Asker, a municipality located just North of Oslo, is adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for the reformulation of the new municipality.

Norwegian municipalities are in the process of undergoing an amalgamation process so as to better provide economies of scale and provide more efficient and effective public welfare services. As part of this reform process the municipalities of Asker, Hurum and Røyken have agreed to merge by the 1st of January, 2020 under the new name of New Asker.

A delegation from UN-Habitat, headed by Deputy Executive Director, Aisa Kacyira, visited New Asker to both celebrate and offer advice on the adoption of the SDGs at the local level
“You are frontrunners internationally in the localizing of the SDGs, we want to follow your process closely,” said the DED at last Friday's meeting in Asker Town Hall.

The Asker visit included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) and the Forum for Development and Environment.

SDGs in municipal planning
Susanne Vist, the head of the New Asker sub-committee for implementation for the UN SDGs, did a presentation on how to implement each SDG into municipal planning work, and how New Asker is working on making the goals both specific and relevant to the design of the new municipality.

“The SDGs are being translated and transferred to our local context, and placed into their respective areas in the municipal master plan,” stated Vist, “this way we ensure that the SDG principles are safeguarded within the municipality's operational objectives.”

“New Askers initiative and approach is very interesting,” stated Kacyira, “Implementing these global goals is difficult if they are not made comprehensible and relevant to people in their communities. We rely on residents and leaders to see the connection between local actions and global consequences. New Asker has begun this journey by placing the SDGs in their local context, and realizing local targets as a contribution to sustainable development. UN-Habiat commits to work with Asker in localising the SDGs, and translating their process so that they can be an international example of local leadership for development and sustainability.

New Asker first in Norway
New Asker Municipality is the first municipality in Norway to be included in UN Habitat's program for local implementation of the SDGs.

“The joint political committee for the New Asker municipality decided in October 2016, that the SDGs should be incorporated as a framework for the design of the new municipality. - This formal decision is a very specific commitment for our construction of a new municipality,” stated Lene Conradi, head of the joint political committee for new Asker and mayor of the municipality of Asker.
“As a small Norwegian municipality in the global community, we are privileged to work directly with the UN Habitat, and to receive support as proceed with our work with the SDGs,” she added.

New Asker’s work on the SDGs is as well being followed closely at the national level by the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS).

“Asker is the first municipality in Norway to do this job thoroughly, and we know that other municipalities are about to start a similar processes. Therefore, we follow New Asker’s work closely to gather knowledge and experiences so that other municipalities can benefit from their processes,” said Knut Hjorth-Johansen from KS.

Measuring Progress
“The world is becoming smaller, and local authorities are becoming increasingly important in terms of leadership and cooperation for sustainable development”, says Douglas Ragan, head of UN-Habitat's Youth and Livelihood Unit. “We published the "Roadmap for Localizing the SDGs " as part of an ongoing effort to give local governments tools to implement the SDGs, and equally important, to measure progress and their own success criteria.”

The SDGs are not only visionary ideals, but are also monitored by measuring tools for success achievement. At the political level, systems for follow-up and measurements must be put in place, and for a municipality like Asker, goal 11 will be particularly relevant. There already exists a good framework for the development of measurement indicators .
(See goal-11 indicators.pdf and

How is this being implemented in New Asker?
New Asker is partnering with KS to develop national performance indicators for Norwegian reform municipalities that want to adopt the UN SDGs. In Norway, the Ministry of Finance has given national responsibility for these measurement indicators to Statistics Norway, similar to the task given to Eurostat by the EU. Profit realization and measurement in new Asker's municipal planning work also follows the European model that defines around 100 key indicators that are particularly relevant to the public sector in Europe. New Asker has established contact with the Research and Capacity Development branch of UN-Habitat on measurements and monitoring through the City Prosperity Initiative. In addition, we are in contact with Uppsala municipality in Sweden, which has already prepared a proposal for implementing the UN SDGs in its municipal planning, with their own performance indicators adapted to its own particular context.