Vantaa has just completed a city-level voluntary local review (VLR). Vantaa is one of the five cities in Finland that voluntarily report on their goals to the United Nations. The voluntary local review describes the actions Vantaa is taking to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cities play an important role in achieving the SDGs. The core work of cities is linked to the SDGs in many ways. Vantaa works extensively for sustainable development in all departments, and the city actively creates opportunities for cooperation that promote sustainability with residents, companies and other stakeholders.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are part of Vantaa’s strategy
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains 17 goals. The goals are interdependent; one SDG cannot be promoted without also considering how it will affect the other SDGs, as the effects may be contradictory or negative. A hierarchy has also been defined for the SDGs. Environmental sustainability is the basis for social and economic sustainability, without which they cannot be realised, so environmental sustainability should be taken into account in all activities.
In Vantaa, the SDGs have been integrated into the city’s strategy, and their promotion is a shared concern of all departments and units. The strategic themes of the Vantaa Strategy 2022–2025 are Vantaa builds wellbeing, Vantaa is socially sustainable, Vantaa is ecologically sustainable, Vantaa is vital and brimming with expertise and Vantaa is international.
Vantaa invests in the wellbeing, inclusion and safety of its residents under the themes ‘Vantaa builds wellbeing’ and ‘Vantaa is socially sustainable’. At the same time, special attention is paid to the groups that are in the most vulnerable position.
The implementation of the ‘Vantaa is ecologically sustainable’ strategic theme is guided by the Roadmap to Resource Wisdom, with the help of which Vantaa aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. The theme also promotes natural diversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and the sustainable activities of residents and communities.
The ‘Vantaa is vital and brimming with expertise’ theme, in turn, includes actions that Vantaa is taking to increase the vitality of the city from the perspective of individuals and businesses. New forms of cooperation have been sought in city-business collaboration, and attention has been paid to supporting sustainable operations. Encouraging Vantaa residents to educate themselves and attracting international experts are examples of developing expertise and improving the availability of experts.
A lot of work is being done under the strategic theme of ‘Vantaa is international’ to promote integration and equality in Finland’s most international city. The City of Vantaa also wants to be an international and equal-opportunity employer, striving to increase the proportion of foreign-language speakers among the city’s employees. International cooperation is important to Vantaa and opens up new opportunities to influence complex challenges.
During 2023, a series of articles on sustainability will be published in Vantaa. The nine-part series will delve deeper into Vantaa’s actions for sustainability.
Lotta Alajoki & Mari Virtanen