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Partnered for results in the next structural fund period: Investments in low-carbon economy needed to tackle climate challenges

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 19.2.2020 7.44
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Mauri Yltiö, Coordinator at the Ministry of the Environment
Mauri Yltiö, Coordinator at the Ministry of the Environment

Coordinator Mauri Yltiö from the Ministry of the Environment tells about the smooth cooperation within the ministry in preparing for the next structural fund period. The Ministry of the Environment has a joint working group to deal with matters relating to the structural funds and cohesion policy, composed of key experts and with broad representation of the ministry’s departments. Digital workspaces are used to facilitate the cooperation and flow of information.

“Now the cooperation is clearly better than in the earlier periods. Information flows well within and between the departments all the way to the senior management,” Yltiö says.

According to Yltiö, it is quite typical for programme preparation between several players that each of them first considers matters from their own perspective. Despite the differences, common positions need to be created.

“What I would like to see is more focus on the big picture and on our national interest,” he says.

Structural funds have a role in combatting climate change

Yltiö considers that the themes to be included in the programme should now be prioritised. The views of the Ministry of the Environment concerning a low-carbon economy and climate change issues should be better incorporated into the preparation. One challenge in this is that all those involved in the preparation have not fully grasped the true meaning of climate change. The Ministry of the Environment wants climate themes to have a more prominent role in the process.

“Investments must be included in the measures - research, development and innovation activities alone are not enough to respond to climate challenges.”

The current programming period is the first one where a low-carbon economy is part of the key content. Yltiö regards the structural funds as highly significant development instruments for the climate theme. The European Social Fund ESF also offers significant opportunities to implement measures that aim for a low-carbon economy.

Yltiö considers that the governance model of the programme need not be changed for the future period. The same applies to the monitoring procedures.

“Serious efforts have already been made to develop and improve the monitoring,” he says.

Mauri Yltiö works as a Coordinator at the Ministry of the Environment. Preparations for the EU structural fund period 2021-2027 are being made in collaboration between various stakeholders in line with the partnership principle. Other interviewees in the series of news on the theme “Partnered for results in the next structural fund period” include Marja-Riitta Pihlman from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Päivi Keisanen from the Regional Council of Oulu, Tiina Huotari from the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, and Jussi Ahokas from the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health.

Low-carbon operations increasingly important in doing business

  • During the current programming period, at least 20% of the funding must be targeted to actions towards a low-carbon economy. Finland has set its target 5% higher, at 25%.
  • Themes that promote a transition towards a low-carbon economy have an increasingly important role in the way companies do business.
  • However, enterprises that have participated in the projects have not fully internalised the role of measures towards a low-carbon economy in developing their business.
  • Their first priority is not to maximise energy efficiency; rather, they focus on operational efficiency and growth, where energy efficiency is created as a by-product.

Source: MDI and the consortium (2019). Final evaluation report of the ‘Sustainable Growth and Jobs’ structural funds programme

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