Cities and municipalities are building a sustainable future

What is a sustainable city or municipality like? What measures can local authorities take to contribute to sustainability? The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (AFLRA) invited local authorities to answer these questions in a Sustainable Cities and Municipalities foresight process. The process resulted in the publication of the Sustainable Cities and Municipalities 2030 foresight report.

The report provides a comprehensive picture of sustainable development.
Sustainable development means that humans, the environment, the economy and digitalisation are equally and simultaneously considered in all municipal planning, decision-making, budgeting, and the implementation of decisions. The report proposes several measures to help local authorities to promote sustainable development. 

Finland is committed to the UN Agenda 2030 and the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Finnish local authorities have such a wide scope of functions that they implement 60 per cent of the SDGs. They pursue these goals in many areas, including the organisation of education and care, clean water and energy supply and waste management and sustainable transport.

Sustainable development scenarios and measures to support the work of local authorities 

- A sustainable local authority ensures both present and future generations equal prospects for a good life, while also considering nature’s carrying capacity. The work cities and municipalities do to promote sustainable development also increases their competitiveness and attractiveness, says the AFLRA’s CEO Minna Karhunen.

- We have issued a publication on sustainable development to support local authorities in this work. The publication presents four scenarios of future cities and municipalities and several measures to help local authorities of different sizes to work towards a more sustainable future. These measures are methods and practices that local authorities have found effective in building leadership, social sustainability, inclusion and communal interactions, climate and the environment, and economic sustainability, says Karhunen.

Scenarios are stories of alternative futures. The four scenarios presented in the publication depict four different futures, in which local authorities have addressed the challenge of sustainable development in different ways.

Read the descriptions to learn more about the prospects of cities and municipalities from the perspective of sustainable development. The sustainable development goals encompass sustainable leadership and ecological, social and economic sustainability. They help understand the kind of capabilities and skills that sustainable cities and municipalities will need in the future.

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