Implementation of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development in Finland
The global Agenda for Sustainable Development, Agenda2030, was adopted in the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September 2015. The Agenda sets shared objectives for all UN Member States for the next 15 years. The Agenda strongly promotes, for the first time, a shift from development policy towards comprehensive sustainable development policy. In Finland, the Government is responsible for the implementation and follow-up of the Agenda. Finland is one of the first countries to report on its plans concerning the implementation of Agenda2030 in the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2016.
Finland has a good foundation for the implementation
Finland has many existing measures and structures in place on which the implementation of the Agenda can be built. New ideas and practices are, however, required, because the challenges related to sustainable development cannot be solved by applying only the old practices. The cross-cutting idea of the Agenda is the interdependence of global challenges and the comprehensive nature of the solutions adopted. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to create a mechanism that helps to get all key actors to participate in the preparation of an implementation plan and putting it into effect.
Government will draw up a National Agenda2030 Implementation Plan
The Finnish Government will draw up a National Agenda2030 Implementation Plan by the end of 2016 in accordance with the Government Programme. The implementation of Agenda2030 is based on the legislative and policy measures of the Government as well as on the implementation of various international and national agreements and strategies that are binding on Finland. Several strategies, programmes and measures directly implementing or supporting Agenda2030 are being carried out in the different administrative branches. Information on these measures was compiled together during March.
In March, a project analysing Finland's readiness to implement Agenda 2030 was also launched. The project examines in which areas Finland has the most to catch up and in which areas Finland is ahead of its targets and can share its expertise with other countries.
In March-April, the UN set of global sustainable development indicators was published. These indicators function as a foundation for the national monitoring systems. Finland has revised its national sustainable development indicators a couple of years ago, and they will be reviewed and updated in autumn 2016. In addition to the national network of indicator experts, certain organisations, among others, will be involved in the updating process.
The Implementation Plan will define the priority areas for the national implementation of the objectives of Agenda2030 and specify the different stages of the implementation process in Finland. A survey of Finland's initial situation, a summary charting the measures of the administration, and the indicator work form a solid foundation for the involvement of the different actors in the implementation process. Agenda2030 should be seen as an integrated whole, where individual objectives cannot be picked for the national implementation but the entire Agenda must be implemented. The Implementation Plan will constitute a dynamic framework for the next 15 years, so it cannot be a detailed list of measures to be taken.
The most important question related to the implementation - how?
Agenda2030 emphasises that the means of implementing the objectives are as important as the objectives themselves. The Agenda calls for multidimensional cooperation and partnerships between the different countries, actors and citizens, active exchange of information and experiences, policy coherence, and sharing of the best practices.
Society's Commitment to Sustainable Development and the related voluntary operational commitments constitute, already at this stage, an innovative and internationally recognised solution for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ideas for other means of implementation will be brainstormed together with representatives of the administration and other actors during spring 2016.
Reformed national administrative model for sustainable development
The Prime Minister's Office assumed responsibility for the coordination of the national implementation of Agenda2030 and the national sustainable development policy in the beginning of 2016 in the form of secretariat duties for the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. The Coordination Secretariat functioning at the Prime Minister's Office is in charge of the planning, preparation, coordination and monitoring of the national implementation of Agenda2030. The Coordination Secretariat includes representatives from the general secretariat of the National Commission on Sustainable Development, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Prime Minister's Office.
A Coordination Network consisting of representatives from all ministries started its work in February. The Coordination Network supports and guides the Coordination Secretariat in the implementation of the global Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, it is responsible for preparing the work of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development.
The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development is a central actor monitoring and reviewing the implementation of Agenda2030. The Commission is led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. One of the duties of the Commission is to integrate the implementation of Agenda2030 into the national work for sustainable development. Another duty of the Commission is to promote, monitor and review the implementation of Society's Commitment to Sustainable Development and to communicate the outcomes of the implementation. The Expert Panel on Sustainable Development, hosted by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, is tasked with preparing, challenging and evaluating the work of the National Commission on Sustainable Development and the progress of the implementation of Society's Commitment.
Another key actor in the implementation of Agenda2030 is the Development Policy Committee. While the National Commission on Sustainable Development is responsible for monitoring and reviewing the progress of sustainable development mainly in Finland and mainly from the perspective of national policy measures, the Development Policy Committee works outwards, monitoring and reviewing the implementation of Finland's development policy guidelines and international commitments. The Committee follows up the implementation of the global Agenda for Sustainable Development in Finland from the development policy perspective and monitors the implementation of the Government Programme and the Government's development policy guidelines. The cooperation between the National Commission on Sustainable Development and the Development Policy Committee will be intensified during this year.