AAU researchers to qualify danish objectives for UN’s 17 global goals

AAU researchers to qualify danish objectives for UN’s 17 global goals

AAU researchers to qualify danish objectives for UN’s 17 global goals

Researchers from AAU will help to qualify and validate how we can measure Denmark’s progress towards the UN global goals. This may require new ways of measuring, as well as a discussion of how we can use the data in the best possible way.

Posted online: 17.01.2020

Text: Trine Kristensen, AAU Communication
Photo: Emilie Bach Pedersen, student assistant, AAU Communication

All countries in the United Nations have committed to work towards the global goals and translate the 169 targets and underlying indicators to match the local conditions in each country. But how will we measure Denmark’s progress towards the global goals? As part of a major new project by Statistics Denmark and the 2030 panel, researchers from Aalborg University (AAU) will help to qualify this. The project aims to develop Danish indicators for the UN’s 17 Global Goals, which Denmark has committed to complying with. A total of 15 researchers from AAU will help to qualify and validate how we measure Denmark’s progress towards the UN’s global goals.


- “First and foremost, we are proud to have been given this task and to take a share of the responsibility for Denmark’s compliance with the UN Global Goals. AAU is known as a collaborative university, and this project means we can contribute to improving the knowledge base of what sustainable development actually means. This may require some new ways of measuring and a new look at the available data. For example, health can be measured on more than just the number of hospital admissions, and poverty is not just about how much money you have, but also about your access to welfare benefits”, says Thorkild Ærø, associate dean of research-based consultancy at the university.

The 15 researchers participating from AAU come from all five faculties and have been linked with 15 of the 17 global goals:

Jesper Ole Jensen, senior researcher at BUILD, is to work on developing indicators for global goal 11, which is about sustainable cities and communities.

- “We must build on our research on sustainable communities and how to promote them, e.g. through area-based urban renewal initiatives. But we also need to discuss how we can measure sustainability at the local level, drawing inspiration from existing measurement methods such as the sustainability certification of urban areas under DGNB, and how we even define a community”, Jesper Ole Jensen says.

Statistics Denmark and the 2030 panel have launched the project to develop Danish indicators for the UN Global Goals. A partnership consisting of Deloitte, Geelmuyden Kiese, Sweco, Danish Energy Management, Kraka, RUC and AAU has been selected to establish a starting point for the global goals in Denmark and how to measure them. This will happen through the project Our Goals – Vores Mål – the world’s first open global goals development project.


Part of the project is also about increasing public knowledge about the UN global goals and, not least, gathering input on how we can live up to and measure them.

This is done through a series of events and workshops taking place throughout the country.

The role of the 15 AAU researchers will include analysing the input from events and workshops. The input is qualified based on how relevant it is in relation to a Danish issue, and the availability and quality of data in the field, etc.

- “Researchers will also be involved in the final validation of indicators that will measure Denmark’s progress towards the Global Goals. The project is therefore a unique opportunity to both promote the university’s knowledge and use it for the benefit of society as a whole”, says Thorkild Ærø.

The results of the project will be presented to the 2030 panel before the 2020 summer holidays.


In cooperation with Our Goals, DR P1’s weekly radio programme Public Service is covering debates on each of the 17 Global Goals. You can find all the debates as podcasts on the Our Goals website.

On Monday 13 January, a senior researcher from BUILD joined the debate on food waste and how to reduce resource wastage in the food chain. Listen to the programme How can we halve food waste over the next ten years?