Prioritised operational areas

The SSNC has an integrated view of issues regarding the environment and every individual’s right to a good life. The SSNC’s vision for the global work is a global sustainable development that safeguards functioning ecosystems and social sustainability in the form of rights and prosperity. The Earth’s environmental (planetary) boundaries constitute the foundation or outer framework for such development.

Algae cultivation in Zanzibar. These simple plants improve people’s lives and are the basis of the marine food chain. Photo: Thinkstock Photos

Socially sustainable development, where everyone has the resources required to satisfy their human rights, makes up the primary goals and endeavours. Within these frameworks, there is scope for  environmentally safe and socially just development, as well as inclusive and sustainable economic development as a means for achieving this.

The SSNC’s global work is based on the operational areas that the organisation has decided on for the Swedish operation – agriculture and food security, climate, marine ecosystems and fisheries, chemicals and forest – as well as sustainable consumption. In these areas the SSNC possesses expertise and hence has the greatest potential to exert influence. The focus and positions within the various areas are defined in separate policies, The Operational guidelines and roadmaps, which are time-limited strategies for  advocacy work regarding selected issues.

Agriculture and food security

The vision for the SSNC’s global work with agriculture and food security is farming based on agro-ecological principles that safeguard food security. Production is based on local resources and ecosystem services, and food production takes place in such a manner that the preconditions for production are not harmed. The vision is in line with Goal 2 in Agenda 2030.

The SSNC works to preserve and increase cultivated diversity, as well as to develop systems that increase agriculture’s buffering capacity and ability to adapt to climate change. Market development is a central component, as it provides farmers with the potential to sell their products and generate increased income to ensure better living conditions for small-scale farmers and their families. The SSNC supports and collaborates with organisations that both work with education and advice targeting at smallscale farmers and/or their partner organisations, as well as being involved in advocacy and dialogue with national and regional decision-makers and other actors. Collaboration and dialogue between different types of actors, such as researchers, authorities and the private sector, is an important part of the work. The dissemination of information and the mobilisation of consumers is another area that is important for the development of the market for e.g. organic products. The SSNC also supports the exchange of knowledge and networking between various organisations.


The global work of the SSNC on chemicals is aimed at reducing harmful effects on health and the environment through sustainable chemicals management as well as risk reduction. This is in line with the targets 3.9, 6.3 and 12.4 in Agenda 2030. The work is linked to conventions, agreements and legislation at an international, regional and national level. Chemicals management is often a  low priority in low and middle income countries. People who live in poverty and who are adversely affected by hazardous chemicals often have little access to  information about the dangers of chemicals, and limited opportunities to influence their situation even if they know about the dangers. Few are organised  in relation to these issues, which makes it difficult to channel anxieties and opinions, as well as to participate in decisionmaking processes. As a result, opinions in favour of altered chemical management are often weak. The overall strategy for the global work of the SSNC with hazardous chemicals is to strengthen the capacity of rights holders and those who work to influence and collaborate with duty bearers, through increased knowledge and organisation. Rights holders refer to the public affected by hazardous chemicals.

The global work on chemicals will promote people’s equal opportunities to influence decision-making and governance processes, to demand their rights as well as responsibility from decision-makers and companies, and to follow up laws, policies and the state of health and the environment.


The vision for the global climate work of The SSNC is a 100 percent renewable  energy system where energy poverty is eradicated.  The work is in line with Goal 7 and Goal 13 in Agenda 2030. The point of departure is all human´s right to equal emissions space. In order to eradicate energy poverty and at the same time achieve the 1.5°C goal, low and middle  income countries must be based on renewable energy. The focus is on energy issues in middle income countries, based on the importance of energy for development and its contribution to climate change.

The civil society has an important role in influencing the development in a sustainable direction and in ensuring that the energy needs of marginalised people are met. As women are often responsible for the household’s energy supply, they have a clear role to play in the shaping of sustainable development strategies in the energy field.

