National climate city contracts to accelerate Swedish cities transition to climate neutrality 2030

National climate city contracts to accelerate Swedish cities transition to climate neutrality 2030

12 April 2023
Participants demonstrate signed climate city contracts
13 April 2023

Viable Cities is a strategic innovation programme focusing on the transition to climate-neutral and sustainable cities. As such, it is one of 17 strategic innovation programmes supported in a joint initiative by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas. The programme works with a time frame from 2017-2030 with KTH as the host organization, together with RISE- Research Institutes of Sweden, Lund university and Stockholm Environment Institute.

Viable Cities' mission is Climate Neutral Cities 2030 with a good life for all within planetary boundaries. Together with cities - municipalities, business, academia and civil society - and public authorities, we work to create ecologically, economically and socially sustainable cities. Cities that work well for the people who live in them, that are good for the economy of citizens, businesses and society - and - that are good for the climate and our planet.

Viable Cities is a catalyst for new forms of cooperation between cities, industry, academia, research institutes and civil society. This is to mobilise to change the way our cities operate in line with our national, environmental, and climate goals as well as our international commitments linked to the Global Sustainability Goals – Agenda 2030 – and the Paris Agreement. Viable Cities' work is closely linked to the European mobilization around "Mission Climate Neutral and Smart Cities 2030".

In our major initiative Climate Neutral Cities 2030, 23 Swedish municipalities (8 of which are also members of the Union of Baltic Cities) - together accounting for 40% of Sweden's population - are working with Viable cities and six national government authorities to achieve the mission. Our central tool for this is Climate Contract 2030.

Climate City Contract 2030 is a rallying point for Swedish cities, the national level and Viable Cities to achieve the radical transformation we need in a short time to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. It is an agreement between municipalities, national public authorities and Viable Cities in which all parties undertake to make a concrete contribution to accelerating the climate transition.

Making the transition to climate-neutral and sustainable cities requires cooperation between citizens, politicians, businesses and civil servants on a scale never seen before. National, regional and local levels must work in new ways, in the same direction and together to achieve climate-neutral cities. And we need to do it faster.

The contract is a tool to achieve this. It is a long-term commitment that ensures cooperation between cities and the government level. As there is no clear way forward, we need to test the waters, the Climate Contract 2030 evolves as we go along. Its content is revised every year, both at the local and national level. And that process of joint work is constantly changing.

The Climate City Contract 2030 is a process that we create together – not a bureaucratic document that is signed and filed away. The tool was developed in 2020 as part of the Viable Cities initiative Climate Neutral Cities 2030 and was first signed in December 2020 by the political leadership of the then nine cities in the initiative, as well as the Directors-General of the Swedish Energy Agency Formas, Vinnova and Tillväxtverket. Two more authorities have since joined: the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Now 23 Swedish municipalities are part of the Climate Neutral Cities 2030 initiative, all working to continue developing the tool to sign revised and sharper Climate Contracts 2030 every December, on European Viable Cities Day.


Author: Albert Edman
Viable cities