Municipal election programme
Adopted at the meeting of the party delegation on 21 February 2021
We can do anything when we decide so.
This municipal election is about whether we decide to build a better tomorrow together. The Greens support the weakest, the small, and nature, even when times are tough.
We have to solve the climate crisis, the loss of nature, and the future of everyday services that are important to people in a situation in which the finances of many municipalities are tight. Solutions can be found as long as we stick to our strengths – our determination and our ability to empathise with others. These strengths have carried us Finns forward before, and are needed on our continuing journey.
Municipalities have a lot of power in Finland. In municipalities, we head towards a sustainable future: combating climate change, investing in education, protecting our precious nature, supporting the weakest, and strengthening well-being, mental health and equality. In municipalities, we can bring about fair change. In this Green Election programme, we show how it can be done.
The municipal elections in the spring of 2021 will be held in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic, which will have a long-term impact on municipal operations and the lives of local residents. We will have to repair the financial and welfare debt caused by the virus in the municipalities for years.
Now is the worst possible moment to cut from our children’s education on which the future will be built. It is the worst possible moment to cut back on services that prevent the growth of inequality. The economic crises are leaving a long shadow, and we cannot afford a lost generation. It is possible to avoid the damage of previous crises. Equality and caring need municipal defenders right now.
In a green municipality, everyone can feel part of the community. Amenities are within easy reach and hobbies can be found for everyone from jerks to dangers. The library serves as a common living room and nature is close. On the one hand you drive with biogas and electric cars, and on the other you jump onto a tram, commuter train or the back of a bike. Various solutions are needed across the country.
These days, every Finnish municipality needs the courage to defend what is valuable and build hope for a better tomorrow. It takes determination to stop the climate crisis and seize the opportunities for clean solutions. It takes courage to resist injustice and short-sightedness. It also requires willpower to ask questions and involve people in participation.
We Finns can do anything when we decide so.
Now is the time to build a sustainable future.
Tomorrow, Finland will be green.
– Maria Ohisalo
A municipality that fights the climate crisis and takes care of nature is green
Solutions for combating climate change, nurturing biodiversity and improving the environment differ in various parts of Finland. Fair change requires the identification of regional differences and their consideration in climate and environmental policy. Local climate work creates new jobs and comfortable living environments, and that is what fair change is all about.
1. Climate change is solved in municipalities
In a green municipality, combating climate change, adjusting to it and increasing the capacity for change and resilience related to environmental problems are part of all the municipality’s activities. In a green municipality, residents can create a sustainable lifestyle for themselves.
The Greens want to make all Finnish municipalities pioneers in climate work. Many municipalities have set ambitious climate targets. The goal of the Greens is for all municipalities to be carbon neutral by the 2030s at the latest.
Much of Finland’s emissions are in the hands of municipal decision-makers. They decide how the municipality’s electricity and heat are produced, how transport is organised, and how climate-friendly products are procured in the municipalities. However, it is not enough for a municipal or city organisation to reduce its own emissions to zero, but together with residents and companies in the area, opportunities must be created to live without climate emissions. This requires increased co-operation between municipalities, organisations, companies and residents.
- Abandon all fossil fuels, i.e. coal, peat, oil and natural gas in all municipalities. A target year will be set for abandoning fossil fuels in each municipality.
- Create a roadmap for each municipality to move to a carbon-neutral future and develop municipal sustainable development budgeting.
- Make the circular economy and energy and material efficiency part of everyday life in every home municipality and region. For example, biogas production recycles local biowaste, sewage sludge, manure and agricultural by-products into fuel and fertiliser.
- Improve energy efficiency in municipal properties and increase buildings’ own energy production. Guide property owners to improve energy efficiency and use low-emission energy.
- Replace peat and other fossil fuels in energy production, primarily by non-combustion methods and, where necessary, by genuinely sustainable biomass.
- Strengthen procurement expertise and ensure the ecological, ethical and global responsibility of procurement.
- Prioritise low-emission and ecologically sustainable raw materials, organic and local food in school and kindergarten meals, as well as in municipal staff restaurants, and reduce the share of animal-based food. Make sure a vegan option is available.
- Get local residents involved in climate work and take people’s own starting points into account. Listen to the youth climate movement.
- Take conservation and enhancement of carbon sinks and carbon stocks in municipal land use and forest management into consideration. Promote carbon sequestration in fields leased by the municipality.
