TALLINN – The government on Thursday approved and forwarded to the Riigikogu the country's long-term development strategy for the period until 2035.
The main focus of the development strategy is on our people's health, readiness for change, and relationship with the living environment, spokespeople for the government said. The strategy will guide the development of the whole Estonian society in the next couple of tens of years. It is closely linked with the process of the state budget and will serve as basis for the planning of EU funding in the next period.
Prime Minister Juri Ratas said that Estonia stands face to face with very burning future issues such as rapid ageing of the population, rapid changes on the labor market, and climate problems, which serve both as a litmus test and an opportunity for us.
"Estonia has needed a long-term roadmap for a long time. In the strategy, it has been put forward in cooperation between many people to where and how fast Estonia wishes to move in the next 15 and more years," Ratas said. He said that the smart and active person valuing their health stands at the center of the goals of the Estonian economy, living environment and public governance in the strategy.
Achieving just one goal requires changes in very many fields, such as education, the system of health, or the organization of culture, in the coming few years, the prime minister said.
The objectives of the strategy approved by the government ensure that also 15 years from now, residents of Estonia are smart, active, and value their health, the Estonian society is caring, cooperation-minded and open, and the economy is strong, innovative and responsible. The focus also lies on ensuring a safe and quality living environment that takes into account everyone's needs, as well as ensuring an innovative, trustworthy and human-centered state.
In addition to the the five strategic goals, the strategy covers Estonia's development needs and main necessary changes in the nearest decade.
A plan setting out the activities necessary for the implementation of "Estonia 2035" complete with the names of the parties to lead them and the metrics by which to measure progress constitutes an important part of the strategy.
"We don't want the strategy to be left to gather dust on the shelf, therefore we have brought together in it the main changes and activities for achieving the goals and have set out very specific metrics that we will be monitoring regularly. For instance, these include an increase in the number of years lived healthily, the proportion of obese people, the rate of participation in lifelong learning, and also Estonia's place in the global business freedom rankings," Ratas said. "A couple of tens of ambitious metrics in total will give us continuous feedback on whether we are on the right path with change."
Nearly 17,000 people have contributed their knowledge and expectations to the "Estonia 2035" strategy over a period of two years. The strategy has been prepared in collaboration between scientists, experts, partners, politicians, entrepreneurs and may people of Estonia, and it is based on numerous discussions, analyses, reports about Estonia, and an Estonia-wide opinion gathering.
The authorities responsible for the preparation, implementation and coordination of the amendment of the strategy are the Government Office and the Ministry of Finance.