Minister Paatero's opening speech in the seminar From Vision to Transformation

Minister Paatero's opening speech in the seminar  From Vision to Transformation – Discussion on new Post-2015 Agenda, 27.2.2015.

May I start by expressing my appreciation to the organizers for this opportunity to discuss this very topical issue today. 

In 2015 ambitious decisions on sustainable development and poverty eradication will be taken in three high level meetings that will influence the direction of global development for years to come.

The third International Conference on Financing for Development in July and the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 agenda in September - provide a platform to agree on a new sustainable development agenda. The year will end with the negotiation on a climate change agreement in Paris. Success in these negotiations is pivotal in showing what kind of a world we want to leave and build for the future generations.

In what follows, I will present some points that in my view require special attention.

We consider it very important that the new sustainable development agenda will combine the goals, the meansforimplementation and a global monitoring into one single agenda.

This is an important but also a challenging task that requires transformation of established thinking, approaches and structures from all partners. I am happy to note, that the UN development system has already started to reflect on its role in relation to the new agenda with a series of discussions under the heading "Fit for Purpose."

The sustainable development agenda will be comprehensive in scope. It aims to end poverty and achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental.

Integrated approaches are needed and synergies will need to be sought. Actions and improvements in one domain should be supportive of actions in other domains. Therefore, policy coherence is more important than ever.

One of the most important changes is that the new agenda is universal. It has implications on all countries and peoples. It is very important that the new agenda includes human rights and inequalities so that no one is left behind. Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls are also vital for sustainable development and an issue that Finland sees as a priority.

On the other hand, achieving sustainable development requires that we take account of different country situations. National ownership, leadership and political will need to be shown by all. Global goals will be achieved when they resonate with national plans and targets.

Progress will depend on all actors working in partnership and upholding their commitments. Responsibility at the national level is primary, but governments cannot achieve the SDGs by themselves. Partnerships beyond traditional channels of cooperation, and changes in the way stakeholders collaborate are required.

Enabling policy environment is one of the core elements of the global partnership that is key for the new agenda to be successful.

An ambitious agenda also needs strong means of implementation. It is widely recognized that financing will need to be mobilized from a variety of sources. All domestic and international, private and public means should be harnessed to contribute to find the necessary means to finance the agenda. True transformation can be achieved only by bringing together resources, talent and commitment of all actors.

For us it is necessary to emphasize the domestic resources as the basis for national sustainable development. Tax reforms, wider tax base, stopping illicit financial flows and work against corruption start at home but need to be supported by international efforts.

Strong commitment and responsible action by private sector to sustainable development is one important and necessary contribution to implementation. ODA will continue to play a central role in financing, especially for the poorest and fragile states.

I would like to stress that the options put forward in the report by the (Intergovernmental) Committee (of Experts) on Sustainable Development Financing co-chaired by Ambassador Majanen, serves as an excellent reference as regards means of implementation.

The means of implementation also cover a wide range of non-financial means which are equally important. The new agenda will stress exchange of knowledge on how to use technology and innovation, trade, science, knowledge and expertise sharing, capacity building and other similar approaches to advance the new agenda.

Monitoring, review and accountability must take place at national, regional and global levels. Such mechanisms must be based on transparency and participation even though developing the required framework to monitor progress through an inclusive process will take time.

In this process, the idea of mutual learning and sharing good experiences between all countries is what we are looking for. Monitoring and review is also a great way to direct action and resources where they are needed.

Finland is committed to playing our full part in all aspects of the agenda including means of implementation, and we encourage other partners, like the emerging economies, to contribute their fair share.

As regards national implementation, Finland is in a good position: We have structures and clear vision in place on how to promote sustainable development nationally. Our strongly participatory national social commitment to sustainable development – called "The Finland we want by 2050" - aims at a prosperous Finland within the limits of the carrying capacity of nature.

In the coming months, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment will together promote this globally unique model in various international fora as an example of a new concept to engage all actors of society in advancing sustainable development.

Let us remember that many of the Millennium Development Goals have been achieved. A great deal more can be done in the following 15 years if we put our minds and actions to it together. We have also learned a lot from the past and the ongoing negotiations provide an opportunity to build on that.  Our ambition must match with the task ahead.

I hope you all get some inspiration from today's discussions. The world faces big challenges with the Post2015 agenda but at the the same time we are at a very interesting turning point that ables us to make better future for generations to come.

Thank you all for your attention and interest!