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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The importance of labor administration has increased with the sharp rise in unemployment. In the past few years, decision-making power for labor has been delegated to the regional and particularly to the local levels, making it possible to take better into account the special features of the different regions and client groups. The State and Municipalities are jointly responsible for arranging the universal social and health services, backed up by the stipulations of the constitution and sectoral legislation. Sufficient social and health care services and income-security are ensured.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Legislation related to the issue of poverty is covered by the Social Welfare Act and the Statute on Social Welfare, both of which have been reviewed since UNCED. The State and Municipalities are jointly responsible for arranging the universal social and health services. The municipal boards widely cooperate with specialized voluntary organizations.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Differences in health between population groups are linked to the risk of social polarization. The starting point in the Finnish health policy is the WHO strategy "Health for All by the Year 2000", accordingly paying special attention to services needed by risk groups.

Measures and policies have been developed in order to eliminate poverty among the disabled and to provide them with equal opportunities. In 1995, a long-term plan of action on disability policy was drafted, based on the standard rules approved by the UN in 1993.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The major group receiving public assistance is the unemployed. Clients have the opportunity to participate in and influence the planning and execution of social welfare and the assistance provided through social welfare units.

The aim in preventive social and health policy is to support activities which can affect the processes that cause social exclusion. The most important target groups are the long-term unemployed people and other risk groups, like vulnerable children, those who suffer mental health problems and substance abusers. The need for new approaches in social work has become more and more evident.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

The unemployment rate in Finland has been exceptionally high for the past few years, around 15 percent, which has led to a substantial reduction of living standards in some sectors of the society. Social, educational and labor policy measures have been taken to redress the problem. Access to primary health care, clean water and sanitation, and primary education has been, and still is, excellent. The Government has committed itself to halve the unemployment rate by the end of the century. This will be the most demanding objective of the Government policy.

A particular problem is the long-term unemployment of the ageing employees. Changes in the unemployment security system may increase the poverty rate and enlarge the gap between the rich and the poor in Finland.

In Finland, the greatest part of income security for citizens is arranged in the form of general, statutory insurance. Health care, hospital care, social care services and welfare for children, the elderly and the disabled as well as opportunities for education are equally available for all social groups in all parts of the country. All citizens are guaranteed basic social security. This is an effective way of combating and preventing widespread poverty and social exclusion. Good quality day-care for children is widely available. Both sexes and language groups have the same rights to education, social protection and public services. The last-resort living-allowance is granted on the basis of individual means-testing when a person or family cannot get sufficient income in another way. Among the gainfully employed, poverty measured in terms of income is very rare.

The relative poverty rate declined in the 1980s both in terms of income and consumption. In 1994, poor households were only 2.6 % of all households. Although this number has not significantly increased, the deep recession has strongly increased the number of the recipients of the last-resort income security. In 1990, living allowances were paid to 63 persons/1,000 inhabitants, and in 1994, to 113/1,000, i.e. to 12.3 % of the households. More than half of the recipients are unemployed. The clients are younger than before. Many of the poor are single persons and single-parent households. The typical recipient is a single man.

While unemployment has struck both sexes equally severely, 70% of all women are gainfully employed (1995). Thus poverty has not been feminized in Finland. The share of pensioner households among the poor has stayed very low. Disability is not a significant risk factor. The welfare and rights of minorities (the Sami people, the Romany people) are protected. Having several children and being a single parent are still risk factors.

The phenomenon of urban poverty has reappeared, but spatial accumulation of poverty and deprivation in suburbs is not widespread due to the mixed composition of housing (ownership, low and high-rise houses) and population groups living in the area. The extent of homelessness has been reduced by 50 % in the last ten years, although the number, at around 10,000 single persons and some hundreds of families, is still unacceptable.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

According to the employment programme, vocational training will be extended so that all young people without vocational skills could be offered a place to study at secondary level education. The aim is to create an education guarantee system which would offer an opportunity for further studies to all young people who have completed the compulsory education. The exclusion caused by polarization with regard to knowledge can be reduced by supporting a citizen's information society.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Provision of social welfare in communities is subsidized by the State.

