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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is primarily responsible for agriculture and rural development in Finland. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for coordinating regional development planning in cooperation with other ministries.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

National legislation covering agriculture and rural development consists of the following laws:

1. Act on Rural Industries;
2. Act on the Measures for Structural Policy in Agriculture;
3. Act on the Implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Communities; and
4. Act on Regional Development. The laws have been reviewed and modified to meet the requirements for sustainable development.

Finland`s national legislation does not restrict the transfer of productive arable land to other uses.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Finland, as one of the rural member countries of the European Union, needs a reinforced rural policy. Horizontal rural policy has been implemented in Finland since 1988 in collaboration with several different branches of administration as well as regional and local organs.

The Finnish government`s policy on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) includes the following strategies and programmes.

1) The Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources

2) The Agri-Environmental Programme in Finland for the years 1995-1999 according to a European Commission decision/1995, revision 2000

The Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources

In March 1996, the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry published a report on the sustainable use of biological diversity in agriculture, forestry, hunting and game management, reindeer husbandry, fisheries and water resources management. The report formed the basis for the preparation of a national action plan, the strategy for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources in Finland for the conservation of biological diversity in the field of the Ministry. The strategy was completed in 1997. It implements the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity in this sector. The Strategy includes general indicators for monitoring and managing the amount and use of renewable natural resources. Preliminary set of indicators for the sustainable use of renewable natural resources was approved in February 1999. The indicator system will be tested during the next two years.

Objectives of the Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources is the integration of sustainable use of natural resources into the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The activity of the Ministry and the research institutes and other institutions working under it have to make sure that the natural resources are used in a sustainable way.

Conservation and rehabilitation of degraded lands

Even though the Agri-Environmental Programme in Finland covers also the issue of conservation and rehabilitation of degraded lands when needed, the problem of degradation is not serious in Finland. In some areas on minimum of 30 % of the arable land must be covered by plants or plant residues outside the growing season, or an approved method of reduced tillage must be used. The minimum plant cover requirement of 30 % for all the farms is, however, seen as problematic it being too stiff a measure. The effects of the measure on reducing runoff on certain soils can be contradictory.

Integrated pest management

From 1998, GAEPS support is subject to the condition that only tested and approved equipment may be used for spraying pesticides. Testing of equipment must be carried out by an authorised agency. Application of pesticides may only be carried out by a trained person, who has completed a course on pesticide use, application and handling, where the following items are dealt with:

- how to minimize the environmental risks caused by pesticides
- how to assess the actual need of pesticides in a farm and parcel basis
- how to design a proper crop rotation in order to minimize the use of pesticides
- how to do the application to avoid the wind drift, volatilization and runoff
- how to keep field-margins unsprayed
- where to get the diluting water and how to wash the sprayer.

Sustainable plant nutrition

The Agri-Environmental Programme aims at promoting sustainable plant nutrition management. The application rates for nutrients should not exceed the crops nutrient requirements. The quantities of artificial fertilizers and manure used on the farm shall not exceed the maximum quantities set by a decision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Soil conditions, nutrient content, type and slope are taken into consideration in application levels. Manure is stored in an approved manner. Manure containers must be large enough for the need of 12 months or, if animals are out in the pasture during the summer, for the need of 8 months; the storage of manure must fulfil the criteria within 3 years from making the commitment, an extension of one year may be granted upon application; a permit may be granted for temporary storage of manure in batteries. Manure may not be spread on frozen land or snow. In areas A and B the minimum arable land area available for manure spreading is 1 hectare per 1.5 livestock units or the manure must otherwise be used in an approved manner.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Consistent with the subsidiarity principle, the role of the provinces in programming has increased. In accordance with the partnership principle, the organisations concerned with employment or industry and commerce participate in the regional policy planning. In addition, municipalities and enterprises take part in the local development more than they did previously.     

Programmes and Projects   

Rural and regional policies are being implemented through Finnish regional programmes and the European Union's Programmes and Community Initiatives. The Rural Programme (1996) aims at achieving rural viability and improving rural areas by diversifying rural economic activities, creating networks and increasing interaction with towns. A plan for a new Rural Development Programme in Finland connected with the Agenda 2000 Reform in the EU will be presented to the Commission of the EU in autumn 1999. It includes a plan for the horizontal Agri-Environmental and LFA-programmes and for regional programmes.

Agri-Environmental Programme

In Finland the Agri-Environmental Programme based on the EU Regulation 2078/92 was prepared for the years 1995-1999, and is co-financed by the European Union (50%). The programme was prepared in cooperation with the Finnish agricultural and environmental authorities. The Programme consists of four elements:

1. the General Agricultural Environment Protection Scheme (the GAEPS);
2. the Supplementary Protection Scheme (the SPS);
3. the Scheme for Advisory Services and Training; and
4. the Scheme for Demonstration Projects.

The Åland Islands have their own separate Agri-Environmental Programme.

By the end of 1998, 88 % of the active farms participated in the programme. Thus requirements of the GAEPS cover 91 % of the arable land of the country. The amount of contracts for different SPS measures totalled almost 17 000 by the end of 1998 and covered about 210 000 hectares of the cultivated area and over 7000 livestock units. The area of under or in transition to organic farming covered about 125 000 hectares by the end of 1998.

The objective of the Agri-Environmental Programme is to practice agricultural and horticultural production in a sustainable way to reduce the impact on the environment caused by production, to protect the traditional agricultural landscape, and to preserve the preconditions for production in the long term. The objective is also to regulate the use of production methods in order to achieve the goals set for preserving biological diversity, and at the same time, to produce pure, high quality products using acceptable production conditions and methods. In the preparation of the programme, opinion of many organisations, e.g. the Union of Finnish Farmers as well as local and regional authorities were heard.

To receive the GAEPS premium the farmer has to make together with the authorities an environmental management programme for his/her farm, to reduce the use of fertilizers and handle manure properly, to reduce the use of pesticides, to increase the plant cover outside the growing season and help to preserve the biodiversity and agricultural landscape. SPS consists of promoting organic production, establishing riparian zones for reducing erosion and nutrient losses in vulnerable areas, promoting treatments of runoff waters from arable land and balanced use of nutrients in manure, restoration and management of traditional landscapes, extensification of agricultural production on ground water areas and maintaining local breeds in danger of extinction. The Agri-Environmental Programme in Finland includes the Scheme for Advisory Services and Training and provides free of charge advisory services and training to teach farmers in environmentally friendly production methods and techniques. Target groups are experts preparing the environmental management programmes for farms, persons training farmers in environmental protection and farmers, of course.

One of the measures in the Agri-Environmental Programme/GAEPS is the Farm Environmental Management Programme (FEMP), which is obligatory for all the participating farms. FEMP).

-improves awareness of the farmer of management and protection of environment on his holding
-specifies the measures required for the GAEPS premium
-increases the participation in the SPS measures
-increases farmers' information of the environmentally sound use of nutrients and pesticides

Integrated pest management, land degradation and rehabilitation, integrated plant nutrition management and plant and animal genetic diversity are also reflected in the Agri-Environmental Programme in Finland In addition the programme aims at integrating environmental concerns into agriculture development projects, for example in relation to management of rangelands, forests, water quality, wildlife, conservation of genetic resources or other. Providing water for sustainable food production and sustainable rural development are not relevant issues in Finland.

Conservation and rehabilitation of degraded lands

For winter green cover the following crops are accepted:

- perennial grass (including pasture and meadow) and non-rotational set-aside with perennial vegetation;
- winter rye;
- winter wheat, if sown before 10th September
- catch crops;

For crop residues, the following practices are accepted:

-stubble (ie., no tillage or primary tillage only in spring)
-direct drilling
-reduced autumn tillage. Reduced tillage can be performed with machinery which leaves most of the crop residue on the surface, eg cultivator, chisel plough or a rototiller. Mouldboard ploughing is not permitted.

The measure will apply in areas A and B (Southern Finland)only because in these areas there is yet not enough plant cover in winter. This measure will ensure that arable land is covered by green vegetation or crop residue during the rainy season in late autumn and during the snow melt in spring, when most surfaces and subsurface runoff occurs. In consequence, nitrogen and phosporus losses in surface and ground waters will be significantly reduced. In area C1 and C2 there is already sufficient plant cover in winter.

Integrated pest management

There is no separate integrated pest management (IPM) programme, but, one of the objectives of the Finnish Agri-Environmental Programme 1995-1999 is to reduce detriments resulting from the use of pesticides. There has been a clear decreasing trend in the use of pesticides in the 1990's. From 1994 to1996 the decrease in the use of pesticides measured as effective substance was 34 %. Obligatory testing of spraying device as well as training in the use of pesticides have contributed to this decrease.

Status

In Finland, the number of farms has decreased. In 1990, the number of active farms was about 130 000 whereas in 1998 it was less than 86 000. At the same time, the size of farms has increased. The average arable land area of an active farm is 24 ha (1997). The total agricultural area is 27 490 km2 which is 8 % of the total area. About 42 % of the farms are specialized in crop cultivation and 33 % in dairy farming. Dairy products and meat account for almost a half of total agricultural production. Cereal production is mainly concentrated in southern, southwestern and western Finland whereas dairy farming in central Finland and in western Finland. The share of agriculture in the gross domestic product was 1.5 % (1997) and the share of labour force employed in agriculture 6 %.

The major environmental problems caused by agriculture are leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into the water courses, emissions of ammonia into the air and loss of biodiversity. The main threats for the rural development in Finland are the discontinuing of agricultural production and the depopulation of the countryside.

Table 1. Average use of pesticides and growth regulators (kg of effective ingredients/ha of arable land under cultivation). (Source: Yearbook of Farm Statistics 1997)

 

fungicides     insecticides          herbicides          growth      regulators         Total

1994                  0,12                      0,04              0,52          0,03                  0,71

1995                  0,06                      0,03              0,41          0,04                  0,54

1996                  0,06                      0,03              0,35          0,04                    0,47

1997                  0,50

 

Sustainable plant nutrition

According to the results of monitoring of the Agri-Environmental Programme, the agricultural practices have changed into a more environmentally-friendly direction. The use of fertilizers was at its highest at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, and since then it has been on the decrease. Application of nutrients (incl. both commercial fertilizers and cattle manure) has notably decreased in the 1990's. When in 1990, 131.3 kg nitrogen was applied per hectare, the figure in 1997 was 104.3 kg, the amount of applied phosphorus decreased from 35.8 kg/ha to 16.6 kg/ha. In 1997 the use of nitrogen administered to the crops in artificial fertilizers and manure was about 10% and that of phosphorus about 30% smaller than in 1994. In the use of artificial fertilizers this means in practice that the average quantities used have fallen below the basic fertilization levels according to the GAEPS. For the most part the fertilization is carefully planned on the basis of the information from the soil fertility study, plant species or varieties and expected yield. The nutrients in manure are also taken into account in fertilization, which is reflected in the reduction in the sales of phosphorus fertilizers. Peak fertilization levels no longer occur on the farms receiving environmental aid. Winter green cover has increased, animal densities have declined. The loss of nitrogen and dissolved phosphorus have also declined. 

Table 2. Fertilizer sales kg/ha of arable land under cultivation (Source: Yearbook of Farm Statistics 1997 with new information from 1997/1998)

Year             Nitrogen      Phosphorus

               1989/1990           111,50           30,70

    1990/1991           109,40           26,30

                             ...

                        1994/1995          101,60             20,00

                        1995/1996          92,30               16,10

                        1996/1997          86,00               11,80

                        1997/199        8 86,40              11.60

 

Table3. Plant nutrients used kg/ha of arable land under cultivation (includes nutrients in fertilizers and manure). (Source: Yearbook of Farm Statistics 1997 and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)       

Year        Nitrogen      Phosphorus

1990          131,30         35,81

1991          130,99         31,86

...

1994          115,23         24,46

1995          119,72         24,75

1996          110,52         20,86

                                        1997         104,33         16,57

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information

The Ministry for Agriculture has prepared a strategy (1997) and general indicators for monitoring and managing the amount and use of renewable resources (first set 1999). With the aid of these indicators it is possible to gather nationally reliable data on renewable natural resources and obtain information on pressures and threats, including qualitative bad quantitative trends for the resources.

The set of indicators consist of the following Finnish renewable natural resources: arable land, agricultural plants and domestic animals, production methods and quality of the products, renewable energy sources, fur farming, products from forests and peatland, game husbandry, reindeer husbandry, fisheries and water resources. The rural landscape (countryside) and biodiversity is also considered an important natural resource as well as social, cultural and economic impacts of agriculture on the farmers and the viability of the rural areas. The indicator system will be tested during the next two years. 

Research and Technologies 

Agriculture and rural energy transition

Since UNCSD Finland has promoted indigenous renewable energy sources (forest biomass, wind, small hydro power) by energy taxation and grants. Delegation of granting of state subsidies (both national assets and EU structural fund assets) partly to the regional authorities has taken place taking the decision-making nearer the rural communities. Finland has also promoted the electrification of archipelago. Some examples of rural energy projects that have been initiated after UNCSD are:

-Campaign for tending of young forests and related energy biomass
- Small scale heating entrepreneurship, about 50 rural enterprises of new type
- Electrification of Nauvo archipelago area.

The availability of energy for household use in the rural areas has not changed since UNCSD. Situation is as follows:

[x] Electrical (national grids) no changes
(in the year 1992 electrification was almost 100 % in Finland)
[ ] Solar dryers
[x] Biomass systems no changes (60-70% of space heating is produced by wood biomass)
[ ] Wind energy
[ ] Others

Forest biomass is the most important biomass used for energy production in Finland (that is why forestry - not agriculture - is here the sector in question). Promotion of utilisation of forest biomass in energy production has strongly been intensified (CO2 based energy taxation, grants for production of wood fuel and for investments of plants using biomass as fuel). As a result about 18 % of total energy is produced by forest biomass.

In 1997 the Finnish Government approved an Energy Strategy. One of the main targets of the strategy is to enable Finland to meet her international commitments with respect to CO2 emissions. Development of renewable energy sources (RES) is a cornerstone in implementation of the strategy. The strongest emphasis of RES has given to the promotion of the utilisation of forest biomass in energy production.

Financing

Financial support for agriculture is provided by the General Agricultural Environment Protection Scheme and the Environmental Support Programme of Agriculture, in accordance with the regulations of the European Council. The European dimension is also reflected in Finland`s relationship to foreign trade and GATT/WTO, agriculture commodities prices and regional economic integration: as a member of the EU Finland has common measures with the European Union.

Cooperation

Finland is committed to Baltic 21 - Action programme for sustainable development in the Baltic sea region -programme. Baltic 21 sets goals for sustainable development in the region i.e. for the agricultural sector, that are also supported by Finland. In the implementation of the Baltic 21 programme local farmers and citizen are encouraged to take part in the sustainable measures. The union of the Finnish Farmers implements an Agenda 21 programme of their own. More information on the Baltic 21 programme can be found on programme`s web-pages http://www.ee./baltic21.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

For the National Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, click here.
For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.
To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment  has responsibility over general directing of air pollution control. The most important general regulations are given by the Council of Ministers, where even all other ministries are represented. The Ministry of Transport and Communications prepares the technical emission  standards for vehicles, and takes environmental aspects into consideration in preparation of transport policies. The Ministry of Trade and Industries prepares energy saving programs and other energy policy elements which affect the atmosphere.

