Museums and Sustainability

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the aim of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all by 2030.

What is it about?

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the aim of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all by 2030.

As an agency of the UN, UNESCO is making sure that culture is recognised within a majority of the SDGs, including those focusing on quality education, sustainable cities, the environment, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production patterns, peaceful and inclusive societies, gender equality and food security.

The EU supports the SDGs with a set of actions and policies. One clear task is to mainstream culture into the EU’s sustainable development strategy.

What NEMO does

NEMO wants to make sure that museums are recognised and supported by EU policy makers for the work they do to contribute to a sustainable future by:

  • Advocating for the instrumental role of museums in providing opportunities for decent work, poverty reduction, social resilience, gender equality and other aspects relevant to the SDGs.
  • Illustrating how museums and creative industries contribute to the realisation of development targets by providing solutions in urban and rural, European national and local contexts.
  • Providing information about the different approaches that museums in Europe and around the world are taking to help make the world more sustainable in the future.
  • Encouraging co-operation between museums and other players to form strong alliances reaching out to global citizens at every level.
  • NEMO is part of the global #MuseumsforFuture initiative that supports museums and museum professionals with low-threshold climate action ideas and support.

NEMO's actions

NEMO joins the Climate Heritage Network

Together with 70 other arts, culture and heritage organisations, the Climate Heritage Network works with the aim of showcasing the important role that arts, culture and heritage can play in achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

More information

How museums can use the SDGs

Watch Henry McGhie's Webinar from 27 November 2019 to learn how museums can use the SDGs. The webinar explores the background of the SDGs and what they aim to achieve; why all museums should connect with them; the benefits of doing so; and the main ways they can incorporate the SDGs into their planning, activity and reporting, across all areas of their activity.

More webinars

Latest news on museums and sustainability

COP26 – Amplify cultural voices to support...

The global political climate event of the year, the 2021 UN Climate Conference (COP26), runs from 31 October to 12 November online and in Glasgow, Scotland. Cultural voices can make a difference for the climate and there are...

NEMO represented Museums for Future at the...

On 24 September 2021, NEMO joined the Global Climate Strike in Berlin, Germany, to showcase the need for museums to get active in the fight against climate change and to contribute to a sustainable future.

NEMO discussed museums and the SDGs in the...

On 23 September 2021, NEMO joined the online conference “Localising the Sustainable Development Goals through Baltic museums and libraries 'Ask your museum, ask your library!'” to discuss challenges and opportunities of the...


Our advocacy work for museums

NEMO liaises with European policy makers and EU Institutions in all areas relevant to museums. We produce recommendations and co-operate with partners in the European cultural field to make our demands heard. We also help our members to build successful advocacy campaigns and support museums to make an impact on various sectors.

Resources from EU institutions

Resources from the wider sector