2. Biodiversity is nurtured in municipalities
Nature is dear to Finns, and it must be possible to enjoy it both in the countryside and in cities. A green municipality protects nature and animals and is involved in halting the loss of nature and the ongoing wave of extinction. Municipalities and cities have an important role to play in nature conservation, as solutions to safeguard biodiversity are often local. The government has made historically large investments in nature conservation, so now municipalities have money available to protect nature at record levels.
Nearby urban forests, parks and recreational areas are important for biodiversity, but they also play a major role in human health and well-being. Diverse nature, free-flowing clean waters and green residential areas are the attractions of municipalities. In a green municipality, they are accessible to everyone.
Cities and municipalities own significant amounts of forest and other natural areas. In a green municipality, forestry is based on continuous cultivation, securing carbon sinks and carbon stocks, safeguarding and enhancing biodiversity, as well as the recreational use of forests and sustainable forestry. A green municipality is a pioneer in preserving the natural values of forests.
A green municipality has many parks, street trees, green courtyards and green roofs. At the same time, part of urban nature is left in its natural state to support the species and vital pollinators living in the core of the city. Biodiversity will also be increased in town centres.
A green municipality is also animal-friendly and purposefully promotes animal welfare. Animal welfare problems are solved and prevented.
- To incorporate the strengthening of biodiversity into municipal and city strategies, policy programmes and practical measures.
- To establish at least one protected area in each municipality during the election period. Urgently protect all forests owned by the municipality that meet the criteria of the METSO programme.
- In land-use planning, to ensure the preservation of ecosystems by demonstrating sufficient green and water area networks in planning.
- To create an ambitious nature conservation programme for all municipalities, and implement it determinedly.
- To integrate habitat restoration into municipal nature conservation measures.
- To manage municipal forests and involve residents so that they safeguard biodiversity as well as landscape and recreational values.
- To take care of water bodies and fish stocks by dismantling barriers to the migration of migratory fish, building fishing routes, and restoring running waters.
- To increase diversity by turning lawns into meadows; managing open areas through, for example, grazing; and nurturing habitats for endangered species.
- To reduce the use of pesticides in landscaping and favour food produced without pesticides in school and kindergarten meals as well as in municipal staff restaurants.
- No construction plans in areas of endangered habitats or species occurrences: the ecological disadvantages are compensated.
- No mining or other industrial activities located in or near valuable natural sites.
- To secure municipal veterinary services. To develop an animal welfare plan for the municipality and strengthen co-operation between local animal welfare actors.
3. Building sustainable and comfortable municipalities and cities
The foundation of a green urban area and the city centre is compactness and accessibility: In a ‘15-minute municipality’, various services and leisure activities but also the nearby forests are conveniently reachable by bike, on foot or by public transport – about a 15-minute journey away. The centres of the smaller municipalities are lively and compact, so errands can be run on foot. The whole municipality should feel like home and must function for all kinds of citizens. Accessibility is a value that the Greens won’t compromise on.
Also in rural areas, where distances are long, community structure matters, as functional and intact villages create community spirit and bring meaning as well as a sense of security to residents. In addition, villages make it easier to arrange carpools, road maintenance, water supply and telecommunications connections.
A green municipality also protects nature and combats climate change through planning. By concentrating new construction largely on areas that have already been built and by bringing the community structure closer together, we are saving nature. At the same time, we want to secure access to nearby nature and ecological networks in growing cities as well.
The high cost of housing affects many, especially in growing areas. Adequate housing production will be ensured in a green municipality, and affordable housing will be added so that everyone can find a home that meets their needs.
A beautiful environment improves people’s quality of life and health, and also encourages them to spend time in shared spaces. Investing in architecture, architectural heritage and cultural environments creates comfort and strengthens the municipality’s identity. A green municipality also protects its historically and architecturally valuable buildings.
- Ensure that the municipality’s carbon neutrality targets guide planning and necessitate climate impact assessment in planning.
- Promote the expansion of ecological networks and amenity in cities and urban areas by increasing street trees, green roofs, and other vegetation amidst the already built environment.
- Ensure adequate housing production in growth centres and thereby curb the growth of housing prices and rents.
- Increase the volumes of affordable housing production and plan more student housing
- Prevent the increased inequality of areas by ensuring that all residential areas have a wide range of rental and owned apartments.
- Extend the life cycle of buildings. We will increase solutions that favour the energy efficiency of buildings, wood construction and other non-fossil materials.
- Protect the regional architectural heritage and distinctive history. Green municipalities invest in high-quality architecture.
- Make the built environment and buildings accessible and age-friendly.
- Strengthen the safety of the urban environment, taking into account the needs of special groups such as children, the elderly, or people with reduced mobility.
