The United Nations Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals direct Finland and other countries towards a more sustainable future. The aim of the Agenda is that everyone is a part of the change, and no one is left behind.
The global sustainable development report indicates that we are making progress towards these goals, but far too slowly. Global inequality is rising as well as all the more connected with severe environmental crises. Biodiversity continues to decline.
Our consumption of natural resources exceeds the earth's annual biocapacity. We increase climate debt for future generations.
We cannot go on like this. We must find a way to create sustainable growth in a way that does not decrease welfare. We need new international sustainable welfare indicators. Sustainability must be at the core of all decision making, planning, and budgeting.
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown Finland, Europe and the whole world into a crisis that no one saw coming, even though researchers had predicted that a pandemic like this would be likely sooner or later. The pandemic is a sign of the severe consequences of unsustainable development.
In the midst of the crisis, it is important to look past the acute situation and to the future. It is important to seek solutions that allow us to solve several problems at once. The Covid recovery measures provide us with a unique opportunity to speed up the just transition towards a carbon neutral Finland and Europe. This change creates new jobs and vast potential for environment and climate technology solutions.
A just change towards a carbon neutral Finland, Europe and world means reducing emissions, poverty and inequality at the same time, locally and globally. The EU recovery effort must be spent entirely on projects that advance the Agenda2030 sustainable development goals.
If everyone lived like Finns, we would need 3,8 Globes. We must significantly decrease the amount of virgin materials we use. Circular economy is a central way to cut back on consuming natural resources. It is both a significant business opportunity and a vital condition for us to be able to preserve the earth livable for future generations.
With circular economy, we will be able to create new jobs while decreasing emissions and strengthening biodiversity. The government wants to make Finland a forerunner in circular economy. The Ministry of the Environment will produce a national circular economy advancement programme by the end of this year. We need concrete, national goals for circular economy, and the political mechanisms to reach them.
We only have ten years to achieve the Agenda2030 goals. It is mainly cities and municipalities, businesses and organisations, schools and workplaces as well as ordinary people in their daily lives that do the practical work. The government must be determined to support, encourage and facilitate this work.
Tiina Susanna Elo is a Finnish politician currently serving in the Parliament of Finland for the Green League at the Uusimaa constituency.
This article was written for MP Talk, a regular column from the Helsinki Times in which Members of The Finnish Parliament contribute their thoughts and opinions. All opinions voiced are entirely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Helsinki Times.
The articles will be published in order of arrival.