The 1984 Air Pollution Control Law ordered several government ministries and agencies to develop and maintain their expertise related to  air pollution issues. About ten years  time  there was an ad HOC Committee on Air Pollution Control, where various public and private institutions were represented. Nowadays, information  on air pollution control is exchanged in more informal ways and the co-operation is based on concrete projects.

In the field of climate policy there are various different bodies at the political and expert level working. Preparing for international climate negotiations, considering changes in the national legislation, reporting national GHG emissions, investigating the possibility of using the Kyoto mechanisms and discussion on sinks are dealt with by inter-ministerial working groups of experts and officials and committees led by different ministries.

The work  on the National Climate Programme is under way. Various ministries (Ministry of: Environment; Finance; Agriculture and Forestry; Transport and Communication; and Trade and Industry) are preparing their own sectoral climate programmes in implementing national policies. These sectoral programmes  will be integrated by ministerial committee chaired by the Minister of Trade and Industry into a national climate programme due 2001.

Issues related to the climate change policy are also discussed by the Climate Commission with a widely based membership (private sector, environment NGOs, researchers, trade unions etc.). This committee is chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry for the Environment.

Three Permit Authorities and 13 Regional Environment Institutes give the environmental permit decisions for big and medium size industrial installations also effecting the level of atmosphere protection. The permits on  smaller plants are handled by the municipal authorities. In addition,  the municipalities are responsible for ambient air quality monitoring

Climate change policies and legislation are decided at the national level. Yet, the political decision-making system in Finland is widely decentralized and the local authorities make numerous decisions with a direct bearing on the atmosphere, such as transport, waste disposal systems, energy generation etc

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

According the 1984 Air Pollution Law and Ordinance more than 20 Decisions of the Council of State were given. These include ambient air quality standards, emission limit values for various industrial installations and off-road vehicles ,  regulations on contents of fuels and other products and restrictions of  idling of vehicles. The aim of these decisions has been to protect lower atmosphere or the ozone layer. Nowadays the Finnish regulations are strongly affected by the EU directives. According to the principles of EU directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (96/61/EY) pollution legislation has been merged into an integrated Environmental Protection Law in 2000. Technical emission standards for vehicles have been given according the road transport legislation.

One of the most important directives relating to climate change issues is the directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (96/61/EY). According to the European Commission (COM (1999)230) the Union has also made progress in policies and measures i.e. in the field of energy efficiency, renewable energy, promoting combined heat and power production, transport policy and research. This development influences the Finnish regulatory framework.

There are a number of national laws that, apart from their other aims, promote the reduction of GHG emissions. The laws are related to the air protection in general, land use and building, agriculture and waste. Also Finland’s Environment Protection Act (86/2000) covers is substances indirectly relevant to the climate change although basically addressing other aims. In the future the Act will be complemented with regulations relating to climate change mitigation, addressing especially industrial emissions.

Also the Land Use and Building Act (132/1999) doesn’t explicitly promote climate change mitigation. However, its main principles i.e. economically efficient land use and settlement structure, economical use of natural resources and promotion of the functionality of settlements and good practices in building, contribute to the aims of climate change mitigation.

Finland uses a number of economic instruments that may have an effect on the GHG emissions:

In 1997 a tax on electricity was introduced. However, the electricity tax is differentiated between sectors. Industry and professional greenhouse cultivation pay according to a lower rate. The use of the renewable energy sources has been promoted through tax exceptions and other subsidies. In 1998 a tax refund system to the energy intensive industry was introduced.

Apart from duties and charges Finland also uses other incentives to promote climate change policy. The Ministry of Trade and Industry awards under its Energy Aid Scheme grants for development and investment projects which promote energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy or reduce environmental hazards associated with energy production. The grants can be awarded to enterprises and organizations.

Legislation to protect the atmosphere has been reviewed and revised since UNCED. The revision of the Air Pollution Control Act entered into force in 1996.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The general goals of air pollution control have been included in the general legislation for environmental protection. Ministry of the Environment has a long tradition of using broad-based committees, such as sulphur committee,  acidification committee and climate committee, in planning of long-term programs for protection of atmosphere. Sometimes the work of such committees has lead to Decisions in Principle made by the Government.

Finland’s climate strategy has recently mainly focused on the intensification of the ongoing programmes for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. All the main sectors - energy, building, transport, agriculture and waste management - have introduced and implemented policies and measures which have also had impacts on the GHG emission reductions.

In 1999, the Finnish government set up a ministerial committee with the task of preparing and implementing a programme for meeting the Kyoto targets. Various ministries are preparing mitigation programmes for their own sectors which will be integrated into a comprehensive national climate programme. The Council of State will present the programme to the Parliament at the end of  2000 or  early 2001. This climate strategy will include a long-term scenario review, policies and measures aimed at reaching Finland’s Kyoto commitments and an assessment of the economic impacts of these policies and measures.

Regarding green house emissions Finland is within the so called “EU-bubble” committed to reduce its GHG emissions during the first commitment period (2008-2012) to the level of 1990. Within the 2-3 next years Finland will work towards achieving this goal by implementing her national climate action programme, including the sectoral climate programmes, as well as other programmes (i.e. Energy Conservation Programme, Environmental Guidelines for the Transport Sector, the Finnish Government Programme for Sustainable Construction etc.) already under way. These programmes include both short term and long term measures. When prepared the national action programme will introduce more specific measures i.e. in the field of energy saving and renewable energy sources,  traffic behavior and organization of traffic as well as building sector. A new programme aimed at promoting the use of  renewable energy sources is also under preparation.

The most important short term goals for transboundary air pollution are to:

For longer term it is important to prepare international agreements concerning transboundary  transport of fine particulates.

Ozone layer protection - Finland is aiming at implementing the new EC regulation. Even though the situation is already pretty good in Finland, some fine-tuning is needed. Finland as well as the other EC member states have to establish minimum qualification requirements for the personnel involved in controlling leakages from fixed equipment with a refrigerating fluid charge of more than 3 kg.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Preparation of air pollution policies has been open and broad-based committees have been utilized in that work. Scientific and technological community, local authorities, NGOs, business and industry and the trade unions have been involved in this work. Both men and women have always been in these committees. Widely based working groups (stake holder ship of NGOs and representatives of business among others) are also involved in the work related to climate issues.

Programmes and Projects   

Industry

Government policy in the industrial and power sectors relies mainly on voluntary agreements promoting energy efficiency. The government practice of concluding energy conservation agreements with producers, distributors and consumers of energy have been developed. Agreements with industry will be extended to involve individual industrial sectors and companies. Measures related to GHG emission reductions in industry consist mainly of measures effecting energy consumption.  

The agreements reinforce several activities, in particular:

Agriculture

Prevention of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is mainly promoted with the help of the agriculture environmental aid scheme part-financed by the EU. The first agriculture environmental programme was valid in Finland in the period 1995-1999.

The implementation of the EU’s Nitrate Directive is estimated to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Finland. Although, quantitative estimates of its impact are not available.

Data on annual greenhouse gas emissions supplied by Finland to the Secretariat of the Climate Convention and to the EU Commission show that agricultural greenhouse gas emissions decreased considerably during the 1990s. This decrease has resulted primarily from a structural change that took place in agricultural production.

The great potential of reducing GHG emissions through a denser settlement structure is recognized in some research reports. In fact, Land Use and Building Act promotes this goal on a principal level. Land use planning is included in the national climate programme.  The sectoral programme for environment introduces some scenarios with preliminary targets for land use planning for year 2010. The programme also includes measures to be taken with a view of promoting appropriate community structure and land use planning.

As a supplement to the European Community regulation, Finnish national legislation also regulates ozone-depleting substances. These instruments together provide a comprehensive control of ozone-depleting substances. Production, placing on the market, use and export of ozone-depleting substances or equipment containing them is forbidden, with the exception of essential and critical uses and of HCFCs used for servicing of existing refrigeration equipment until 2015. Finland has never produced ozone-depleting substances and its consumption of them has been relatively small. The use has decreased from 2600 ODP-tonnes (metric tonnes multiplied by ozone-depleting potentials) in 1990 to 80 ODP-tonnes in 1998.

In Finland, the National Forest Programme 2010 creates a framework for promoting the role of sinks in the climate policy in a sustainable way. The starting point is that sustainable forest management is the best approach for controlling the climate change through forestry.

In Finland, meteorological observations have been made for more than a hundred years. Long term climatological time series form a necessary basis also for estimates of the effects of climate change.

The first research projects on climate change were started in Finland in the early 1980s carried out as single projects by universities and research institutions. An interdisciplinary six-year research programme the Finnish Research Programme on Climate Change (SILMU) was initiated in 1990. It covered studies on atmospheric changes, climate scenarios, climate impacts and also some aspects of mitigation.

The Finnish Global Change Research Programme (FIGARE; 1999-2002) and Finnish Technology for Climate Change Mitigation Programme (1999-2002) are examples of more recent research programmes.  A major national research project on acidification (HAPRO) was carried out in 1985-1990. The main conclusion of the project was that the critical loads for acid deposition was exceeded over almost whole the country. The project motivated to a political conclusion that sulphur emissions should be reduced from the 1980 levels by 80 per cent in Finland as well as in other European countries.

Status   

Ambient air quality has very much improved during a few centuries. Rather high concentrations of pollutants can still be measured in some cities with much road transport. Transboundary ozone and fine particulates may cause adverse effects for crops and  human health even in rural areas.

Some research (i.e. Finnish Research Programme on Climate Change (SILMU)) on climate change’s impact on ecosystems and economic activities has been conducted and estimates prepared, particularly in those sectors where harmful consequences are potentially high. These studies indicate that the risk of new pests and insects in a warmer climate should be taken into account especially in the field of  forestry, silviculture being a very important climate sensitive part of the Finnish economy. Similar risks will occur in agriculture, although this sector may otherwise benefit considerably because of longer growing seasons related to the higher temperature.  SILMU dealt also with the effects of ozone (relating indirectly to the climate change) on human health.  Acidification and climate change may restrict especially recreational winter time fishery.

In 1998, Finland’s GHG emissions were estimated to be 76.9 million tones in CO2-equivalents. CO2 emissions made up 83,8%, CH4 emissions 5% and N2O emissions10,4 % of the total emissions. The so called new gases amounted only up to 0.35% of the total emissions even though doubled since 1990. In 1998 the annual GHG emissions had increased by 1,5 % from 1990.  The strongest rising trend can be observed in the CO2 emissions.

Anthropogenic methane emissions in Finland are declining mainly because of the measures taken in waste management. The decline in total methane emissions by 2010 is estimated to be about 20% and by 2020 nearly 30%. Anthropogenic nitorus oxide emissions show a rising trend. However, if the abatement measures developed for fluidized bed combustion and nitric acid production work in practice, a reduction of about 20% in the projected anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions in Finland seems feasible.   95% of the CO2 emissions originate from the use of fossil fuels and peat. From the total emissions this amounts up to 84 % while agriculture and creates 9% and waste management 2,5% of the total emissions.

Source: Finland’s annual inventory report on greenhouse gases to the UN`s Framework Convention on Climate Change (2000);

Finland’s GHG emissions years 1990, 1998 and 2010,  MtCO2-ekviv. 

           

1990

1998

2010

Carbondioxide

60,8

63,9

78,6

   Fuels combustion

53,9

57,4

72

   Fugitive emissions from peat lands

3,5

3,5

3,5

   Industrial processes

1,2

1,0

1,0

    Agricultural soils

1,6

1,4

1,4

    Others

0,6

0,7

0,7

CH4

6,2

4,4

2

N2O

8,0

7,7

7,7

SF6, HFCs, PFCs

0,3

0,8

1,4

Total

75,3

76,9

89,7

Land use change and forestry (removals)

-23,8

-9,7

-

Source: Finland’s annual inventory report on greenhouse gases to the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (2000); Data collected for the National Climate Change Programme

The total land area of Finland is 30.5 mill. ha, of which 26.3 mill. ha are classified as forestry land. The carbon storage of the growing stock in 1995 was estimated to be 695 Tg, and the net carbon sink that year was 14 Tg. In addition, the forest ecosystem has other – even bigger – carbon storages. The mineral soils of Finnish forests contain 1100-1300 Tg of carbon, even as much as 1500 Tg, if the organic material in deeper soil layers is included. Over one-third of the forested land in Finland are mires, which accumulate peat. The estimated carbon in the peat of Finnish mires is 4500-5500 Tg. The present estimate indicates an accumulation of about 4 Tg of carbon dioxide annually in mires in their natural state and 5 Tg in drained peat lands.  Also Finnish lakes can be considered GHG sinks.

Finland has never produced ozone-depleting substances and its consumption of them has been relatively small. The use has decreased from 2600 ODP-tonnes (metric tonnes multiplied by ozone-depleting potentials) in 1990 to 80 ODP-tonnes in 1998. As a consequence emissions of ozone depleting substances are also small.

The Inter-ministerial National Commission on Climate Change is currently preparing a Council of State's decision-in-principle on the objectives and guidelines for action of the GHGs in Finland for the years 2005, 2010, and 2020. The assignment follows the Berlin Mandate negotiations. In the 1980s, the CO2 emissions decreased significantly in Finland due to the increased use of nuclear power, bioenergy and natural gas, and due to the import of electricity. In the 1990s, the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels showed a significant increase again. According to the estimates, the carbon dioxide emissions will grow about 70 million tonnes by the year 2010. In the comparison year, 1990, the corresponding projection figure should have been 60 million tonnes.

Finland has a cold climate with corresponding heating needs. The considerable energy-intensive industry is largely based on forests, which cover more than two-thirds of the country. Nuclear and hydro power is used for 50-60% of the electricity generation. Biomass utilization, constituting 15% of the energy balance, is the highest among the OECD countries, and non-fossil fuels in total represent about 35% of the energy balance.

Finland has successfully introduced energy efficient technologies such as district heating, which cover 45% of the heat supply, and combined heat and power (CHP), which currently supplies 30% of the electricity. Finland was the first country to apply a CO2 tax, currently equivalent to about US$ 8.50 per tonne of CO2.

The international conventions signed by Finland call for considerable decreases in various emissions into the air by the energy industry during the 1990s. In the international sulphur protocol signed in 1985, Finland committed itself to reducing its sulphur emissions by 30% from the 1980 level (584,000 tonnes) by 1993. By 1992, emissions had already been reduced by over 70%. This was achieved by changes in the structure of energy production, the reduced use of heavy fuel oil, the fall in the sulphur content of fuels together with improvements in process technology.

In addition, in 1991, the Government decided to draw up a ten-year programme aimed at reducing sulphur emissions by 80% from the 1980 level. Finland committed itself to the same goal by signing the second sulphur protocol in Oslo in 1994. The target was achieved in 1994, and a further reduction was recorded in 1995.

As regards nitrogen oxides, Finland committed itself under the Sofia Protocol, signed in 1988, to stabilize emissions to the 1987 level (288,000 tonnes) by the year 1994. Finland also stated that it would cut emissions of nitrogen oxides by 30% from the 1980 level by 1998. By 1995, the nitrogen oxide emissions from energy production had fallen by 26% from 1980, even though energy consumption had at the same time increased 46%. However, the emissions caused by traffic increased constantly until 1991, and started to decrease only after that.

