Finland’s second VNR focuses on the progress achieved between 2016 and 2020. The VNR builds on existing institutional, follow-up and monitoring mechanisms and relies on data, evaluations, research and reports.
The VNR was prepared by the Prime Minister’s Office in close cooperation with all ministries, Finnish civil society and other stakeholders, such as municipalities and businesses. The VNR includes chapters written by stakeholders and institutions. The assessment of the progress in each SDG consists of two independent assessments: one by Government officials and one by civil society actors.
The Governments of Mozambique and Switzerland supported Finland in the preparation of the VNR by reviewing the draft report and sharing their views.
SDG Progress 2016–2020
Finland is at the forefront of many international sustainability comparisons and studies. Finland is close to reaching many of the SDGs related to social and economic sustainability.
Finland’s key challenges are related to consumption and production patterns, climate action and the state of biodiversity. Obesity is an increasing problem. Gender equality challenges, such as genderbased violence and labour market disparities, including a gender pay gap, still remain.
Finland bears global responsibility by, for example, contributing to international crisis management and supporting developing countries. However, Finland has not been able to restore ODA to the level preceding the cuts in 2016. Spillovers need more attention.
Leaving No One Behind
Universal social security and service systems, as well as good educational opportunities for the entire population, have prevented exclusion.
Persons belonging to visible minorities and persons with disabilities continue to experience discrimination. National legislation and policy actions promoting equality and preventing exclusion aim to ensure equal opportunities for all.
Finland pursues a human rights-based foreign and security policy. Finland has achieved good results in strengthening the rights of women and girls, promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, advancing the rights of persons with disabilities and enabling developing economies to create jobs and livelihoods. The role of civil society is essential in reaching people in vulnerable positions at home and abroad.
Incorporation of the SDGs into national processes and policies
National implementation plans are submitted to the Parliament as Government Reports. The aim of the current Government is to transform Finland into a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable society by 2030.
A sustainability assessment has been integrated into annual cycle of policy planning, budgeting and reporting. Since 2018, Finland has taken notable steps in sustainable development budgeting. The integration of environmental sustainability into policy has proven easier than the integration of social sustainability. The 2030 Agenda has also been integrated into national research programmes and innovation ecosystems.
Policy coherence and trade-offs pose a significant challenge. Trade-offs are often very difficult to reconcile even when identified. Discussion on the importance of interlinkages has increased.
Tools and Innovations for Implementation
A multi-stakeholder approach is highly valued in Finland. Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development is one of Finland’s key instruments for engaging the whole of society: the public sector, businesses, civil society and private individuals.
The previous Government commissioned an independent evaluation of national sustainable development policy, which provided input for the current Government’s programme. The next evaluation will take place in 2023.
Innovative institutional mechanisms support national implementation. The Expert Panel for Sustainable Development and the 2030 Agenda Youth Group have taken on a prominent role. The national monitoring system includes innovative participatory elements.
Finland hosts the UN Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL Finland), the Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investments programme and the UNOPS Global Innovation and Technology programme. Finland supports taxation capacity building along with the development of local innovation ecosystems in developing countries.
Governance for Sustainable Development
The Government and Parliament engage in regular dialogue on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and the National Audit Office has integrated the 2030 Agenda into its audit programmes.
The engagement of youth, the private sector and cities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda has further increased. Three cities have prepared Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). The region of Åland has integrated the SDGs into its core strategies.
A systemic, long-term approach is needed to achieve transformations in sustainability. The preparation of a national 2030 Agenda roadmap in 2021 will support this approach.
|Government Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development|
|Development and Sustainability Agenda for Åland|
|Sustainable Consumption & Production Patterns||CSD-18; CSD-19;|
|Waste Management||CSD-18; CSD-19;|
|Finland?s Best Practices: Making It Happen|
|Rural Development||CSD-16; CSD-17;|
|Climate Change||CSD-14; CSD-15;|
|Other Information||CSD-14; CSD-15;|
|Freshwater and Sanitation||CSD-12; CSD-13;|
|Human Settlements||CSD-12; CSD-13;|
|Country Profile 2002|
|National Assessment Report|
|Pre-WSSD National Report|
|Input towards the Secretary-General Report "Climate Change & It's Possible Security Implications" (GA-64)|
|2009 NSDS Profile|
|Link to Country's NSDS Strategy website|
|Link to Country's NSDS Coordinating Body website|
Environment Online - ENO is a global virtual school and network for sustainable development. Our voluntary network has spread to over 10 000 schools in 157 countries. Schools started to plant trees in 2004 and have planted 20 million by now. Our aim is to plant 100 million trees by 2017.
