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Fireworks at Kansalaistori Square, Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Fireworks in Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Calling for more sustainable development

Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland, recently introduced a report from the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability at the University of Turku. In the lecture, Ms Halonen presented the panel’s work and introduced its results. The panel was co-chaired by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. The panel’s final report - Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing - Tarja Halonen, President of the University of Turkustates that the development of the world economy cannot continue in its present course. Additionally, the exploitation of nature must be stopped.

"If we continue like this we’ll need three more earths," Ms Halonen said.

The report states that in addition to ecological sustainability we also have to acknowledge social and economic sustainability as well as social justice. According to the report, these reforms are essential. With respect to sustainable development, the state, businesses and civic organisations, the report affirms that all have a significant role. Sustainable development is a dynamic process and it is important to acknowledge this mutual connection, Ms Halonen stated. The report’s vision includes removing poverty, reducing inequality, to develop economic growth and to make production and consumption more sustainable. These targets are achievable with the help of regulations, which are enabled by legal process.

Social justice and the significance of the individual’s part are also highlighted in the report. Social justice should be taken into consideration in policy making. For example, work is very important to people. Ms Halonen stressed that it is especially important to create jobs for young people and women. Individuals can make a difference by sustainable consumption.