- Promote projects where residents can plan for future areas and their surroundings. Ensure that residents are genuinely consulted.
- Develop the vitality and amenity of town centres by promoting the accessibility of local services on foot or by bicycle.
4. Making transport sustainable
A green municipality allows low-emission mobility for everyone, regardless of where they live. In large cities, this means improving conditions for walking, cycling and public transport. Biogas and electric cars, as well as carpools, can reduce emissions in places where it does not make sense to organise public transport.
Cycling and walking can be promoted in built-up areas of all sizes. It encourages more climate-friendly mobility and creates a safer environment as road accidents are reduced. Electric bicycles make it easier to get around. The euros invested in cycling and walking return to municipalities manyfold as positive health effects.
In a green municipality, a comprehensive and functional broadband network and digitalisation reduce the need to travel and enable a smooth everyday life away from services.
- To reduce the need to move around cities and built-up areas through planning aimed at a dense community structure that organises public transport efficiently.
- To increase rail traffic both in local transport in large urban areas and between urban areas. Local train-based pilot projects will be launched across the country.
- To increase the attractiveness of public transport and make it an option for more people. Reduce public transport fares and ensure that special groups such as young people, students and pensioners have at least a 50% discount.
- To boost the popularity of walking and cycling by building better walking and cycling paths, improving their winter maintenance and drawing up walking and cycling promotion programmes in each municipality.
- To promote the development of urban walking centres. A cosy town centre attracts people, which is in the interests of both local residents and business.
- To introduce city bike systems in all urban areas.
- To ensure smooth travel chains and build easily accessible bicycle parks for public transport stations.
- To promote lower-emission motoring in less populated areas by encouraging municipalities, housing associations and companies to build electric vehicle charging points and biogas car refuelling stations.
- In major cities, congestion charges can be introduced to ensure traffic flow and minimise the inconvenience of driving. Proceeds will be channelled to support public transport. In smaller municipalities, on-call traffic and various new transport services should also be utilised and further developed.
- Abandon the parking standards that determine the minimum amount of parking in a comprehensive public transport area and move to market-based parking.
A municipality that invests in education is green
Finnish history is a story about the power of education. Through education, we have become one of the most developed and happiest countries in the world in just one hundred years. Education is also the key to securing Finland’s future well-being. In a green municipality, we can make Finnish education the best in the world.
Every child and young person is important. A green municipality ensures that the dreams of every child and young person are equally valuable. Care is taken that anyone in this country can become anything.
In a civilised green society, everyone is guaranteed an equal right to high-quality, free education from early childhood schooling to higher education and lifelong learning. In a green municipality, education is the core mission of the municipality. It is an investment in the future.
A civilised heart is created through culture and community as well as enjoyable, meaningful life in municipalities and cities. In a civilised green society, culture is an important element in people’s well-being and a municipality’s vitality.
1. Early childhood education provides the tools for life
Early childhood is a unique life stage during which individuals learn more than any other time in their lives. During this time, the foundation is laid for the values that underpin all life as well as respect for other people and nature, identity and self-esteem.
In a green municipality, every child has the right to high-quality early childhood education. It means small enough groups, skilled staff, a stimulating environment and support for learning and well-being problems. In a green municipality, first-class early childhood education equalises the various starting points of children, prevents them from dropping out of school and prevents social exclusion.
Equal, safe and high-quality early childhood education promotes a child’s development and lays the foundation for future learning. Children who are in a vulnerable position in particular benefit.
- To ensure that each child is part of a permanent and suitably small group of children in his/her kindergarten.
- To provide support to the child and family for learning and behavioural challenges at an early stage.
- To invest in the resources and skills of kindergarten staff in supporting the child’s learning and strengthening emotional and interaction skills through play, exercise and art.
- To secure the human resources and skills of people working in early childhood education in municipalities by improving the attractiveness of the sector as well as by increasing the maximum intake in early childhood teacher education.
- To invest in the development of gender-conscious early childhood education by ensuring that kindergarten staff receive in-service training on the subject.
- To strive for municipalities to switch to free early childhood education, which would increase the attractiveness of early childhood education and at the same time improve the working life of parents of young children.
- To make early childhood education for five-year-olds truly free of charge.
- To increase environmental education and learning in nature in early childhood education. To secure forest areas and parks near kindergartens for nature education.
- To bring nature to kindergartens: woodland, grass and planting boxes.
- To take children with an immigrant background into account as their own special group by providing intensified Finnish language-teaching to those who need it, and by investing in co-operation between kindergartens and children’s and family services.
