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  Austria

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Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

The Austrian Strategy for SD (NSTRAT) was adopted as a document relating to the federal level authorities by the Austrian Federal Government in April 2002. Two work programmes have been published at federal level: the 2003 work programme presented 200 specific measures to be implemented in line with the objectives of the strategy. The second work programme (2004) presented 80 additional measures.

Starting with 2006, a joint national strategy addressing both the federal and regional levels (ÖSTRAT) had been developed by the Coordinators”. The Council of Governors adopted this joint strategy, as well as accompanying the first working programme in May 2009. In July 2010, the Federal Council of Ministers re-affirmed this decision, also adopting the national SD-strategy (ÖSTRAT), and adding new objectives within the jurisdiction of the federal level. In 2011, both political bodies adopted a new ÖSTRAT working programme and the interim progress report 2011ff.

ÖSTRAT is the first common SD strategy of a Federal Country addressing both the national and regional level in Europe.

Type of SD strategy

NSDS covers all three dimensions of SD plus international issues

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

The NSTRAT is coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism together with the Federal Chancellery. The ÖSTRAT implementation is coordinated by the “Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators”, chaired by the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism and the Federal Chancellery on national level together with representatives of Regional SD Coordinators.

Link to the SD strategy
document

The 2002 NSTRAT document (English version) can be downloaded here: 'A Sustainable Future for Austria' (2002)


The full list(s) of NSDS objectives as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:

Further information about
the SD strategy process

Information on the ÖSTRAT and download of ÖSTRAT relevant documents

Website on the Austrian Strategy for Sustainable Development

http://www.sd-network.eu/?k=country%20profiles&s=single%20country%20profile&country=Austria

 

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National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

 

Austria has launched the implementation of the SDGs with a Decision by the Austrian Council of Ministers in January 2016. In line with the universal, integrated and interrelated nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Decision of the Council of Ministers emphasizes a mainstreaming approach: The sectoral ministries will utilize their existing multi-stakeholder strategy and programming processes to take the SDGs into account in the respective national policy frameworks. Thereby, well-established structures of numerous national policy frameworks will be deployed for the SDG implementation.

 

Additionally, the SDG Focal Points of each Ministry teamed up in an inter-ministerial working group co-chaired by the Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Foreign affairs – with particular involvement of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. This working group accelerates information sharing on the Agenda 2030 and provides guidance on national reporting.

 

In March 2017, the working group published the Outline 2016 - Contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the Austrian Federal Ministries (German). The Outline 2016 provides information on the general approach taken, the national policy processes and on the international dimension of the SDG implementation in Austria. It provides a basis for further discussions with Parliament, civil society and other stakeholders.

 

Further work is planned on the development of an indicator framework compatible with the Eurostat guidance as well as involving all levels of state and the private sector to support the SDGs

 

 

Leading Ministry and
respective unit

 

Federal Chancellery (Unit IV/1) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Unit VII/1)

Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism and the Federal Ministry of Science

Other ministries involved

 

All ministries are closely involved.

Main contact point for the
implementation process

 

 

Atila Kilic, iv1@bka.gv.at

 

Peter Mikl, abtvii1@bmeia.gv.at

 

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs

 

www.sdg.gv.at

(Only available in German) Contributions of Federal Government Ministries in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Austria – 2016 Account

Voluntary National Reviews [No information available]

 

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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

Several institutional arrangements foster the cooperation and coordination between the national and sub-national levels in the ÖSTRAT process:

  • The ‘Actors Network Sustainable Austria’ is intended to facilitate networking among SD coordinators from the national, regional and local levels. In order to exchange experience on SD issues, a network journal is published and regular network meetings are held. Since 1998, members of the Actors Network Sustainable Austria regularly have met in ‘round tables’ organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management in cooperation with one of the Austrian regions. The round table meetings focused on the exchange of experience and information among actors of different working fields and different levels of implementation. During the preparation of the NSDS, one round table meeting was dedicated to discuss governance issues and the expectations of different stakeholders related to the strategy. In 2009, two round tables were held: the first one focused on sustainable resource use and transition towards sustainable lifestyles, at the second the actors network discussed the challenges of demographic development and options to cope with it (click here for more information on the round table meetings. Since 2010 onwards, the activities of the actors network have been closely linked with the implementation of the ÖSTRAT, the joint SD strategy of the Federal and provincial authorities, its implementation by means of joint work programmes, and its further development. As a consequence, the “Round Table Sustainable Austria” was given a new design. In November 2010 the Actors Network Sustainable Austria met at the “1. ÖSTRAT Platform” to develop the first joint ÖSTRAT work programme. More than 50 actors from key institutions of the national and regional levels discussed the further development of existing initiatives as well as options for new partnerships and new initiatives (click here for more information on the ÖSTRAT platform).
  • The ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’ was approved by the “Conference of the Environmental Ministers of the Federal Provinces” in 2000. National and regional SD coordinators meet twice a year in order to develop common activities and to coordinate the implementation of SD strategies and policies.
  • The chair of the Regional SD coordinators participates in the ‘Committee for a Sustainable Austria’, the key (governmental) mechanism at Federal level that did -in previous years- manage the NSTRAT implementation by means of work programmes and progress reports, and today manages both the renewal of the 2002 NSTRAT, as well as the Federal contributions to the ÖSTRAT work programmes and the progress reports. External support for the ÖSTRAT-process: An external support office provides technical assistance for the implementation of the present and the development of the next work programme. It does also support the preparation of progress report and provides back office support for the cooperation and coordination mechanisms that link the national and sub-national levels in the ÖSTRAT process (see above).
  • Local Agenda 21 (LA 21) is regarded as an important approach to implement SD at the regional and local level. In 2002, a sub-group of the ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’ was established to improve coordination of LA 21 activities  which include a standardized quality assurance and evaluation of LA 21-processes, arranging events for exchange of views and experiences and organizing EU-subsidies for LA 21-processes.

