2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is making headway

Government Communications Department 19.12.2017 16.10 | Published in English on 21.12.2017 at 10.50
News item 60/2017

At its session held on Tuesday, 19 December, the Government discussed a parliamentary communication concerning the Government Report on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Finland. Parliament requires the Government to take the measures referred to in its communication. The report submitted by the Government in February titled ‘Sustainable Development in Finland – Long-term, Coherent and Inclusive Action’ details how the Finnish Government is implementing and monitoring the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At its session, the Government discussed the parliamentary communication that contained ten positions related to the report. Among other things, these positions concerned evaluating the Agenda’s implementation and effectiveness, enabling citizens and stakeholders to participate in its implementation, and including 2030 Agenda objectives in the requirements of public procurement. The Government recorded the communication in its minutes and made a decision to take action as warranted by the positions contained in the communication.

One of the positions concerned indicators for monitoring the Agenda's implementation and evaluating its effectiveness, which additionally translate the objectives and actions into concrete terms. Parliament also stressed that, in particular, wellbeing indicators supplementing GDP should be developed to promote sustainable wellbeing.

Rapid progress has been made in this issue. A national monitoring system for sustainable development was launched on the Prime Minister’s Office website in November (in Finnish). This system is based on ten indicator baskets relevant to sustainable development themes that are of central importance for Finland. The monitoring system also enables web-based discussion on the status, direction and outlook of sustainable development in Finland. The first basket, which was launched in November, concerns the status of the environment.

Alternative and supplementing indicators for GDP have also been developed. The recently completed sustainable development indicators offer several gauges for social, ecological and economic wellbeing that can be used to supplement the GDP in political decision-making. The Government will hold its first discussion on this theme at its strategic session in February.

Regarding the position that concerns stakeholder participation, the Government uses a number of tools for involving the civic society and stakeholders. These include the Commission on Sustainable Development and Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, the Development Policy Committee, a monitoring mechanism that enables participatory, multi-voiced discussion and different evaluations that will be produced in the years to come as detailed in the report.

Parliament also proposed that the priorities of Agenda implementation should be linked to all phases of the government term, including the preparation of the Government Programme and the budget. In the context of this position, the Ministry of Finance decided in late summer to incorporate a section on sustainable development in the justifications of each administrative sector’s main title in the budget proposal. In August, the ministries will for the first time give an account of how the sustainable development report and its implementation will be manifested in their administrative sectors in 2018. More extensive budgeting for sustainable development will be initiated in connection with the preparation of budget 2019.

One of Parliament's positions concerned linking 2030 Agenda objectives to public procurement requirements. In its mid-term policy review in April, the Government stated that a network-based centre of excellence for sustainable and innovative public procurement will be established in spring 2018. The purpose of this network will be to improve the strategic management of procurement as well as to develop expertise and new operating models in cooperation with public purchasers with such aims as reaching climate targets and promoting the circular economy and resource efficiency. As a new operating model, a ‘Green Deal’ commitment has been developed this autumn in collaboration with municipalities and cities. The purpose of this commitment is to speed up procurement related to the circular economy, bioeconomy and cleantech solutions in organisations. In this model, municipalities or joint municipal authorities can make commitments with the central government and set ambitious goals for procurements.

The Government will conduct an independent evaluation of work carried out in Finland to promote sustainable development in 2018–2019. This evaluation will provide an overall idea of the performance and effectiveness of efforts for sustainable development in Finland.

Read the Government report

Read the parliamentary position (in Finnish)

For more information, please contact: Senior Specialist Sami Pirkkala, tel. +358 2 95160487, Prime Minister’s Office