2. Equal right to quality education
We want schools that are full of the joy of learning and discovery. In a green municipality, people study in healthy facilities, reading skills are strengthened, exclusion is prevented, and after-school activities exist.
Schools must have time for safe encounters without hurry where the child or young person is seen as an individual. Teachers must be able to support the learning of both slower and faster learners and understand the different ways of learning. In all situations – even in exceptional times – it is important to ensure that every child receives the support they need in a timely manner and that co-operation between school and welfare services works. No student should be left behind.
A meaningful learning path for everyone after primary school will also be ensured. Quality education and equal opportunities for self-development are the guarantee of the future of a functioning society.
- To guarantee equal basic education for everyone.
- To set aside adequate resources to combat inequality. To provide student care and learning support, as well as mental health services for children and young people as well as social support for families.
- To ensure healthy and safe learning spaces. To prevent indoor air problems with timely repairs and proper supervision of buildings. To address the symptoms of children and teachers immediately and report problems openly.
- To make certain that group sizes do not increase excessively and that opportunities for simultaneous teaching, small groups and shared classes are available.
- To guarantee that there are sufficient resource and special education teachers and school counsellors.
- To ensure the right to education in Finnish or Swedish as a second language as well as education in one’s mother tongue
- To make certain that no one’s school trip becomes unreasonably long.
- To ensure that every child and young person, regardless of their area of residence, has the opportunity to learn in a nice school with good teachers. Particular support will be given to schools with more challenges.
- To make sure teachers’ resilience and opportunities to update their skills are supported. In this way, we will ensure that the children and young people of the future also receive world-class education and early childhood education. To combat teacher layoffs.
- To invest in the development of children’s and young people’s literacy in every municipality.
- In each municipality, to guarantee the opportunity for recreational activities in connection with the school day and to participate in morning and afternoon activities for every child. To intensify the school’s co-operation with various sports, youth and cultural organisations and basic art education. Implement a hobby guarantee.
- To guarantee meaningful secondary education for all those who have completed primary school. To ensure adequate contact teaching and individual study paths.
- To ensure that people with disabilities and young people from various special groups have access to the education they want, and that it is adequately resourced to meet specific needs.
- To promote free secondary education and provide municipalities with the necessary resources.
- To build affordable student housing and student-friendly municipalities. Effective student services create a good operating environment for universities, high schools and vocational schools operating in the municipality.
- To utilise the lessons learned from exceptional circumstances in developing distance learning.
- To guarantee the possibility for families with an immigrant background to support their children’s schooling by bringing Finnish language-teaching specifically targeted at immigrant mothers to schools.
- To ensure that preparatory education is sufficient in real time to enable the child or young person to move on to pre-primary, primary or secondary education.
3. The right to be accepted, receive the support one needs, and to grow as a person
In a green municipality, everyone has room to grow into a unique individual without fear of bullying, harassment or discrimination. Better recognition of the diversity of children and young people in all municipal services. Raise children and young people in schools to operate in a diverse world.
Youth work is an important tool in supporting young people and providing meaningful services. It is all too often the subject of budget cuts. High-quality youth work is part of a green municipality’s basic activities to prevent and reduce the problems of young people.
A green municipality builds strong democracy by emphasising dialogue, co-operation and mutual understanding. Children and young people are consulted in decisions that affect them.
- To support the personal identity of children and young people. The school should break down unnecessary gender roles and stereotypes both in and outside the classroom.
- To ensure that every municipality is good for children and that the rights of the child are realised in the daily life of every child. To make a child impact assessment of municipal decisions.
- To make school a safe place for every child. Racism, bullying and discrimination are to be actively prevented and addressed immediately.
- To guarantee the existence of a youth centre and other meeting places in all municipalities. To ensure, through active youth work, that young people have the opportunity to meet safe adults in the places where they spend their free time. Ensure that a safe meeting place is found for rainbow youth.
- Ensure adequate support for learning from early childhood education to secondary education. Offer support measures as multi-professional co-operation to support learning, e.g. study guidance, special education, curator and psychologist services. To provide adequate personal guidance for each pupil and student.
- To improve the opportunities for children and young people to participate in decision-making in schools as well as in municipal decision-making.
4. Culture and libraries make everyone more civilised
In a green municipality, it is understood that culture has the power to create prosperity, civilisation, equality and new thinking. It is important for people’s well-being and creativity, as well as for the vitality of municipalities. Culture brings people together.
