The will to drive forward with an even more ambitious Nordic programme for the implementation of the UN 2020 Sustainable Development Goals came through loud and clear when 100 stakeholders from all over the Region gathered in Helsinki on Tuesday.
In his opening speech, the Finnish MP Pekka Haavisto (Green), a former minister, stressed that the Nordic countries all have something to offer as role models when it comes to implementing the UN goals.
“The Nordic Region has democracy, freedom of expression, strong women’s rights and strong local communities, all of which are prerequisites for achieving the targets,” he pointed out.
The 100 or so individuals at the meeting represented the public sector, the world of business and voluntary organisations.
“It is important business is involved in this dialogue. A lot needs to be done in sustainable consumption and production, and we need to forge new partnerships between governments, companies and civil society if we are going to make change happen,” said Nina Elomaa, Corporate Responsibility Director at Fazer.
Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, Head of Secretariat and Editor-in-chief for World's Best News in Copenhagen, attended the gathering to meet Nordic colleagues and influence the Nordic efforts to implement Agenda 2030.
“I really believe in Nordic co-operation, and the world is looking to the Region for leadership in sustainable development. I hope to be able to make a contribution and help move the agenda forward so that the Nordic Region can take that lead,” he said.
The Nordic Council of Ministers called the meeting in order to gauge and channel synergies towards implementation of Agenda 2030. An actual programme will be drawn up in the spring, and launched by the ministers for co-operation in June.
“The group we have worked with today has been amazingly committed and discussed whole new levels of partnership. The conversation revolved around several points where more work could be done, for example, sustainable consumption and production and various types of social engagement,” said Eeva Hellström, chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers Expert Group for Sustainable Development.
“What we need to do now is to mobilise a broad spectrum of innovative new partnerships as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers’ various sectors in the work going forward,” she said.