Quality of life in Baltic Cities

Publication date:
November, 2010

It was 18 years ago, in 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, when the idea of sustainable development was first time recognized at a high political level. The governments of the world committed to promote sustainable development in their national activities and international co-operation. As a result of the Rio Conference, the world began to understand that uncontrolled economic growth, poverty and population growth have significant adverse effects on the global environment. It also gave rise to a common understanding that matters relating to environmental protection, economic growth and social welfare are essentially linked to each other.

Now the Governments are preparing for the follow-up conference of Rio, the so called Rio+20 Conference, to be organized in 2012. The challenges we face today cannot be characterized as new, but they are more often happening simultaneously in various policy fields multiplied by increasing global interdependence. Manyfold challenges call for political leadership, cooperation at all levels and smart down-to-earth solutions.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in an approach which calls for a transition to a sustainable society by boosting new innovative solutions at the same time as presuming changes in production, consumption and lifestyles. Mutually reinforcing, parallel changes in technology, the economy, institutions, ecology, culture, education, lifestyle and religions, for example, can give rise to a positive ring of activity.

We have recognized that regional and local actors can often go further than national governments in shaking up the business as usual. We want to learn from local initiatives and translate them into joint solutions. That’s why we are inviting the local, regional and national experts, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs all around the Nordic and Baltic regions, and beyond, to participate in the SOLUTIONS local, together –Conference in Turku, Finland on 31 January – 2 February 2011. The objective of the Conference is to bring sustainable solutions available for all and inspire various actors to change their practices, working methods, services and products also in the long term. Sharing good practices and multiplying new solutions contribute to cooperation and entrepreneurship, create new partnerships and socio-cultural models and strengthen the state of sustainable development in the region. There is a need to revitalize the concept of sustainable development by linking it to practical solutions which can bring about simultaneous environmental, social and economic benefits to all. Welcome to Turku to learn more about our common solutions.

Annika Lindblom
Chair of the Conference Steering Group
Ministry of the Environment, Finland