In a green municipality, a right to nice things and experiences belongs to everyone. The threshold to enter a library, theatre, concert, museum, or gallery is low. By supporting culture, more and more people are offered opportunities to both realise themselves and enjoy art. Strengthening cultural diversity in society also supports the well-being of minorities.
In a green municipality, the importance of professionally produced culture and art, for the vitality of the municipality, is recognised. Every euro invested in culture returns manyfold. This is why culture and the livelihood of cultural professionals should be supported. They support the services of town centres, strengthen the municipal economy, and bring cash flow to the city core. In a green municipality, village community centres and village schools serve as hubs for civic and recreational activities and important meeting places in the countryside.
- To promote the regional accessibility of cultural services and expand the range of free cultural services. To strengthen the community spirit of residential areas, neighbourhoods and villages, through art, sports, hobbies and library activities.
- To increase the amount of art in the public arena in accordance with the percentage principle and encourage the addition of street art, for example, through public painting walls and murals.
- To ensure adequate funding for cultural actors and art professionals in the municipality. Ensure that grants are also accessible to those in new art forms and the free field of art.
- To support grassroots voluntary cultural activities by providing affordable facilities and ensuring that organising events and activities is easy and permissible. This way we also increase the vitality of towns and villages.
- To involve residents in the planning and implementation of cultural services.
- To welcome residents’ own ideas, as interesting events are an important part of a vibrant and attractive municipality and contribute to residents’ well-being.
- To support local residents’ own activeness and organise community events by removing bureaucratic hurdles and also providing funding opportunities for new and non-established activities.
- To expand the opening hours of libraries and develop the role of libraries as cultural centres and places of participation for the whole nation – without forgetting their basic mission, which is to lend books.
- To guarantee the quality and accessibility of basic art education so that fees do not become an obstacle to anyone’s artistic pursuits. Basic art education is part of the municipality’s cultural service network.
- To invest in children’s culture. All children are to be offered the opportunity to make art at least once during their compulsory education programme, under the guidance of an art educator or professional artist.
- To encourage young people to use cultural services with, e.g. a cultural card or youth passport.
A municipality that takes care of everyone’s well-being is green
The goal of the Greens is a Finland in which everyone gets the help they need and even those who are silent have a voice in society. Municipalities have a great responsibility for the well-being of residents and their promotion, as they are responsible for many services that promote the physical, mental and social well-being of everyone, even after the social and health care reform.
Basic services must be accessible to all, regardless of wealth or place of residence. A green municipality invests in preventive services, as it is always the best option socially, humanistically and economically.
A green municipality safeguards fundamental and human rights for all people. Everyone has the right to feel part of this society. Well-functioning safety nets and smooth access to services are part of the experience.
A green municipality ensures that Swedish-, Sámi- and sign-speaking people receive services in their own mother tongue. A service culture should be developed that is language-conscious as well as plain and clear in expression.
Modern technology enables providing many important services of the welfare state to a large number conveniently – also digitally. However, the rapid development of digitalisation can displace people and groups of people. In a green municipality, this is prevented by providing advice, guidance and assistance in using services, as well as a physical service option for those who are unable to use digital services themselves.
1. We are fighting poverty
In a green municipality, poverty is reduced in all population and age groups. The tightened economic situation of families is reflected in municipalities, and in Finland it is typical that poverty is passed on from one generation to the next. It is important to support low-income residents in maintaining a good everyday life. In a green municipality, everyone has the right to receive help and support at a low threshold.
The acute need for substance abuse work and the problems of homelessness are most visible in large cities. On the other hand, expert substance abuse work and housing-focused social work skills are needed in all municipalities. The well-being of vulnerable local residents must be supported by making sure that everyone has the opportunity to rest, wash and take care of their hygiene.
Health promotion is important in the fight against poverty, as poverty and health problems often go hand in hand. As local people who use a lot of health services are often also very low-income, a Green Municipality ensures that no one faces debt due to health care customer fees.
In a green municipality, organisational and voluntary activities are an important resource whose work is supported and valued, and they complement the public service network.
- To develop more accessible social services with a low threshold, where everyone is welcome to visit and ask for help and advice on their life situation.
- To combat poverty among families with children by providing special support for low-income families.
- To grant discretionary income support to those in need in accordance with their individual circumstances.
- To ensure the availability and functioning of mental health services. Currently, many have to wait an unsustainably long time to access treatment. In particular, low-threshold mental health services should be added, where help can be obtained without an appointment.
- To eradicate homelessness by building support homes in municipalities that are suitable for people’s various needs in a variety of ways. To ensure that every resident has access to accommodation and the necessary hygiene items.
- To ensure adequate resources and service points for substance abuse work in all municipalities.