Contribution to achieving access to sanitation for people in least developed countries.
The Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI), is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) founded by the United Nations’ Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Taskforce. GESCI provides leadership capacity building for the advancement of knowledge in society, as well as strategic advice to relevant ministries in developing countries on the effective use of ICTs, education and science technology innovation (STI) for inclusive knowledge society development.In partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and others, GESCI has developed the African Leaders...[more]
Finland introduced a carbon tax (or CO2 tax) based on the carbon content of fossil fuels in January 1990 as an instrument for climate change mitigation. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) "The tax rate evolved from 1.12/t CO2 in 1990 to ?20/t CO2 in 2010. Some deviations existed: natural gas met a reduced rate, and peat was exempted in 2005-2010. In 1994-1996 a combined tax base of carbon+energy content was applied. Sinc...[more]
The best opportunity to slow the rate of near-term warming globally and in sensitive regions such as the Arctic is by cutting emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – most notably methane, black carbon and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Widespread reductions, which complement the need for aggressive global action on carbon dioxide, contribute significantly to the goal of limiting warming to less than two degrees. Reducing SLCPs can also advance national priorities such as protecting air quality and public health, promoting food security, enhancing energy efficiency, and allevi...[more]
In 2008, approximately 188 municipalities out of approximately 450 had introduced an "eco-charge" which applies to households at an average of 30 EUR per year per household. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) The purpose of the eco charge is to promote waste sorting by covering costs associated with a network of recycling and collection stations where households can deliver card and paper, glass, metal, untreated wood a...[more]
The IHO capacity building programme seeks to assess and advise on how countries can best meet their international obligations and serve their own best interests by providing appropriate hydrographic and nautical charting services. Such services directly support safety of navigation, safety of life at sea, efficient sea transportation and the wider use of the seas and oceans in a sustainable way, including the protection of the marine environment, coastal zone management, fishing, marine resource exploration and exploitation, maritime boundary delimitation, maritime defence and security, and o...[more]
In 2009 the Government of Finland decided to prepare a Council of State Natural Resources Strategy and, as a part of it, a specific National bio-economy strategy. Source: Finnish Government In the bio-economy strategy it is intended to define and make an assessment on the concept and development of bio-economy by 2050 in Finland. Bio-economy is considered to provide answers and new working methods to the global challenges that decreasing natural resources and climate change bring about. The objective is to create successful bio-based economy where knowledge in bio-processes in production is h...[more]
The Government adopted in October 2009 the Foresight Report on Long-term Climate and Energy Policy (Towards a thriving low-carbon Finland). Setting a target to reduce Finland's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent from the 1990 level by 2050 as part of an international effort, the report marks out the road to a low-carbon Finland in 2050. Source: Finnish Government In practice, the achievement of emission reductions in Finland requires virtually zero-emission energy and road transport sectors in the long term. The report puts forward a number of specific policy lines covering targ...[more]
In December 2006 the Finnish Government made the Decision-in-Principle on the National Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity 2006- 2016. The decision contains long-term outlines for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Finland. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) The strategy aims to ensure the ecologically, economically and socially sustainable use and development of Finlan...[more]
As a country that is relatively rich in natural resources and blessed with high levels of know-how, Finland has particular strengths and interests in the context of promoting the sustainable and innovative use of natural resources. Source: Finnish Government "Using Natural Resources Intelligently: A Natural Resource Strategy for Finland" promotes both sustainable development and competitive businesses. It looks at Finland as part of the global community. It brings together the worlds and perspectives of politics, government, business, research, NGOs and the media to collaborate on setting com...[more]
Ministry of the Environment of Finland has launched a national cooperation forum, Panel on Environment Innovation, for the term 2009-2011, in order to search for methods to better support environment policies in developing and implementing environment innovations. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) The objective of the Panel is to improve cost-efficiency in environmental protection and create green business opportunitie...[more]
The Poverty-Environment Partnership (PEP) is an informal network of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, UN organisations and international NGOs. The PEP seeks to integrate poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and climate resilience in global, national and local development agendas. With agreement to the SDGs , the PEP is launching a ‘getting to zero’ call to action—a unifying vision for the SDGs of reaching zero extreme poverty, zero net greenhouse gas emissions, and zero net loss of natural assets. This will be the cornerstone of PEP’s future strategy and comm...[more]