Of the total emissions in Finland, traffic accounts for 25% of the carbon dioxide, 60% of the nitrogen oxides, 50% of the hydrocarbon, 75% of the carbon monoxide, and 5% of the sulphur dioxide. The upper limits on the emissions from vehicles have been made considerably stricter in the 1990s in order to reduce the pollution caused by road traffic. However, car emissions are controlled more extensively in Finland than in any other EU country by statutory annual car tests. The air quality is nowadays less frequently violated by traffic. Thanks to the improvements in fuels, carbon monoxide emissions seldom exceed the limits. Within the EU, the emission limits will be even stricter in the near future in view of the technical advances being made.

In order to develop safe technologies, the Ministry of Trade and the Environment has launched eleven new energy technology development programmes for 1993-1998. The programmes focus on non-nuclear energy options, renewable energy sources, energy conservation, greater industrial efficiency and ways of reducing harmful environmental effects of the energy economy.

Challenges  

Ambient air quality is rather good in Finland. Concentrations of air pollutants exceeding the levels of EU air quality directives  are measured only in a few places. The areas where critical loads for acidification are exceeded has reduced significantly but the problem still exists. Transboundary fluxes of ozone and fine particulates can be measured periodically.

Finland is a sparsely populated country with a cold climate. This creates pressures for the use of energy as well as transportation of people and goods. However, there are also other structural problems not related to the geographical position of Finland.

In the field of GHG emission reduction the most prominent structural problems are to relate to the use and production of energy. One of the measures guiding the choice of energy source to a less polluting direction is energy taxation. However, from Finland’s point of view the issue of energy taxation should be addressed at the EU level but efforts to this effect have so far met insurmountable problems.

Finland’s industrial structure has changed into a less energy consuming direction in the past decades. However, the industrial structure is still very energy intensive. Great efforts have been made to make energy production more efficient. For example combined heat and power production is industry and district heating plants is one of the cornerstones of Finland’s energy supply.   With regard to eliminating the use of ozone depleting substances no major problems exist.  However, there are minor problems with some used domestic refrigerators and freezers which are illegally dumped to forests and waysides. Some persons consider waste fees collected by waste collecting stations too high. Controlling of this illegal dumping is very difficult.  

Sink enhancement is most relevant for countries in which there has been deforestation or where forests are degraded. In Finland, forests are well stocked and afforestation potential is low due to high forest cover. The low potential is not considered a problem. The most essential strategy is protection of sinks which is considered non-problematic in Finland.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Continuous efforts have been made to communicate about the developments in the international climate process through the media. Internet is widely used by ministries, NGOs and business to promote public awareness.

Primary and secondary school curricula cover climate related issues under several subjects. For example, general climate issues fall under geography. Energy vs. mitigation related issues are dealt primarily under physics. The university of Helsinki trains MSci. –level meteorologists, and the curriculum covers topics mentioned above. Recent research programmes include an extensive training component at the academic level.

Information   

GHG emission calculations are a part of the work related to the research on atmospheric change. The methods used in GHG emission counting can be studied in Finland’s annual inventory report on the greenhouse gases to the UN`s Framework Convention on Climate Change (2000), Chapter 5. In Brief, the report covers emissions from energy sector, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, agriculture, land-use change and forestry and waste. A more detailed report on the calculation methods will be published in the autumn 2000.

Finland reports commission her greenhouse gas emissions frequently to the UNFCCC and the EU. Apart from the annual report on greenhouse gas emissions submitted to the UNFCCC Finland has also prepared and published two National Communications (1995 and 1997) which provide information on national policies and measures and include projections of the future development of the greenhouse gas emissions. The third National Communication will be published next year.

The www-pages of The Ministry for the Environment also include information related to the climate change problematic (in Finnish) (http://www.vyh.fi/ympsuo/ilma/ilmasto/kasvihuo.htm).

See above for information on Finland’s national GHG emissions reporting to the UNFCCC.

Research and Technologies   

The principles of WMO's World Climate Programme have been followed since its

foundation in 1979. The main contribution is provided in form of normal operational and research activities by the national weather service, Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).

The number of observing stations for climatological purposes is relatively high in Finland. Presently about 100 stations make at least 3 observations per day (50 of them are synoptic with 8 observations/day). In addition, about 300 stations make daily precipitation and snow observations. The number of long-term climatic observing records is also quite comprehensive.

The number of stations providing monthly CLIMAT-messages (14) and CLIMAT

TEMP-messages (3) follows the WMO recommendations.  The observations and their summaries/statistics are published on annual, monthly  and daily basis. Statistics of the most recent standard normal period (1961-1990) have been published, and preparations for the next normal period 1971-2000 are going on. Computerized graphical/mapping procedures of climatic data are widely used.

Finnish contribution to WMO's Global Atmospheric Watch consists of one baseline station in Northern Finland for greenhouse gas measurements, other background air pollution monitoring stations, and stations in the global ozone observing system, of which one station measures also vertical ozone profiles.

Finland is the world leader in the development of biofuel incineration technology and the manufacture of fluidized bed boilers. Applications and technology for the production of solar and wind energy are being actively developed. The main products are solar power systems for consumers and special applications for use in developing countries and industry.

Finland’s specialized know-how is represented by fuel gas purification technology, energy metering systems, diesel power plants, and the treatment of solid fuels. Regarding fuels derived from wood harvesting Finland has made great advances in the development of technologies for utilization of wood and peat. The development of an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) process has become just as important as that of fluidized bed boilers.

In the future research programmes on energy technology will focus on the use of bioenergy, the material technology of power plants and the energy economy in buildings. Research on building equipment systems explores means of optimizing the chain of energy production , distribution and utilization by making use of efficient end-user solutions.

Successful Finnish transport technology products include catalytic converters, reformulated fuels and environmentally-friendlier diesel engines for utility vehicles.

Also new waste management technologies have been developed and introduced. At the largest landfills, a recovery system is used to collect the methane gas produced by wastes, preventing harmful emissions into the atmosphere and recovering energy.  Finland lays great emphasis on the development of energy technology.

Financing   

Instruments promoting the increase of the volume of funding for protection of the climate are mainly related to promoting investments in favour of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources. See Finland’s report on energy for more information on these instruments.

Cooperation

Cooperation in research and development, technology transfer, capacity-building and other activities related to protection of the atmosphere are integrated in Finnish development cooperation and in Finland’s cooperation with neighbouring countries.

Research on climate changes and their detection has been emphasized recently. Jointly with other European countries Finland takes part in the European Climate Support Network and Nordic NORDKLIM programs aiming at the best possible long-term climatological data records for the study, monitoring and detection of  past and future climatic changes. In this work the reliability and homogeneity of the data records and the station records (metadata) play a key role. Finland has also taken part in WMO activities through the Commission for Climatology and its working groups on data management and climate change detection. 

Finnish bilateral cooperation with developing countries in the field of climate change is mainly concentrated on the sectors of forestry, agriculture and energy. The total funding for recent and ongoing climate-related grant projects is USD 157,0 million. In 1998, 14,9 % of Finland’s bilateral ODA could be classified as climate change related aid. The total amount for recent and ongoing climate-related concessional credits is USD 20,6 million.

Finland has promoted and supported joint environmental programmes in neighbouring regions, mainly in the Baltic states, Russia and Poland, since 1991. Air protection is one of the main objectives of cooperation. In 1991-1998, the total amount of Finnish funding for environment-related projects was USD 71,0 million.

Finland is also exploring new forms for international climate-related cooperation. In 1999, Finland launched a pilot programme on joint implementation and clean development mechanism. The total funding for the programme is USD 6,7 million for years 2000-2002. Some JI projects have already been prepared together with Estonia and negotiations with other countries are under way with a view to initiating small, pilot projects in reducing GHG emissions.

Under multilateral cooperation, Finland participates in the funding of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with USD 51,9 million in 1993-2002. 40 % of the GEF budget is allocated for climate change activities. Finland also contributes to the Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) of the World Bank with USD 10 million in 2000-2012. Furthermore, Finland contributes annually USD 1 million to the Multilateral Fund for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

Finland has been active in international co-operation in order to reduce transboundary air pollution. Multilateral co-operation has been made more than 20 years according the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and  now also within European Union. Bilateral  work has been done with the Russian Federation and Estonia. The work started with flat-rate reductions of emissions but is nowadays  based on critical loads concept and differentiated emission reductions in every forum. 

Finland has been active in protecting the ozone layer by reducing depleting gases.  The country became a Party to the Vienna Convention in 1986 and to the Montreal Protocol in 1988. Finland has also ratified the London (1990) and Copenhagen (1992) amendments to the Protocol.  The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified in 1994. The EU has expressed its commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by 2002.

Finland hosted the First Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in 1989. The Government of Finland established the Finnish Trust Fund in 1991 to assist non-Party developing countries with the objective of facilitating and expediting their joining of the Montreal Protocol. All of the 20 countries assisted under the fund through the UNEP Ozone Action Programme have not only become Parties to the Montreal Protocol, but have also expedited their implementation of control measures.

The provisions of the Montreal Protocol are implemented in the European Community (EC) through a regulation. The new EC regulation has applied from 1 October 2000; after that Finland as well as the EC will finalise the ratification of the Montreal and Beijing amendments to the Montreal Protocol.

In order to fulfill her commitments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol Finland is preparing sectoral and national climate programmes, strengthening programmes already under way in energy, transport, building, agriculture, forestry  and waste management sectors, conducting research on relevant issues, and strengthening its capacities to use Kyoto mechanisms.

For 1992-1995, US$ 4.1 million have been contributed to the Vienna/Montreal Trust Funds and the Interim Multilateral Ozone Fund. In 1989, US$ 2.4 million were contributed to UNEP and UNDP to support developing countries in their activities to protect the ozone layer.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified in 1994.  The Montreal Protocol is implemented in Finland by the EU Regulation 3093/93 on ozone depleting substances and by the Council of State decisions. Finland has reduced and phased out the consumption of ozone depleting substances earlier than stipulated in the Montreal Protocol. It has also been active in the field of scientific research related to the depletion of the ozone layer. The country's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) constitute some 0.3% of the total global emissions. The most notable greenhouse gases in Finland are carbon dioxide emissions, which account for some 82% of the total emissions. Other greenhouse gases are nitrogen oxides, methane and nitrous oxide.

The Cabinet Committee on European Union Affairs provides the political guidance to Finland’s representatives` work within EU.   Finland participates in the European Trace Experiment (ETEX) with WMO and EU. Finland signed the Air Pollution Control Agreement with Estonia (2 July 1993) and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection with the Russian Federation (29 April 1992). Finland has also signed the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution and contributes to the Nordic Environmental Strategy (1996), and to the EU activities in this field.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update:  April 2001.

For national information on acidification, click here.
For national information on climate change, click here.
For national information on greenhouse emissions, click here.
For Protection of the atmosphere in the Ministry of the Environment, click here.
For the Finnish Meteorological Institute, click here.
Click here for national information from the Web Site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the conservation of biodiversity and genetic resources and is adequately involved in national decision-making concerning the sustainable use and management of natural resources. It shares this responsibility with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Since almost two-thirds of the forest area is owned by private forest owners, there is a long history of active participation in decision-making and support at local and regional levels as well.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed in 1992; ratified in 1994; and entered into force 1 August, 1994. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was signed in 1976.

Finland became a member of the European Union on 1 January 1995 and is therefore bound by EU Regulations 3626/82 of 31 December 1982 and 3418/83 of 28 November 1983 on the implementation of CITES in the Union.

Finland has reviewed and revised its legislation and adopted various national programmes and decisions in accordance with the objectives of Chapter 15 and international agreements in this field. Regulations related to the conservation of biological diversity are included in the State Forest and Park Service Act (1994). In 1994, the Council of State adopted a decision-in-principle on the implementation of the principles of sustainable forest management with special emphasis on the conservation of biological diversity and other environmental aspects. The aim is to preserve, and, if necessary, restore the unique diversity of the Finnish ecosystems, biotypes and organisms, and their populations.

Both the Nature Conservation Act and the Forest Act have been revised, and they entered into force on 1 January 1997. Regulations related to the conservation of biological diversity are included in the Acts. The aim of the Nature Conservation Act is to maintain biological diversity, conserve nature's beauty and scientific value, to promote sustainable use of natural resources and environment, to raise public awareness about nature in general, and to promote scientific research. The implementation of the New Environmental Programme for Forestry in Finland is also important for achieving these targets.

According to the Water Act (1961), permission is required to build constructions or to discharge waste waters which may cause a decrease in natural resources or damage to the natural landscape, have harmful effects on fish or changes in water biology. During the past few years, Finland has harmonized its legislation on water protection in accordance with that of the European Union. According to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea (Helsinki Convention 1974, revised in 1992), the parties must conserve the biological diversity of coastal ecosystems. The revised Convention also calls for the protection of the whole catchment area of the Baltic Sea. In addition, the new Nature Conservation Act and the Forest Act, as well as the Building Act contain provisions on the conservation of biological diversity of coastal ecosystems. The new Water Protection Programme to the Year 2005, currently under preparation, emphasizes efforts to enhance research on aquatic nature and to intensify monitoring and assessment of conservation efforts.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is a National Strategy to Conserve and Maintain Threatened Species and Ecosystems. In addition, special protection plans have been completed for many endangered species.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement    

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

As a member of the EU, Finland takes into account the EU directives on wild flora, fauna and birdlife when deciding on national conservation actions and areas to be included in the Natura 2000 network of protected areas currently being set up by the European Union. Numerous nature reserves have been established to preserve biotopes and species typical to Finland. Six national conservation programmes have been drawn up, namely the Peatland Conservation Programme, the Eskers Conservation Programme, the Bird Sanctuaries Conservation Programme, the Shoreline Conservation Programme, the Herb-rich Forest Programme, and the Old-growth Forest Programme. The total land area of nature reserves is 1,752,619 hectares. In addition, the Finnish Agri-Environmental Programme (EEC Reg. No. 2078/92) aims at protecting the genetic diversity of agricultural plant and animal species, and at preserving and restoring biotopes essential for agriculture-dependent, threatened wildlife.

Status

In January 1995, the Ministry of the Environment adopted a decision-in-principle on valuable cultural landscapes of about 730,000 hectares in Finland for the promotion of landscape management. The aim is to develop a management system of cultural landscapes to keep open landscapes in production, and to preserve important habitats formed by traditional rural land-use methods, natural pastures, meadows and semi-open woodlands. Landscape managament relies upon cooperation between different authorities.

In December 1995, the Council of State adopted a decision-in-principle on the implementation of the Biological Diversity Convention. A National Biodiversity Committee was set up by the Ministry of the Environment in March 1996 to prepare a national action programme by end March 1997 with a cross-sectoral approach for biological diversity, and to follow the implementation of the programme. The programme will also identify the needs for research and capacity-building both at the national and international level.

In June 1996, the Finnish Government adopted a decision-in-principle on the protection of old-growth forests in Finland. The aim is to preserve these areas in their natural state as conservation areas in accordance with the new Nature Conservation Act.

In line with the decision-in-principle of 1995, the Academy of Finland has prepared a multidisciplinary biodiversity research programme (1997-2003). Finland emphasizes the need for multidisciplinary knowledge for the conservation and management of ecosystems and the development of data on the impacts of natural resources use and on indicators for biological diversity conservation and the economic value of natural resources. Information material and handbooks on nature conservation plans and programmes for biodiversity needs have been made for forestry and agriculture practices.