- To further develop food aid to strengthen inclusion, together with food aid actors, and ensure the availability of a wide range of food aid in situations where support from the benefit system is insufficient. To increase service advice and low-threshold services for food aid users.
- To ensure reasonable customer fees where necessary and ensure that payments of those already in a weak financial situation are not transferred to debt collection agencies.
- To invest in memory-friendly digital services and living environs. Clear signs, both written and pictorial, promote memory-friendliness.
2. Functioning social and health services
Social and health services reform is still ongoing. However, the position of the Greens is clear: we need a health care package that relies on reducing health inequalities, seamless care chains and improving access to services, rather than short-term savings targets. In the long run, this is also the most economically viable option when people have timely access to treatment. In a green municipality, everyone – regardless of age, wealth or background – has quick access to treatment.
We are particularly concerned about the poor availability of mental health services. Receiving treatment quickly is important in public health services. Growing mental health problems, especially among young adults, need to be addressed in a timely manner. In a green municipality, for example, incapacity for work, burnout and depression are prevented by investing in low-threshold mental health services.
Adequate availability of student services and health care is ensured in student municipalities.
In a green municipality, the well-being of children and families is supported by investing in diverse family services and help brought home. Children’s right to a safe life is ensured by investing in child protection and permanent staff.
A green municipality is safe for everyone. Social and health authorities in various services know how to address violence; and every victim, perpetrator and victim of violence receives the necessary help and support. In a green municipality, there are clear and effective structures for the prevention of violence against children and women, as well as intimate partner and “honour” violence.
In a green municipality, access to services is clarified and simplified so that they are available to everyone who needs them. Equal services for people with disabilities and special groups are ensured and their participation in decision-making is increased. Personal assistance safeguards the self-determination and independent living of many people with disabilities. The best disability policy is wide-ranging accessibility and equality.
The loneliness experienced by people has increased and many young people, students and the elderly in particular suffer from loneliness. In a green municipality, loneliness is reduced and open meeting places are created. Safe and secure senior years are ensured for every older person. Everyone who needs it also has the opportunity to spend their later years in a service housing facility.
- To reduce queues in primary care. Everyone has the right to access treatment in reasonable time.
- To improve the availability and accessibility of basic and local services by developing mobile services.
- To offer free contraception to anyone under the age of 25.
- To ensure that everyone has unrestricted access to their personal health information and the means to manage their own health.
- To guarantee that everyone receives the mental health services they need rapidly in their home municipality.
- To implement a therapy guarantee and introduce a mental health first aid course to schools for young people.
- To provide adequate resources for child protection so that one social worker does not have too many clients. The maximum should be 30 children per social worker.
- To develop home care for families with children and other family services so that they can be obtained quickly and also pre-emptively if necessary. Family support services take into account the needs of diverse families.
- To ensure equal treatment of people with disabilities in service provision. Advice on available services and access to various services must be available for services for people with disabilities. Adequate resources for support measures must be secured for all groups of people with disabilities.
- In a green municipality, people with disabilities can influence the services they receive; with, for example, customer vouchers and personal budgets.
- To guarantee that transport services are a key part of the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities, especially in places where public transport is not accessible.
- Protect the rights and support services of carers. Every carer has the right to leisure time and peer support services.
- Ensure an adequate number of nursing staff in services for the elderly. Create new types of 24-hour service housing centres, combining a home-like and safe living environment.
- Diversify home care resources and seek new ways to complement services. Complement face-to-face encounters with digital services for those for whom they are a good and natural option. Ensure that digital services are accessible and available.
- Introduce a violence prevention policy model and service path for municipalities. Train and instruct social and health care personnel to address and intervene in cases of violence.
- Develop municipal access to maternity support services, such as physiotherapy.
3. Well-being and inclusion for all
Well-being starts with everyday life. How people relate to being part of the community and feel that they are heard is important to the well-being of each one of us. In green municipalities, well-being is built on community, intangible services and caring. Your own municipality is the shared residence of the people, which must feel like home both for those who have lived there for decades and for those who have just moved there.
We want to build fundamental, feminist, democratic and open municipalities. In municipalities, the population is diverse, but always equal. A green municipality has absolute zero tolerance for racism, harassment and all forms of discrimination. We want all facilities in the municipality to be safe for everyone.
Leisure time is an important part of everyone’s well-being. For this reason, all municipalities must offer a wide range of recreational opportunities. Meaningful exercise or regular exercise creates a foundation for well-being. We want every municipality to have local recreation areas, natural forests and undeveloped beaches, so that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy nature and exercise therein.
