Global Sustainable Development Goals

On 25 September 2015, the UN Summit adopted the Global Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. The Declaration "Changing the World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" adopted by the world's Heads of State and Government contains 17 global Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition to the 17 global sustainable development goals, Estonia also monitors the goal of the viability of the cultural space, which arises from the Estonian national strategy for sustainable development “Sustainable Estonia 21”.

The main goal of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development is to eradicate poverty everywhere and to ensure dignity and a good quality of life for all, while respecting the capabilities of the natural environment. The objectives of the action plan focus on improving the economic, social and environmental situation.

The targets apply to all countries and require input from both governments and the non-governmental sector.

In Estonia, the global issues related to the implementation of the sustainable development goals are also reflected in the development plans and programs prepared on the basis of the "Estonia 2035" strategy.

More about the UN Summit 2015

Sustainable development in Estonia

Estonia’s sustainable development principles have been determined by the National Strategy on Sustainable Development “Sustainable Estonia 21”. The strategy basics are derived from the Law on Sustainable Development adopted by the Riigikogu in 1995. This Act sets out regulations on sustainable use of natural environment and natural resources.

The National Strategy on Sustainable Development “Sustainable Estonia 21” was completed under the coordination of the Ministry of the Environment in 2005. This constitutes as a strategy for developing the Estonian state and society until 2030. The strategy was completed in close cooperation between the experts and the stakeholders. The adoption of the strategy was preceded by a thorough public discussion.

The aim of the strategy is to combine the requirements for success arising from global competition with the preservation of the sustainable development principles and Estonia’s traditional values. The National Strategy “Sustainable Estonia 21” proposes objectives and policies contributing to the sustainable development of Estonia. 

No separate plan has been compiled to implement the Estonian National Strategy on Sustainable Development: the strategy is implemented through various sectorial strategies and development plans. While compiling a development plan for each sector, the strategic development plans for the national competitiveness and sustainable development have to always be taken into account.

To monitor the implementation of the National Strategy, a report has been compiled on the results of the implementation of the strategy. The report helps to set further goals through the choice of sustainable development indicators and also gives an overview of how the indicators have changed in recent years.

Objectives of Estonia’s sustainable development

  • The viability of the Estonian cultural space
  • The growth of welfare
  • A socially coherent society
  • Ecological balance
Photo: Hanna Odras


The Commission for Sustainable Development

The Government of the Republic of Estonia established the Commission for Sustainable Development in 1996.

The main task of the Commission for Sustainable Development is to monitor the implementation of the Estonia’s Strategy on Sustainable Development and publish appropriate reports, including making relevant proposals to the Government of the Republic to ensure the national long-term sustainable development.

Since the topic of the national long-term sustainable development is very broad, the Commission annually focuses on one or two central topics, which are researched and analysed and on which specific proposals will be developed. The central topics will be chosen by the members of the Commission. The studies and analyses that prepare proposals for the Commission for Sustainable Development are funded by the Government Office. Discussion groups, consisting of representatives of various sectors, are included in the preparation of reports.

The Commission sessions take place on the basis of an annual work plan approved by the Commission and this plan determines the Commission tasks, key central topics and dates of regular sessions.


The Commission is chaired by the Chairman of the Commission, who is elected for two years by the members of the Commission. The Chairman of the Commission is supported by the Vice-Chairman, who is also elected for two years. The Chairman of the Commission chairs the Commission sessions and represents the views of the Commission when communicating with the media and the Government.

Since 2007, the Strategy Unit of the Government Office acts as the Secretariat for the Commission for Sustainable Development that ensures the provision of technical services of the Commission work and supports the Commission in preparing decisions, in other words, helps to find the appropriate persons to carry out studies and analyses, prepare initial tasks, issue contracts, fund studies and analyses, organise discussions on the central topics, etc.

The Working Group for Sustainable Development

To improve the efficiency in implementing the Strategy on Sustainable Development, an inter-ministerial working group for sustainable development was created in 2008.

The working group is headed by the Strategy Director and the members of the working group are representatives of ministries concerned with the implementation of the strategy (the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice) at the level of deputy secretary generals and heads of department, as well as representatives of Statistics Estonia.

Last updated: 01.10.2020