ÖSTRAT builds on the objectives and policy principles of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the Federal Government's National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSTRAT 2002) and the strategies and programmes of the Federal Provinces for sustainable development and takes its cue from the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. Its primary target are policy makers and administrators, and a work programme has been devised for the strategy's implementation over several years.
The joint work programme (Work Programme 2011ff) of the Federal Government and the Federal Provinces for ÖSTRAT has nine closely related topic areas and sets out challenges, medium-term goals and specific initiatives. These initiatives are implemented either in cooperation with several federal ministries, across Federal Provinces or, as the case may be, by the Federal Government in collaboration with the Federal Provinces,
The first ÖSTRAT Progress Report was brought out in 2011.