Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD)
Since the late 1980's, Finland has strived to enhance the role of sustainable development in mainstream politics. The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) was established already in 1993 - in the aftermaths of the Rio Conference on Environment and Development - and it was one of the first such commissions in the world. In Finland, sustainable development is considered as a learning process for the entire society which increases ownership and commitment in building up a good life in a sustainable society.
Finland's approach is referred to as the 'Finnish model', in which broad-based, multi-stakeholder participation is combined with high-level political leadership. In this model, the Government, civil society and business life are engaged in an open dialogue on the sustainable development policy. The leadership of the Prime Minister has also characterized our commitment to sustainable development.
The Government set a new period for the current FNCSD in February 2008. The term of the Commission is five years in length and it is staggered with the four-year Parliamentary election terms. This ensures that the Commission can take a longer-term approach to important sustainable development issues.
The current Commission is chaired by the Prime Minister, Mr. Jyrki Katainen and vice-chaired by the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Ville Niinistö. It has 44 members, including six other Ministers, the Parliament, public administration, business and industry, municipalities and regions, trade unions, the educational sector, NGOs, science and research, the arts and the churches.
The most important objective of the FNCSD is to make sustainable development a central part of national policies and administrative practices. Over the past 19 years, it has initiated national debate on several important themes, helped to build mutual political understanding on controversial issues, acted as an interpreter between national and international processes and supported the work carried out by various actors. A discussion forum open for the different groups of actors has also been seen as a valuable factor building up national integrity.
The Finnish model is an advocate for a more coherent and integrated planning and decision-making at the national level. The most recent task of the FNCSD has been to engage all interested parties in building up a new national strategy for sustainable development to be adopted in 2013. The process aims not only at identifying the key strategic sustainable development objectives for Finland, but also updating our institutional framework and improving our governance mechanisms. The ultimate aim is to improve coherence, integration and implementation and thereby increase the impressiveness of sustainable development policies in our society.
Finland is also engaged in developing sustainable development indicators and, most recently, an ex-ante assessment tool for sustainable development. The previous strategy 'Towards sustainable choices - A nationally and globally sustainable Finland' dates back to 2006 and it was assessed in 2009.
The work of the FNCSD is outlined and prepared by an inter-ministerial secretariat, which operates as a network and convenes 8-10 times a year. The secretariat comprises about 20 members from different ministries, each taking the lead in preparations for themes within their area of expertise. The network secretariat works in close cooperation with the Secretariat General which is located in the Ministry of the Environment. The core team of Secretary General Sauli Rouhinen and Deputy Secretary General Annika Lindblom coordinate and facilitate the national policies on sustainable development, as well as look after practical arrangements and provide funding for the Commission's work.
Secretary General, Mr. Sauli Rouhinen, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 565 8394
Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Marja Innanen, Ministry of the Environment, tel.+358 40 777 5582