The Nature Research Unit under the Finnish Environmental Institute has coordinated the National Biodiversity Research Programme (LUMO) 1991-1996. The pool of scientists working in the field of biodiversity consists of approximately 500 persons. The taxonomical work concerning flora and fauna is carried out by the natural historical museums within the universities. In addition, the national forest inventories include data related to biodiversity. The data have been developed systematically in the 1990s. During 1993-1996, everyone working in the agriculture and forestry sectors received training and education on the maintenance and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing

During the past ten years, over FIM 1 billion (appr. US$ 250 million) has been allocated for the acquisition of nature conservation areas and for compensation paid to the landowners. In addition, state-owned property has been used to exchange land in the acquisition of protected areas. Since 1996, the EU Committee on the Conservation of Nature has appropriated FIM 15.7 million, and in the year 1997, FIM 30 million was allocated from the EU LIFE fund to Finland for nature conservation purposes. The fund budget for 1997 amounts to 800 - 840 million, of which 50% will be allocated for protection projects complying with the environmental policy adopted by the EU.

Cooperation

Finland participates in the biodiversity projects of the EU/European Environment Agency; UNEP; the Council of Europe; and the Nordic Council of Ministers, and cooperates with the European Connect Network of Nature Conservation Research Unit, the Environmental Data Centre of the EU, the European Endangered Species Programme and the Species Specific Programme, as well as with the Arctic Environmental Protection Plan (CAFF). Finland also supports GEF, UNEP and international NGOs, for example the IUCN. There is also an active Finnish-Baltic cooperation as well as cooperation with Russia to inventory valuable nature areas and to plan a network of protected areas (e.g. Green Belt). Finnish bilateral development programmes directly or indirectly try to preserve the biological diversity in the target countries. Finlands proposal for the nature conservation area network, called for by the EU directives on nature conservation, is due to be ready in 1997 (see 1 and 5 above).

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on biodiversity loss, click here.
For the Finnish Environment Institute of Nature and Land Use, click here.
For the Nature Protection Law and Natura 2000 (EU Network of Protected Areas), click here.
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here.
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Finland signed the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa in 1994 and ratified it in 1995.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

There are no deserts or areas in danger of desertification in Finland.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans    

According to the Council of States Report on Energy Policy (1997), the goal is to bring the growth of total energy consumption to a halt in the next 10 to 15 years. By 2005, through the effect of the Energy conservation programme, total consumption of primary energy is expected to decrease by 3 Mtoe and electricity consumption by more than 5 TWh. Finland's National Waste Plan until 2005 sets targets for the reduction of the amounts and harmful properties of waste and for waste recovery. The plan has a strong emphasis on the life-cycle of products, thus taking into account the energy and material input-side of production.

With respect to increasing energy and material efficiency in production processes, the Eco-efficiency Committee set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry released its report in April 1998. On the whole the Finnish working group welcomed the initiatives related to ecoefficiency as a promising new approach. The most recent Energy Policy was sent to Parliament in June 1997. One of the major aims is to reduce the volume of environmentally harmful emissions. The main objectives of the policy include, e.g.:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

The international conventions signed by Finland call for considerable decreases in various emissions into the air by the energy industry during the 1990s. In the International Sulphur Protocol signed in 1985, Finland committed itself to reducing its sulphur emissions by 30% from the 1980 level (584,000 tonnes) by 1993. By 1992, emissions had already been reduced by over 70%. This was achieved by changes in the structure of energy production, the reduced use of heavy fuel oil, the fall in the sulphur content of fuels together with improvements in process technology.

In addition, in 1991, the Government decided to draw up a ten-year programme aimed at reducing sulphur emissions by 80% from the 1980 level. Finland committed itself to the same goal by signing the second sulphur protocol in Oslo in 1994. The target was achieved in 1994, and a further reduction was recorded in 1995.

As regards nitrogen oxides, Finland committed itself under the Sofia Protocol, signed in 1988, to stabilize emissions to the 1987 level (288,000 tonnes) by the year 1994. Finland also stated that it would cut emissions of nitrogen oxides by 30% from the 1980 level by 1998. By 1995, the nitrogen oxide emissions from energy production had fallen by 26% from 1980, even though energy consumption had at the same time increased 46%. However, the emissions caused by traffic increased constantly until 1991, and started to decrease only after that.

The main focus in the development of environmental taxes has been placed upon the imposition of energy taxes. The structure of energy taxation in Finland was changed quite considerably effective 1 January 1997. In this connection a tax on electricity was introduced. The environment-related carbon/energy tax imposed on fossil fuels (see annex) was repealed. The repealed tax did not differentiate between uses (electricity or heat production), nor between users (households, industry etc.). The new tax is different.

First, electricity is now taxed at the consumption (or distribution) level instead of taxing the fuels. Secondly, electricity tax for industry (mining, manufacturing) and for greenhouse cultivation is only 54% of the rate for other users (households, services, agric. etc.). Thirdly, the environment-related tax component of heat and traffic fuels is now based only on the carbon content of the fuel, instead of the combination of carbon/energy. This carbon rate is at present FIM 70 per ton of CO2 (FIM 260 per ton of carbon).

Tax rates were (mainly) raised and the state income tax was cut accordingly. New tax levels are such that in total FIM 900 million (+VAT FIM 200 million) more will be collected in 1997 compared to 1996. Households will bear more than 60% of this incremental burden. Taxation of manufacturing remained practically unchanged, as did also taxation of traffic fuels. Estimated total revenues in 1997 from the excises on energy products amount to FIM 14 100 million.

The excise tax rates as from 1.1.1997 in Finland are as follows:

1 FIM= ca. $ 0.20
Fuel Basic tax
Mk=FIM
Additional tax
(*=carbon comp.)
Unleaded petrol 2.969 Mk/litre *0.164 Mk/litre
Leaded petrol 3.419 Mk/litre *0.164 Mk/litre
Diesel oil 1.599 Mk/litre *0.186 Mk/litre
Light fuel oil (EXCL.EL.) 0.104 Mk/litre *0.186 Mk/litre
Heavy fuel oil (EXCL.EL.) - *0.221 Mk/kg
Coal (EXCL.EL.) - *169 Mk/tonne
Peat (EXCL.EL.) - *4.2 Mk/MWh
Natural gas (EXCL.EL.) - *0.142 Mk/nm3
Electricity
rate I (househ.,serv.) - 31 Mk/MWh
rate II (min.,manuf.) - 16.75 Mk/MWh
Pine oil 0.221 Mk/kg

____________________
Notes: Basic tax 0.05 mk/l lower for reformulated petrol and 0.15 mk/l lower for sulphur-free diesel; leaded petrol has in fact disappeared from the market; carbon component for peat: reduced rate; for natural gas, only 50% of the rate indicated above is applied in (1995-) 1997. Additional precautionary stock fees are imposed on fuels listed except peat, and on electricity.

Industry has also undertaken a number of energy conservation initiatives:

In the 1980s, the CO2 emissions decreased significantly in Finland due to the increased use of nuclear power, bioenergy and natural gas, and due to the import of electricity. In the 1990s, the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels showed a significant increase again. According to the estimates, the carbon dioxide emissions will grow about 70 million tonnes by the year 2010. In the comparision year, 1990, the corresponding projection figure should have been 60 million tonnes.

Finland has a cold climate with corresponding heating needs. The considerable energy-intensive industry is largely based on forests, which cover more than two-thirds of the country. Nuclear and hydro power is used for 50-60% of the electricity generation. Biomass utilization, constituting 15% of the energy balance, is the highest among the OECD countries, and non-fossil fuels in total represent about 35% of the energy balance.

Finland has successfully introduced energy efficient technologies such as district heating, which cover 45% of the heat supply, and combined heat and power (CHP), which currently supplies 30% of the electricity. Finland was the first country to apply a CO2 tax, currently equivalent to about US$ 8.50 per tonne of CO2.

Due to its natural resources base, Finland's industrial production is based on energy-intensive heavy industry. The consumption of energy is nevertheless efficient by international standards. Environmental protection standards in heavy industry stand up well to international comparison both with respect to efficiency in use of raw materials and to reductions in emissions. Water and air pollution have been reduced substantially both by improvements in processing techniques as well as by cleaning emissions.

Of the total emissions in Finland, traffic accounts for 25% of the carbon dioxide, 60% of the nitrogen oxides, 50% of the hydrocarbon, 75% of the carbon monoxide, and 5% of the sulphur dioxide. The upper limits on the emissions from vehicles have been made considerably stricter in the 1990s in order to reduce the pollution caused by road traffic. However, car emissions are controlled more extensively in Finland than in any other EU country by statutory annual car tests. Thanks to the improvements in fuels, carbon monoxide emissions seldom exceed the limits.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

In order to develop safe technologies, the Ministry of Trade and the Environment has launched eleven new energy technology development programmes for 1993-1998. The programmes focus on non-nuclear energy options, renewable energy sources, energy conservation, greater industrial efficiency and ways of reducing harmful environmental effects of the energy economy.

The 21 December 1995 Government Decision on the Implementation of Energy Conservation is based on the assumption of the Government that energy conservation cannot be built on with increased public financial support. There is a need to focus public finance on developing and marketing new technologies. One of the targets for technology development is to increase exports. The objective of the 1995 programme is to have total consumption in the year 2010 be 10-20% lower than it would be without a policy change. The objectives are to diminish specific energy consumption by reducing the amount of energy used in the production of goods and provision of services and to stop the growth of primary energy consumption in 10 to 20 years. The 1995 Decision followed the 1992 Council of State Programme on Energy Conservation. By 2005, through the effect of the programme, total consumption of primary energy is expected to decrease by 3 Mtoe and electricity consumption by more than 5 TWh.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the fifth, sixth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998.

For Finland's Ministry of Trade and Industry/Energy Department, click here.
For the Energy Conservation Service Center, MOTIVA, click here.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Department of Forestry within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is primarily responsible for forest policy and legislation concerning forestry in Finland. Other ministries and institutions actively involved in forestry matters are the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Forestry Centres, the Forestry Development Centre Tapio, the Forest and Park Service, the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Forest Management Associations and the Finnish Environment Institute.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Finnish forest legislation has been completely reformed during the 1990's. The broadened concept of sustainable forest management was the starting point of the reforms and enhancing biodiversity is the key concept. Forest legislation now focuses on promoting the economic, social, ecological and cultural aspects of sustainable forestry. Luckily, most of the practical instructions and recommendations had already changed prior to new forest legislation. Therefore, putting the new legislation into practice has been a relatively smooth process.

The new forest legislation includes:

  1. The Forest Act and the Nature Conservation Act (both in 1997) as examples of the development of the regulatory framework;
  2. The Act on Forestry Centres and Forestry Development Centre (1996) and the Forest and Park Service Act (1994) were both finalised and approved after UNCED as examples of the development of the institutional framework;
  3. The Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry (1997) represents the development of financial instruments;
  4. the Act on Forest Management Associations (1999);
  5. Forest certification; and
  6. A huge number of tasks all the way from research projects to the practical modes of work in forests themselves has been carried out in order to develop the informational means.(1)

The Finnish forest legislation sets the minimum quality requirements for silviculture. There are forest management recommendations for private forests which help the forest owner in the management and utilisation of her forest. Forest and environment authorities and various organisations in co-operation create the environmental recommendations for forestry. The goal of these recommendations is a silvicultural practice which optimises the living conditions for organisms in managed forests and minimises the negative environmental impacts caused by forestry. The silvicultural recommendations deal i.e. with the recommendable tree species for various types of sites, the appropriate time for thinning a tree stand and how much timber can be removed.

The purpose of the new Forest Act is to secure the production of timber, maintain the biological diversity of the forest nature and to take into account the multiple use of forests. As in earlier forest legislation, the main obligations placed on the forest owner is to leave a sufficient number of trees with satisfactory growth potential in thinnings and to establish new seedling stands after regeneration, fellings (i.e. final harvesting). The forest owner has to make an official declaration of intent to the Regional Forest Centre prior to all commercial cuttings. This declaration is a legal tool for supervision, also with regard to securing biodiversity.

A key element of the Forest Act with regard to safeguarding biodiversity, is its definition of certain habitats of special importance and its presentation of giving guidelines as to how these habitats may be managed. The Act lists seven habitat groups where rare and endangered species may occur. Sites covered by the Act include, for example, small water bodies and the forest stands adjacent to them, small swamps, patches of herb-rich forest, small mineral land islets surrounded by mires in a natural state and forests adjacent cliffs. If such a site is small and in a natural state or resemble a natural state and is clearly distinguishable from their surroundings, the management and utilisation measures applied shall be carried out in a manner that preserves the special features of the habitats. Where this restriction causes significant reductions in forest yield or other notable financial losses for the forest owner, he can receive partial or total compensation, or he can get a special permit to manage his forest with minimised losses. Three rare forest habitats are also listed and protected under the new Nature Conservation Act.

In April 1997, the working group on forest certification involving all the major stakeholders agreed upon a proposal for a standard for sustainable forest management and its implementation in Finland. The aim was to create a national standard compatible with the mutually supporting international forest management certification systems (e.g. FSC) and the environmental management systems of the ISO and the EU (EMS and EMAS). The aim is still valid and no commitment to one single system has been made. Finland is, also, expected to seek endorsement for its certified forests under Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC), which aim is to establish an internationally credible forest certification framework for forest certification schemes and initiatives in European countries, which will facilitate mutual recognition of schemes. Finland has also participated in Nordic forest certification development work. However, this work has not attracted very much attention as the country's national scheme has progressed.

During the second half of 1997, the certification criteria were tested in three pilot regions. The exercise showed that the proposal at large was functional and proved the feasibility of group certification in Finnish smallholder forests. It also revealed a number of technical, organisational and economic problems addressed before forest certification could become applicable in Finland. These difficulties were dealt under the Finish forest certification project launched in March 1998. The objective of the project was to build up the necessary capacity for large-scale certification in Finland to be started. Four working groups (certification criteria, group certification, chain-of-custody, and external auditing) were established to further develop the different aspects of certification. After the work of Finnish forest certification project was successfully finalised a, project to launched, early 1999, to actually launch the certification of Finnish forests. The work has been carried out in Finland in such a way, that the first forest areas will receive certificates in the autumn 1999. In early 1999 a permanent Forest certification council was established in order to promote forest certification in Finland.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Forest and Park Service has a three-stage planning system which applies participatory planning at all levels:

(i) The strategic planning process, which concentrates, on the land-use is called Regional Natural Resources Planning (RNRP). Target area of one RNRP is 500 000 - 2 mill. ha. In addition to the land-use target region's cutting budget is determined in this process. In this process the land-use of some areas is beyond the decision-making of FPS (e.g. the national parks) while other areas can be reserved for some special purpose. In most cases of land-use changes the primary land-use of an area changes from forestry to other purposes, e.g. recreation or nature protection. These changes (=investments to other aspects of sustainability) reduce the cutting budget and respectively the income of FPS currently by 10 mill. FIM/a. This will probably increase as planning process is finished in the remaining regions.

(ii) The tactic planning process is called Land-Scape Ecological Planning (LSEP). The aim of this process is to maintain (and enhance) target areas biodiversity and other non-market values (e.g. scenery, game, historic remnants) in forestry operations. The target area on one LSEP is 20 000 - 100 000 ha. Important areas from biodiversity point of view are identified and set aside as ecological corridors, "stepping stones", biodiversity enhancement areas, game areas (e.g. capercaillie leks), habitats of threatened species, scenic areas, etc. In addition targets are set for old-growth forests, broad- leaved trees and restoration activities. All these special areas diminish logging possibilities. The annual reduction of land- scape ecological plans in logging activities equals 75 mill. FIM in the state lands.