Cooperation  

Financing from the EU Social Fund has been used to complement the national labor policy.

Due to continuous sizable budgetary deficits, the ODA appropriations for 1994 approved by the Parliament were 12.4 per cent lower than in 1993. Membership in the European Union binds Finland to participate in the financing of the EU development cooperation through EU's statutory budget and the European Development Fund. Finland is a member of the major international financial institutions and regards them as central sources of finance for development, policy advice and coordination of assistance to developing countries.

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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.

Click here for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, with links to Social Security, Health Insurance, Pensions and Unemployment Insurance.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is the body most directly concerned with demographic issues.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is not yet a national policy on demographic dynamics and sustainability in Finland. There has been a national debate on the linkages between population and environmental issues both at the Parliament and Government levels. Women and the media have been included in the public debate. At the community level, seminars have been held on the issue.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The general trend in the structure of the Finnish population over the past few decades has been typical to a European industrialized country. The proportion of the economically active population has increased, a characteristic Nordic feature being the high share of women in the labor force.

Finland has undergone a profound social and economic transformation towards an increasingly urban society with smaller family units. Extensive social security programmes have helped families to combine working and family lives.

Challenges  

Among the major challenges that Finland now faces are wide and persistent unemployment, the ageing of the population, and the need to secure equal opportunities and services universally for all social groups throughout the country.

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

HEDEC (the Health and Social Development Group) is a unit for foreign assistance providing expertise and information services pertaining to health and social welfare and to population issues. The objectives of the Finnish development cooperation policy are closely interlinked with population issues, especially population growth, which Finland will continue to tackle primarily through promotion of sustainable economic and social development, human rights and the status of women in developing countries. Special efforts will be made to increase aid to population programmes, especially those promoting reproductive health, including family planning, in response to the vast unmet demand in developing countries.

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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 Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, with links to Family Policy.

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HEALTH 

 

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Department for Environmental Health Research in the National Public Health Institute has grown to a high-level expertise unit on problems of national as well as local concern.

A special agency to monitor compliance with legal stipulations on chemicals was established in 1994.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The new Planning and State Subsidies Act provides a mechanism for better cooperation between social and health services at the municipal level. The Act gives local authorities increased responsibility and freedom in health policy. The Act on Patient's Rights, concerning treatment and services for patients in health care, entered into force in March 1993. Finnish legislation provides for children's rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. New legislation and resources have benefited environmental health. For instance, progress in the protection of air and freshwater as well as in waste management has decreased health risks. Legislation on health protection, chemical safety, food safety and radiation protection are, or will be, revised in accordance with the legislation of the European Union.

Recent Finnish discussion has recognized new environmental hazards and risks to human health, such as depletion of the Northern ozone layer, global warming and urban pollutants and micro particles. It is also widely accepted that preventive measures should be used in a larger scale. The Finnish Constitution includes the right to a healthy environment, marking the importance given to the issue.

The new Act on health protection aims at preventing, diminishing and eradicating risk-factors detrimental to health in the living environment. Implementation has been delegated to the local authorities. Special emphasis has been given to safeguarding swimming and drinking water.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A national plan of action on environmental health has been developed, aiming at the targets of the European Environmental Health Programme. An official Board has been established on genetic technology.

Promotion of parenthood and the welfare of the child population is a major aim of Finnish welfare policy. Finland developed a Plan of Action for implementing the World Summit Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and Plan of Action made in 1990.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement    

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

The implementation of the revised national "Health for All by the Year 2000" Programme (revised in 1992) recognizes seven fields of action: decreasing health differences among population groups, maintaining and enhancing the functional capacity of the population, promoting intersectoral cooperation in support of a preventive health policy, improving the cost-effectiveness of the health services, development of the capacities of the health personnel, management in health care, and citizen participation. A leading principle is the increase in cost-efficiency.

Status

A network of municipal health centers provides primary services equally in all parts of the country. In rural areas, the capacity of municipal health centers is greater than in cities, where complementary private services exist. The ongoing work to maintain high vaccination coverage has been successful; a major part of the UN targets and programmes on communicable diseases has been reached and is no longer relevant to Finland.

