Finland aims to become a sustainable development leader

Policy Brief 10/2016

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched in the beginning of 2016. Finland aims to be among the leading countries in its implementation. At the heart of the Agenda 2030 are the 17 global sustainable development goals.

The Avain2030 project of the Finnish Environment Institute and Demos Helsinki identified the pain points and success stories of sustainable development in Finland based on international comparisons and stakeholder views. The project examined both the baseline in Finland and recent developments compared to other wealthy countries.

One alarming observation was that, even if Finland still succeeds very well internationally, in recent years our ranking has dropped in most comparisons. A great deal needs to be improved, in particular, in the objectives relating to growing social inequality and employment, management of climate issues and consumption of natural resources. The results show that initiatives concerning the development of the green and circular economy are very important for Finland.

Further improvement is needed in the indicators showing the trends and their utilisation in societal discussion and decision-making. The UN Expert Group has identified more than 200 sustainable development indicators that are to be used for assessing the implementation of the Agenda 2030. As yet, however, these are not applicable on the national level.

The project 'Key questions of sustainable development and action plan 2030' was carried out as part of the implementation of the Government's 2016 plan for analysis, assessment and research.