Minister Mikkonen to attend UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit and Sustainable Development Summit in New York

Press release 2019-09-19 at 10:22

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen will travel to New York for the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit and the Sustainable Development Summit in New York on 20–25 September. The meetings are part of the opening week of the UN General Assembly.

The summit on Monday 23 September will encourage countries to increase the ambition of their emissions reduction targets and prepare carbon neutrality plans for 2050. The meeting will include talks from a small number of selected countries with ambitious and realistic plans to mitigate climate change, finance low-carbon development or adapt to climate change. Finland was invited into the group of speakers thanks to our Government Programme’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. The countries were selected by the Secretariat under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Climate Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba.

“Finland can present its carbon neutrality target for 2035 with great joy and pride. What the world needs now is the courage to do things differently, and Finland is ready for this. Climate is not a separate policy area – it is a key part of our foreign, economic and employment policy,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen. Finland's talk in New York will be given by the head of the Finnish delegation, President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö.

Finland will also participate in the meeting as the holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

“The EU is working to align its own policy with the 1.5-degree target. The EU's long-term climate strategy, aiming for carbon neutrality in 2050, will be finalised during the autumn. Once we have agreed on a common goal, we can determine the necessary steps along the way. It is clear that the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target must also be updated accordingly,” Minister Mikkonen says.

The Climate Summit is expected to lead to new financing and emissions reduction commitments, along with international initiatives. Finland is a partner country in a variety of climate actions, including an initiative on meteorology and early warning systems that aims to improve preparedness for the risks of climate change in the most vulnerable societies. Finland also supports initiatives related to gender equality, promoting climate action and health, and ensuring a just transition, among others. In addition to discussing commitments, participants will issue statements based on different themes.

There will also be a Youth Climate Summit on the Saturday before the meeting, 21 September, where Finland will be represented by climate delegate Sara Nyman from Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi. In addition to the Youth Summit, Minister Mikkonen will attend events organised by various initiatives, including the World Nature Foundation's WWF dinner, and meet with Chilean Minister of the Environment Carolina Schmidt, World Meteorological Organisation Director-General Petteri Taalas, UN Secretary-General of the Convention on Biological Diversity Cristiana Paşca Palmer and UN Secretary-General of the Convention on Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw.

UN Sustainable Development Summit to assess the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

At the SDG Summit on 24–25 September, Heads of State and Government will convene for the first time to assess how we are progressing in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. The discussion will be based on the Global Sustainable Development Report published before the summit, which does not paint a rosy picture of the progress. The analysis of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda has been carried out by an independent group of 15 researchers, including Eeva Furman from the Finnish Environment Institute.

The report highlights six factors that play a key role in achieving sustainable development: citizens' wellbeing and opportunities for action, a sustainable and just economy, sustainable food systems, sustainable energy, urban sustainability and safeguarding the world’s natural systems.

“As we can see from the list, achieving the objectives of the 2030 Agenda will only be possible if we are able to resolve the sustainability crisis caused by overconsumption of natural resources, climate change and the loss of biodiversity. We must finally put this at the centre of politics in our countries and throughout the world,” Minister Mikkonen says.

In connection with the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Minister Mikkonen will speak at several events, including the meeting of the World Green Building Council, where the sector will publish its vision for achieving zero emissions along the whole life cycle of buildings by 2050.


Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 414 1682 (in New York 20–25 September, note: time difference -7 hours)

Climate Summit: Outi Honkatukia, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 341 1758, (in New York 20–24 September, note: time difference -7 hours)

World Summit on Sustainable Development: Annika Lindblom, Counsellor of International Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 163, (in New York 20–25 September, note: time difference -7 hours)

Requests for interviews: Riikka Lamminmäki, Head of Communications, Ministry of the Environment,, tel. +358 50 576 2604, (in New York 20–25 September, note: time difference -7 hours)

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