A decrease in the consumption of tobacco and related health hazards has been an important issue in the Finnish health policy. Smoking has decreased, new anti-smoking legislation being instrumental in creating smoke-free working environments. Smoking is, however, alarmingly high among young people. There have also been campaigns to promote individual control of drinking, focusing on the young.

The economic recession in Finland has led to adjustments in health and social fields. Meeting the needs of the unemployed is an increasingly important task for health and social services as well as voluntary organizations. The economic recession has also affected white-collar groups and executives, widening the scale of social and health problems.

Human health and welfare is best protected at work and in living environments. The quality of housing, residential environments and the level of social integration are interlinked. The need for employment, income security and improvements to community facilities goes hand in hand with the need for improvements to the physical quality of the local environments. Health promotion and preventive social policy aim at early warning and preemptive measures to combat exclusion and accumulated disadvantage at the local level. Environmental impact analysis (health impact assessment, social impact analysis) methods are being improved and employed by local authorities.

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

In 1990, a special unit was formed to promote development cooperation in health and social welfare. The National Institute for Occupational Health contributes to the building of occupational health service systems in developing countries. It works as a collaborating center of WHO/EURO to give international support to accidental environmental health problems. It also contributes to the building of a European geographical environmental health information system. Finland has given material and expertise support to the Baltic countries and regions of the Russian Federation in dealing with communicable diseases as well as nuclear and chemical risks.

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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 Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, with links to Health Care, Policy, Services and Benefits; Health Care System in Transition; Guidelines on Health Care.
For WHO National Environmental Health Action Plans in selected counries, click here.
To access the Health for All Country Profile for Finland , click here:
To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:
Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The provision of information and promotion of public awareness of environmental issues is prescribed by the act on environmental administration (1995). These duties and functions are based on national environmental research and on monitoring of the state of the environment in Finland.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Systematic policy for producing and circulating environmental information to decision-makers, public authorities, business leaders, educators and the public at large is being prepared by the Finnish Environment Institute and the Regional Environment Centers in co-operation with the Ministry of the Environment.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The development of partnerships among educators, scientists, Governments, NGOs, business and industry, youth, the media and other major groups is one of the targets in the national programme on sustainable development in education. In addition, the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development has a subcommittee on education and awareness raising.

Dialogue and interaction between various interested parties comprising the schools, the authorities, research organizations, business and working life and others are to be improved.

Many NGOs implement projects, work for action groups and produce educational material. Many citizens can be reached through, e.g. the recycling movement. In addition to environmental organizations, women's and consumer organizations are also active in popularizing sustainable development.

Programmes and Projects 

The National Board of Education established a Programme for promoting sustainable development during 1998-2000. This programme is based on the views presented in 1994 by Finlands National Committee for Sustainable Development, and it lists the activities to be undertaken in the field of education to meet the challenges of sustainable development. In programme implementation, the sixth environmental programme of the European Union and the Finnish Governments programme for Sustainable Development (under preparation) are to be taken into account.

According to this new Programme, environmental education and other actions should be geared to bringing about:

- awareness of the necessity of sustainable development;

- favorable attitudes and willingness to work for sustainable development;

- sufficient knowledge and expertise for correct actions;

- know-how on integrating sustainability into daily activities.

In addition, all schools and institutions are to include the principles of sustainable development in their training, education and learning activities, and also in their more general daily activities. The programme focuses on the main instruments available to the education authorities: guidelines for curricula and examinations, various activities of support (developing teaching material and teacher training), and participation in national and international cooperation projects.

The Global Challenge project with its national network of experts aims at integrating issues related to the developing world, development cooperation, cultural awareness and intercultural contacts, global topics, sustainable development and tolerance as part of the everyday learning process in comprehensive schools and vocational institutions. The project is sponsored by the National Board of Education and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Other examples of programmes and campaigns to promote sustainable development in Finland include the following:

-- The National Consumer Research Center has carried out studies on the links between consumers environmental knowledge and behavior.

-- The National Consumer Research Center planned a research programme from 1995-1998 on "Preconditions for sustainable product culture". The objective of the programme is to facilitate the development of a sustainable product culture, especially with regard to consumers activities and the use of products, product markets, product development and testing, as well as consumer information and other instruments for achieving a sustainable product culture.