Climate finance and technology transfer are prioritized issues since they are means to achieve climate justice, transition to a sustainable energy system and climate adaptation. As highincome countries have contributed the most to climate change, they should contribute to the energy transition in low and middle income countries. It is important to advocate for transparent and fair frameworks for the distribution of climate finance.

Marine ecosystems and fisheries

The vision for the SSNC’s global marine  work includes fair and sustainable use and management of marine and coastal ecosystems  and fisheries, including inland fisheries. The visions and goals for this thematic area are further in line  with Goal 14 in Agenda 2030. An important element in the ful- filment of  the area’s specific goals is the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (FAO 2014). These guidelines are based on 13 principles, including human rights, non-discrimination, equality and transparency, and thus represent a major step in the right direction towards a fair and sustainable use of the world’s fisheries resources.

The work undertaken within the  marine area should also focus actively  to reduce the exploitation of valuable seascapes, including mangroves, seagrasses and coral ecosystems. It should also promote the rights of coastal communities’ to use and possibility to co-manage these ecosystems and associated resources, and to advocate trade in fish and seafood that benefits both environmentally and socially sustainable methods. The work is conducted at local, national, regional and/or international level. The target group is marginalised coastal populations in low and middle income countries, as well as civil society  organisations. The program should promote the work with women and young people, as these groups are particularly vulnerable due to traditional gender roles and other power structures that limits their access to social, economic, human and natural resources.

In Sweden and the EU, The SSNC conducts advocacy work for a sustainable and    transparent sea and fisheries policy that does not counteract developments in low and middle income countries.

Sustainable consumption

Within the sub-area of sustainable consumption, the SSNC will work to achieve  sustainable consumption and production patterns, which corresponds with Goal 12 in Agenda 2030.

At a general level, sustainable consumption is about the right to a safe and healthy environment. This requires the right to information and the right to participate and be listened to. Sustainable consumption patterns require an altered consumption culture, not only in high income countries, but also in low and middle  income countries. Unsustainable values have to be changes and sustainable initiatives made visible. In order to develop sustainable lifestyles, it is necessary for consumers to be aware of and make use of the potential to exert an influence, both on the market and politically. In this respect, the civil society is an important force for change. The SSNC’s work within sustainable consumption will focus on strengthening environmental and consumer organisations’ capacity to inform and mobilise consumers, in order to have an influence on the market and to push political decisions. Work relating to both thematic issues and method development is central. The SSNC will contribute to greater co-operation and exchange of experiences between organisations, both in relation to established experiences and new methods and solutions.

The Green Action Week initiative is an important element in the work for sustainable consumption. This is a global campaign for promoting sustainable consumption patterns and thereby contributing to global sustainable development. In October each year, organisations around the world conduct joint actions  to achieve common goals. By promoting this campaign, the SSNC wishes to contribute towards stronger organisations, active and knowledgeable consumers,  as well as political decisions that drive developments in a sustainable direction.

Tropical forest

The vision for the SSNC’s tropical forest work is increased preservation of natural forests and forest resources through the development of sustainable methods for silviculture and management. This is achieved in particular by enabling a stronger position for indigenous peoples and local communities as well as their documented knowledge. The work will also contribute to the reduction of monocultures and other unsustainable forms of land use and in favour of more sustainable utilisation of natural forests. This vision is in line with Goal 15 in Agenda 2030.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an important tool in strengthening indigenous groups. The Convention on Biological Diversity provides a strengthened role for local  and indigenous communities related  to preservation of biodiversity.

The target group is people who are dependent on forest resources, with particular focus on indigenous peoples and civil society organsiations. They must  be given the opportunity to utilise and manage forest resources sustainably in  a long-term perspective, establish strong local communities with democratic  influence in decision-making processes, as well as to influence decision-makers and policy processes locally, nationally and internationally. The SSNC will also strengthen partner organisations through its own advocacy work and campaigning in relation to relevant actors. The efforts on the consumption of forest resources, targeted at  companies and consumers is key when  it comes  in order    to influence the demand for forest and plantation products.

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