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Openness, fairness and cooperation

Openness and fairness are important principles in the city’s activities. Open decision-making and different opportunities for citizens to participate are the foundations of good governance.

The City of Helsinki emphasises honesty, fairness, equal treatment and openness in all its activities. Helsinki’s services are open to all, and many are also free of charge.

The City of Helsinki’s ethical principles apply to all of the city’s employees and elected officials. The principles guide all of the city’s activities in work communities and with partners. All the city’s work units are also familiar with ethical principles through materials for virtual orientation. SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) has been identified as a cross-cutting goal in this regard.

Partnerships are an integral part of sustainable development work

Helsinki has been actively cooperating with the Prime Minister’s Office, which coordinates national sustainable development work. Close cooperation also takes place with the six largest cities in Finland, the Ministry of the Environment and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

Helsinki has actively participated in cooperation promoting sustainable development at the national and international level. Helsinki participates in many different networks or projects promoting sustainable development, including Eurocities, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative and the Bloomberg Foundation’s projects.

Helsinki also actively participates in the WHO Healthy Cities Network. In particular, the work internationally promotes the targets of SDG 3 (Good health and well-being) by developing the Culture Kids activities and memory-friendly Helsinki and promoting models for affirmative action.

Helsinki has also highlighted the SDG work in the networks it coordinates. For example, a cooperation seminar on the promotion of the SDGs was organised for the Helsinki Climate Partners, as part of which the Climate Partners were asked about their SDG-related activities.

More than 90% of the respondents said that they take the SDGs into account in their activities. The Climate Partners comprise almost 90 members, most of which are large companies and research and education institutions operating in Helsinki.

International cooperation

Agenda 2030 is increasingly becoming a key reference framework for sustainable development. By setting an example in the utilisation and reporting of the SDGs at the local level, Helsinki can promote sustainable development globally and have a wider impact on the state of the world than just within its own borders.

Helsinki’s SDG work has contributed to the emergence and deepening of many strategic international partnerships. Helsinki has, in a completely new way, managed to enter into cooperation with UN institutions (e.g. UN-HABITAT, UN DESA, UN General Assembly and the High-Level Political Forum HLPF) and to represent cities and promote urban goals in these forums.

The City of Helsinki is one of the dozen or so cities globally to have been invited to participate in the SDG Leadership Cities network, which is coordinated by the Brookings Institution, one of the most prestigious think tanks in the world. Among the partner cities, cooperation with the City of New York in particular has received a significant boost from the SDG cooperation.