Västra Götaland Region: implementing climate changes at the subnational level

The Västra Götaland Region (VGR) in Sweden is implementing some key changes that will have a positive effect on climate. These address both individual behaviour and the structural policy. Thanks to the commitment of local leadership to health and sustainable development, the subnational level is the best equipped to take this kind of action.

The changes are very much in line with the statement of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and WHO Regions for Health Network (RHN) in support the Ostrava Declaration (2017) that: “Cities and regions are closest to the people and our input is crucial to successful multilevel governance for the sustainable development of healthier, happier, more resilient people and communities, both now and in the future”.

Representatives of VGR, the Swedish National Network for Healthy Cities and RHN at the Seventh meeting of the Working Group on Health in Climate Change (city, country, dates) had the opportunity to learn about VGRs experience in the field of climate change with a view to promoting action across RHN.

Focussing on mitigation and advocacy

The key changes being implemented by VGR focus both on mitigating the risks of climate change and on raising awareness.

Action already taken has had the following climate-mitigating effects.

  1. Public transport in VGR is now moving towards fossil-free energy through the purchase of electric buses – by 2020, 230 electric buses will be in use.
  2. A climate-exchange programme has been established, which entails imposing an extra fee for every flight purchased. This money is being used for web training on climate-smart food, targeting staff working in hospitals and school restaurants and canteens, thereby raising awareness.