Helsinki has become the first city in the EU to deliver a comprehensive sustainable development report to the United Nations (UN).
The report, titled From Agenda to Action – The Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Helsinki 2019, was presented to the UN at its sustainable development forum in New York last week. Helsinki sustainable development policy, which will be showcased over the next six months as Finland holds the presidency of the EU, aims to prioritise economic growth, social justice, climate action, education and future skills; the team of delegates presenting the report to the UN was headed by Finnish education minister Li Andersson. The report details the city’s progress towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, drawn up under the Agenda 2030 programme; which aim to promote increased sustainability and action on climate change while eradicating extreme poverty and combating social inequality.
Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori said: “The influence of cities in the world is constantly growing, owing to factors such as urbanisation and the urban nature of global challenges. Cities are increasingly joining ranks with states to solve global problems. The most important, concrete work with Agenda 2030 is done at local level – near people. Helsinki actively cooperates with other cities to ensure that the role of cities as influencers is acknowledged in key international forums and networks. In future, an important forum for cooperation between states and cities could be the implementation of the UN goals for sustainable development.”
In September 2018 Helsinki pledged to report regularly on its progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim of becoming ‘a pioneer for local implementation of global responsibilities’. In doing so Helsinki becomes the first city in the EU and the second in the world – with New York as the first – to commit to producing regular sustainability reports.