University of Eastern Finland
Description/achievement of initiative

Our sustainability project between 2012 and 2015:

Towards Ethical Sustainability

The University of Eastern Finland, UEF, is a multidisciplinary research university with 15,000 students in the eastern Finnish lake area. The university was established in 2010 as the result of the merger of two research universities dating back to 1966: the University of Joensuu and the University of Kuopio. The special areas of expertise of the UEF are research and teaching relating to forests and the environment, health and wellbeing, and new technologies and materials. In May 2012, the UEF was ranked 38th in the QS Top 50 Under 50 listing of the best young universities, established since 1962.

As a partner university of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, since 2003, the University of Eastern Finland is committed to implement the goals set by the United Nations. Among the annual activities conducted jointly by the University of Eastern Finland and UNEP, with the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Ministry of the Environment of Finland, is the annual UEF UNEP Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Implementation methodologies

Studies on development policy have highlighted the necessity to once again assess the Rio consensus on sustainability as expressed in Agenda 21 and to also take into consideration the ethical challenges of sustainability to the academic society. The concept of sustainability should be re-evaluated from an intercultural perspective. This would be of importance for people and societies of different cultural backgrounds. The concept of sustainability, as expressed in writings and teachings, should be understood in a broad perspective. Ethical sustainability should be seen as a precondition for the implementation of the four attributes of sustainable development: ecological, economical, social and cultural. It is important to note that cultural sustainability is not the same as ethical sustainability although these two concepts correlate with each other.

After the Rio Summit of 1992, Dr. Noel J. Brown, Director of UNEP, wrote: “Agenda 21 lays out the tasks. It is now up to the world community to move beyond the Rio consensus to the commitment necessary for implementation. And a commitment is a moral act, perhaps the missing element in the global equation.” (Ethics & Agenda 21,2).


University of Eastern Finland
Deliverable Date
UNEP Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements 2015
Resources devoted to implementation
Type Details
Staff / Technical expertise Expertise of students and staff concerning sustainable development

Action Network
  • Higher Education Sustainability Initiative
Jaakko Puhakka, Rector,

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Jaakko Puhakka– Rector
Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

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