A New Generation of Sustainability Governance: Potentials for 2030 Agenda Implementation in Swiss Cantons

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

A New Generation of Sustainability Governance: Potentials for 2030 Agenda Implementation in Swiss Cantons


  • Basil Bornemann Sustainability Research Group, Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Marius Christen Sustainability Research Group, Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland


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Abstract:  Governments and administrations at all levels play a central role in shaping sustainable development. Over the past 30 years, many have developed differentiated sustainability governance arrangements (SGAs) to incorporate sustainability into their governing practice. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which the UN adopted in 2015, brings with it some significant conceptual shifts in sustainability thinking that, in turn, entail new governance requirements. Starting from practical calls for improved understanding of the requirements and conditions of 2030 Agenda implementation ‘on the ground,’ this article examines existing SGAs’ potential to deal with the generational shift that the 2030 Agenda implies. To this end, four ideal-typical SGAs representing an early generation of sustainability governance at the subnational level in Switzerland are related to five specific governance requirements emerging from the 2030 Agenda. The analysis highlights different possibilities and limitations of the four SGAs to meet 2030 Agenda requirements and points to the need for context-specific reforms of first-generation sustainability governance in the wake of the new Agenda.

Keywords:  2030 agenda; governance transformation; government; subnational level; sustainability governance; Sustainable Development Goals; Switzerland

Published:   26 February 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v9i1.3682


© Basil Bornemann, Marius Christen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.