The national process on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is an attempt to look into greening the economy or how to create wealth with a smaller footprint. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Trade and Industry led the national process on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in 2005. The SCP programme was approved by the government as an integrated part o...[more]
Motor vehicles in Finland are charged with both a one-time registration tax and an annual tax. The registration tax (also called car tax), which is levied on passenger cars, delivery vans and motorcycles when the vehicles are registered for the first time in Finland, was introduced in the 1950s to raise state revenue.The tax was changed in 2008 to guide consumers towards choosing car models which use less fuel. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustai...[more]
In 2009, the Finnish government passed a resolution that encourages all public actors to adopt sustainable procurement the central government, regional governments and the municipal sector. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) The Finnish government set in April 2009 targets (a government resolution) that encourage all public actors to adopt sustainable procurement the central government, regional governments and the muni...[more]
Tax on disposable beverage containers has been very successful as a complement to the deposit-refund system (stemming from the 1950's). Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Tax on disposable beverage containers is applied since 1976. The tax has been very successful as a complement to the deposit-refund system (stemming from the 1950's). The tax rate is 0.51 per litre on beverage containers outside deposit-based return and...[more]
Tax on waste (landfill tax), introduced in 1996, is the most important emission tax in Finland. The budgeted revenues in 2010 were at 52 million. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Waste taxes aim to promote waste recovery and reduce the amounts of waste ending up in landfills. Waste taxes are paid by the owner of the landfill, who passes on the cost through fees charged for the reception of waste. It is proposed by th...[more]
Finland has raised the energy taxes to encourage more energy saving and better energy efficiency. Source: Finnish Environmental Administration The Finnish authorities make widespread use of various economic instruments in order to regulate energy consumption in Finland. However, the general structure of energy taxation in Finland has remained unchanged since 1997. The present energy tax system consists of taxes on traffic fuels and heating fuels, and on electricity. The general structure of energy taxation in Finland was changed as of 1 January 2011 for the first time after the tax reform in ...[more]
The FINPAC (Finnish Pacific) Project is a regionally coordinated meteorological project targeting the adaptation needs of Pacific Island Communities (PICs) to the effects of climate change. Accordingly, the adaptation approach developed in this project is based on the development of the capacity of National Meteorological Services (NMSs) to respond to the growing needs of communities to prepare and respond to the changing weather patterns and climate trends using improved meteorological services.
The Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF) is a platform that promotes industrial skills development among young people in emerging economies. Working with the private sector through Public Private Development Partnerships, the LKDF supports the establishment and upgrading of local industrial training academies to help meet the labour market’s increasing demand for skilled employees, ultimately contributing to inclusive and sustainable industrial development. The long-term success of local industrial academies that partner with the LKDF is ensured through constant monitoring of e...[more]
One of the main goals of the current Government Programme of Finland?s Prime Minister is to promote sustainable growth. The Prime Minister?s Office published "The national strategy for sustainable development" in 2006. Source: The objective of the National strategy for Sustainable Development is to create sustainable well-being in a safe and pluralistic society that promotes participation, and in which all people take responsibility for the environment. The timeline for the targets is extending until about 2030. The aim of the strategy and policy is to strengthen the innovation and change m...[more]
Municipal waste charges cover costs related to the establishment, maintenance, decommissioning and clean-up of waste treatment facilities, and the transportation of wastes. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Waste charges are intended to reduce the amounts of waste generated and the consequent risks, and to encourage waste recovery. Many municipalities set lower charges for sorted wastes and for wastes that can be recove...[more]
Water supply and sewerage policies in Finland are designed to guarantee the availability of good quality drinking water, and to ensure that waste water is efficiently collected and suitably treated to acceptable standards. Source: UNCSD Secretariat (2010) Questionnaire for the Member States on Experiences, Success Factors, Risks and Challenges with Regard to Objective and Themes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) "Water supply and sewerage policies in Finland are designed to guarantee the availability of good quality drinking water, and to ensure that waste water is efficient...[more]