(iii) Operational planning is the final stage in the planning hierarchy. The logging area is studied and areas, which should be left untouched, are marked prior to any operations. These areas include riparian zones, transition zones, wet depressions, small peatlands and other areas important from the biodiversity aspect. These areas are spared in the logging operations and retention trees are left for wood-inhabiting species. The market value of retention trees and trees left in the spared habitats is 30 mill. FIM/a. Thus the annual investment (shadow price, alternative cost) in non-market environmental utility in the state forests is 115 mill. FIM.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

In 1996 a national Forest Certification Committee was appointed to determine Finland's role and objectives in the global development of forest certification. The committee consisted of Finland's leading environmental NGOs, the World Wide Fund for Nature Finland and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, together with the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) and the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. The committee recommended that Finland should base its certification on national standard based on the possibility of group In 1996 a national Forest Certification Committee was appointed to determine Finland's role and objectives in the global development of forest certification. The committee consisted of Finland's leading environmental NGOs, the World Wide Fund for Nature Finland and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, together with the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) and the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. The committee recommended that Finland should base its certification on national standard based on the possibility of group certification. The creation of certification standard and the choice of certification system were agreed to belong to the major stakeholders in certification, hence not involving the government.

Major stakeholder groups in forestry include the private forest owners, forest industry, environmental non-governmental organisations, local communities and indigenous people.

In general it has been agreed that the stakeholder groups of a certification system have the main responsibility of its development and maintenance . The role of Finnish government is enabling and encouraging, for example by participating in the definition of the requirements set for a system when necessary. The process of certification is observed by different sector ministries and local authorities carry out part of the data collection required by the certification

Although the work is open to all interested stakeholder groups, five major environmental NGOs - the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, WWF Finland, Bird Life Finland, Nature and the Environment, and the Nature League - have chosen to continue the work under formal FSC process. However, effort to create mutual recognition between these two similar initiatives is continuously being made.

After UNCSD there has not been major reforms in the legal base of the right of an individuals or forest owners to the use or possess of forest lands. The right to land - also regarding forests - is secured by the constitution. In the sparsely populated Nordic countries everyone’s right has evolved over the centuries from a largely unwritten code of practice to become a fundamental legal right. The age-old concept of everyone’s right gives everyone the basic right to roam freely in the countryside, without needing to obtain permission, no matter who owns or occupies the land. Everyone’s right does not, however, cover activities which damage the environment or disturb others.

Participatory approach is used in all forest management of state forests under FPS (25% of the forest land). Working groups representing various interests and consisting of governmental and non-governmental organisations take part in the planning process and in the decision-making. In addition public hearings are arranged for the people living in the vicinity of the areas. This is done to ensure the rights satisfy the needs and fulfil the objectives of the people, the primary owners of the state forests.

The 7000 Finnish Saami, the majority of whom settle the traditional areas in northernmost Finland, form, together with the Swedish Saami, the only indigenous group within the area of the EU. The finnish law does not safeguard the exlusive rights of the indigenous Saami to their culture and traditional livelihoods such as reindeer herding in the Saami Home Territory.

However, according to the provisions in the Act on the Saami Parliament, the Finnish authorities have the obligation to negotiate with the Saami Parliament in all important matters affecting the Saami culture and the status of the Saami as an indigenous people in the Saami Home territory. Such matters are, for instance, forestry, wilderness areas and nature protection areas. The material basis of Saami culture consists of traditional livelihoods such as reindeer herding, fishing and hunting.

A Saami programme for sustainable development was drawn up by the Saami Parliament in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment. In the summer of 1999, a study on Saami land tenure rights was carried out. The right of ownership of the historical Saami land was left outside the study. In the study report, in October 1999, the special rapporteur proposed a Saami Land Rights= Council to be established in connection with the Saami Parliament, with representatives of this Parliament and the local communities. The government would still hold the land-owning right. The Land Rights Council would then control and enforce the rights of the Saami and other local people in matters related to the use of lands and waters within the Saami Home territory. The Council would also manage and rule the Land Rights Fund, which would obtain its funding from the monetary inflow for the use of so-called state-owned land. The purpose of the above-mentioned study is to provide the Finnish government with necessary minimum standards for national legislation to make it possible to ratify ILO Convention 169/89.

Programmes and Projects   

In addition to the new obligation to safeguard biodiversity, the Forest Act also introduces a new instrument for enhancing sustainable forest management, the regional target programmes for forestry. The Forestry Centres (13) are responsible for drawing up these programmes in co-operation with environmental authorities, forestry organisations and other relevant parties. The programmes contain an overall description of forests and forestry and of the needs and objectives for development. In addition they contain a description of biological diversity of forests, needs for wood production, description of forestry enterprises and recommendations for promoting employment opportunities created by forestry. An assessment of the economic, ecological and social impacts of the implementation of the Regional Target Programme is also included in every programme. The Regional Forestry Target Programmes will be revised when necessary.

Finland has in its national forest policy sought long term solutions, the most important programme being Finland's National Forest Programme 2010. The National Forest Programme was approved by the Government in March 1999. This programme meets both international and national demands of sustainable development strategy. It recognises the economic, ecological, social, and cultural aspects of the sustainable forest management. In substance the National Forest Programme is more extensive than any similar programme Finland has had before. The programme's aims are directed towards securing employment and income based on forestry, assuring the diversity and health of forests and finally, allowing people the special kind of recreation and leisure that only the forests can offer. The basic idea behind the programme is that a competitive forest cluster combined with the fact that forests are a renewable resource makes an excellent foundation for sustainable development.

The basic idea behind the new National Forest Programme 2010 is that a competitive forest cluster combined with the fact that forests are a renewable resource make an excellent foundation for sustainable development. The aim is to increase the forest industry's annual use of domestic round wood by 5-10 million cubic metres by the year 2010. In collaboration with forest product companies and entrepreneurs, the Government will ensure good and competitive conditions for the forest product industry; such as competitive energy prices, an adequate road network and technology and development programmes for the wood product industry and for the use of wood energy replacing non-renewable energy sources. The increase of the use of wood energy is one of the main targets in the national forest programme.

According to the Forest Act each forestry centre (13) has drawn up a Regional Forestry Target Programme for its area. The forestry centres have co-operated with the parties representing forestry in the area and with other relevant parties. The Environmental Programme for Forestry (1994) and the regional forestry target programmes prepared by the Forestry Centres were utilised in the preparation of the programme. The programme was prepared as an open process where different stakeholders were able participate. The programme was discussed in public forums with almost 3000 participants and the public was able to influence the preparatory work via the Internet.

Finland's National Forest Programme (NFP) is an on-going process. The National Forest Programme is implemented along the lines of the Regional Forestry Target Programmes, which integrates the regional objectives to the national ones. The implementation and follow-up of the National Forest Programme is carried out in the same spirit of public participation and co-operation as when the programme was made. To implement and follow the NFP a Forest Committee lead by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry is established in which various ministries, business interests, associations, NGOs and expert organisations are represented. There are work groups dealing with international forest policy, conservation of forests in southern Finland and summer harvesting. The environmental impact assessment was commissioned from an independent group of experts. In addition to the ad-hoc work groups, the Forum for Innovation will work in close connection with the Forest Committee.

Status

Forest land covers 60% of Finland's total land area. Private citizens own 62% of forest land, while companies own 9% and the State 25%. There are more than 440,000 private forest owners and when counting the family members, about one million Finns can be estimated to be forest owners either directly or indirectly. This follows that the private forest owners play an important role in the sustainable management of Finland's forests.

Forests and forestry have been the backbone of Finland's economy for decades and most of the Finns are even nowadays in a daily contact with forests and forestry. Finland and the Finns have been addressing seriously sustainable forest management over generations. Practical forest management work and the national forest policy in Finland have been increasingly influenced by international forest policies and globalization of the forest sector.

The forests are of vital importance in terms of promoting the welfare of Finland as a whole and its countryside in particular. In the present situation the poor employment situation and the depopulation of rural areas are of concern. Forestry is seen as a possibility to slow down the decrease in rural employment by helping to create new occupation for instance in value-added wood processing and wood energy production. Multiple use entrepreneurship - picking and processing natural products, tourism and various forms of recreational services - provide new opportunities for expanding and diversifying business activities.

Forests give extra income for farmers and other private forest owners. The total gross income of selling wood from private forests is around 5-8 billion marks (0,9-1,4 billion US$) yearly.

Forestry, being one of the most important sectors in Finland, covered 8 percent of the GDP. In 1997, the value of forest industry exports totalled FIM 63.1 billion (US$13.8 billion), and they accounted for 30 per cent of total exports, an increase of 14 percent over the previous year.

Forest cluster is a group of companies that relate to developing, manufacturing, marketing and using forestry-promoting services. A cluster enterprise offers expert services, makes forestry related machines, produces chemicals, or offers services related to forestry work or transportation.

The public access to private forests provides an opportunity for everybody to use non-wood products of forests and provides income to some in terms of selling berries and mushroom.

This follows that Finland's forests and soil are substantial carbon dioxide reservoir and sink and contribute to mitigating the climate change. The total organic carbon stock in Finland is estimated to range between 8 000-10 000 million tons of which the share of forest growing stock is estimated at about 700 million tons and of mineral soils and peat in mires at about 5600-7000 million tons.

Forest and Park Service manages state owned land and water area of 12 mill. ha.3.3 mill ha of the total area is underproduction forestry. The remaining areas Consist of statutory protected areas (e.g. the most of Finland's national parks), wilderness areas, poorly productive lands, non-productive lands and other special areas. The state lands are generally located in the Northern and Eastern Finland on less productive soils. They represent one quarter of the total land area of Finland.

Some 90% of Finland's paper and board production are exported which follows that the possibilities to use recycled fibre are limited. However, some 60% of total Finnish paper and board consumption is collected for recycling. This is a good result internationally and an excellent one in a country that is sparsely inhabited.

The process on the development of criteria and indicators at the national level in Finland has brought together different interest groups and promoted the further definition of and the mutual understanding on the concept of sustainable forest management. Sustainable forest management is now widely understood to include several aspects of economic, environmental, social and cultural functions of forests in addition to the traditional sustained yield of timber practised for a long time. The new understanding on the content of sustainable forest management is reflected i.a. in the reformation of forest legislation, strategies, programmes, education and training schemes, guidelines and recommendations for forest management practices taken. Considerable changes can be seen also at the operational level in the forest as improved forest management practices.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

The Government started Time for Wood campaign in 1997. The campaign aims to increase the use of wood as building material, wood products and as a part of the Finnish culture. The objective of the campaign is to promote value-added wood processing and manufacturing, increase wood product export and create new jobs in the wood industry.

The implementation of the new forest policy has required a lot of information, education and extension services to the forest professionals foresters and forest owners.

Information

Several forest related organisations publish and give out different kind of publications, brochures and magazines: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry ( http://www.mmm.fi), Ministry of Environment ( http://www.vyh.fi), Forest and Park Service (http://www.metsa.fi), Forestry Development Centre Tapio ( http://www.metsalehti.fi/tapio), Finnish Forest Industries Federation ( http://www.forestindustries.fi), Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners ( http://www.mtk.fi) and Finnish Forest Museum and Forest Information Centre - Lusto ( http://www.lusto.fi). Each of the organisations has also a communication and information unit.

The Finnish Forest Association represents broadly forest-related organisations in Finland ( http://www.smy.fi). It gives information on Finnish forests, forestry and the forest industry both in Finland and abroad (http://www.forest.fi).

Several research and educational institutes specialised in forestry are good sources of data and information: Finnish Forest Research Institute ( http://www.metla.fi), The European Forest Institute ( http://www.efi.fi), The Forest Faculties at University of Helsinki ( http://honeybee.helsinki.fi) and Joensuu ( http://gis.joensuu.fi). Information for private forest owners is available in regional forestry centres ( http://www.metsakeskus.fi) and associations of private forest owners ( http://www.mhy.fi).

Updated information of Finnish certification can be found at: http://www.smy.fi/certification

The process to develop national criteria and indicators for Finland started in spring 1994. The process was formalised when the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched a national project on criteria and indicators in April 1995. The objective of the project was to develop national, regional (sub-national) and local level criteria and indicators in view of their potential application in strategic planning and forest certification. Representatives from research institutes, ministries and other agencies of administration, forests industries, private forest owners, universities and environmental NGOs were invited to participate in the working groups. The exercise was carried out in a transparent and open-ended manner with a high degree of active participation by various interested parties. The report on national criteria and indicators was published in 1997.

Originally the use of indicators mainly for international reporting was very much emphasised when the pan-European criteria and indicators were developed, which has been also a major use of criteria and indicators in Finland. In the national level the criteria and indicator work, points out data needs, where efforts to measure sustainable development should be made. The six Pan-European criteria were adopted as such. Only the Criterion 6 was slightly modified to read "Maintenance of other socio-economic and cultural functions and conditions". All the Pan-European quantitative indicators were adapted but they were further developed to characterise the specific conditions in Finland and were complemented with, in particular, indicators concerning biological diversity and socio-economic functions of forests. The pan-European descriptive (legal/regulatory framework, institutional framework, financial instruments and informational means) indicators were used for identifying the national descriptive indicators. c)

The Finland's national criteria and indicators were tested as policy tools at the national level and as a planning tool at sub-national and local levels in 1996. In order to realise the experiences gained, a new formal process to improve the developed national criteria and indicators was launched by the government in 1998. In 1998 the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry appointed a working group representing ministries and other government agencies, private forest owners, forests industries, forest workers, environmental NGOs, research institutes and universities.

The tasks of the working group include: e.g.

The deadline for the working group to produce results is in the spring of 2000.

To be useful and efficient in the assessment on the progress towards sustainable forest management the overall objectives expressed in criteria, should be translated to more clearly defined objectives, which can then further be developed to threshold or target levels for the indicators. In the first national set of criteria and indicators in Finland the progress towards sustainable forest management can be followed mainly on qualitative terms. In the second set of criteria and indicators the some measurable targets, hence performance standards, will be established, e.g., through national forest strategies or programmes or other relevant policy framework.

The National forest inventories that have been carried out since 1921 are the basis for the monitoring of the forest related data. The 8th national forest inventory was carried out in 1987-94. The multi-source inventory methods combine data from field measurement, air-borne data and other space-borne data as well as digital map data. During the inventory 70 000 sample plots were measured and 3 000 permanent sample plots were used. The 9th National forest inventory covers the years 1996-2000. In spite of the 12.8% reduction in forested area in 1944, Finland's forest resources are currently more plentiful in volume than ever. According to the combined results of the 8th and 9th inventory, the total growing stock volume was 1 908 mill. m3 and the annual increment 77.6 mill. m3. In recent years, the annual volume increment has exceeded drain by almost 20 mill. m3.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing

The Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry guarantees State subsidies for management activities/operations in private forests which in themselves would not be profitable for the landowner. State financing is available for forest regeneration in specific cases, e.g. the afforestation of agricultural land, and for prescribed burning, tending of young stands, harvesting of energy wood, forest fertilisation in some specific cases, (remedial) improvement ditching and forest road construction.

