Tuesday, 18 August 2020
The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) serves as the main forum for bringing together different stakeholder groups. Members of the Commission include representatives from Parliament, ministries, the business sector, municipalities and regions, trade unions, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, science and research institutions, and various organisations. The mandate of the National Commission is to ensure that the international objectives of sustainable development are integrated into national policies. One of the main tasks of the Commission is to follow up and review the national implementation of Agenda 2030. The other main task is to enhance the implementation of Society's Commitment to Sustainable Development. Society's Commitment is designed to be a practical tool for implementing sustainable development goals in Finland. With this end in view, the National Commission is aiming at increasing participation in Society’s Commitment, and the number of commitments, while enhancing the effectiveness of the commitment process. Citizens and organisations can make their own commitments and report on their progress. There are over 1000 private organisations and almost 1500 private citizens that have made commitments on the website (to reduce their footprint and how), also six major industries (trade, finance, media, energy, marine, forest) have made comprehensive industry wide commitments. The government has made five ‘Green Deals’ with bodies representing certain industries, among others the plastic bag deal, an automotive deal and an oil waste deal.
State officials are responsible for drawing up the implementation plan and facilitating the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Finland. However, there are two major multi-stakeholder committees in Finland that support and promote sustainable development policies. The Development Policy Committee is a parliamentary body whose mission is to follow the implementation of the global sustainable development agenda in Finland from the development policy perspective and to monitor the implementation of the Government Programme and the Government's development policy guidelines. The National Commission on Sustainable Development is a Prime Minister-led partnership forum with the aim of integrating sustainable development into Finnish policies, measures and everyday practices. The membership of both committees includes a broad spectrum of non-governmental stakeholders, private sector actors, interest groups and civil society organisations. In addition, the Sustainable Development Expert Panel, comprising eminent researchers from different disciplines, challenges and enhances the work of the National Commission on Sustainable Development and adds a critical voice in the sustainability debate, when needed.
The secretariat of the Development Policy Committee is located in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The coordination of the work of the National Commission on Sustainable Development was transferred from the Ministry of the Environment to the Prime Minister’s Office in January 2016, but the Secretary General of the National Commission continues to work from the Environment Ministry. In order to improve the policy coherence, the collaboration between the two committees will be intensified, for example through joint meetings, workshops and discussion papers.
The Government of Finland recognises the need to strengthen the accountability to and dialogue with Parliament, various stakeholders and the general public when implementing Agenda 2030 and when preparing the National Implementation Plan. Finland is committed to intensifying the existing means and finding new ways to increase participation and ownership. As regards Parliament, one effective means might be a Government report to Parliament on the national implementation of Agenda 2030. For the society at large, a regional Agenda 2030 road show is one way to reach all corners of Finland.
The Agenda 2030 Youth Group was established in 2017 on the initiative of the then Vice-Chair of the National Commission on Sustainable Development. Young people’s involvement in implementing sustainable development policy had been found too limited, to the extent that appointing a single youth delegate for sustainable development was not enough to address the issue.
The Youth Group has two roles:
- To spur the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development in its work and to bring young people’s voices to sustainable development policy processes and public debate;
- To inform other young people of the Sustainable Development Goals and themes in their various networks, such as schools and leisure activities.
The Agenda 2030 Youth Group consists of 14 members aged 15 to 28, living all over the country. Group members are selected by the Finnish Youth Cooperation Allianssi.