UN Sustainable Development Goals influence NAOF’s work

Finland is committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our work at the National Audit Office of Finland already supports the achievement of the agenda’s goals. In the future, we can audit the implementation of the agenda in Finland.

Finland benefits from the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

As a member of the United Nations, Finland is committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda’s goals are implemented in two ways: Through the Society’s Commitment, organisations and private persons – meaning any of us – can commit to the promotion of the sustainable development goals. Report of the Finnish Government on the 2030 Agenda is the Government’s action plan on achievement of the goals. The two focus areas of the Government’s action plan are a carbon-neutral and resource-smart Finland, as well as a non-discriminating, equal and competent Finland.

What does a carbon-neutral and resource-smart Finland mean? It means a country that no longer contributes to climate change. It means a country that uses resources in the best possible way, in a manner that promotes wellbeing and sustainable development. Innovations that will improve Finland’s competitiveness and thus promote the Finnish economy will be needed to achieve this goal.

What about a non-discriminating, equal and competent Finland? It means well-being of the population and a safe and stable society. It means a good operating environment for companies. It means that the rest of the world sees Finland as a country to invest in. It means a strong Finnish economy.

Sustainability will promote Finland’s competitiveness and economy in the long term. That is why striving for sustainable development is well worth it also for Finland.

We are already supporting the sustainable development goals – from the viewpoint of central government finances

We at the NAOF have not audited the implementation of the sustainable development goals so far. However, many of our audits are related to the sustainable development goals. For example, we are currently focusing on a theme of assessing how well the state of Finland has succeeded in the promotion of sustainable solutions. We recently reported in this blog on an audit included in this theme. This audit assessed the implementation of the Government’s cleantech strategy.

According to legislation, the task of the NAOF is to ensure the legality and effectiveness of the state’s financial management and compliance with the budget. Therefore, one of our goals is the promotion of good administration, in accordance with Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda.

Sustainability will promote not only Finland’s economy, but also central government finances in the long term. That is why the NAOF must monitor the promotion of sustainable development – from the viewpoint of central government finances.

In the future, we can audit the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

We at the NAOF have decided to participate in the 2030 Agenda by auditing its implementation and results in the years to come. The NAOF’s concrete role has been planned after publication of the Government Report. We will further specify the plans this spring.

In practice, we will be able to audit the Government’s reporting on sustainable development and prepare a summary of the national implementation of the goals at the end of each parliamentary term. Furthermore, we will be able to perform a variety of audits to check whether Finland has proceeded towards the target state of sustainability.

Discussion about environmental governance in April

At the end of April, the issue of environmental governance is to be discussed in Helsinki from the perspective of auditing. That is when the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAIWorking Group on Environmental Auditing will arrange a meeting that also covers the sustainable development goals. We will tell more about the meeting in our blog at the end of May.