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News 12.06.2020

UN Goals: Finland is top of the class in Sustainable Development

Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland

Finland’s 2030 Agenda Voluntary National Review confirms that the country is on a solid path to sustainability. According to the report, Finland has achieved or is close to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, health, education, water and energy, reducing inequality, peace and the rule of law.

The report – published on 3 June 2020 – finds that Finland is at the top of international sustainable development comparisons alongside the other Nordic countries. Finland is doing well on a number of the 2030 Agenda goals related to social sustainability, the economy and work.

Some challenges still remain, as well: Finland’s greatest challenges have to do with climate change, consumption and production patterns, biodiversity and the level of funding for development cooperation.

The Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals have guided UN Member States on their path to sustainable development since 2016. The 2030 Agenda aims to increase wellbeing within the limits of nature’s carrying capacity and to eradicate extreme poverty.

The implementation of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda will continue until 2030. Progress on the goals in different countries is monitored through voluntary national reviews (VNRs). Finland’s second VNR is now complete.

Intergenerational Approach

The Sustainable Development Goals and long-term intergenerational thinking continue to form the basis for sustainable wellbeing in Finland. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin – who is also the Chair of the National Commission on Sustainable Development – writes in the report that the aim of the current Government is to transform Finland into a “socially, economically and ecologically sustainable society by 2030”.

According to Marin, economic growth needs to benefit the people as well as the planet. “At the same time, climate action must improve people’s health and wellbeing and create new economic prosperity and jobs. The wellbeing of people and societies should be created without harming the environment,” she writes.

The report finds that Finland has succeeded in combating inequality thanks to its extensive social security and good educational opportunities, among other factors. The guiding principle of the 2030 Agenda is that no one should be left behind.

The Participation Nation

Finland has received international praise for the ways in which society as a whole is encouraged to participate, and Finland’s new national review was also produced with extensive participation from Finnish society. Various actors in society contributed to the report, including representatives from industry, civil society, cities and regions, the scientific community and youth.

Nina Kopola, Director General of Business Finland, notes that sustainable development is a “common cause” for all Finns.

“In the future, we want to do even better in this regard – and in the work of Invest in Finland, for instance, sustainability will only increase its importance in the years to come,” she says, adding that for green-thinking, modern innovators there is “no better place” to establish operations than Finland.

“International companies that come to Finland to develop their sustainable solutions are likely to get a real headstart on the competition,” she believes.     

Beyond COVID-19

The report was finalized under exceptional circumstances, as the Corona pandemic has caused upheavals around the world. In this current situation, it is even more important to invest in employment actions, to promote the circular economy, to perform social and healthcare reformation, to increase productivity and to limit expenditure growth. 

As climate change presses on, regardless of the current circumstances, even more vigorous actions are required. According to the report, the objectives of sustainable development will remain “as the basis of Finnish sustainable wellbeing and at the heart of Finnish governmental work”.

Read the Agenda 2030 – Sustainable Development Goals

Information about opportunities to develop sustainable solutions