Workshop on the roadmap for the 2030 Agenda discussed necessary actions for achieving the SDGs in Finland

How can Finland achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What are the critical areas of transformation to which Finland should pay special attention to? What concrete changes are needed in each of these selected areas by 2030?

An online workshop for researchers in sustainability science was held to tackle these issues on the 31st of April 2021. The workshop was organised by the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development and the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. The aim of the workshop was to support the activities of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which is in the process of producing a roadmap to achieve the SDGs at the national level by 2030. 

What is the 2030 Agenda roadmap? 

The Secretary General of the Commission on Sustainable Development Sami Pirkkala welcomed the participants to the workshop and briefed them on the process of developing a national roadmap for achieving the 2030 Agenda. The aim of the roadmap is to outline the kinds of policies and steps that Finland should pursue to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 

Achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda requires systemic transformation in each aspect of our society. The roadmap is thus based on the idea that sustainability transformation can be achieved through transformations in different systems, such as food systems and energy systems. Changes in these systems are interdependent, which requires examining their synergies. 

Key messages from sustainability experts

The aim of the workshop was to think about the key system level changes and concrete actions that are needed for Finland to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda. Discussions highlighted both changes within different systems but also several cross-cutting themes.   

For Finland, critical focus areas were identified to be protecting environmental commons, developing economic system that supports human wellbeing, and investing in changes in education and learning. Cross-cutting objectives that were highlighted included participation, equity, and fostering the benefits of technological development and digitalisation. 

Researchers also highlighted the importance of seeing the SDGs within the broader global context. Even though the focus of the roadmap is on national policies, the success of achieving the 2030 Agenda nationally is interconnected to global developments. For this reason, it was believed to be integral for Finland to take an active role in promoting the 2030 Agenda globally. Additionally, participants discussed the concept of good life and the building blocks of happiness in the future. A good life in the future was seen to be based on intangible good, which requires that goals for ensuring human prosperity are taken seriously. 

What are the next steps forward? 

The National Commission on Sustainable Development continues the preparation of the national roadmap based on the insights from the workshop. HELSUS researchers are actively involved in its development process. The roadmap is expected to be finalised at the end of this year. 

Moving forward, HELSUS will also continue its work on the science-policy interface to ensure that policymaking is based on sustainability science. 

- We in HELSUS are actively engaging with policymakers on matters related to sustainable development. Among other things we are starting a series of HELSUS policy briefs that aim to bring HELSUS research closer to policymakers. The first of these policy briefs addresses overall sustainability in the Arctic and it will be published later this spring, explains HELSUS research coordinator Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki, who is coordinating the policy brief series. 


Further information on the activities of the National Commission on Sustainable Development relating to the 2030 Agenda roadmap can be accessed from here. 

For additional information on the activities of HELSUS related to the science-policy interface, please consult Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki (  or Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti (