The Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development publishes a policy brief for central government titled Towards successful sustainability transition for Finland: Boundaries from nature, power from the people. 

In the policy brief the Expert Panel proposes a dual strategy to save the Finnish welfare society. The policy brief includes concrete proposals for action, a proposal for a key set of indicators that link economic, social and ecological sustainability, and examples how to finance the sustainability transition. 

The dual strategy, proposed by the Expert Panel, states that the central government must improve the conditions for citizens’ wellbeing both by promoting sustainable practices and livelihoods and by systematically reducing the structures and operating methods that exceed the Earth’s carrying capacity. In addition, central government must invest in basic public services, education, culture, and active civic participation in the long term. 

The Expert Panel is concerned about several intertwined sustainability gaps that threaten the existence of a welfare society built on the premises of the previous century. The financial sustainability gap is not the most serious challenge we face. The current model is unable to respond effectively and equally to the ongoing polycrisis caused by harmful environmental changes, decreasing natural resources, growing social inequality and increased instability. Our social and ecological deficit is even more serious than the economic debt, the Expert Panel warns. 

“The essential task of the central government is to set binding targets whilst steering the transformation in a well-organised and fair manner, supporting participants’ participation. It is known that people want change and are already implementing it. More effective measures are now expected from political decision-makers”, says Professor Lassi Linnanen, chair of the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development.