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Sustainable Development in Finnish Development Cooperation

Poverty reduction and commitment to the values of the United Nations Millennium Goals are the guiding principles of Finland's development policy. Development policy should ensure that development in all countries is ecologically sustainable.

The environment is a global public good and its protection is in everybody`s interests. Photo: Matti PorreThe environment is a global public good and its protection is in everybody`s interests. Photo: Matti Porre

Finland advocates change in production and consumption patterns and supports the reduction of poverty in developing countries in such ways that help avert the most serious environmental damage caused by economic growth. Finland includes consideration for the environment as a cross-cutting theme in all its development cooperation and supports the inclusion of the principles of environmentally sustainable development in the poverty reduction strategies of its partner countries. Finland also supports specific environmental programmes and projects.

Protecting the environment is a global interest

It is impossible to achieve sustainable well-being and reduction of poverty unless the environment is taken care of. For this reason, environmental issues are a cross-cutting theme in Finland’s development policy. Environmental issues are connected today with such issues as security, trade and finance.

The challenges of development and of environmental sustainability are closely linked at both national and global levels. The future of Finland’s own environment will also be decisively affected by the ways in which other countries in the world, including the developing countries, take care of the environment. The environment is a global public good and its protection is in everybody’s interests.

Achieving development goals requires taking care of the environment

Implementing multilateral environmental agreements is an important tool for environmental management in Finland and in developing countries. Finland supports the developing countries in their capacity building to enable them to implement multilateral environmental agreements. Through international and development cooperation, Finland makes available to developing countries the benefit of its own expertise in managing global environmental problems and in promoting sustainable development.

Factors related to the environment are decisive in achieving many development goals, such as food safety, access to clean drinking water and progress in health care. Access to affordable energy and sustainable energy solutions are of great importance in improving the standards of living and health conditions of the poor. Sustainable energy policy can provide employment opportunities, but also enhance the sustainable exploitation of natural resources and, for example, mitigating climate change.

The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation 2002, requires all countries to draw up a strategy for sustainable development by 2005. UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development monitors the implementation of the plan. In its development cooperation, Finland emphasises that environmental issues, and the fulfilment of the obligations set out in environmental agreements, should be an integral part of poverty reduction strategies.

 pdfFinland's Development Policy Programme 2012 (PDF, 48 pages, 1,45 MB) 

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