Members of the Actors Network Sustainable Austria regularly have met in ‘round tables’ organised by the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism in cooperation with one of the Austrian regions.

EU linkages

The renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (EU SDS) that was adopted in June 2006 foresees that Member States bi-annually report about how they address the priorities of the EU SDS. Austria has published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in July 2007.

 

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Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

Horizontal coordination on the Federal level is fostered by the ‘Committee for a Sustainable Austria’ that consists of representatives of all Federal Ministries, social partners and the chairs of the ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’. Moreover, a ‘Sustainable Development Steering Group’ was established on the national level to coordinate SD activities among the different ministries. As of 2010 the Committee is co-chaired by the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism. These mechanisms work as a

  • means of coordination through common projects and programmes,
  • political guidance and
  • steering mechanism.

Horizontal coordination on the level of federal provinces is facilitated by the Regional SD Coordinators. They assist implementation of SD within the provincial administrations. Furthermore they share experiences and develop joint activities among the provinces, mostly using the mechanism of the ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’, which serves both horizontal and vertical integration.

Some of the Austrian provinces decided to develop own SD strategies complementary to the ÖSTRAT to enhance the process of horizontal integration within the respective province.

 

Horizontal coordination on the regional and local level is encouraged and fostered by the above-mentioned sub-group of the ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’ on LA 21. For more details see “sub-national activities”.

 

This is co-chaired by the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of  Sustainability and Tourism.

 

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Evaluation and Review

NSTRAT:

Transparency in, and information on the progress in the implementation of the NSTRAT is considered as equally important. Several measures were set so far:

  1. Work programmes: Work programmes define specific measures and objectives that are to be implemented. They also refer to relevant sectorial and institutional competencies. Work programmes were published in 2003 and 2004. Here are the links to the 2003 work programme (in German) and the 2004 work programme (in German).
  2. Progress reports: Bi-annual progress reports are foreseen to describe the results achieved in the implementation and to present new implementation measures. The last progress report was issued in 2006 (in German).
  3. External process review: In 2002, a report on an external process review focussing on the process of development of the NSDS was published. (Link to http://www.nachhaltigkeit.at/article/articleview/72444/1/26482)  Furthermore, an external process review published in July 2005 summarizes experience gathered and lessons learned by the main actors in the implementation process of the NSTRAT (link to http://www.nachhaltigkeit.at/article/articleview/72450/1/26482)
  4. External evaluation: In 2005, an external evaluation of the implementation activities and results achieved regarding NSDS was conducted by a group of independent researchers. The results were intended to be taken into account in the further development and improvement of the NSDS. The full version of the evaluation report was published in December 2005; a summary is also available (in German language).
  5. Audit by the Austrian court of Auditors: In 2005, the NSDS and its mechanisms of horizontal and vertical integration were audited by the Austrian Court of Auditors; the report published in September 2006 can be downloaded here. In 2009, the Federal Court of Auditors carried out another audit. The aim of the audit was to identify if, and to which extent, integration of SD has proceeded in decision-making processes in the federal provinces and on the national level. Another focus of the audit was the organisational framework and its suitability with respect to the targets to be achieved. The results of the audit were published in 2010; the reports are provided here

The findings are integrated for the further development/implementation of the NSDS and its on-going revision, as well as the joint ÖSTRAT working programmes, resp.

 

ÖSTRAT:

In order to monitor progress in the implementation of the ÖSTRAT, a 2-year´s reporting cycle is foreseen, starting with the first progress report scheduled for 2011(progress report 2011 can be downloaded here). Evaluation of the effects of the implementation and of the framework for the process of ÖSTRAT implementation is considered to be important also. Evaluation is intended to be done every four years.

 

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Indicators and Monitoring

Austria has elaborated an “indicator based monitoring system for the overall assessment of sustainable development [...] based on what is known as the 2-sphere model” in July 2006. The set consists of 82 indicators structured along the 2 spheres 'Man/Society' and 'Environment'. 26 SDIs are used as headline indicators for communication purposes. In October 2007 and in June 2009, 2011 and 2013 indicator reports as well as brochures called “Sustainability Barometer” depicting only the headline indicators have been published. Data in excel-files for all indicators can be downloaded here. The different monitoring reports are available on http://www.lebensministerium.at/en/fields/environment/Sustainabledeve/Monitoring.html.