-- Marttaliitto (The Martha Organization), a non-political, nationwide home economics extension organization, emphasizes care of environment through proper waste management and the integration of home economics and consumer education. Local press is used to disseminate information. In addition Marttaliitto's own magazine keeps the readers informed of themes and topics of current interest.

An example of one of the innovative programmes adopted in Finland is the waste advisory services project (1992-1996). A national project, it was initiated by the Ministry of Environment. In addition, other administrative representatives were chosen to be in the projects guidance group. These were the Ministry of Education, the National Consumer Administration, the Finnish Environmental Institute, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) and the Association of Finnish Local Authorities. The general objective of the project was to attain widespread understanding of and compliance with the new waste norms. The motivation for starting the project was the new waste legislation that was being prepared in Finland.

Status

Comprehensive school: The curriculum is an expression of the local decision-makers political will as a part of the national education policy. At the lower level, biology, geography, environmental studies and civic studies make up a subject group called "Environmental Studies and Natural History", which makes it possible to integrate the subject with teaching oriented to nature and the environment. Even in arts and skill subjects, it is possible to plan on themes to organize projects and inter-disciplinary teaching. The main aim of Environmental and Natural Sciences is to support and guide the growth of students to investigating, active citizens who are interested in nature, in the study of nature, and in nature conservation.

In addition, environmental education is one of the nine so-called intercurricular issues (others are international education, consumer education, traffic education, family education, health education, information technology skills, commutation education, entrepreneurship education).

The senior secondary school: The main values in the senior secondary school are promotion of sustainable development, promotion of physical, social and mental well-being and growing up in order to become a member of a democratic society. The main aim in Environmental and natural sciences is to get the student to realize the significance of scientific knowledge in the changing world, and work for an ecologically sustainable environment.

Vocational education: The objectives of sustainable development are central in all fields of education. Education for sustainable development in vocational education aims to develop a conscious relationship between ones environment and moral responsibility for the state of the environment and global viability as well as a sense of responsibility in occupation. The issues involved are connected with the interaction of natural processes and human activities, optimizing the modes of transport, recycling, rational consumption, saving natural resources, technology, environmentally sound energy production and lifestyle. Concern is also shown for the aesthetic state of the environment.

Education is free to all pupils and students in Finland. The comprehensive school is completely free for all pupils including materials, meals and transportation. The upper secondary level and secondary vocational education has free meals and usually no fees, but students may have to pay for some teaching materials and transport. Higher Education has no fees. Student financial aid is available for full-time post-secondary schools studies lasting at least two months at an upper secondary school, folk high school, vocational school, college or a university all the way up to a doctorate. Ordinary financial aid for students consists of a study grant, a housing supplement and government-guaranteed student loans.

Finnish young people have been actively participating in the Rescue Mission: Planet Earth indicator project. The Ministry of the Environment financed the translation of the indicator package into Finnish and Swedish - the two official languages in Finland, and in the course of autumn 1996, the package was sent to over a hundred schools to encourage the pupils to develop local ideas for sustainable development. In January 1997, a second Day of Access was organized, at which time the pupils participating in the project had a chance to discuss sustainable development issues with the decision-makers, including ministers.

The Environment Parliament of the Youth has been organized twice by Finnish Scouts and the Nature League. In April 1996, in the fourth session of the CSD, Finland gave a national presentation on the work of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development and on environmental education in particular. Finland also included two youth delegates on its delegation. The Northern Call for the Environment Conference on environmental education and the implementation of Agenda 21 was organized in Finland in summer 1996.

Another example of the growing awareness and the spread of ideas on sustainable development is the growth of Local Agendas 21, which now cover approximately 55 % of the Finnish population. Finland is actively involved in the preparation of the Baltic Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea region and in the similar work soon starting in the Arctic region. Furthermore, an Agenda 21 is being prepared by the only indigenous people in Western Europe, the Sami people in Lapland.