Culture plays a major role in promoting well-being and mental health. A green municipality ensures equal opportunities for people to enjoy art and culture. This will be achieved by bringing culture into the cityscape, expanding service discounts and free services, and supporting voluntary cultural organisations.
Residents make a municipality or city, and residents must be offered ways to realise and express themselves as well as participate. For example, through participatory budgeting and resident councils, we increase the voice of residents. Living in multiple localities is increasing, and it is important for municipalities to hear the voices of part-time or leisure residents as well. For the sustainable development of municipalities, we need all actors involved – the best ideas can come from educational institutions, companies, associations or even from preschoolers.
In a green municipality, immigrants find their place as equal members of the community. Municipalities have a key role to play in ensuring the successful integration of immigrants.
- To encourage intergenerational community. A green municipality supports events and construction that support community spirit.
- To establish common rules for the use of municipal facilities. Zero tolerance for racism, fascism and discrimination against groups of people. To develop an anti-racist action plan for municipalities.
- To support sports and athletic clubs and improve their operating conditions.
- To provide low-threshold recreational opportunities, either produced by the municipality or together with clubs and organisations, taking gender equality into account. Price or disability must not prevent people from participating.
- To promote the transfer of art to care facilities and to other audiences who are unable to personally access cultural services.
- To improve the accessibility of cultural services for low-income and special groups through various forms of positive action. Expand cultural sponsorship and pilot activities to new municipalities.
- To encourage municipalities to draw up a cultural education plan in which cultural, artistic and heritage education is implemented in the municipality or region as part of teaching.
- To increase the direct influence of local residents. To establish citizen councils and use participatory budgeting to find the best solutions. To promote consultative referendums in municipalities.
- To assess the impact of decision-making on various groups and consult people on issues that affect them.
- To provide comprehensible information on public decision-making where people are: in city centres, online, in schools, and in the workplace. The information produced by the State and municipalities must be freely accessible to citizens.
- To require transparency both in decision-making and within the municipal organisation.
- To involve associations, such as sports and cultural associations, in integration work. Support the activities of immigrants’ own associations, for example through funding and the provision of facilities.
- Also take responsibility for global phenomena in municipalities by, for example, providing municipal places for refugees.
- To implement gender impact assessment in the preparation of municipal decision-making and develop gender-sensitive budgeting in the municipality as part of budget preparation.
- To ensure that no one is silenced in decision-making through harassment and hate speech. Prepare guidelines for appreciative interaction for municipalities and security guidelines related to the harassment of shop stewards.
A vibrant municipality is green
Sustainable economic management safeguards people’s well-being within the load-bearing capacity of the environment. Many Finnish municipalities currently have serious economic problems that need to be resolved by both municipalities and the State.
Regional differences have increased in Finland. In large cities, rapid population growth has required significant investment and increased service production. Areas losing their population face the opposite challenge when it comes to securing basic welfare state services for a declining population. There is a spectrum of municipalities between these extremes.
Diverse municipalities are both a strength and a challenge. As a result, the same solutions will not work for all municipalities. A green municipality has the courage to work together, because it is possible to achieve more by joining forces with a neighbouring municipality or NGO.
An ecologically sustainable lifestyle is possible everywhere in Finland – the solutions just vary. It is important to develop municipalities and cities into crisis-resistant places where living is enjoyable even under exceptional conditions.
1. Tools for a sustainable municipal economy
A green municipality ensures equal and accessible services for all its residents, even in financially difficult times. Providing quality services is cheaper in the long run than drawing up short-sighted cutting lists. A green municipality is not afraid to invest in sustainable growth. It plans and prepares its investments carefully and to increase future operational capacity and well-being.
Municipal economy is about taking care of common needs and resources at the local level. After all, it is all about the kind of framework for living that the municipality has to offer to its residents. The best result is not always found in the town hall meeting room, but with the residents. In a green municipality, local residents are more actively involved in the planning and implementation of municipal finances.
- To maintain the status of municipalities as attractive places to live, where people feel comfortable and everyday life runs smoothly.
- To secure basic services. Some services are organised in co-operation with organisations, parishes, companies and other local actors, as well as neighbouring municipalities. Taxes will be increased if that is the only way to ensure the standard and quality of services.
- When raising taxes, the primary consideration is to increase property tax.
- To experiment boldly and solve common problems together between various actors.
- To support creativity and teleworking. The development in IT enables work to be done anywhere. To create places in municipalities for people and for companies where people can gather to work and spend their free time.
