Sustainable Kópavogur

The Kópavogur Town Council has agreed to implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into the town council’s strategy. Kópavogur will be the first municipality in Iceland to formally implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Kópavogur town’s strategy consists of a mission statement, a future vision, values and primary goals that are derived from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


Mission statement

The mission statement of Kópavogur municipality is to ensure the quality of life of residents, with good and diverse services. The town’s basic principles are clear, and the aim is for everyone to have the opportunity to have impact. Kópavogur places emphasis on a fine life for all residents, efficient and responsible operations as well as a strong business community.


Kópavogur is a town that provides excellent services, and is a sought-after place to live and work. Kópavogur town is an urban community, closely linked to nature, shown by the town’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility. In Kópavogur, there are first-class schools and careful attention is paid to the well-being, health and welfare of residents of all ages.

Kópavogur is a community based on democratic decisions, where the inhabitants influence their own affairs. Kópavogur is prudently run, and emphasis is placed on sustainability and efficiency. Kópavogur is at the forefront of innovation and adopts technological innovations in its operations.


Kópavogur, its employees and elected representatives, represent the residents of the town with humility, as they work for and on their behalf. When making decisions, it should be borne in mind that the power comes from the residents of the town and that those who wield it do so only on behalf of the inhabitants.

Kópavogur town’s values are:


The town council’s primary goals

The town council has set 36 key primary goals for its operations that are part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable Development Goal 1 – No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.

Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.  

3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

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.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation

Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

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.

6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.

6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.

Sustainable Development Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth

Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth,  employment and decent work for all

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.

8.9 By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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.C Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.

Sustainable Development Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries

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.

Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.

11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.

11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.

11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

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.

11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning

Sustainable Development Goal 12 – Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.

Sustainable Development Goal 13 - Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related disasters.

13.2 Integrate climate change measures into policies and planning.

Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

14.2 By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans.

Sustainable Development Goal 15 – Life on land

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts

Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions

Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.

16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

Sustainable Development Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals

Revitalize the global partnership 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.

The method for Kópavogur

When choosing the primary goals for Kópavogur, three factors were looked at: first, the priority objectives of the government of Iceland; second, the position of the United Cities and Local Governments organisation on the SDG targets that fall within the scope of municipalities; and finally, projects that Kópavogur town has committed to, for example, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

With this prioritization the primary goals set by the town council of Kópavogur are 36 in total.

Performance indicators

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Index of Kopavogur is intended to give an insight into the status of the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Kopavogur as part of the implementation of its overall strategy. Kopavogur has prioritized 15 SDGs and 36 targets and made them the primary goals in Kopavogur's  strategy.

The SDGs indicator framework for Kopavogur is partly based on the OECD localized indicator framework for regions and cities. Kopavogur was one of the pilots in the OECD’s Programme A Territorial Approach to the SDGs and has worked closely with the organisation. It also considers the UN´s indicator framework for the SDGs. The OECD report on Kopavogur.

The SDGs index  consists of 15 dimensions where each dimension corresponds to one SDG. These 15 dimensions consist  of 36 components that  Kopavogur municipality has prioritized as its primary  goals, but they also have a parallel in the targets of the SDGs. The index has a value between 0-100, where a higher number should indicate a positive change in the implementation of  the SDGs. At the same time, each dimension, each component, and each measure are given a value in the range of 0 to 100.

Efforts have been made to use standard indicators or indicators that are already available elsewhere. By using this approach, the selection of indicators is based on the development and definition of indicators that have been defined as appropriate for the targets by other organizations and associations and thus increase the likelihood of comparability of individual indicators with other areas. The index consists of 94 indicators and is stored in Kopavogur´s information system Nightingale.  Methodology of index

The administration of Kopavogur operates in accordance with the ISO9001 standard and the town´s quality system has received external certification in recent years. 

In connection with Kopavogur´s strategy process, it was decided to implement performance indicators according to another ISO standard, ISO37120 for sustainable cities, through the World Council on City Data (WCCD), an organisation in Canada that leads the development of and runs the standard. Kopavogur has received a platinum certification and approximately 100 municipalities and cities all over the world have already received a certification.  The standard consists of approximately 100 social, economical, and environmental indicators.

For further information on the standard, please see

Kopavogur is developing the Child friendly city index in cooperation with Unicef and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

When analysing the external environment in Kopavogur´s strategy process it was decided to work with SPI in Iceland on a social progress index. The index is based on selected social and environmental indicators that capture three dimensions of social progress in accordance with the SPI in Iceland methodology.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


In the year 2000, the United Nations set out the Millennium Development Goals to achieve by 2015; these focused primarily on developing countries. Significant progress was achieved, and it was decided to set new goals for 2030 and cover all the countries of the world. 

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015. They are 17 in total, with 169 targets, covering international co-operation and domestic affairs. The goals are universal, meaning that UN member states are committed to implementing them both domestically and internationally.

The town council has agreed that the town’s overall strategy will be based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and work will be done systematically to fulfil them by 2030.  The videos include promotional material on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

United Cities and Local Governments

Sustainable Development Goal 11 – sustainable cities and communities, focuses specifically on municipalities. Nevertheless, all of the Sustainable Development Goals touch on the activities of local authorities in some varying ways.

The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) organisation has categorised the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and sorted them according to operations that fall under the control of the local authorities. There are 92 targets in total. The United Cities and Local Governments classification was used for the selection of the primary goals of Kópavogur.

Here you can find more information on the United Cities and Local Governments organisation,