The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015 to promote universal, cross-cutting, and integrated sustainable development. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make up the 2030 Agenda , involve five fundamental areas: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.
In this context, the Autonomous Province of Trento started in 2018 a path to define a Provincial Sustainable Development Strategy (“SproSS”). Culminated in 2020 with the issue of the Preliminary Provincial Strategy Document (approved by Provincial council resolution no. 2062/2020), the path made use of a broad participatory process, involving citizens of Trentino and pertinent stakeholders. The process ended with the publication of the Final Provincial Strategy Document in 2021 .
The Document is strategic not only because of its concrete measures and strategies that promote 2030 sustainable development models, but also because of the process that led to them. It was inspired by the Three Horizons method, belonging to the Future Studies field. Designed to encourage a long-term perspective in change policies, the guiding principle of the method is to identify “what to leave, what to keep, and which transformative innovations are useful in achieving a shared medium- and long-term vision”. Its key feature is to use future scenarios to act in the present. The method has been applied by identifying so-called mega trends, i.e., global trends that are likely to continue in the future and that could have a major impact in the local setting.
To develop the Final Document and present it to the Provincial Council, findings from previous assessments  and participatory events of numerous local stakeholders – both online and in presence – were considered. Specifically:
● Involvement of 200 students of Trentino secondary schools and the University of Trento in 12 consultation rounds
● Consultation of external experts and public authorities through the Delphi survey tool (method based on mutual anonymity and multi-interaction rounds)
● Public online questionnaire where remarks about existing Document parts could be added. 330 citizens participated: 33 % aged 30-50 and 29 % aged 18-30
● Voluntary participation of local NGOs to a guided discussion
● Participation of more than 40 unions and 15 Public Tourism Agencies
● Participation of over 84 mayors in synergy with local authorities and representatives of the Local Youth Initiatives Plans (“Piani Giovani di Zona”) of the Province of Trento
● Participation of 36 Provincial bodies (e.g., Edmund Mach Foundation, Bruno Kessler Foundation, etc.).
As a major outcome of the participatory process, the Document identified 20 sustainability objectives that make up the backbone of the Provincial Sustainable Development Strategy both in terms of strategic vision and concrete proposals and ideas. The 20 objectives were integrated in the five priority goals defined by the European Sustainability framework (2021-2027). The five priority goals of the Provincial Sustainable Development Strategy are so defined:
1. A smarter Trentino through innovation, research, digitalization and economic transformation. A smarter Trentino is one that invests in sustainable waste management, sustains the circular economy and promotes Lifelong Learning programs for everybody. The provincial objectives referring to farming, circular economy, school education, employment and sustainable tourism belong to this first priority goal.
2. A greener Trentino through the transition to clean, fair and renewable energy. A greener Trentino enhances biodiversity by protecting natural resources and landscape elements, aware of the pressures imposed by the ongoing climate crisis. Objectives related to water, biodiversity, emissions reduction and territory safety belong to this second goal.
3. A more connected Trentino through investments in mobility and digital transport networks. A more connected Trentino invests in sustainable mobility and information technology as tools for territorial cohesion. Sustainable mobility and innovation and digital agenda are the two provincial objectives belonging to the third goal.
4. A more social Trentino through actions aimed at tackling poverty such as investments in social inclusion programs and measures and campaigns against inequality. A more social Trentino is inclusive and prevents all forms of violence and discrimination for a fair and resilient society. Objectives pertinent to housing, rights, gender equality, poverty, corporate social responsibility and lifestyles belong to this fourth priority.
5. A Trentino closer to its citizens through the sustainable and integrated development of urban, rural and mountain areas with attention to the size and features of each area. Territorial development must integrate the community and local features and values (as pointed out by the Regional Mountains convention ). Objectives referring to legality and the fight against crime, health and health services, and territory belong to this last priority goal.
Although the work has been long and complex, the final outcome has shown the awareness and willingness of Trentino to maintain a high sustainability standards. The second major outcome is the success of the participatory process that brought to the Final Document: an example of democracy for the management of the common good.