• Strengthen the dialogue between leisure residents and the municipality.
2. The role of municipalities in promoting employment
The municipality has a significant role in promoting employment in the region and moving towards a carbon-neutral Finland. Public investment and procurement play an important role in sustainable transition and they can support sustainable innovation. Optimally, they also employ local businesses and people.
A green municipality is a responsible employer that provides opportunities for employees at various stages of their careers. We want municipalities to be able to provide both responsible
management positions and flexible part-time jobs and opportunities for competence development. An encouraging and open work atmosphere supports employees’ well-being at work and success in their work tasks.
Municipalities can provide a pathway to employment and prevent social exclusion by offering employment opportunities to, for example, young people, the long-term unemployed, and those who have moved to Finland. An active municipality also acts as an intermediary between employees and companies and communities with open positions.
- To invest in the future. Municipalities spend billions of euros every year on investments, goods and services. We will invest in new solutions, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and intelligent services, which will, at the same time, save the municipality’s money, create jobs for Finnish companies, and renew this nation.
- To include local businesses. Municipal procurement will be carried out so that small and local companies will also have the opportunity to participate in the tender. Procurement will be divided into small enough parts and communications about them will be handled effectively.
- To promote equality in working life and an open working atmosphere
- To correct problems that have arisen in occupational health and have been reported in well-being surveys.
- To introduce anonymous recruitment in municipalities.
- To support the employment of people of various ages and life situations. To provide flexible ways for people with disabilities and other partially incapacitated people to work.
- To ensure high-quality and equal integration training for those who have moved to Finland, as well as opportunities to integrate into Finnish working life and learn the Finnish language.
- To improve opportunities for the unemployed to retrain and encourage continuous learning as well as the development of professional skills.
- To build attractive workshop activities in municipalities which will provide the long-term unemployed with the tools for real working life. In addition, sufficient opportunities will be provided for wage support work, and meaningful work will be provided for those on wage support.
- To invest in health services for the unemployed by improving competence in assessing functional and work ability.
- To support the employment and familiarisation of those who have moved to Finland, for example through business co-operation and by promoting women’s access to the labour market in particular. Municipalities must commit to employing immigrants for various tasks.
- Introduce basic income. Reforming social security into a basic income that makes access to work easier, provides better security and ensures working is always profitable.
3. Municipal vitality and support for entrepreneurship
The role of companies in the municipal economy is significant. The jobs provided by companies help to create well-being for the municipality and important services for the residents. Companies also have a key role to play in reforming working life in a fair way, as emission reductions and resource use change production and the labour market, creating new professions. A green municipality is known for its resource-wise business policy, which promotes sustainable development and the circular economy.
Emission reductions and jobs are often contrasted, though ambitious environmental and climate measures have been found to create more jobs than to reduce them. There is potential especially in small growth companies, where they often dare to think differently. Municipalities can provide an opportunity for these companies to grow. Green municipalities are creating solutions to global challenges through new services, technologies, startups and the knowledge economy.
Green municipalities operate in an entrepreneur-friendly way in many different ways. Planning ensures smooth plot and planning solutions as well as the liveliness and comfort of city centres. The municipality’s educational opportunities are important for companies, as a large proportion of students remain in the city where they have studied after graduation. A diverse educational selection that supports the needs of companies helps companies to find the workforce they need.
Dialogue between the municipality and the companies in the area is a good way to ensure that the needs and wishes of both are taken into account. An entrepreneur-friendly municipality involves companies in developing the municipality’s operations. A green municipality co-operates creatively both within the municipality and regionally across municipal boundaries. In a global world, it is also quite important for municipalities to network internationally.
- To fix entrepreneurial services. To provide business advice to SMEs and municipal services to entrepreneurs from a one-stop shop.
- To facilitate more efficient use of municipally owned real estate by start-up companies.
- To invest in a circular economy that enhances the use of materials and promotes the emergence of services.
- To maintain a fair and equitable economic environment for operators of all sizes. To ensure that female-dominated sectors are also developed through economic policy.
- To guarantee that schools and workplaces support each other. To support closer co-operation between educational institutions and companies to ensure the adequacy of a skilled workforce and opportunities for on-the-job learning. Continuous learning ensures that the skills of the workforce are updated and that people can cope with the changing labour market.
- To involve local universities and their students in community development and vitality-enhancing projects. To develop campus areas, based on the wishes of universities and students.
- To create a model for local fair change agreements – where employees, employers, the State, province, municipality and other actors work together to agree on how the transition to ecologically sustainable jobs can be implemented in a controlled and fair manner.