Tuesday, 18 August 2020
Finland has implemented various programmes on sustainable development since the mid-1990s, and in 2006 adopted a comprehensive National Strategy for Sustainable Development (Towards Sustainable Choices. A Nationally and Globally Sustainable Finland). The latest policy document for sustainable development (The Finland We Want by 2050 — Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development) was adopted in 2013. Society’s Commitment was updated in April 2016 to be in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030).
Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development consists of the vision “A prosperous Finland with global responsibility for sustainability and the carrying capacity of nature” and eight objectives, as well as cross-cutting principles.
To make the vision a reality, Finland is focusing on achieving the eight objectives listed below. For the purposes of these objectives, sustainable development is perceived in terms of the wellbeing of people and the environment, a healthy and sustainable economy and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.
- Equal prospects for wellbeing
- A participatory society for all
- Work in a sustainable way
- Sustainable society and local communities
- A carbon-neutral society
- A resource-wise economy
- Lifestyles respectful of the carrying capacity of nature
- Decision-making respectful of nature
Principles of sustainable development:
- Cooperation and commitment
- Creative use of knowledge and expertise
- Limited carrying capacity of nature
- Broad-based cross-generational thinking
- Global responsibility
- Capacity for renewal and good governance
These principles underlie all the actions and objectives in the context of Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development.
Society’s Commitment covers all three dimensions of sustainable development. It was prepared by the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development in close cooperation with public administration, businesses and civil society organisations.
The Prime Minister’s Office is in charge of coordinating the national sustainable development policy and is also responsible for implementing and drawing up the national implementation plan for Agenda 2030.
The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development prepared the national strategy The Finland We Want by 2050 — Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development. Society’s Commitment was updated in early 2016 to be better in line with Agenda 2030, and its principles, goals and targets. This work was carried out in close dialogue with the National Commission on Sustainable Development. The National Commission has a broad membership, encompassing civil society, industry, business, labour market and educational organisations, as well as representatives of the government, Parliament, ministries, local and regional organisations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the indigenous Sámi people and other public, private and third sector stakeholders.
The Secretariat of the National Commission on Sustainable Development supports the work of the Commission. It consists of the Secretary General, who works at the Ministry of the Environment, the Deputy Secretary General, who is located at the Prime Minister’s Office, and other experts.
The Prime Minister’s Office acts as the Coordination Secretariat. The secretariat includes 2-3 experts which are responsible of the whole of government wide coordination.
The inter-ministerial Coordination Network is responsible for coordinating national sustainable development work and providing support to the National Commission on Sustainable Development. The members of the Coordination Network come from all ministries. It supports the work of the Coordination Secretariat and ensures that all dimensions and aspects of sustainable development are taken into consideration when implementing sustainable development Goals and targets on the national level. The Expert Panel for Sustainable Development, comprising eminent researchers from different disciplines, challenges and enhances the work of the National Commission on Sustainable Development and also adds a critical voice in the sustainability debate, when needed. The Panel participated in and facilitated the process of updating the strategy document Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development. The Expert panel released a toolkit to promote sustainable systemic transformation in Finland in March 2020.
Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development was prepared during a two-year strategy process (2011-2013) in which some hundreds of organisations representing different sectors of society participated, along with the National Commission on Sustainable Development. The final draft was prepared by a strategy group and the National Commission made the final decision on the strategy document in December 2013.
The process to update Society’s Commitment started in February 2016 when a comprehensive workshop for the National Commission was organised. The Sustainable Development Expert Panel hosted and facilitated the workshop. Before the workshop, a questionnaire was sent to the members of the National Commission. In the questionnaire, they were asked what crucial aspects of Society’s Commitment needed to be updated the most. After the workshop, two written drafts were prepared so all views could be harmonised. At a meeting in April 2016, the National Commission approved the final version of the updated Society’s Commitment.