Social sustainability side-by-side economic sustainability

28.1.2011 7.05
News item N5-57176

Finland's new social and health policy strategy, Socially Sustainable Finland 2020, has been finalised. For a society to have a sustainable base it requires economic, social and ecological sustainability. All three are crucial in order for people to do well in Finland in the future. Without a social perspective talk of economic sustainability remains hollow.

A socially sustainable society treats all its members fairly, strengthens their involvement and communality, supports their health and functional capacity and provides all the necessary security and services.

Our aim is that Finland in 2020 is a socially sustainable and flourishing society. People's equality, spiritual and material wellbeing and gender equality promote the balanced development of society. A condition for social sustainability is to have a functioning system of social protection, which includes income security, social and health services, preventive work, occupational health and safety and equality.Correctly proportioned, they are society's strength. Finland's outstanding ranking in international comparisons testifies to this. Social protection is necessary. It is the force that keeps society together.

Strategic options

Our strategy contains three main policy lines: the strong foundation of welfare, Access to wellbeing for all and an environment supporting health and security. In simple terms it is a question that the cake of wellbeing must grow and must be shared fairly. Furthermore, everyone must be able to live, reside and work in healthy and safe environments.

The emphases of the first policy are the importance of health and wellbeing in all areas of decision-making, the importance of work, the balance between the different areas of life and the sustainability of the financing of social protection. The second policy line emphasises fairness, the wellbeing of citizens and narrowing of health differences, reforming the client-centred character of services and social inclusion. The third policy line brings to the centre the issue of the viability of the environment and the functionality of society in special situations. Each generation must pass on an environment to the next that is at least in the same state as they received it in their own day.

Sustainable results are generated in unison

Besides the new range of options we will be putting an emphasis on implementation. This requires extensive collaboration between different sectors, exerting an influence internationally, the importance of information as the basis for decision-making and effective communications. We aim to monitor indicators for carrying out the policy lines of the new strategy.

Our strategy has been prepared on the basis of wide-ranging collaboration. Together with the governent programme it forms the mainstay of our activity. We also offer our strategic policy lines as a background for future policy choices. Wellbeing is not only created on the strength of social and health care. We are also increasingly seeking cooperation with others. Acting alone does not yield sustainable results.

Kari Välimäki
Permanent Secretary

Related topics

Socially sustainable Finland 2020. Strategy for social and health policy (Publications 2011:6)