Estonian and Finnish sustainable development commissions organised a joint video meeting to share their experiences and provide an overview of the main results of the action plans of both countries in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
One of the main positive messages related to Estonia’s meeting of sustainable development goals was that Estonia has been successful in terms of providing high-quality and accessible education. Estonia also has an efficient health care management, high employment, a minimal long-term unemployment rate, and an increased share of renewable energy in final energy consumption.
The main challenges lie in achieving gender equality, reducing the risk of poverty for women and people with disabilities, including families with children with disabilities, ensuring efficient waste management and recycling, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and preserving biodiversity.
“We can be satisfied that we have done efficient and fruitful work to promote several areas of sustainable development, but many issues still need our constant attention,” said Mihkel Annus, Chairman of the Commission for Sustainable Development.
“Actions needed to overcome the current crisis must comply with the goals of sustainable development, so that instead of going back to how things were, we are moving towards a better future,” Annus added.
Finland is close to achieving the goals of sustainable development in terms of social and economic sustainability, but there are still several challenges that need addressing. For example, they need to improve consumption and production patterns, climate measures, and the state of biodiversity. Furthermore, obesity and gender equality are still problematic.
In 2019, Estonia ranked tenth in the global sustainable development index table, Finland third.
Representatives of both countries suggested that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on various indicators of sustainable development around the world are likely to be massive and can be analysed at a later date.
Finland also presented examples of the implementation of sustainable development goals in the Åland region and the city of Espoo, whereas Estonia introduced cooperation with entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable development and the activities of the Responsible Business Forum.
In the summer of 2020, 50 countries will submit overviews to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development of the UN. Twenty-two of those will submit an overview for the second time, including Estonia and Finland.
The Commission for Sustainable Development, established in 1996, is a commission of experts composed of the representatives of 19 non-governmental organisations whose task is to analyse the long-term sustainable development policy of the state. The commission’s work is supported by the Government Office.
More about the Commission for Sustainable Development: https://www.riigikantselei.ee/en/sustainable-development
Mihkel Annus, Chairman of the Commission for Sustainable Development, 5691 3094, mihkel.annus[at]taastuvenergeetika[dot]ee
Eili Lepik, the Strategy Unit of the Government Office, 693 5619, eili.lepik[at]riigikantselei[dot]ee