circular construction creating a park outside a building
The square just outside the park of Lindevang, Frederiksberg in Copenhagen. Photo: Carsten Ingemann for Realdania.


How to integrate SDGs when developing Climate Change Adaptation projects?

New guideline demonstrates how the SDGs can be integrated across projects.

NIRAS presents in cooperation with Aalborg University, a new ‘Guidance on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals in urban climate change adaptation projects’. We utilized our knowledge from local climate adaptation projects to introduce a working methodology for how the SDGs can be integrated in local adaptation projects, globally. The guidance zooms in on Climate Adaptation as a specific challenge, and presents a hands-on, five-step approach on how to integrate the SDGs in projects:

  • STEP 1: Identify and involve relevant stakeholders
  • STEP 2: Identify the most relevant SDGs
  • STEP 3: Assess the level of local impact
  • STEP 4: Develop an initial action plan
  • STEP 5: Monitor and evaluate

SDG Capture

Recently, NIRAS developed an SDG Capture tool which helps visualize, screen, monitor and assess the impacts of integrating the SDGs in a project. It has proven to be helpful when working with the SDGs on an operational level. The new guidance includes the SDG Capture tool in its methodology – and in combination with the five-step approach – in order to increase sustainability on a project level.

The guidance is based on both academic research and professional experience from the field of climate adaptation. It shows how the SDGs can work as a catalyst for communication throughout different project phases, as well as elucidate new angles inspired by the SDGs. The guidance can be used in many different phases of projects and for different purposes, as presented in the case examples of Vinh Yen, Vietnam and Lindevangsparken, Denmark.


In September 2015, the United Nations approved the 17 SDGs. Also, in 2015, at the Conference of the Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed on what is today known as the Paris Agreement. Its central aim is to strengthen the global response and keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius. In addition, the Agreement aims at enhancing countries’ abilities to deal with the unavoidable impacts of climate change that occur today and will continue to do so over the coming decades.

Until now, the focus has mainly been on integrating the SDGs on a strategic level. However, to create a paradigm shift in the use of the SDGs, the Goals need to be integrated into projects at regional and local levels as well.

Case study: Kindergarten in Vinh Yenh, Vietnam

The project ‘Exploiting synergies between sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) and urban farming in Vinh Yen City, Vietnam’ pilots the synergies between handling rainwater through SUDS and using SUDS for small-scale urban farming. The project is located in the city of Vinh Yen, which is located approximately 50 kilometers north-west of Hanoi with a population of 108,327 people. The city has long been prone to flooding and the project seeks to demonstrate one potential decentralized solution of establishing SUDS to retain some of the rainwater. Read more.