The management of especially valuable habitats may receive governmental funding, if the forest operation involved becomes more expensive than normally. The state can also finance planning and implementation of forest ecosystem management projects on privately owned land, e.g.

Forest owners can be provided with financial support for the maintenance of biological diversity in their forests. As a financial support for the maintenance of biological diversity in forests the state can give environmental aid. The forest owner can be provided with partial or total financial support for the economical losses caused by maintaining of biological diversity especially the special importance habitats. However the forest owner must bear the insignificant financial losses. The level of insignificant losses is 4 % of the production value.

The social benefits for the society are not covered by any state subsidies. The Everyone's right guarantees the access to forests for all citizens and the forest owner do not have the right to charge any fees or get any state aid for this.

Cooperation

On the European level Finland has been active in the series of Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe and has committed itself to its Resolutions. The first Ministerial Conference was organised in Strasbourg 1990 and the second in Helsinki in 1993. In the follow-up process to the second Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe a set of Pan-European criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management were developed in 1994. Finland also fully supports the follow-up work of the third Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe held in Lisbon and the preparatory work for the fourth Conference in Vienna.

Finland has implemented the process that begun at the UNCED by participating actively to the process of Pan European Ministerial Conferences, which is developing criteria and indicators for sustainable forestry, and by revising the main forest legislation and the primary regulations on forestry methods to correspond to international recommendations.

During the present decade, one of the major starting points for the new objectives in Finland's forest policy has been international agreements and political commitments. Particularly important are those agreed upon in the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro, in the subsequent follow-up process (IPF and IFF) and in the Ministerial Conferences for the Protection of Forests in Europe, including the follow-up of these conferences, too. The outcome of the international co-operation within processes has been adapted to Finland's circumstances in the new forest policy, legislation and management guidelines. Simultaneously, results from forest and environmental research have, of course, been used for redirecting forest policy.

Finland has been actively participating in the IPF process both in Finland and during the IPF sessions. A dominating feature has been a broad participation where all walks of life of the Finnish society have been present and contributing to the process. As a part of six-country initiative Finland finalised the assessment of the IPF proposals in June 1998 in a participatory manner where representatives from relevant sector authorities and other organisation were invited by the facilitator, Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (2. a and b) In addition to national measures, many IPF proposals for action are significant to Finland in terms of international forest-related co-operation.

In practical terms related to the key areas of the IPF process, Finland has: (i) finalised her national forest programme in spring 1999, (ii) continued national forest inventories and collects additional information in order to fulfil the latest needs of the Finnish society e.g. related to biological diversity and forest health, and (iii) kept continuously developing her national criteria and indicators towards operational tools for the follow up of the implementation on national forest policy. These key areas will be discussed in more detail further on in this chapter.

Regarding to IPF processes recognising and evaluating of the traditional forest related knowledge in Finland is at an early stage and could be paid more attention. This might be due to the great economical importance of forests. Timber being the main product, traditional forest related knowledge is being neglected. In addition to the economic importance of forests Finland has got a relatively rare concept of Everyone’s rights. Everyone's right of access, based both on ancient traditions and partly even on written law, gives everyone the right to move freely outdoors on foot, on skis, by bicycle or on horseback. It is also allowed to pick berries and mushrooms on somebody else's land. Everyone's right of access applies to Finns and to other nationalities alike.

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 2000.

For Finland's Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture, click here.
For information on Forest Finland, click here.
For the Finnish Forest Research Intitute, click here.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Responsibility for coordinating water resource management and development is divided among the following four ministries: the Ministry of the Environment (water protection, environmental protection and nature protection); the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (water resource management); the Ministry of Trade and Industry (hydropower, industrial water use); and the

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (drinking water). Water resource management is also coordinated at the regional level, through 13 regional environment centres. There are three regional water courts which act as permitting bodies. The Association of Finnish Local Authorities participates in decision-making in this area as well.

The Finnish Ministry of the Environment is preparing long-term goals for the protection of waters for the year 2005. The goal setting is based on water use requirements and on safeguarding the functioning of ecosystems. The goals presume the use of best technology or water protection practices. According to the National Water Protection Programme, the load from major pollution sources such as industry, agriculture and communities, will be considerably reduced during the programme period. The implementation of the first EU-based programme for reducing nutrition loads from agriculture run from 1995 to 1999.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Legislation requires that all major stakeholders have a chance to participate in the decision making process. Decision making procedures are made as transparent as possible. For example, committees with representation from various stakeholders and interest groups are often set up for preparing environmental policies and strategies.

Relevant legislation and the regulatory framework for this area include the following:

-- Water Act (1961, last revision 1996): agriculture, industry, households

-- Act on Environmental Administration (1995)

-- Act on Public Water and Sewage Plants (1977, rev. 1994): households, industry

Use of freshwater by agriculture is covered by the Water Act. Both use by industry and by households are covered by the Water Act and the Act on Public Water and Sewage Plants.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Conflicts among decision-makers are largely prevented through transparent permitting procedures (e.g. public hearings), environmental impact assessment procedures and planning. If conflicts do arise, they are solved, if necessary, in the regional water courts.

One of Finlands priorities for freshwater resources is to cover all activities in society, in particular land use, agriculture and forestry, industry and energy generation, in such a manner as to introduce overall sustainable use of water resources. Water resources management plans will be developed in 1997 for the nitrogen sensitive water bodies that will be established according to an EU Directive.

Integration of land and water management and development is taken into account in land use and urban planning and in sectoral plans and programmes. There are regional and local plans for combatting flood situations. Due to the climatic conditions, specific disaster preparedness for droughts is not needed.

The Government does not implement a specific pricing policy. However, municipalities charge for the water supply and sewage water from households, farms and industry connected to public sewers. Municipalities act with a high degree of independence. The fees are to cover both investment and running costs. Approximately 100 per cent of water costs are recovered through pricing. For sparsely populated areas government subsidises main water supply and sewage pipelines. In some areas there are private water co-operatives and companies. Industry not connected to public sewers is fully responsible for the costs of water supply and sewage treatment as well as the harm caused to water area owners and other users.

To prevent pollution of freshwater supplies and to conserve freshwater, various measures are used, such as legislation, national water protection programmes, permits, supervision and application of the polluter pays approach.

There is a general objective to increase the share of population connected to public water supply and sewerage systems where it is practicable. If this is not feasible, water supply and sanitation are covered through local, site-specific means. Eighty-six percent of the Finnish population was served by public waterworks in 1994 and approximately 78 percent is connected to public sewerage systems. All urban waste water is treated, mainly through biological-chemical means. All industrial waste water is also treated. Water recycling is carried out to a high degree within industry. Finland follows the standards set by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the Finnish Standards Association (SFS).

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

In addition, the Environmental Programme for Forestry, the Environmental Programme for Rural Areas, and several major research projects promoting sustainable development as well as joint research projects concerning i.a. water conservation in agriculture and forestry have an impact on the quality of water resources. The state of water is under continuous monitoring so that the effects of water protection measures can be assessed.

Industry generated close to 900 million cubic meters of process and sanitary waste-water of which 700 million cubic meters were generated in the pulp and paper industry in 1994. Almost 80 per cent of the waste waters of pulp and paper industries are purified biologically, over 10 per cent chemically and 12 per cent by physical methods.

The Finnish Environment Institute is starting a new project called "National pattern of wateruse in Finland ". The project handles especially distribution of residential water usage.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

The quality of Finnish waste water treatment is very good. However, there is still need to improve biological and chemical (phosphorus removal) treatment of waste water. In the case of groundwaters there is need to improve neutralization as well as iron and manganese removal. For surface waters chemical flocculation, sand filtration and desinfection is being improved.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Education for the sustainable use of water resources has been increased as part of implementing the Environmental Programme for Forestry, and the Environmental Programme for Rural Areas. The main areas of environmental expertise of Finnish industry lie in waste-water treatment, vaporization and measuring techniques, and methods of raising the efficiency of the forest industry and combustion technology. Demand for environmental technology on export markets is expected to increase.

Finland has also carried out programmes and campaigns to educate the public about issues of water conservation and management. For example, the National Consumer Administration and the Martha organisation have together published a poster exhibition, the main items of which are Clean drinking water, the Quality of well water, Saving water and the Consequencies of human activies on the environment and the quality of water.

Information   

The Finnish Environment Institute maintains national monitoring networks which cover all main components of the hydrological cycle and several chemical analyses of water quality.

Municipalities take care, by and large, of the water supply and wastewater treatment of communities.

Data on water quality, quantity, ecological status, hydrological information, discharges, effluents, investments and running costs are collected by municipalities, regional environment centres, NGOs, the Finnish Environment Institute and Statistics Finland. The information is public and is distributed by the organizations that collect the information. Some of the indicators collected include the following: Annual withdrawals of ground and surface waters as a percent of available water are 2.27 (1994); domestic consumption of water (litres/capita/day) is 257 (1995); concentration of faecal coliforms in freshwater bodies is not regularly collected but is considered to be an insignificant proportion; BOD in water bodies is not measured in recipient waters in Finland, because the concentrations are lower than the measurement accuracy; wastewater treatment coverage is 93% (1995). All urban and industrial wastewater is treated. In sparsely populated areas there is site specific treatment for household waste water. The density of hydrological networks is one per 37 sq. Km (1997). There are approximately 460 surface water level stations and 320 water flow stations in Finland. On top of those there are e.g. 75 precipitation and snow water equivalent stations and 50 national groundwater stations (total area of Finland is 338 000 km2). Information is also available electronically through the internet, at http://info.vyh.fi/

Research and Technologies   

Research related to water management covers water ecosystems, environmental impact assessment, waste water treatment and regulation and restauration of water courses.

The main institutions where freshwater research is conducted are The Finnish Environment institute, Regional Environment Centres, Technology Development Centre (TEKES), Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), and various universities and other schools of higher education. Research is mainly funded by the state.

Financing   

The municipal wastewater and water supply investment costs are financed mainly by municipalities themselves, and operation and maintenance costs including capital costs are mainly covered by the users in compliance with the Polluter Pays Principle. Industry invested FIM 424 million (US$92 million) in water protection in 1994.

The current investment costs of public water and sanitation services are about 1800 Million FIM per year (ca. $ 340 million/year). The percentage of ODA allocated for water resource management and development is 5,1 percent (ca. $US 23 million, 1996).

Cooperation  

Finland is a member of the Convention on the Protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea area; the Convention on the protection and use of transboundary water courses and international lakes; bilateral Agreements with Sweden, Norway, Russia on Transboundary Waters; and a water protection agreement with Estonia. Finland and Russia have agreed on an action plan for water pollution control for their common transboundary watercourses. In the Finnish development cooperation, the water sector has always played an important role. Seven per cent of the total aid has been allocated to water projects.

Finland also reports on discharge data, use of water and status of waters to the European Union , the European Environment Agency (EEA), the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (also called Helsinki Commission HELCOM) and OECD.

* * * 

 

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 December 1997.

For national information on eutrophication, click here.
For the Finnish Environment Institute: Water Resources, click here.
For national information on groundwater, click here.
For national water monitoring,click here.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

On the national level, the Land Use Department of the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the legislation and guidelines for an integrated approach to spatial planning and the management of land resources. Therefore the Ministry has an important role in the national coordination system for sustainable development.

The planning system is very decentralized. The 452 Finnish municipalities, both rural and urban, have extensive rights to decide on the control and guidance of their own spatial planning and development. The municipal councils prepare and approve their own plans.

The 19 Finnish regional councils have a right to prepare and approve their own land use plans and create regional development strategies. Regional land use plans are ratified by the Ministry of the Environment. Particular attention is given to ensuring an appropriate regional and community structure, to preserving landscape values and ecological sustainability. Regional land use plans transfer national and regional land use guidelines into the local level plans.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

According to Section 14a of the Finnish Constitution, everyone has a right to a healthy environment.

According to the new Land Use and Building Act (1999) the municipal councils hold full responsibility; local plans are not subjected for approval by other tiers of administration. However, when local plans are being prepared, consultations with regard to national guidelines or otherwise broader issues have to be held with the regional environmental centres, which belong to the Government administration system and supervise environmental issues and are responsible for water resource management.

Conservation of nature and biodiversity

In 1996, the Nature Conservation Act of 1923 was replaced with the new Nature Conservation Act 1096/1996, which aims to conserve the nature and the protect the landscape, and the conservation of biodiversity. The main object of revision was 1) to implement the provisions of EU legislation by incorporating then into national legislation, 2) to provide for new tools for nature conservation such as the protection of biotopes, and 3) to provide for implementation of the nature conservation programmes.

The Nature Conservation Act provides the basic rules for the conservation of natural areas. The national network of nature conservation areas created and/or planned to be created under the nature conservation programmes covers reasonably well some important areas and habitats. Development of the present national park network dates from late 1970s. Alongside national parks, several types of protected areas can be established under the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act or Decree.

Under the Nature Conservation directives issued by the European Union, Member States are obliged to build a joint network of nature reserves and habitats called Natura 2000. The Council of State made its Decision in Principle in 1998 about the Finnish Natura 2000 proposal, which includes 439 SPA bird protection areas and 1325 SCI sites according to the Habitats Directive. Altogether these Natura 2000 sites cover about 12 percent of the total area of Finland. The major part of the proposed sites are either established protected areas or included in the nature conservation programmes.

Existing protected areas and additional Natura 2000 sites include samples of nearly all kind of lakes (freshwater resources) and mountain ecosystems in Finland.

Forestry

Forestry, being one of the major land use type in Finland, has also been affected by the concept of sustainable development. Finnish forest legislation has been completely reformed in the 1990s. The new Nature Conservation Act was also drawn up in close accordance with the Forest Act reform. All forest law now focuses on promoting sustainable forestry, including the economic, social and ecological aspects. A key element of the Forest Act (1997), with regard to safeguarding biodiversity, is defining certain habitats of special importance and giving guidelines as to how these habitats may be managed. The Act lists in all seven habitat groups where demanding and endangered species may occur. Sites covered by the Act include, for example, minor water bodies and forest stands adjacent to them, small swamp-woods, patches of herb-rich forest, and forests under cliffs. If such a site is small with virgin forest or practically virgin forest, the forest owner may not take any actions which might affect the site. Apart from the sites mentioned in the Forest Act the national legislation does not restrict the transfer of forest land to other uses.

Land ownership and tenure rights among private individuals, especially indigenous people

The land ownership or tenure rights are not restricted from the Finns. However, there is one exception: in the province of Åland (25 000 inhabitants) restrictions upon the right of owning and holding real estate have been imposed with a view to preserving land in the possession of the Ålanders. It is necessary to possess Åland regional citizenship in order to own and hold real estate in Åland. In individual cases the government of Åland may grant exemptions from the rule that only possessors of Åland citizenship may own real estate.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There are three levels in the land use planning system: the regional land use plan, the local master plan and the local detailed plan. Municipalities can prepare joint master plans. The Government can decide on national planning policy guidelines.

On the local level, the integration and management of spatial functions takes place in this planning process. Local plans shall, according to the Land Use and Building Act, promote a well-functioning community structure, good access to services, and the conservation and maintenance of the natural and cultural heritage.

