Monday, 18 December 2017

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A mobile app for sustainable decision-making

Finnish Local Government App Funzi

A ground-breaking mobile application course has been launched in Finland as a digital pocket check list and inspiration for future local government employees ahead of the upcoming local government elections in April 2017.

Municipalities and their elected councillors will be at the forefront of sustainable decision-making on a local level.

So, in order to empower, enable and inspire local decision-makers to better integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into local policy, the app features a course on the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Agenda 2030, available in both Finnish and English, and hopefully soon in Swedish too.

The concept is simple: the course can be accessed by anyone on their smartphone or pc, and consists of different chapters on all 17 Goals, accessible in short segments one can dip into when time permits.

The app has been launched by the Finnish UN Association and UNDP, partnering with a startup called Funzi, a pioneering mobile learning service from Finland on a mission to make quality learning accessible to everyone – for free.

One of the main ideas with the app is to inspire, and positive examples of initiatives promoting sustainable solutions carried out in various cities have been assembled in the different learning cards of the course.


Sustainable snowball effect

The City of Lahti set a goal to reduce harmful emissions, but as local governance is only responsible for part of the emissions in the region, this required cooperation from other actors – so Lahti launched a Climate Challenge for local companies.

And in line with Sustainable Goal 10 (reduced inequalities), a project to create new solutions for identifying and supporting those at risk of social exclusion was launched by Sitra, a fund operating directly under the Finnish Parliament. The idea was to gather different parties who come into contact with young people, and help highlight cases of exclusion. The project was piloted in the cities of Kerava and Riihimäki, and became a permanent operations model in Espoo and Mikkeli in 2015. Hopes are high other cities will follow.

These are just some of the many examples of partnerships that have taken place in a city or municipality, and that now can act as a source of inspiration for other cities and local government employees.

The mobile course is available for free on any mobile browser at https://funzi.mobi/learn/sustainable-decision-making. The user can also nominate examples from their own municipality, where sustainable decision-making has in some way been supported or a project on sustainable development has been carried out.  The UN Association of Finland will publish the best examples closer to local government elections, which will also be included in the mobile course material.

“The global goals for sustainable development can be fulfilled only if the same principles guide local decision-making”, says Helena Laukko,  Executive Director of the UN Association of Finland. “Therefore it is important that municipal decision-makers are familiar with the Goals set together at the UN. Especially decisions on energy, transportation or waste management are directly those that should take long-term sustainability into account. That is why we have wanted to include also good examples of projects like these in Finnish municipalities in the mobile course.”

 

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