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The extensive programme adopted at the UN Development and Environment Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (Agenda 21) aimed to give a broad definition of the measures that are needed to implement a policy of sustainable development. In June 2001, the Council of Europe in Gothenburg agreed on a strategy for sustainable development for Europe and added an environmental dimension to the Lisboa process for employment, economic reform and social cohesion. The EU sustainable development strategy is a long-term strategy, which closely incorporates ecological, social and economic sustainability. In addition the so-called Cardiff process, which was initiated by the Cardiff European Council in 1998, is aimed at integrating environmental considerations into different sectoral policies for the advancement of sustainable development. The European Union's Council of Ministers achieved a consensus on a proposal for the Union's sixth Environment Action Plan in June 2001. These documents and especially Union's sustainable Development Strategy form a part of the Union's preparations for the UN Conference in 2002, the 10-year follow-up to the Rio meeting.

In its programme for 1999-2003, the Finnish Government says that the principles of sustainable development in regard to the environment will be consistently taken into account throughout the various levels of society. To meet the targets set out for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the Kyoto Climate Protocol, the Government ratified a national climate strategy in March 2001. The Government programme requires that these commitments are met in such a manner that the measures applied do not impair economic growth and actions to strengthen employment nor prejudice steps to reduce the national debt. Implementation of a sustainable development policy means combining the principles of ecological, social and economic sustainability in all social functions and at all levels of decision-making. In line with the Government programme for sustainable development, work will continue on developing the "Natural Resources and the Environment" as an important tool in establishing a policy of sustainable development.

This review has been compiled by a working group appointed by the Ministry of the Environment and chaired by Markku Nurmi, Director General at the Ministry of the Environment. The other members of the group were Pekka Pelkonen, Counsellor at the Ministry of Finance; Meri Obstbaum, Economist at the Ministry of Finance; Timo Ritonummi, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Elina Nikkola, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Maria Rautavirta, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Transport and Communications; and Jarmo Muurman and Sauli Solhagen, Senior Advisers at the Ministry of the Environment. The secretaries to the working group were Jukka Hoffrén, Senior Researcher at Statistics Finland, who has also edited the review, and Maire Repo, Planning Officer, and Ulla Oksanen, Senior Researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute.

Helsinki, September 2001

Ministry of the Environment
Minister of the Environment
Satu Hassi
                Statistics Finland
               Director General
               Timo Relander

Updated 2.10.2001

Statistics Finland
Jukka Hoffrén
Tel: +358 9 1734 3351
Fax: +358 9 1734 2474


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