The Ministry of the Environment prepares also non-binding national strategies such as for example the Finland 2017 Vision of the Spatial Structure and Land Use. Likewise, the National Environmental Policy Programme 2005 (MoE, 1995) includes measures aimed at ensuring environmentally sound land use, such as pilot projects, information dissemination, financial instruments and new forms of partnerships in planning and decision making. There are also special programmes on forests, shoreline management, national parks and nature reserves, cultural heritage etc. As a member state of the EU, Finland has created a Natura 2000 nature protection network. Another important European effort is the Action Plan for the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP). These programmes are implemented mainly by the spatial planning system.

Conflicting interests in the use of land for different functions are rather common. Mostly these conflicts, for example between development and nature protection, are solved in the planning process. An approved and binding land use plan, being democratically decided upon, is a genuine indication of the political will of the municipal council on how to develop their environment. According to this political decision, a land use plan can strongly effect the social and economical conditions of the planned area. If involved parties, which can be individual citizens, organisations or NGO’s, don’t accept the contents of a plan, they can appeal against it through an administrative court. In environmental issues there is a standardized procedure of negotiations about local plans between the municipality and the regional environmental centre which can request for an amendment and make an appeal to the administrative court.

Current priorities for the development of the land use planning system are the implementation of the new Land Use and Building Act (implemented in 2000)and the preparation of national spatial planning guidelines. Of equal importance is also a better integration of spatial planning and nature protection, promoting sustainable traffic modes in spatial planning as well as integrating land use planning and other, e.g. financial, tools of urban management. The new Act makes the planning system very open to public participation. The interactive approach brings all individuals and institutions whose living and working conditions will be affected by a plan to participate in the process from the very beginning.

The emphasis in Finnish urban planning is now on infill development, renovation as well as on parks and recreation areas. One of the important tasks of the planning system is the limitation of urban sprawl and the guidance of the increasing number of summer cottages built on shorelines. The two new Acts, the Nature Conservation Act and the Land Use and Building Act provide sufficient tools to handle these issues. Even though the urban sprawl and infrastructure building eats constantly the forest area in the surroundings of settlement areas, the annual change in the total forest area in Finland is very small. Reforestration in other parts of the country substitutes for the losses in the forest area in urban areas and roadbuilding.

Waste management has twofold impacts on land use planning and management in Finland. Firstly, areas for the waste management are allocated in close cooperation with the land use planning. Since the existence of the waste management legislation in 1970`s the founding of dumping sites has been dependent on permission. Creating a site was, however, often difficult as suitable land areas were not directed for waste management. In 1980`s the needs of waste management have been widely integrated into the land use management and such problems seldom exist any more.

At the same time with the integration of the needs of the waste management into the land use management, the standard of the waste management has risen to fill the high European standards. Important mile stones of this development have been the founding of the legislation on hazardous wastes (1984) as well as the profound renewal of the entire Waste Act in 1994. The nuclear waste from Finland`s nuclear power plants will be placed deep into the Finnish bedrock to avoid the contamination of the biosphere.

Secondly, since legislation on hazardous wastes was developed in the early 1980`s the contaminated land areas and old waste dumps have been investigated and should be restored by 2015. The problem of soil and water contamination in Finland is limited.

Sustainable development in land use

Sustainable development was incorporated as a general goal already in the former Building Act in the beginning of the 1990's. After that, the operationalisation of sustainable development in spatial planning has been on the political agenda. All spatial plans are assessed in terms of their impact on nature protection, water and waste management, and air protection, for example. A public participation and EIA plan has to be made at the beginning of all local and regional planning processes. The principles of ecological land use have also been concretizised through planning and architecture competitions and experimental development projects.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Public participation on the national level is secured by normal elections of the Parliament. On the local level, the democratically elected municipal council is the decision-maker on land use plans. However, there are a lot of strong NGO’s like trade unions, farmers unions, indigenous people’s organisations, women’s organisations etc. which are usually heard about land use planning issues. The Finnish administration system is rather transparent, and the active media keeps land use issues effectively in the public discussion. The Ministry of the Environment has also organized hearings and seminars on relevant topics. Occasions of this kind have recently been for example a public Urban Forum and a series of meetings on the new planning and building legislation.

The general trend during the 1990s has been to disseminate information more effectively and increase public participation. In 1990, the Building Act was amended so that consultation predominantly with landowners was shifted to broader consultation with the general public, and in 1994 regulations came into effect on environmental impact assessment in land use planning. The Building Act of 1990 defined the process of public participation in the local spatial plans to include public displays of the drafts and final plans, citizen’s rights for proposals and objections. The act also allows for public hearings. In recent years many local authorities have adopted more advanced forms of cooperative consultation based on genuine interaction between the authorities and the people, instead of the traditional 'public announcements'. Participation and openness is increased by public meetings and "planning stations" where alternative solutions are on display for discussion and comment. There are also experimental projects to integrate sectoral policies and to bring physical, social and economical planing closer to each other. In several experiments weaker groups such as children, disabled and elderly people are actively encouraged to participate in the planning and making of their environments.

In the new Land Use and Building Act (1999), people are given even better opportunities for participation than before, particularly in the early stages of planning. The Act calls for a special participation and assessment scheme to be drawn up when land use planning work begins. Participation is organised separately plan by plan in consultation with all interested parties. That means not only landowners, but also those whose living and working conditions and other circumstances the plan is likely to affect. Interested parties also include all authorities and organisations whose area of operations is touched by the plan. The Ministry of the Environment has published guidebooks on participation and interaction in planning for the general public as well as for the experts.

While participation procedures were being developed during the 1990s, special attention was given to the status of children as independent users of their environment, who can actively help to shape it. The idea is that the person who has taught to act and participate as a child will have the courage to influence his own life and environment as an adult. The environment also has to be planned so that it gives children the opportunity to broaden their horizons in line with their own development.

Participation is also crucial in assessing the environmental impacts of land use planning. Assessment is not a separate task, but an integral part of the whole planning process. The necessity for and extent of analysis is decided by different interest groups in cooperation and impacts are assessed at all stages of land use planning work. Preparing and comparing alternatives is an essential part of the assessment. Systematic assessment of environmental impacts has significantly altered the land use planning process and shifted the viewpoint from one centred planning structure of expert plannig towards empowering the actual user of the environment.

Local authorities are required to promote and supervise environmental protection. To ensure a sound environment, they plan local land use and regulate and supervise building and development. Local authorities conserve and maintain biological diversity through land use planning. Apart from reserving areas from conservation, measures for conservation and maintenance of biological diversity include consideration of important habitats in planning the location of urban development, preservation of land areas, conservation of landscapes and development of shore plans.

As general co-ordinators of local development and land use, local authorities play a central role with regard to nature conservation and sustainable development. Local authorities must take nature conservation and landscape protection of valuable habitats and sites into account in land planning and development programmes originating from the Nature Conservation Act (1096/96) and Building Act (132/99). The promotion of conservation of biological diversity connects naturally with the general strategies of local authorities.

Programmes and Projects   

Special plan see above.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges

The issue of the rights of Sami to the lands of Northern Lapland is still unresolved. The Finnish Government declared in 1990 that it was not able to ratify the 1989 ILO Convention Nr. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, because Finnish legislation did not fully acknowledge, inter alia, ‘the rights of ownership and possession over the lands which they traditionally occupy’. According to the Official Statement to Parliament of 11 November 1998 on the Government’s Human Rights Policy, the conditions for ratification are to be studied.

After having negotiated with the Sami Parliament, as provided in Section 9 of the Act on the Sami Parliament (974/1995), and with representatives of different ministries, the Ministry of Justice has appointed a rapporteur to investigate, by 30 September 1999, the usufruct in the State-owned land which is located in the Sami Homeland. The investigation is considered necessary because of differing evaluations presented over the years on the rights to land, water and natural resources, as well as to traditional natural sources of livelihood in the Sami Homeland. The assignment of the rapporteur is to investigate in particular: (1) how to guarantee the rights of the Sami to their own traditional natural sources of livelihood that are part of their culture in their Homeland, while taking into account the international conventions, (2) how to guarantee, at the same time, the rights of the local population to the traditional natural sources of livelihood according to the principle of equality, and (3) whether it is possible to find such a solution to the usufruct in the land as would ensure that there is no obstructing or disturbing action in these areas, without a weighty reason, against natural sources of livelihood. Removal of the obstacles for ratification of the ILO Convention also underlies the investigation.

During the investigation the rapporteur has to hear the Sami Parliament and an appropriate number of representatives of the local inhabitants. The aim is that the investigation by the rapporteur is independent from the one carried out by the Sami Parliament, as regards the rights to land, water and natural resources of the Sami people. A Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court who was appointed as the rapporteur has also been approved by the Sami Parliament.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information 

Land information systems, including GIS applications, are well developed in Finland. During the past few years, new indicators and systems for monitoring changes in the settlement structure in urban regions, including land use in urban centres and neighbourhoods, and the quality of built environment, have been developed. An expert group of the Ministry for the Environment has investigated the suitability of a preliminary set of indicators in a form of a pilot project in some Finnish municipalities. The final set of indicators, however, is not finished yet. In addition, indicators for municipal land use and management have been developed in the Finnish Association for Municipalities.

Finland is preparing Corine Land Cover database (mainly based on satellite image processing with register data), which is a part of a nearly whole Europe covering database project based on existing GIS data on land use. The database regarding Finland will be finished by the end of year 1999 and might get updated in year 2000. Corine Land Cover database being rather undefined (smallest unit 25 ha) Finland is also preparing a "Slices" -project creating a finer land use database (10m resolution). This cross administrational project will be finished within 2001. At the moment classification for the projects data (late 1980's to 1999) is in a development phase.

In general, information systems on land use are of good standard in Finland. The biggest gaps in the land information systems consist of the incomplete information on the real recreational areas and on the area and number of summerhouses in some parts of the country. The access to information is also on a good basis. In some data sources, however, the digitizing is still in progress or due to cost or copy wright reasons combinig different data has not been possible. For example, because of the cost and copy right reasons the Slices database will not include land cover data.

Monitoring system of community structure (MSCS). MSCS will be in use in hole environmental administration by the year 2000 (contains regional environmental centres). The possibility of enlarging the system to regional Councils is also under negotiations. MSCS system is based on a GIS user interface program and there has been developed an own Arc View extension for the use of this system. Monitoring system of community structure (MSCS) contains several spatially and temporally ( 1980,85,90,95, year 2000 next) comparable areas (different kinds of classifications) and it covers hole Finland. It is based on grid base data (250n x 250m). Some examples of the types of area covered by MSCS are:

- Densely built-up area ( minimum 200 inhabitants.)
- Main urban areas and their subclasses
- Mixed rural-urban zone
- Rural village
- Rural area
- Uninhabited area
- different kinds of accessibility areas from main centres( time and km)

Urban areas, for example, are also analysed using even more detailed categorisation relating to the type of land use taking place in the area. Distance zones used in the in the basic monitoring are:

1) distance from the CBD of city region and secondary
2) distance to the nearest sub-centre of the city region

The Finnish forest research Institute (METLA) undertakes profound inventories of the forest resources in Finland on a continual basis. These inventories also cover other main categories of land use (agriculture and build environment and transportation). The latest 9. inventory round of ten years begun in 1996. The forest inventories are made as field work as well as with the help of satellite image processing. Inventories go into the very detail, consisting of i.e. vegetation mapping to support the work providing statistics for the field of biodiversity. Besides of the national level information, information is also provided for the area of each single municipality. Besides these regular inventories, inventories on the health of the forests a well as the state of biodiversity is under investigation or has been investigated recently.

Statistical information on the information relevant to land use (e.g. vegetation cover, land capability and suitability at nation-wide scale, land area covered by human settlements and other physical infrastructures) is sufficient in order to make sound decisions on a sustainable use of land resources. Information is widely accessable for the public and can be obtained from the internet as well as/or in a form of paper publications. The regional forest centres, for example, organize public information meetings, when new information relevant to their area is published.

Information related to sustainable land use can be obtained i.e. from following web-sites (III 15.):

-Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:

-Finnish Forest Research Institute:

-Ministry for the Environment:

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Financial means are used protect for instance valuable nature areas against development pressures. The practice is that the state buys the land if the owner is not able to use it for reasonable economical purposes because of protection. The public sector can also give its own land in exchange with private owners.

The Act for Financing of Sustainable Forestry (1997) extends the public financing of forestry into the fields of maintenance of biodiversity in the forests and into forest nature care. The Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry guarantees State subsidies for management works in private forests which in themselves would not be profitable for the land owner. State financing is available, for instance, for slash burning, the reforestation of farming land, young stand management, cleaning drainage ditches and maintaining forest roads. The funding is graded, so that forest owners in northern Finland may receive more than forest owners in the south. Ecological management in conjunction with silvicultural work may also receive funding.

Cooperation  

Finland is active in international spatial planning cooperation. Land use planning and protection of land resources are taken into account in all relevant cooperation projects. In the nearby areas, i.e. North-western Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Finland supports training and finances projects mainly in regional planning, land and water resource management and environmental impact assessment (EIA). The adoption of the Action Plan of the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) took place during the Finnish Presidency of the EU. Other fora of cooperation are the Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010 (VASAB), the Sustainable Spatial Development Project of the Council of Europe, UN/ECE and HELCOM. The meeting of foreign ministers of the Council of Baltic States have adopted the Baltic 21 agenda for sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region. One of the sectoral issues in the Baltic 21 programme is regional planning.

Within the framework of bilateral development cooperation, Finland supports various programmes and projects related to the management and protection of land resources. There are also various projects to develop mapping and cartography.

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 8th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

For national information on land management, click here.
For information on Land Use Planning in the Ministry of the Environment, click here.

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MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available   

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available  

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available  

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available    

Status 

The northernmost part in Finland, Lapland, is ecologically comparable to mountain areas. The province of Lapland extends over approximately 99,000 Km2, one-third of the country. Although the topography of the landscape is smooth, except fell areas, the location mostly north of the Arctic Circle (between 65 and 70 degree of latitude) makes the environment stressed and fragile. The region is subartic and represents a transition zone between arctic and boreal zones. Coniferous forests (northboreal) are naturally dominant (50,000 Km2); marsh land cover is 34 %; and the treeless highlands, mostly situated in the northern half of Lapland, comprise 1,550 Km2, 16 % of the whole area. One-third, 3.4 million hectares, is protected by diverse programmes: natural parks and wilderness areas.

The winter is long, half a year, from October to May, when surface waters remain covered with ice. Mean temperatures are lowest in the middle of Lapland, in most continental parts it averages -15 centogrades in January and February. In July the mean temperature is +14 centigrade. The precipitation is around 650 mm a year, one half of which is snow, and the winter period means low light intensity and the summer season light nights (midnight sun).

Lapland is sparsly populated with the Sami people: slightly above 200,000 inhabitants, of whom half lives in the two largest cities in the south, and 70 % in municipalities. The number of Sami people is just short of 7,000. Road systems are well developed with an 8,000 Km network of public roads as well as a wealth of private and forestry roads. Although unemployment is higher, the standard of living equals the rest of Finland. Government assistance and development measures have an important role for the communal economy. Essential municipal infrastructure (i.e. water supply, waste treatment) and services (i.e. health care, organized waste collection) reach all population groups as well.

Service and tourism occupations are the most rapidly growing industries in Lapland. In the rural areas, the traditional way of life consists of a mixture of livelihoods, i.e. reindeer and animal husbandry, minor scale agriculture, forestry and service. Big industry is concentrated in the Kemi-Tornio area on the cost of the Bothnian Bay, where there are forest and metal factories, and in the southeastern part of Lapland with forest industry. The share of exports in Laplands industrial output is nearly 43 %. Tourism employs 4,000 people. Nature and services connected to nature attractions are important: Lappish experiences with wintersport and sightseeing tour holidays are served by tourist centres, and small family enterprises are also involved in the business.

