Government report on the future
During each electoral term, the Government submits to Parliament a Report on the Future, which aims to identify issues that will be important for decision-making and require particular attention in the future. It also serves to open discussion for the coming years. The Government issued its first report in 1993.
The Report on the Future is drawn up in two parts. The first part deals with the ministries’ joint foresight activities, the purpose of which is to create an understanding of future developments. The second part focuses on certain key issues identified in the ministries’ foresight activities and explores possible solutions.
The ministries’ joint foresight working group plays a key role in drawing up the first part of the Government Report on the Future. The Prime Minister's Office is responsible for coordinating this work. Ministries’ representatives, for their part, work together with experts in their administrative branches and networks. There is also close cooperation between the National Foresight Network, the Government Foresight Group and a variety of national and international experts.
The report is discussed jointly by Parliament and the Government, and it also provides material for broader public debate. The report procedure makes it possible for Parliament to express its opinion on both the ministries’ foresight activities and the key themes selected by the Government.
Government Report on the Future 2019–2023
The Government Report on the Future, adopted on 19 January 2023, aims to build a common understanding of what Finland will look like in the next generations. The report’s systematic reflections on the future lay the foundation for proactive governance.
The Government Report on the Future plays an important role in the Government’s foresight activities. Rather than trying to predict the future, the report aims to open up new perspectives, challenge assumptions and increase awareness of potential future trends and their impacts.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the fundamental change in the security environment in spring 2022 have led to increased uncertainty in our operating environment. The situation has highlighted the importance of the central government’s ability to handle uncertainty in an agile way and the need for more proactive decision-making. In recent years, Finland’s ability to prepare for and respond to crises has been recognised around the world. Foresight is an essential part of knowledge-based strategic decision-making, and it is important to continue and strengthen this work,” says Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
The report consists of two parts. The first was prepared by public officials as part of their official duties in cross-administrative cooperation between all ministries. This working method, which was used for the first time in this term’s report, aims to strengthen the central government’s ability to prepare for the future.
The first part of the report proposes several measures that must be taken regardless of what kind of future lies ahead. They are related to the following general questions:
- How can we influence our operating environment so as to successfully promote peace, security, stability, wellbeing, sustainable development, democracy and human rights?
- How can we keep the welfare society’s value proposition in the future?
- How can we create an operating environment that generates sustainable growth?
- How can we safeguard the funding base of the welfare society and address the sustainability gap?
- How can we mitigate climate change, combat biodiversity loss and transition to a low-carbon economy in a just manner?
- How can we secure the opportunities of future generations to lead socially, economically and environmentally sustainable lives?
The first part of the report will support the ministries in their strategy work. It presents four different scenarios for how the future will develop. The scenarios are potential development paths rather than forecasts, and it is possible to influence many of them.
- Press release, 19 January 2023: Government Report on the Future offers perspectives on the Finland of future generations
- Presentation speech delivered by Prime Minister Sanna Marin to Parliament on the Government Report on the Future on 24 January 2023
Fifty dialogues on the future of Finland to support the preparation of the report
In its Programme, the Government pledges to develop and test out new ways of interacting in order to encourage people to participate more effectively and extensively in reforming society.
As part of the Government Report on the Future, the Prime Minister’s Office and Timeout Foundation teamed up to organise 50 dialogues on the future of Finland. These discussions were held in different parts of Finland in cooperation with regional and local operators using the Timeout method.
Representatives of different generations (especially young people) and genders and people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life were invited to participate. The goal was that people who, for one reason or another, do not usually take part in discussions on the future would get involved in reflecting on the future of Finland.
The Finland of future generations
The main question for the future is how we can ensure that future generations will also have the opportunity to lead a sustainable life. The second part of the Report on the Future examines how future generations can be better taken into account in legislative drafting and how foresight can play a more important role than at present.
Taking into account future generations increases accountability for political choices. Intergenerational justice is an essential part of the principle of sustainable development: for development to be sustainable, it must not jeopardise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The report highlights international examples of institutions that are taking future generations into account. It also presents ways to increase solidarity between generations.
Most recent Government Reports on the Future
Government Report on the Future 2023
Government Report on the Future 2018
- Government Report on the Future part 1: A shared understanding of the transformation of work
- Government Report on the Future part 2: Solutions to the transformation of work
Government Report on the Future 2013
Government Report on the Future 2009
Jaana Tapanainen-Thiess, Chief Specialist
Prime Minister's Office, Government Strategy Department, Policy Planning Unit Telephone:0295160593