Last updated on:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Finland has a long tradition in promoting sustainable development both in domestic policies and in international development cooperation. Therefore, Finland is in a good position to implement the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030). However, the comprehensive and integrative nature of the new Agenda 2030 calls for better coherence and coordination of various policies in Finland.

For Finland, because of the nature of the universal and transformative Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals and targets, a careful review of the country’s development cooperation policies and practices was needed, and, just as importantly, a review of domestic policies and measures in various sectors, as well. When it comes to domestic action, Finland needs to work on goals and targets for biodiversity, citizens’ wellbeing and equality, sustainable consumption and production, efficient energy use, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, for example. On the other hand, eradicating poverty, ensuring global food security or promoting peaceful and inclusive societies are goals that Finland implements best by intensifying its development and foreign policies. The division between domestic and foreign action is not, however, always so rigid; for instance, Finland’s consumption and production patterns have an impact also outside the national borders through materials and supply chains.

Preparation of the National Implementation Plan for Agenda 2030

The Finnish Government has the primary responsibility for the national implementation of Agenda 2030, but, in the spirit of the global agenda, the civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders have an integral role in this endeavour.

Finland is getting ready to implement Agenda 2030 in ways that are comprehensive and inclusive. The Prime Minister’s Office is in charge of coordinating the national implementation. The Office also acts as the Coordination Secretariat.. The Coordination Secretariat works closely together with the Coordination Network, comprising all government ministries.

The government programme from 2015 was strongly linked to the SDGs in areas such as bio-economy, clean technology, skills and education, and health and well-being. National implementation was guided by the vision of the Government Programme by 2025 and the vision of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development by 2050.

The first implementation plan was submitted to the parliament in 2017. It was partially based on an external gap analysis to assess for which goals and targets Finland has to take the most action. The government programme of the new government (2019) is strongly guided by the 2030 Agenda and aims to transform into an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable society by 2030. Furthermore it aims at carbon neutrality by 2035 and to be carbon negative soon after that.. The second implementation plan will be made public and submitted to parliament in autumn 2020.

The National Implementation Plans outline, among other things, how Finland  integrates the principles, goals and targets of Agenda 2030 into various policy sectors and into international cooperation, and how the progress in the implementation will be monitored and reviewed. It  identifies Finland’s strengths, as well as major gaps and challenges, and offers solutions and tools for improving the implementation. The key measures for putting Agenda 2030 into practice are the integrated policies and measures taken in various Government sectors, as part of the implementation of national and EU legislation, national sectoral or thematic strategies and action plans, as well as international agreements and commitments. One important voluntary means of implementation in Finland is Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, the national sustainable development strategy adopted in 2013. An important policy instrument for implementation is the Government Report on Development Policy.

The Finland we want by 2050 — Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development was finalised in 2013 and it will feature as one of the key multi-stakeholder implementation tools for Agenda 2030 in Finland. It provides the framework for a strategic approach to sustainable development and it sets out a vision, principles and objectives for the transition to a sustainable society. Compared to conventional national sustainability strategies, Society’s Commitment can be seen as a social innovation enabling the integration of sustainable development into everyday practices and the engagement of a broad spectrum of societal actors in joint efforts. Society’s Commitment also contains an implementation mechanism. By 2020, over 1000 different organisations and almost 1500 private citizens had made their operational commitment to sustainable development. In this way they are contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in Finland through their own efforts. Society’s Commitment was updated in April 2016 to be in line with Agenda 2030.

In 2021, the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development drew up a national 2030 Agenda roadmap, which is a medium-term plan detailing the actions Finland needs to take to achieve the goals of the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) adopted by the UN in 2015.

Drawing up the roadmap was one of the objectives set in the Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government, and the task was assigned to the Commission in December 2020. The Commission adopted the 2030 Agenda roadmap in a meeting in February 2022 and submitted it to the Government for use in its work.

At the same time, the Commission decided to reform its strategy so that the main content of the roadmap would form the core of the new strategy. The new strategy, ‘A prosperous and globally responsible Finland that protects the carrying capacity of nature’, was adopted at the Commission’s meeting on 10 March 2022.

The new strategy is guided by the six areas of change defined in the work to draw up the 2030 Agenda roadmap. For each area of change, the strategy includes a vision extending to 2030, a set of objectives that translate the visions into concrete terms, and a description of the key measures that will affect different sectors of society and play a key role in bringing about change. In addition to the six areas of change, the strategy discusses how Finland is supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda globally.

The strategy includes five cross-cutting principles, which the members of the Commission have committed to comply with in its implementation. The principles are the following: ensuring fairness, equity and gender equality; facilitating the inclusion and participation of society at large; paying special attention to the most vulnerable (leaving no one behind); ensuring long-term commitment and policy coherence; and taking global responsibility. The Commission’s strategy serves as a long-term target framework and tool for policy coherence in the strategic and programme work of different administrative branches and stakeholders in society.

Strategy can be downloaded from website. At the moment it is available only in Finnish, but soon also in English and Swedish.

Leading Ministry and respective unit

The Prime Minister’s Office coordinates the Agenda 2030 implementation.

Other ministries involved

All line ministries are involved. They are included in the Sustainable Development Coordination Network in order to enhance policy coherence through sectors.

Main contact point for the implementation process

Government of Finland:

Prime Minister’s Office:

  • Ms Marja Innanen:
  • Mr Sami Pirkkala:

Ministry of the Environment:

  • Ms Annika Lindblom:
Voluntary National Reviews

Finland submitted a VNR in 2016 and 2020. The Finnish government is planning to report on its progress towards the SDGs every four-five years.