The number of reindeer ranges from about 200,000 in winter to 350,000 in summer before slaughtering. The use by reindeer of natural lichen grounds as winter feeding sites and of fell tops as refuge from parasitic insects in summer has impacted positively on the composition of species but negatively on vegetation and soil erosion. The problem of overgrazing is under investigation, and, as a consequence, the management of the reindeer husbandry is developing towards a more controlled and modest strategy; reindeer herds in many areas have been increased and the awareness of environmental affects is changing the practice of reindeer husbandry.

The most prominent human impacts on natural waters are caused by intensive forest management areas, point loads to watercourses, water regulation for hydro energy purposes, and dredging waterways for timber floating routes. Long-range transport of air pollutants from Middle- and East-Europe, and local or regional emissions (the Kola Peninsula) have deteriorating effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The Lapland Regional Environment Centre, as a part of the environmental administration has a role in promoting an environment where the values of nature and human activity are in balance, in relation to the nature and the people of Lapland. The work is influencing environmental decision-making, supervision, control, reporting on the state of the environment and other measures for improving environmental awareness. Renovation projects related to improving the state of the environment, for example, following forestry ditching and timber floating, lay the foundation for those livelihoods that have a sustainable way of utilizing the biologically diverse nature and the clean environment of Lapland.

The Lapland Regional Environment Centres activities emphasize cooperation among municipalities, other authorities and research institutes, as well as international cooperation with neighbouring countries.

Challenges  

No information is available  

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available  

Information   

No information is available    

Research and Technologies   

The Finnish Forest Research Institute's research station in Rovaniemi regularly publishes reports on forests and forestry in Lapland. The Lapland Forest Damage Project produced, i.e. basic scientific knowledge about Laplands forest ecosystems and the changes taking place in them. Although forest growth in Lapland is a slow process, forests represent 16 % of the countrys timber resources and 10 % of its annual increment. Sustainability is a leading strategy in northern forestry.

Financing   

No information is available  

Cooperation

No information is available    

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5h Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Ministry of the Environment, Land Use Department, is the responsible body for integrated coastal zone management and sustainable development. The Ministry of the Environment is also responsible for issues related to marine environment protection in general. However, the Finnish Maritime Administration, which belongs to the administration of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, is responsible for issues related to shipping, and the Finnish Environment Institute is the responsible body for combatting oil and chemical spills. Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for matters related to fishing and game(birds, seals etc.).

Coordination is undertaken by the Advisory Board for the Marine Environment, which works in connection with the Ministry of the Environment to find common understanding in marine environment matters. Members of the Board are nominated by the Council of State for a period of three years. The Board gives advice to the authorities in matters related to marine environment, mostly in the context of international cooperation. The Board has members from some Ministries, Central Associations for different sectors and nature protection organisations of relevance to marine protection matters. In the past it had stronger influence in decision-making, but nowadays its role is mostly informative.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legislative principles for the use and protection of shore zones were laid down in conjunction with the amendment of the Nature Conservation Act. In accordance with the amendment of the Building Act 1997, it is now prohibited to erect new buildings in any shore zone, marine or otherwise, without a ratified master plan or a detailed site plan for new construction.

The Water Act 1961 and its amendments and the Act on the Prevention of Marine Pollution 1994 contain important provisions on the protection of aquatic habitats. The latter also includes regulations laid down in the Conventions for the Protection of the Baltic Sea as well as North East Atlantic

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Policy on Oceans is part of the National Sustainable Development Strategy. Master planning in shore zones has proved to be a feasible approach to implementing the Shore Conservation Programme ratified by the Council of State in 1990. In recent years it has become an increasingly common practice to draft master shore plans. The Ministry of the Environment endorses the drafting of master shore plans, and nearly 100 master plans incorporated in the Shore Conservation Programme have already been completed or are in the process of being drafted.

The following economic incentives have been introduced for marine environmental protection: a municipal waste water charge, a water protection charge, an oil pollution fee, a compulsory waste reception fee for ships calling at Finnish ports irrespective of the amount of garbage received, and a CO2/energy tax on fossil fuels. Prior assessment is mandatory for activities with impact on the marine and coastal environment.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

The Council of State decided upon a Decision-in-Principle on goals of Water Protection Programme to 2005 in March 1998. The main goals of the Programme are reduction and prevention of eutrophication which are fundamental in the planning and supervision of water protection and the related decision-making. The general goal of water protection is to prevent further deterioration in the state of the Baltic Sea and inland waters caused by human activities and to improve the condition of those watercourses that have already been contaminated. The quality and quantity of ground water must in general be maintained at least at the present level and improved in locations where the quality has been weakened by human activities. The protection of waters is based on the Polluter-pays Principle.

Status   

Major population centres in the coastal area include the City of Helsinki and its surroundings and the Town of Turku and its surroundings. There are several summer houses and holiday homes on shoreline, and boating is also popular in Finland in the summer.

Mining occurs along the shoreline in the form of extration of sand gravel and dredging. In addition, several industrial plants are located in coastal areas. Nowadays the best available technology is used in treatment of their waste waters, and therefore their discharges of harmful substances have mostly been reduced. The main pollution sources are diffuse sources such as agriculture, forestry and traffic.

Commercial fishing contributes to 0.2 % of the gross national product (GNP). The value of the total catch was 117 million FIM in 1995 (1 USD is about 5 FIM).

Eutrophication is the most urgent problem in the protection of Finnish waters. In marine areas, eutrophication is worst in the Gulf of Finland; in the Archipelago Sea, around the islands of the Quark and the northeastern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, there is also evidence of increasing levels of eutrophication. The high incidences of blue-green algae in inland waters and the Baltic Sea in summer 1997 were an indication that the waters are slowly becoming more eutrophic as a result of constant nutrient load and the release of nutrients deposited in the bottom sediment.

Shipping is one of the major sources of sea-based pollution of the marine environment. Airborne pollution also has an important role in the marine environment. Oil spills (illegal or accidental), SOx and NOx emissions as well as emissions of volatile organic compounds from vessels, environmental noise, discharges of waste water (untreated sewage should be brought ashore according to the Convention for the protection of the Baltic Sea, i.e. Helsinki Convention), illegal discharges of garbage (dumping of waste is prohibited in the Helsinki Convention) and organisms in the ballast water -- these all may have harmful effects on coastal zones as well as to the biodiversity of the marine areas. Even though harmful substances are not allowed to be discharged from vessels to the Baltic Sea, illegal discharges still happen. The Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention try to prevent these illegal discharges.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information 

The following are some useful internet addresses for obtaining information about the Baltic Sea:

HELCOM: http://www.helcom.fi

Ballerina: http://www.baltic-region.net/index.htm

Baltic Sea Algaline: http://www2.fimr.fi/algaline/index.htm

Baltic 21 network: http://www.ee/baltic21/

Baltic Marine Environment Bibliography and Database: http://otatrip.hut.fi/vtt/baltic/intro.html

A national set of indicators on sustainable development is being developed. A proposal for indicators will be finalized by the end of 1998. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is developing a set of indicators on the use of renewable natural resources.

Finland participates in the development of socio-economic and environmental indicators in systematic observation systems in clearing houses and in the Global Ocean Observing System. The Government does not participate in mussel watch programmes.

Existing data adequately cover habitats, protected areas, marine degradation caused by land- and sea-based activities, estuaries, wetlands, sea grass beds and other spawning and nursery areas in coastal zones. Since the 1970's, frequent comprehensive assessments of the state of and changes in the environment of coastal and marine areas have been carried out.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Financing is provided mainly through the national budget.

Cooperation  

Finland participates in the following Multilateral Agreements:

Through its membership in the European Union, Finland is also a member of the Baltic Sea Fishery Commission.

Finland also participates in two Bilateral Agreements:

Finland took part in establishing a programme for sustainable development for the Baltic Sea Area (i.e. Baltic Agenda 21).

Finland cooperates at the international level in addressing the prevention, reduction and control of the degradation of the marine environment from land- and sea-based activities, and it gives high priority to regional and subregional cooperation and cooperates intensively in marine environment approaches at the global level.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998

Click here for the Finnish Marine Research Institute.
Click here for the Baltic Sea Agenda 21.
To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are all involved in decision-making for this issue.

Finland has followed the Agenda 21 recommendations, developing and implementing obligations referring to chemicals, and participating in international cooperation in the chemical field.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

Finnish industry is working to reduce chemicals risks. An example is the Responsible Care Programme covering environment, health and safety, which has been introduced by the chemical industry.

Finland has contributed to the following programmes and projects in the field of chemicals and pesticides management: the development of laboratory facilities and analysis of pesticides in products as a component of safe management of pesticides in Egypt; the development of information system on chemicals in Eastern Africa and South East Asia in the context of an ILO project; the initiation of a programme on the collection and final disposal of obsolete agricultural chemicals in Nicaragua; and the preparation of comprehensive guidelines on the safe use of hazardous chemicals, mainly pesticides, for the use in the development cooperation projects.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

As a member of the European Union, Finland has implemented EU legislation on chemicals.

In the field of chemicals control, Finland participates in the work of the European Union as a Member State. Finland also has cooperation in this field with the other Nordic countries, with the neighbouring countries, within the OECD, and in the framework of the United Nations (UNEP, WHO, ILO).

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for the Finnish Environment Institute/Chemicals.

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

SOLID WASTE AND SANITATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment, the Regional Environmental Centres and the municipalities are the bodies primarily responsible for waste management.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations   

The new Waste Act entered into force on January 1, 1994. The overall aim is to promote sustainable development through rational use of natural resources and through preventing and abating such dangers and inconveniences that waste may cause to human health and the environment. The implementation of the new waste legislation will ensure that most of the requirements set in Chapter 21 of Agenda 21 can be fulfilled in Finland by the year 2000.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Where it is impossible to prevent waste generation, the waste generated must be recycled or properly treated and disposed of. Recovery and recycling should be the first priority; a second alternative is conversion to energy. Waste is not allowed to cause environmental or health danger or inconvenience. Waste management is to be based on the best economically available techniques and on sound practices for abating environmental and health risks. Anyone holding waste shall see to proper waste management. In some cases, however, municipalities are responsible for waste management.

The National Waste Plan includes progammes of action for different sectors and has adopted the following time-bound targets:

- In the year 2000, the amount of municipal waste should not exceed 1994 amounts;

- In the year 2005 , the amounts of municipal waste, construction and demolition waste and waste from industry should be at least 15 % less than the forecast amount without waste minimisation measures;

- The recovery rate for municipal waste should reach at least 50 % by the year 2000, and at least 70 % by the year 2005;

- The recovery rate for construction and demolition waste and waste from industry should reach at least 70 % by the year 2005; and

- The amount of waste from mining and quarrying and from water and energy supply should be reduced in relation to production volumes, and their recovery rate should be at least 50 % by the year 2005.

The following Government decisions have been issued or are under preparation:

-Decision on emissions from incineration of municipal waste

-Decision on the use of sewage sludge in agriculture

-Decision on landfill requirements

-Decision on arrangements concerning packaging and packaging waste.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The Ministry of the Environment has estimated that approximately 85 million tonnes of waste are produced annually in Finland. The average recovery rate of material or energy is about 47%. The largest amount of waste is generated in mining 35 million tonnes yearly, and in agriculture and forestry, about 23 million tonnes annually, the recovery rate of the latter being roughly 85%.

The main disposal method for municipal waste is landfills. In 1992, there were a total of 585 active landfills for municipal waste in the country.

Municipal solid waste is mostly collected by compacting trucks based on entrance collection or other types of collection. The systems serve almost all of Finland's population.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for Waste Management in the Ministry of the Environment (in Finnish).

RADIOACTIVE WASTES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Government grants licences for waste management facilities. The competent authority in matters pertaining to nuclear power is the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which oversees that the planning and implementation of any measures belonging to nuclear waste management are carried out in a timely and proper manner. The responsibility for the control of nuclear safety, including waste management, belongs to the Finnish Centre for Radiation and Nuclear Safety.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

According to the legislation on nuclear waste management in Finland, each producer of nuclear waste is responsible for the financing of its operations. The nuclear power plants are obliged to levy funds for waste management during the operation.

According to the legislation on nuclear waste management in Finland, each producer of nuclear waste is responsible for the safe management and disposal of the waste.

The present Nuclear Energy Act calls for the disposal of the spent fuel into the Finnish bedrock. Before, the spent fuel from the Loviisa NPP was shipped to Russia, but this is no longer an option. Based on the Council of State's decision-in-principle (1983), a long-range programme for the implementation of spent fuel disposal is in progress.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Finnish waste management policy is based on disposal of low and medium level waste into high standard rock cavity repositories located at the NPP sites. At the Olkiluoto site, the repository has been in operation since 1992. The repository at the Loviisa site is under construction and is scheduled to be commissioned in 1998.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

In Finland, four nuclear power plants (NPPs) have been in operation for 15-20 years, and they have generated about 1,100 tU of spent fuel and more than 5,000m2 of low and medium level waste. The accumulation of radioactive wastes from other sources is only about one per cent of that from the NPPs.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

New waste treatment and conditioning technologies have been introduced at the NPPs in the past few years, enabling a significant reduction of waste generation and environmental discharge.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

Finland has supported IAEAs programmes (e.g. the RADWASS-programme). Finland has also participated in projects to improve the radioactive waste management practices in the North-Western parts of Russia.

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

HAZARDOUS WASTE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The new Waste Act entered into force on 1 January 1994. The overall aim of the Act is to promote sustainable development through rational use of natural resources and through preventing and abating the danger of waste to human health and the environment. By implementing the new waste legislation, in addition to the measures taken so far, a majority of the requirements set in Chapters 20 and 21 of Agenda 21 can be fulfilled in Finland by the year 2000.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

According to the latest statistics (1992), the annual generation of hazardous wastes in Finland amounts to about 270,000 tonnes. Finland has the capacity to dispose of almost all wastes, and especially hazardous wastes, generated in the country. A major part of the hazardous wastes is transported to the national hazardous waste treatment and disposal plant where wastes are incinerated under strict limits for emissions imposed by environmental authorities. The annual incineration capacity of the plant is 65,000 tonnes at present.

The Government has executed prohibitions and restrictions on the use of, among others, the following dangerous substances: PCBs and PCTs, arsenic and asbestos. According to the decision on waste oil management, waste oils shall primarily be regenerated and secondarily incinerated. The marketing of batteries and accumulators containing heavy metals is limited.

In the future, more activities are meant to be concentrated on the development of environmentally sound and economically efficient collection of hazardous wastes and of transport schemes to get all hazardous waste properly treated.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed by Finland in 1989; ratified in 1991 and the latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in 1996.

Finland has implemented the OECD Council Decisions concerning hazardous waste. The special EU directives on waste will mainly be implemented through Government Decisions under the Waste Act. As of 1996, the following Government Decisions concerning hazardous waste have been issued or were under preparation: Decision on batteries and accumulators and Decree on transboundary movements of wastes.

Preparations for legislation will start shortly for New Decisions on PCB and PCT wastes; Decision on incineration of hazardous waste; and Ministry of the Environment Decision on wastes and hazardous wastes.

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:
Click here for national information on hazardous waste.


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