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Finland underlines its commitment to sustainable development and presents its national review at UN High-level Political Forum

Government Communications Department
14.7.2020 17.58 | Published in English on 14.7.2020 at 22.16
Press release 494/2020

On 14 July, Prime Minister Sanna Marin spoke at the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development together with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

This year’s HLPF focused in particular on tackling the sustainable development challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. Marin emphasised the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to sustainable development. She thanked local operators and representatives from civil society more broadly for their participation in preparing Finland’s national review. Her speech also addressed issues of gender equality and the status of minorities.

Marin highlighted the significance of multilateral international cooperation and defended the UN’s role in the global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

“The international rules-based order has come under pressure, and even been put into question. Yet no one has presented better alternatives than multilateral institutions and the UN system. The crisis we face cannot be solved through national, unilateral measures.

In 2015, the UN Member States jointly agreed on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to set the economic, social and ecological development of the world on a sustainable track by 2030.

In her speech, Marin emphasised Finland’s commitment to the objectives of the 2030 Agenda even in the midst of the crisis. Marin called for leadership and courage to make sustainable and far-reaching decisions despite the challenging global situation.

“Our generation of global leaders will be judged by the decisions we make over the course of this year. Our children’s destiny must not be shaped by accelerating climate change, more global inequality, and human suffering on an unforeseen scale. We must be determined to make choices we can defend based on the best available science. ”

Marin also announced Finland’s decision to contribute to the UN’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Trust Fund.

In her opening speech, Marin recalled that Finland and the other Nordic countries are leaders in sustainable development in international comparisons.

In addition to the Nordic welfare model, Marin highlighted the engagement of all of society in implementing sustainable development as one of Finland’s strengths. Various actors in society are consulted when implementing changes, and decisions are made taking into account not only the environment but also economic and social perspectives.

After the opening speech, Marin presented Finland’s 2030 Agenda Voluntary National Review, which details the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level. Finland has received particular recognition and praise for the participatory approach it took in preparing the report. Various parties participated in drawing up the report and assessing Finland’s progress on the goals, including representatives from industry, civil society, cities and regions, the scientific community and youth.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen, who participated in a question-and-answer session about the report, stressed the significance of cooperation between the authorities and stakeholders in order to achieve a common understanding.

“The Government must give society the opportunity to tell its story. I believe that this inclusive process has increased trust and promoted a shared understanding of sustainable development in Finnish society,” says Mikkonen.

The High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is the most significant global follow-up forum on sustainable development. The meeting reviews global progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its attendees include a wide variety of representatives of civil society organisations and national and international institutions. This year’s meeting is taking place from 7 to 16 July. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is being held virtually.

Inquiries: Lauri Voionmaa, Special Adviser (International Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 306, Laura Kotila, Communications Specialist, tel. +358 504 706 965, Prime Minister’s Office.