Research related to sustainable development and the environment is funded by several ministries, governmental organizations, the private sector and foundations in Finland. The universities are funded by the Ministry of Education and the Academy of Finland.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Sustainable development is seen as one of the priorities in training and education in the curricula for comprehensive schools, secondary schools and vocational institutions. Schools and institutions are required to work out curricula that promote sustainable development and to develop action programmes for daily activities covering acquisitions, waste management, energy management and traffic arrangements. In this process, public awareness is a recurring theme contributing to resolving environmental problems and promoting sustainable development.

Educational institutions, from compulsory schools to universities, are to apply the principles of sustainable development to their everyday work (acquisition, waste disposal, energy management, traffic arrangements, etc.). The results will be assessed in 1999.

Since 1994, a magazine on environmental education has been published four times a year by the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. On television, there are many environmental programmes such as the Environmental News every Sunday night at prime time.

Information

The Finnish Environment Institute (and the whole environmental administration) publishes environmental information in the form of reports, publications, magazines, articles, press-releases, WWW-pages, videos and multimedia. A popularized report called," The State of Finnish Environment," was published in 1992 and another, "The Future of The Finnish Environment," in 1996 (in Finnish, Swedish and English).

A publication series of the environmental administration started in 1996. The names of the series are: The Finnish Environment, Environmental Guide and Regional Environmental Publications. The number of publications per year is about 100-150 including brochures.

The Regional Environment Centers publish reports dealing with the state of the environment in their area. They have also prepared environmental multimedia programmes. For example, a multimedia programme called "Natura" tells about the state of the environment and environment protection of Mikkeli province in South Savo. Natura consists of text, photos, graphics, statistics, maps, articles and games illustrated with sound.

The National Board of Education also puts together environmental information packages, such as a guidebook on eco-auditing for comprehensive schools, secondary schools and vocational institutions. Supplementary training, by means of courses of varying lengths, is given to teachers to increase their knowledge of environmental issues and to provide them with required teaching methods. Assessment criteria are provided for the evaluation of schools and vocational institutions to promote sustainable development. The results will be assessed in 1999.

Additional information on education in Finland is available from the Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. box 140, FIN 00261 Helsinki, Finland, World Wide Web Site Home Page; http://www.vyh.fi/syke/syke.html and from the National Consumer research Center, at http://www.kuluttajatutkimuskeskus.fi/ .

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

The Ministry of Education and the National Board of Education coordinate and support numerous international cooperation projects in environmental education. Among the most important are the Nordic Environmental Education project "Miljöundervisning I Norden (EE in The Nordic Countries), The OECD/CERI/ENSI project Environment and Schools Initiatives, the Globe programme, the Finnish -Russian Joint project "Pohjoiset metsäekosysteemet ja koulutus" (Northern forest ecosystems and education), the UNESCO projects in Finnish schools, and the European Council project, "Cultural Heritage Classes." The EU DG XI programme also includes a cooperation project for the secondary school level managed by the National Board of Education.

In the European Union, Finland is working to introduce sustainable development into educational and research programmes both as a principle and as an object of cooperation. The National Board of Education and the Ministry of Environment have made short reports to the EU Directorate XI B.4. (Research and development, relations with the European Environment Agency, statistics, training, education, health) on issues covering environmental education in general education and vocational education and training. Reports are made twice a year. For example, Finland was asked to give a report on The Baltic Sea -project to DG XI during the third quarter of 1997.

* * *

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.

Click here for the Finnish Environment Institute.
Click here for the National Consumer Research Center.
Click here for the Ministry of Education.
Click here for Environmental Information and Education.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Closer linkages have been set up between the authorities responsible for natural environment and the authorities in charge of built environment. This development has taken place throughout the environmental administration, including the Ministry of the Environment, the Finnish Environment Institute, regional environment centers, and municipalities.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Policy instruments have also been improved. Environmental Impact Assessment was included in the spatial planning stipulations of the Building Act (sectoral law guiding all land use planning and construction) in 1994. The ongoing review of the Act is expected to further strengthen its environmental aspects. Environmental aspects have been incorporated into master planning through guidelines and training, and efforts are being made to develop "strategic" master planning which would integrate it into other tools of urban management, including environmental management.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Sustainable human settlements development has been included in a number of policy papers, including the following:

* The Action Programme on Reducing the Adverse Effects of Transport to the Environment by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (1994);

* "A Look at the Cities", the recommendations of the Ministry of the Environment's (MOE) Urban Policy Task Force (1995);

* "Sustainability as a Challenge", Finland's national report for UN's Habitat II Conference (May 1996);

* "Cities as Engines of Growth", report of the Government Task Force set up to prepare proposals for the development of urban areas (June 1996);

* National plan of action on environmental health (currently under preparation);

* Government programme of action for sustainable development, including a sub-programme on human settlements and transport as one of its four components (currently under preparation).

Many local authorities have prepared or are preparing Local Agendas 21. Human settlements-related indicators are included in the ongoing project on sustainable development indicators which the MOE implements jointly with several Ministries and the Central Statistical Office.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

A programme aimed at developing and commercializing environmentally sound construction products has been implemented by the Technology Development Center (TEKES) since 1994. Experimentation of double water supply systems and separation of "grey waters" in double sewerage networks has been initiated with the support of the MOE. The Ministry of Trade and Industries has continued the implementation of several programmes aimed at developing innovative energy supply solutions and promoting energy conservation.

Status

Since 1992, great efforts have been made in Finland to operationalize the notion of sustainable human settlements development and to develop tools for attaining this goal. The concept has been a topic of a number of research activities. Both "basic" research and practice-oriented applied research have been carried out, such as studies on the environmental and economic implications of various land use patterns conducted by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT). Thanks to these studies, the priority issues have been clarified.

Specific actions have been taken, including:

* Studies on the impact of the location of commercial services (large shopping centers, hypermarkets, etc.) and a proposal on instruments to guide their location are under preparation;

* Financial and other support to renovation and improvement of housing;

* A special Renovation Programme aimed at lengthening the life span of the existing housing stock and improving its energy efficiency and waste disposal systems;

* Projects aimed at integrated improvement of neighborhood units;

* Projects aimed at promoting development of urban centers implemented by MOE, local authorities and the private sector;

* A number of pilot projects and architectural competitions on ecologically sound planning and construction; and

* Local actions aimed at reducing the amounts of solid wastes and improving the disposal systems, involving awareness-raising and education campaigns, recovery and recycling, separation and/or composting of household wastes at source, even in multi-storey buildings.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Awareness-raising campaigns, education and training are carried out by many institutes, such as technical universities. The amount of relevant literature available in Finnish is increasing.

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing

Housing finance systems and other instruments have been developed with a view to creating an enabling policy environment for systematic maintenance and renovation of the housing stock. Financing instruments are also being developed as incentives to preventing further urban sprawl and to creating a barrier-free living environment for an ageing population.

Cooperation

Finland paid great attention to the preparations of the Habitat II Conference. Most of these efforts were made through EU, but Finland was able to make an impact beyond that: Finland's representative acted as Chair of the Preparatory Committee and Committee II at the Conference, and Finland represented the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) countries in the core group responsible for drafting the final document, Habitat Agenda. Throughout the process, Finland emphasized the environmental aspects of human settlements development.

Finland also participates actively in human settlements-related cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, which takes place at all levels of the Government and involves all sectors of the society. Municipalities support, e.g. through twinning or other arrangements, their counterparts in Russia and Baltic countries in municipal management and improvement of environmental infrastructure. MOE, together with other agencies, provides funding for similar activities which usually include capacity-building measures.

Finland has contributed to various international R&D projects on sustainable human settlements development executed by organizations, such as EU and OECD or by networks of municipalities. A number of relevant activities are also implemented through Finnish aid in developing countries. Examples of such programmes and projects are an extensive water supply programme in Hanoi and Haiphong, Viet Nam; a water supply and sanitation programme in Western Kenya; a comprehensive urban development programme in Nacala, Mozambique; and a comprehensive social development programme in Region V, Nicaragua. In all these actions environmental, social and economic problems are addressed in an integrated way.

* * *

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 national information on human settlements.
Click here for Finland's National Report to Habitat II.
Click here to access "BEST PRACTICES FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS"
For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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