Sustainable Development in Finnish Foreign Policy
Sustainable development refers to continuing and controlled changes in society at the global, regional and local levels.
The goal is to ensure a better quality of life for the present and future generations.
In the discussion on sustainable development, there are currently three priorities:
- and social and cultural sustainability.
Sustainable development is cooperation that aims at the promotion of economic, social and environmental wellbeing. At the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, agreement was reached on international commitments to strengthen sustainable development. In accordance with the Government Programme, Finland will create indicators describing sustainable development to complement GDP data.
Sustainable Development has played an important role in the strategies and programmes of the Finnish Government already since 1990. The National Strategy for Sustainable Development "Towards sustainable choices. A nationally and globally sustainable Finland" was adopted in June 2006. It is currently being updated into a national commitment to sustainable development.
The vision of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of 2006 is to ensure wellbeing within the limits of the natural environment's carrying capacity both nationally and globally. The objective is to create sustainable wellbeing in a safe and pluralistic society that promotes participation, and in which all citizens take responsibility for the environment. The vision gives both short- and long-term guidance to activities which help different actors to make decisions that meet the needs of sustainable development. The key guidelines of the Strategy lay a foundation for drafting Government and policy programmes. The objectives span many generations, extending until 2030.
Finland is active in efforts to implement the United Nations Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (2002).
As a part of this process, Finland has prepared a National Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production - one of the first of its kind in the world. Finland has also taken an active role in the preparation of an international framework programme on sustainable consumption and production. It is important to promote corporate responsibility and international legislation to improve the materialisation of human rights in global product chains as well as to ease the stress on the environment.
The Government of Finland is committed to participating actively in international cooperation to solve problems relating to global environmental problems and to develop international environmental governance. Environmental values should be taken into account also in the development of the rules applying to international trade. Finland pursues the principles of sustainable development in its actions to promote balanced globalisation.
International environmental agreements are the principal forms of cooperation in the efforts to create a more sustainable world. Finland is committed to observing more than a hundred multilateral and bilateral environmental agreements concerning, for example, climate change, air pollution, chemicals, natural protection, and protection of maritime environments, biodiversity and waste management. International agreements are also valuable instruments in development cooperation: as a contracting party Finland has undertaken to support the developing countries in their efforts to meet the objectives of these agreements.
The Government of Finland is committed to fostering sustainable development along with stability and security in the international community. Finland strives to contribute to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the objective to halve by 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty. Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs works for these aims through development cooperation and international trade policy. The Government's Development Policy Programme also promotes the three dimensions of sustainable development by means of stressing an inclusive green economy that promotes employment, sustainable management of natural resources, and environmental protection and human development.
The Strategies of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs emphasise democracy, good governance, human rights and equality, a functioning market economy, and sustainable development. In a world where stakeholders are increasingly interdependent, the Ministry strives to promote human security and to eradicate poverty.
Finland's Development Policy Programme 2012 (PDF, 48 pages, 1,45 MB)
Future We Want - Outcome document Rio+20 (PDF, 53 pages, 356,57 KB)
Content administrator Unit for International Environmental Policy