The Constitution of the Republic of Finland1, 2000, in its 20th Article, states that:
“Nature and its biodiversity, the environment and the national heritage are the responsibility of everyone.
The public authorities shall endeavour to guarantee for everyone the right to a healthy environment and for everyone the possibility to influence the decisions that concern their own living environment.”
The Environmental Protection Act’s objectives are:
1. to prevent the pollution of the environment and to repair and reduce damage caused by pollution;
2. to safeguard a healthy, pleasant and ecologically diverse and sustainable environment;
3. to prevent the generation and the harmful effects of waste;
4. to improve and integrate assessment of the impact of activites that pollute the environment;
5. to improve cititzen opportunities to influence decisions concerning the environment;
6. to promote sustainable use of natural resources; and
7. to combat climate change and otherwise support sustainable development.
Finland’s National Strategy for Sustainable Development is called Towards sustainable choices. It was adopted in 2006 by the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. The vision of the Strategy is to assure people’s well-being within the limits of the carrying capacity of nature both, nationally and globally. The vision is to guide actors to select solutions that observe the principles of sustainable development for short and long-term activities. Seven objectives have been identified:
1. The strengths and challenges of sustainable development in Finland
2. Balance between use and protection of natural resources
3. Sustainable communities in a sustainable regional structure
4. Citizens - well-being throughout the entire life cycle
5. The economy as a safeguard for sustainable development
6. Finland as a global actor
7. Supporting sustainable choices.
The timeline to achieve the objectives is until 2030. Finland has chosen 34 key indicators covering ecological, economic and socio-cultural dimensions of sustainability to assist in their achievement.
Information on Finland’s environmental legislation can be accessed through the Government’s official website.