ESDN | European Sustainable Development Network
You are here: Home > Country profiles > Single country profile
spacer

Single country profile

  Finland

Content:

Select another country from the
pull-down menu to view the
respective SD strategy features:

 

Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

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).

Type of SD strategy

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.

Objectives

  1. Equal prospects for wellbeing 
  2. A participatory society for all 
  3. Work in a sustainable way 
  4. Sustainable society and local communities
  5. A carbon-neutral society
  6. A resource-wise economy
  7. Lifestyles respectful of the carrying capacity of nature 
  8. 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.

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

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 approximately 90 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 Coordination Secretariat includes representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary General of the National Commission on Sustainable Development. It functions as an operational hub for Agenda 2030 coordination, and it works closely together with the Coordination Network.

The inter-ministerial Coordination Network guides and 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. It is also responsible for coordinating national sustainable development work and providing guidance to the National Commission on Sustainable Development. The Coordination Network, together with the Secretariat of the National Commission, did the preliminary work on updating Society’s Commitment. The members of the Coordination Network come from all ministries (except for the Ministry of Justice). 

The Sustainable Development Expert Panel, comprising eminent professors 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

Link to the SD strategy
document

"The Finland we want by 2050 ─ Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development"

Further information about
the SD strategy process

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.

 

-- Back to overview --

National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

 

 

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 start implementing 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 also 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 is 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 biological diversity, 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 which 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. According to the Government Programme of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, a National Implementation Plan for Agenda 2030 will be drawn up by the end of 2016. Finland’s development policy — an important part of Finland's national response to the new agenda — has been outlined in the Government Report on Development Policy, published in February 2016.

 

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, which includes representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the National Commission on Sustainable Development. The Coordination Secretariat works closely together with the Coordination Network, comprising all government ministries.

 

To guide the preparation of the National Implementation Plan for Agenda 2030, an external gap analysis will be conducted to look into Finland’s readiness to implement the global 2030 Agenda. The objective is to draw a baseline for Finland’s implementation measures, and in particular, to point out those goals and targets where Finland has to take the most actions to catch up. The analysis will also enable the appropriate scheduling of activities and allocation of resources for issues that are most relevant to Finland. The gap analysis is being carried out by the Finnish Environment Institute and Demos Helsinki, a think tank, and it should be completed by July 2016.

 

The National Implementation Plan will outline, among other things, how Finland will integrate 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 will also identify Finland’s strengths, as well as major gaps and challenges, and offer 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 mechanisms to strengthen multi-stakeholder engagement and partnerships

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 that has operated in Finland for 23 years without interruption 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 professors 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.

 

Both committees’ mandates were renewed at the beginning of 2016 for the next four years. 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 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 the end of 2015, over 200 organisations from companies to ministries, educational institutions, municipalities and civil society organisations, as well as individuals had already joined Society’s Commitment by launching their own operational commitments. 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.

 

Monitoring, accountability and review

Finland is committed to providing a systematic, open, transparent, inclusive and participatory follow-up to and review of the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals and targets at all levels. Monitoring the progress and reviewing the achievements on a regular basis is essential for ensuring accountability to the Finnish society and the global community.

 

The state of and trends in sustainable development in Finland are being monitored and reviewed with the use of 39 national sustainable development indicators. These indicators were identified in 2014 to measure the progress of the eight strategic objectives of Society’s Commitment. They will be revised and updated to lend themselves to the follow-up to Agenda 2030 and thus will complement the global sustainable development indicators. The work on the indicators will be part of the national monitoring and review scheme for the implementation of Agenda 2030.

 

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. New modes of participation will be considered during the preparatory process for the National Implementation Plan for Agenda 2030 in the course of 2016.

 

A national report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , Finland

http://kestavakehitys.fi/documents/2167391/2186383/VNK_J1016_National_report_net.pdf/48be3fcf-d40c-407a-8115-e59b2c0683ee

 

Further information:

Government of Finland

- Ms Annika Lindblom: annika.lindblom@ymparisto.fi

- Mr Sami Pirkkala: sami.pirkkala@formin.fi

- Ms Marja Innanen: marja.innanen@vnk.fi

 

 

Leading Ministry and
respective unit

 

The Prime Minister’s Office coordinates the Agenda 2030 implementation

Other ministries involved

 

All ministries are involved in planning and implementing Agenda 2030

Main contact point for the
implementation process

 

Prime Minister’s Office (marja.innanen@vnk.fi)

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs

 

 

kestavakehitys.fi

Under construction

 

Voluntary National Reviews

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/10611Finland_VNR.pdf

 

-- Back to overview --

Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

The composition of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development was changed at the beginning of 2016. At that time, regional and local representatives were added. Now, the Commission includes two representatives from cities, two regional representatives and two representatives from local administration.   

The Finland We Want by 2050 – Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development offers a strategic framework and a multi-stakeholder operational tool for sustainable development. It is a new partnership model that aims at boosting ownership, concrete action, innovative solutions and impact throughout the society. It brings together the public sector, companies, civil society actors, organisations and citizens in a unique way.

To make the vision of Society’s Commitment a reality, eight shared objectives for sustainable development must be achieved.  The way to do this is simple: commitments are invited from different sectors and stakeholders, these parties then decide on what concrete actions they can take to attain the objectives, and then they measure their progress. As of April 2016, over 240 actors from companies to ministries, schools, municipalities and civil society organisations, as well as individuals, have already joined Society’s Commitment by launching their own operational commitments. When put together, the individual commitments can lead to greater results, can bring systemic change and can create a community of pioneers.

Check out a short video of Society’s Commitment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS_yVUp52es

Background information:

In 2006 the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) prepared the National Strategy for Sustainable Development. In the preparations for the strategy, input from the sub-national level was collected. Regional authorities and municipalities participated in several workshops, were informed about certain issues and were also asked for advice in specific cases. Additionally, they commented on the draft strategy document. Representatives of local and regional authorities were also members of the group responsible for preparing the national strategy. However, there was no formal and structured way to ensure their broader contribution during the preparatory phase.

To improve the coordination of sustainable development policies between the national and sub-national levels, the National Commission established a new sub-committee on regionally and locally sustainable development in June 2007 (which operated into 2012). The sub-committee was mandated to promote sustainable development in regional and local administrations, as well as in their cooperation with each other and with the national government. As a special task, the sub-committee contributed to the implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and took the initiative in the national policy process on sustainable development. Other tasks of the sub-committee were to promote sustainable development as part of the strategy work and planning systems of local authorities, to create the conditions for incorporating sustainable development into everyday activities and into the decision-making of local authorities, and to promote the implementation of the Aalborg Commitments.

During 2009 and 2010 the sub-committee was not very active because the Secretariat of the National Commission was engaged in preparing for the Nordic Local Sustainability Conference in the Baltic Sea Region (Solutions – local, together), which was held in 2011 in Turku (www.solutions2011.fi). The sub-committee was chaired by a high-ranking official from the then newly established Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The vice-chairs came from a regional environment centre and from a municipality. Members of the sub-committee were representatives of national, regional and local authorities, civil society actors and other key experts on sustainable development at the sub-national level.

Generally, the sub-committee held about four meetings every year. Moreover, several working groups were established on different subjects (e.g. best practice examples, competition). The main topics of concern were (i) climate change and energy policy (the main topic in 2008); (ii) eco-efficient land-use; (iii) sustainable transport systems; and (iv) sustainable community structures. The term of the sub-committee ended in 2012.

Another key issue of importance to Finland is Local Agenda 21. The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities adopted a sustainable development strategy already in 1997, one year before the government programme on sustainable development was adopted. Approximately 80% of Finns live in municipalities that either have established or are in the process of establishing their own Local Agenda 21. The link between the national sustainable development strategy and the sub-national activities was well coordinated. On the local and regional levels the Local Agenda 21 process has evolved from the earlier approach of Agenda 21 to one where the focus is more on sustainability processes such as integrated management, the Aalborg Commitments, and the development of and work on sustainability indicators.

EU linkages

The European Commission’s initiative “Next steps for a sustainable European future” sets out a new longer-term approach to sustainable development for Europe. This new approach takes into account the Europe 2020 review, as well as the internal and external implementation of the global Agenda 2030. The European Union was one of the most active players in the Agenda 2030 negotiations and now the expectations are high for the Union to step up efforts also to implement Agenda 2030. The monitoring of the implementation requires a governance mechanism to ensure that goals and targets will turn into concrete measures and action. One important aspect in this mechanism could be to link national Agenda 2030 implementation plans, strategies and related budgeting to the EU follow-up.

 

-- Back to overview --

Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

The work of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) is outlined and prepared by an inter-ministerial Secretariat, which operates as a network and which convenes 8–10 times a year. The Secretariat is composed of about 20 members from different ministries, each taking the lead in preparing themes within their area of expertise. The Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General of the Secretariat oversee the practical arrangements and manage funding for the National Commission’s work.

