College Papers

General of startups in the information and communications

General DispositionThe Republic of Finland is a Scandinavian nation located between Sweden and Russia. Gaining its independence from Russia in 1917, Finland covers approximately 340,000 square kilometers. A country of about 5 million, Finland borders Russia, Sweden and Norway with a total land boundary of 2,628 km and a coastline of about 1,126 km.Finland’s political system is a parliamentary republic embedded with numerous parties of coalition governments. The executive power to govern belongs to the Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and his Council of State, who was appointed by Finland’s head of state – President Sauli Niinistö. Attacked by the Soviet Union in 1939, Finland managed to remain independent however, they a large majority of Finnish Carelia, including the second-largest Finnish city, Viipuri. Due to this loss, Finland was obliged to a military pact with the Soviet Union which resulted in them being seen as a satellite of the Soviet Union to Western countries. Joining the European Union (EU) in 1995, the national currency unit markka was a unit for the currency euro, with a fixed conversion rate at 1 euro = 5.94573 marks, as of March 2002, the euro is now the only valid currency of Finland. With a industrialized and large free market economy, Finland’s per capita GDP is almost par with Austria and the Netherlands and is slightly above that of Germany and Belgium. Trade is of high importance with exports accounting for over one-third of GDP in recent years. Open and active, the government is constantly taking steps to attract, foreign direct investment. Historically competitive in manufacturing – principally wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries, Finland also excels in the export of technology as well as promotion of startups in the information and communications technology sectors. With exceptions such as timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and components for manufactured goods. Agricultural development is limited to basic products due to the cold climate. Becoming one of the best performing economies in the EU before 2009, Finland’s banks and financial markets avoided the worst of global financial crises. However, the world slowdown hit exports and domestic demand hard resulting in Finland’s economy to contract from 2012 to 2014. The recession affected general government finances and the debt ratio. However the economy returned to growth in 2015, posting a 0.3% GDP increase before growing 1.4% in 2016. Finland’s main challenges at the moment are reducing high labor costs and boosting demand for its exports. The government enacted a Competitiveness Pact in June 2016 aimed at reducing labor costs, increasing hours worked, and introducing more flexibility into the wage bargaining system. The Government is also seeking to reform the healthcare system and social services. In the long term, Finland aims to address the rapidly aging population and decreasing productivity in traditional industries that threaten competitiveness, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth. With an annual contribution of six million euros, Finland is one of the major contributors to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Environment Fund and since 2014 that amount has almost doubled. As the Coordinator of UN environmental activities, Finland stresses on the importance of UNEP, and believes that its role in the UN should be further established and strengthened. In the future, Finland aims to achieve a system that deals with environmental matters and sustainable development with optimum efficiency and sustainability.Topic 1 – Establishing a Global Price on Carbon EmissionsFinland introduced the world’s first carbon tax in 1990, and many governments followed in suit by implementing or proposing some form of carbon pricing. In 1995, Finland changed the tax structure by taxing the consumption of fossil fuels rather than the production. The current carbon fuel tax is €18.05 ($22) per tonne of CO2 for traffic fuels and €9 ($11) per tonne for heating fuels. Professor Mikael Hildén, Director of SYKE’s Climate Change Programme and current chair of the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane  stresses that “Reducing black carbon emissions pays off, unlike carbon dioxide, because black carbon remains in the atmosphere for only a short time. Any measures taken will thus have a rapid effect and reducing black carbon emissions would bring significant health benefits.” Since black carbon emissions (per capita) are significantly higher than other Nordic countries, Hildén believes that “Finland is in a good position to support emission reductions with new technological solutions.” Through successive reforms Finland has slowly but surely increased the rates and combined the carbon tax and energy tax. The tax had evolved into a combined tax of carbon and energy in 2013 at USD22.65 per tonne of CO2 and USD83.1 per tonne of carbon. Through meticulous planning and taxing, Finland has adopted measures to reduce emissions from the transport sector at least by 15% by 2020. Based on the EU climate and energy package, Finland must increase the share of renewable energy sources in transport energy consumption at least by 10% by 2020, with biofuels in petrol and diesel to make up 5.75% of consumption by 2010. Additionally, Finland has a national target for a 20% share of biofuel use in the transport sector by 2020. To implement these reforms Finland must aim for voluntary agreements in goods, logistics and public transport to improve efficiency by 9% by 2016. Finland also has established the Act on the Supervision of the electricity and gas market which is an institutional system to supervise, control and administer efficiency and environmental stability in the electricity and gas market. As well to influence the EU’s internal market to ensure competitive and equitable prices and principles.Topic 2 – The Question of Preserving Endangered PollinatorsThe main aim of environmental protection is to anticipate risks and prevent damage before any harm is done. The results of environmental policies that succeeded are clearly visible around the country as many bodies of water have been cleaned up, and air quality in industrial areas has improved greatly as emissions have been curbed. There has been some progress made in terms of controlling emissions from agriculture, transport and homes, but Finland still needs to reduce airborne emissions of carbon dioxide, noise and particles from traffic, as well as waterborne nutrient emissions from settlements unconnected to sewerage systems. An extensive network of protected areas has been built up to safeguard biodiversity. Forests – Finland’s most valuable natural resources – are managed more sensitively than in the past, and the overall annual growth rate clearly exceeds the total timber harvest. Efforts to stop the rapid decline in Finland’s biodiversity have been insufficient despite progress in the conservation of certain threatened species.The struggle to combat climate change must also be continued more resolutely both in Finland and globally. But the successful reduction of acidification problems shows that well-planned strategic environmental policies can achieve their goals.Pollination is a keystone process in both human and natural ecosystems. It is an essential process that heavily depends on the symbiosis between pollinator and pollinated species. In many cases, it is the result of intricate relationships between plants and animals, and the reduction or loss of either will affect the survival of both. With so many species at stake, Finland is supporting the protection of all, especially the endangered, pollinators. A minimum of one-third of the world’s agricultural crops depend upon pollination provided by insects and other animals and without them, the global economy would suffer. The Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity 2016 was held in Mexico where thirteen countries signed the Declaration on the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators, and many countries, organisations and businesses want to partake. One of the signatories declared that “The declaration is a good start in worldwide protection of pollinators since they are not bound by borders.” The Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators commit to taking steps to protect pollinators and their habitats by developing and implementing national pollinator conservation strategies. They will actively seek, share, and implement knowledge regarding national pollinator strategies, new approaches, innovations. The coalition will seek collaboration with a broad spectrum of stakeholders including countries, businesses, NGO’s, farmers, and local communities.ConclusionFinland is a driving force and leader in making our Earth a better place for its inhabitants in more ways than one. This nation’s concern with environmental issues prompts stricter regulations and advocates for the changing of detrimental habits. Their contributions to the carbon tax and Declaration on the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators have visible effects and have benefited not only Finns, but the world. Finland inspires other nations to follow her footsteps and help improve the Earth’s wellbeing. A nation dedicated to the environment and the improvement in the quality of life for everyone. Finland hereby dedicates itself to honouring the agreements it has ratified by doing everything within its power to make a positive change before the committee in 2018.