Johanna Kentala-Lehtonen started as the new Secretary General of the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development at the beginning of March. She works at the Strategy Department of the Prime Minister’s Office. The Secretary General is responsible for the coordination of the Expert Panel, which was transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office at the turn of the year. The Expert Panel for Sustainable Development will remain an independent scientific advisory panel.

Kentala-Lehtonen is a doctor of social sciences in international politics (University of Tampere, 2019). In her doctoral thesis, she studied the impact strategies of Finnish business and industry on climate policy. Kentala-Lehtonen has held various positions in central government for the past seven years. She will move to a new position from the Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, where she was responsible for coordinating Finland’s national positions of the EU Green Deal, with responsibility for EU affairs in the administrative branches of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Before that, Kentala-Lehtonen worked at the Climate change Unit of the Ministry of the Environment in the implementation of the Climate change Act and as the secretary of the working group preparing the medium-term Climate change Policy Plan.

Before her ministerial career, Kentala-Lehtonen has worked as a researcher in Nordregio, which operates under the Nordic Council of Ministers, as a scholarship researcher at the University of Tampere, and as a visiting researcher at the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). She has also served as the coordinator of the Forum for Environmental Information (YTF).

“I am excited to be able to work close to research again and to combine my interest with both research, decision-making and politics,” Kentala-Lehtonen rejoices of her new job. “The position of Secretary General of the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development combines my expertise attained in previous positions and my great desire to contribute to the sustainability transition.”


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