The network Strategic Management of SDGs in Cities

The network started as a project in November 2021. It is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and coordinated by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. The network consists of Finland’s six largest cities: Espoo, Helsinki, Oulu, Tampere, Turku and Vantaa. The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of the Environment are also involved in the activities.
 
The project’s purpose is to support the decision-makers, staff and stakeholders in the local implementation of the Agenda2030 SDGs and in bringing about a change in the thinking and operating culture that is required for achieving a sustainability transformation. The network will support the co-development of systemic management models for sustainability management and practical management tools. The project will also promote national and international cooperation and co-development related to the work on the SDGs.
 
The project will continue until the end of 2023. The six largest cities will pilot tools that promote the local implementation of the SDGs. These tools will become available for the entire local government sector in the future.

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Finland’s six largest cities combine their efforts to promote sustainable development management

Finland’s six largest cities — Espoo, Helsinki, Oulu, Tampere, Turku and Vantaa — have combined their efforts to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time: How to promote and manage the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in cities?

The cities are participating in an SDG network project that promotes a fundamental shift in thinking necessary for achieving a sustainability transformation. The project also seeks to mainstream SDGs through co-development. 

The work on sustainable development in line with the United Nations global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is already well underway in the six cities. These cities are national, even international pioneers; however, work remains to be done to verbalise sustainable development and make it more mainstream and visible.

It is not enough that the six cities have the information needed to promote sustainable development; they need to apply this information and use it locally.

The network Strategic Management of SDGs in Cities seeks to address this need. The network supports the decision-makers, personnel and stakeholders of the six cities in

  • implementing the Agenda 2030 SDGs locally, and
  • bringing about a change in the thinking and operating culture necessary for achieving a sustainability transformation.

The network will support the co-development of systemic management models for sustainability management and practical management tools.

New tool under development

The first tool to be co-developed and piloted by the six cities will be an SDG sense-making tool.

It is a dialogue-based process, which guides decision-makers and employees in different areas of responsibility to consider how their work is linked to the Agenda2030 SDGs; how they can promote these goals through their own work; and how they can monitor the progress. The SDG analysis process aims to ensure that decision-makers and municipal employees take action towards achieving the Agenda 2030 and that they understand the demands that a cross-administrative sustainability transformation places on future management.

Ecosystem school for co-development

In spring 2022, the SDG network will participate in a so-called ecosystem school with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the Sustainable City programme of the Ministry of the Environment, and Motiva, a state-owned company providing expert services in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The ecosystem school provides answers to these questions: What does it mean to promote sustainable development in an ecosystem formed by cities, municipalities and organisations? How can the different operators support and complement each other? The objective is trends-based co-development across organisational boundaries. The ecosystem school is part of the TYÖ 2.0 LAB pilot project, which offers workspace for co-development and learning for central government employees.

In addition to creating practical tools and operating models, the SDG network seeks to promote national and international cooperation and co-development related to the work on the SDGs. As part of its pioneering role, the network is contributing to the implementation of the national sustainable development road map. The six largest cities will also attend the annual Eurocities conference in Espoo, Finland, on 8–10 June 2022 and the World Urban Forum on 26–30 June 2022.

The network Strategic Management of SDGs in Cities started as a project in November 2021. It is funded by the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, and coordinated by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. The project will continue until the end of 2023. The tools co-developed and piloted by the six largest cities will become available for the entire local government sector in the future.

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