PM: Innovation helps Estonia to be at forefront of sustainable development

  • 2020-07-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas at a high-level political forum of the United Nations presented a national review of the implementation of the UN's sustainable development goals in Estonia, noting that innovation helps Estonia be at the forefront of sustainable development.

According to the review, Estonia has improved the situation in several areas over the past four years and ranks tenth globally according to a sustainable development report presented to the UN.

The prime minister said Estonia's high position shows our commitment to the goals of sustainable development. "A country is sustainable if people's living standards improve, we have a safe and clean living environment, and natural resources are used wisely to increase the competitiveness of the economy. The Estonian report confirms that we take the importance of sustainable development and the scale of the challenge very seriously. For example, we have linked the goals of sustainable development to national policy and proceeded from them when drawing up the country's long-term strategy 'Estonia 2035'," Ratas said.

According to the prime minister, keeping track of progress in a systematic and transparent way is essential for delivering the 2030 agenda. In order to visualize significant data and statistics, the Government Office and Statistics Estonia have created a web-based application, the Tree of Truth, which provides an honest and unbiased view of how Estonia is developing as a state and nation.

"The green leaves of the Tree of Truth give reason to celebrate -- Estonian education, for example, is among the best in the world, we are doing well in achieving renewable energy goals and our e-solutions make government services quick and easily accessible for everyone. Yellow and red leaves, however, indicate areas in which we must continue our effort or increase our contribution. For example, our economy is too energy and resource intensive. We still have a large gender pay gap and we need to reduce the risk of poverty for women and families with children with disabilities," Ratas said.

According to the prime minister, discussions concerning sustainable development have found a foothold in society as a whole and entrepreneurs, members of civil society and all the people of Estonia are also helping to find practical ways to implement global goals.

"The hackathon 'Hack the Crisis' organized in March this year helped find solutions for the technological problems that have showed up during the COVID-19 crisis. Beginning in Estonia and later growing into a global movement, it helped countries emerge stronger from the crisis, but was also an excellent example of how science, innovation and information and communications technology (ICT) solutions help us accelerate the implementation of sustainable development goals and cooperate even in unexpected situations," Ratas said.

Mihkel Annus, head of Estonia's sustainable development commission, also issued a statement in the framework of the prime minister's presentation.

The global sustainable development goals and the action plan until 2030 were adopted at an UN summit on Sept. 25, 2015. The declaration by heads of state and heads of government lists 17 global goals and 169 sub-goals in sustainable development, along with guidelines for their implementation and a system of reporting.