 

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Participation

In addition to the various participatory approaches applied to ensure stakeholder group integration in the development and implementation of both the NSTRAT and the ÖSTRAT, a strategy group was established in 2002 in order to develop guidance for participation in relation to SD and to interlink the actors working in this field in Austria. The strategy group comprised 20 persons from administration, academia, consulting, NGOs, etc. They drew up practical recommendations (‘work sheets for public participation’) and discussed with stakeholder groups.  For further information go to www.partizipation.at.

In July 2008, the Council of Ministers approved the new “standards of public participation” work sheets for public participation (www.partizipation.at).

In July 2008, the Council of Ministers approved the new that were developed by an inter-ministerial working group that included several stakeholders (social partners and NGOs) and experts. These standards should be applied by the administration when developing programmes and policies.

The outcomes of these standards and the work of the strategy group aimed at:

For a detailed documentation of all advisory and participatory councils (for SD and/or the environment) in this country, please go to the EEAC website at http://www.eeac.eu/councils/austria and click on one of the listed institutions.

 

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Sub-national activities

LA 21 initiatives

Local/regional Agenda 21 in Austria:

In the year 1998, the first Local Agenda 21 processes (pilot-processes) started in Austria. Currently, more than 450 processes at local level and almost 50 at regional level (regions, districts) can be found. Processes at regional level cover political districts as well as tourist regions or aggregations of communities. A constantly increasing number of processes in Austria can be observed. The number of LA21 processes is measured periodically by the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism. Local Agenda 21 was  strongly linked to the NSDS (2002) and the ÖSTRAT (2009/2010).

All federal ministries were tasked with the coherent implementation of the 2030 Agenda by a decision of the Council of Ministers of 12 January 2016. In its progress report on implementing the SDGs the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism mentioned the „Local Agenda 21“ as one of important activities with overlapping function.Organisation at regional level (9 Austrian regions):

Each of the 9 regions has its own co-ordinating office providing quality management, evaluation, training of moderators, subsidies in processes and projects, communication etc.

To provide best possible support, a working-group on Local Agenda 21, the “DNS-LA21”, has been established by the “Regional SD Coordinators of Austria” in 2003. A board of representatives of the 9 Austrian regions and oft he Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism developed the “Joint Declaration on Local Agenda 21 in Austria”, which was politically adopted by the “Conference of the Environmental Spokespersons of the Federal Provinces” on 9th October 2003, which was renewed in 2010. According to this declaration, a work program was implemented and is being further developed. Tasks of the board „DNS-LA21“:

  • Implementing the tasks of the “Joint Declaration on Local Agenda 21 in Austria” in a view of a “Good Governance Model” for Austrian local authorities
  • Bilateral cooperation between the individual regions
  • Coordination of common topics and public relation by the federal ministry
  • Coordination and organisation of the periodically held Austrian Summit on Local Agenda 21 ; 8th Summit (Salzburg, 2017)Quality management; developing methods for a long-term stabilization of processes
  • Political and institutional lobbying

Which criteria have to be fulfilled to declare a process a “Local Agenda 21”?

To ensure high quality of processes, a set of five criteria was elaborated by a working group

Of the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism

together with the heads of the co-ordinating offices of the 9 Austrian regions. These criteria at the same time build up the basis for the uptake of municipalities or regions into the register of Austrian Local Agenda 21 processes.

  • Political decision at local level – has to be fulfilled
  • Participation of local civil society – has to be fulfilled
  • Mission statement for Sustainable Development – has to be fulfilled
  • Co-ordinated learning process (targeted goals, measures, projects – scheduled level
  • Cross-community exchange and networking – scheduled level 

Subsidies and support from national and/or regional level

Local Agenda processes are usually supported directly by the co-ordinating office responsible for the respective region. Subsidies are provided for keeping high quality standards, training of moderators and citizens, pilot projects, public relation (events, materials, web pages), networks etc.

The Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism provides support for co-ordinating common topics, public relation and for the recurring “Austrian Summit on Local Agenda 21”. An internet platform for LA 21 (www.nachhaltigkeit.at/la21) provided by the Federal Ministry provides the most important information about LA 21, news, a list of co-ordinating offices as well as a register and regularly presents a representative Austrian LA 21-process to the public.

 

Within the national research programme “proVision” of the “Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research”, Local Agenda was included as an explicit topic, which triggered funding of several research activities over the last years.

Local Agenda 21 also receives subsidies by “The Austrian Programme for Rural Development 2014-2020”, Local Agenda was included as an explicit topic, which triggered funding of several research activities over the last years.

 

Contact details:

For further details please visit our website for Local Agenda 21 at www.nachhaltigkeit.at

 

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This Country Profile has been last updated on:  04 April 2018

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.

 

-- Back to overview --

This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 09 April 2018

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.

 

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