Home Chronology Dialogues Environmental Provisions Rights of Nature UN Documents Resources Gratitude

Sweden
  • The 1810 Act of Succession1
  • The 1949 Freedom of the Press Act2
  • The 1974 Instrument of Government3
  • The 1991 Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression4

The Environmental Code adopted in 1999 addresses exclusively Swedish environmental legislation and thus constitutes the first integrated body of environmental legislation enacted in Sweden. Its rules relate to the management of land and water, nature conservation, the protection of plant and animal species, environmentally hazardous activities and health protection, water operations, genetic engineering, chemical products and waste. The Code replaces 15 previous Acts that were repealed on its entry into force on January 1 1999.

The purpose of the Code is to promote sustainable development that will assure a healthy and sound environment for present and future generations:

1. Protection of human health and the environment from damage. The protection provided by the Code relates to both direct and indirect damage. Damage to human health includes both physical and mental impacts.

2. Protection and preservation of natural and cultural environments. Sustainable development calls for the protection and preservation of areas with valuable natural and cultural assets so as to ensure that these assets are maintained.

3. Preservation of biological diversity. Biological diversity must be protected since the natural environment is worth protecting for its own sake. This means that the long-term productive capacity of ecosystems must be preserved. Biological diversity relates both to the diversity of ecosystems and the diversity of animal and plant species.

4. Ensuring a sound land and water management. The use of land and water and community development in general must be such as to promote appropriate and a long-term good management in eco-logical, social, cultural and economic terms.

5. Encouragement of reuse and recycling of resources. The rules relating to management apply also to the conservation of raw materials, energy and other natural resources. The utilization of new resources must be reduced and full use must be made of the potential for recycling and reusing resources .

In addition to the Environmental Code, Parliament adopted in 1999, 16 national environmental quality objectives as a prerequisite to achieve sustainable development. According to Parliament, it should be possible to achieve these objectives within one generation or by the year 2025:

1. Reduced Climate Impact
2. Clean Air
3. Natural Acidification Only
4. A Non-Toxic Environment
5. A Protective Ozone Layer
6. A Safe Radiation Environment
7. Zero Eutrophication
8. Flourishing Lakes and Streams
9. Good-Quality Groundwater
10. A Balanced Marine Environment, Flourishing Coastal Areas and Archipelagos
11. Thriving Wetlands
12. Sustainable Forests
13. A Varied Agricultural Landscape
14. A Magnificent Mountain Landscape
15. A Good Built Environment
16. A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life

Information on Swedish environmental legislation can be accessed through the Government’s official website.





1. The Act of Succession is available here.
2. The Freedom of the Press Act can be accessed here.
3. The Instrument of Government can be accessed here.
4. The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression is available here.