All relevant Government ministries were involved in the preparations for the 2006 National Strategy for Sustainable Development, the 2013 Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development and the updating process of Society’s Commitment in 2016.

 

-- Back to overview --

Evaluation and Review

The 1998 Finnish Government Programme for Sustainable Development was assessed during 2000–2002 by a sub-committee, which included various stakeholders, of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. The Ministry of the Environment published the assessment report, describing the progress made towards sustainable development during the previous two decades, in June 2003. The English summary of the report was published in August 2003. The report also served as a basis for a five-year work plan of the National Commission (2003–2007).

Finland decided to link the progress report on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development with the implementation report on the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy. As a result, a progress report about the implementation of the National Strategy objectives was drawn up in autumn 2007, and the National Commission was informed of the progress in December 2007. The National Commission then reported on the results of the assessment to the Government. The next national progress report was prepared in 2009, according to the EU schedule.

Finland was one of the peer countries included in the Dutch peer review process in 2007.

A comprehensive national assessment of sustainable development was completed in December 2009. The main objective of the assessment was to evaluate the implementation of the 2006 National Strategy for Sustainable Development and assess the importance and impacts of sustainable development in Finnish policies and administrative practices, as well as give a picture of the state of sustainable development in Finland. The assessment was conducted as an external evaluation (undertaken by Ramboll Management Consulting) and discussed in the meeting of the Finnish National Commission in December 2009. The report has been translated into English and is available on the internet.

 An assessment of the national model and work of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development was carried out in 2012 by Gaia Consulting, an external consultant. Based on this assessment and the work of the National Commission, a new strategy process was launched in 2012. The report on the assessment is available: http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=142520&lan=en 

After the 2012 assessment some changes were made to sustainable development processes. The Sustainable Development Expert Panel was established (hosted by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra) and communication was improved. The major change was the preparation of the strategy document Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, with its measures for putting sustainable development into practice.

 

 

Government Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD

 

The aim of this report is to address a carbon-neutral, resource-wise and competent Finland where non-discrimination and equality is secured. In line with the Government priorities, the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Finland builds on two themes: To achieve a carbon-neutral and resource-wise Finland. The focus should be on improving the energy, resource and material efficiency and sustainably increase the share of renewable forms of energy. Finland must produce environmentally friendly services and innovations, promote their exports, and develop low-emission economic sectors and transport models.

 

 

 

To secure non-discrimination, equality and a high level of competence in Finland, Finland must prevent youth and long-term unemployment, exclusion of various population groups, polarization of labor markets, and segregation of living and residential areas. Finland must also reduce health disparities, promote gender equality, support lifelong learning, and raise the level of education and competence of the population. Non-discrimination includes equal access to services at the different stages of ageing.

 

 

-- Back to overview --

Indicators and Monitoring

The state of and trends in sustainable development in Finland are being monitored and reviewed with the use of 39 national sustainable development indicators. These indicators were identified in 2014 to measure the progress of the eight strategic objectives of Society’s Commitment. The idea is that the indicators will be revised and updated as needed for the follow-up to Agenda 2030 and thus will also complement the global sustainable development indicators. 

The first set of national sustainable development indicators was prepared in 2000. Since then the indicators have been published and renewed regularly, especially when the new sustainable development strategy was completed. 

A network for sustainable development Indicators was established in Finland in 2010. Now, a specific Indicator Network, comprising experts from statistics, research, policy and stakeholder groups, will be set up in 2016 for the purpose of renewing the existing indicators. This work is to be completed in autumn 2016. The work on the indicators will be part of the national monitoring and review scheme for implementing Agenda 2030.

The  national web-based indicator service provides up-to-date information on the sustainable development indicators and other key social indicators used in Finland.

The National Commission and its Secretariat regularly monitor the implementation and attainment of the objectives detailed in Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development. The individual operational commitments are also followed up and a report is drawn up on their progress roughly once a year. The operational commitments are available in English (https://sitoumus2050.fi). 

The full list(s) of indicators as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:

 

-- Back to overview --

Participation

The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) serves as the main forum for bringing together different stakeholder groups. In November 2015, the Government renewed the mandate of the National Commission on Sustainable Development for a new term running from 2016 to 2019. The Commission is chaired by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, and Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen serves as its Vice-Chair. 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.

 

-- Back to overview --

Sub-national activities

[No information available]

 

-- Back to overview --

This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 30 October 2017

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.

 

This website is maintained by the
ESDN Office Team at the WU Institute for Managing Sustainability
ESDN Home ESDN Home