To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.

The 5th national reports were examined, and relevant information on selected actions under Targets 1-6 of the EU biodiversity strategy was directly copied. Thus, the information presented here is in the original language and wording of the 5th national reports.

The focus was on information that is particular to the respective Member State rather than referencing EU wide information. In addition, only information that is not directly reported to the European Commission by Member States was retrieved from the reports. Each Member State had the opportunity to review the synthesis of its report and to provide additional input. For more information, please view here. The 5th national report for Finland can be downloaded here.

EU target 1

Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives

(Please note that information from Member States in relation to Action 1a is supplied to the European Commission via other reports. To avoid duplication of reporting, information relating to Action 1a has not been included in this report)

Action 1b: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

In 2012, the Finnish Government approved a resolution on the sustainable and responsible use and protection of mires and peatlands. The decision directs new land use that would significantly alter mires to peatlands that have been drained or whose natural state has otherwise been significantly changed. It is also used to implement sectoral policies and measures for sustainable use, and it is used to improve the status of the existing network of protected peatlands. As a part of the resolution, a long-term peatland protection and restoration programme will be carried out by 2025.

Action 1c: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Protected areas are suitably managed.

New management plans have been approved for over 100 Natura 2000 sites 2009–2013, area coverage of statutory management plans is over 80%. Participatory planning methods have been developed using new internet technologies for example.

Management effectiveness of all 35 national parks was evaluated in 2010. Natura 2000 site condition assessment of over 100 sites has been conducted since 2010, including all 37 national parks. Coverage is now about 40% of the Natura 2000 network area and the aim is to have complete coverage by 2018. A PA system level management effectiveness evaluation is planned in 2015.

Establishment of Natura 2000 protected areas has complimented the existing national network and notably increased the protection of still inadequately protected marine habitats and inland waters. Five new marine Natura 2000 sites were proposed in 2012. These are awaiting approval and will extend the BSPA network.

National Ramsar working group has been established and 11 new Ramsar sites have been proposed but not yet designated.

The Green Belt of Fennoscandia is developed into a model area where conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are supported through transboundary cooperation between Finland, Russia and Norway. Its core is formed of national parks and protected areas on the territories of all three nations. Three countries will apply the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, for example, as concerns the mainstreaming of biodiversity across government and society and sustaining the ecosystem services. In 2014 the Ministry of the Environment has appointed a national working group to promote the development of the Green Belt in Finland.

Action 1d: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Finland has initiated the boreal biogeographical process and cooperation at the region.

Action 2: Adequate financing of Natura 2000

Financing of the PA network through the state budget has remained stable. Financial sustainability is also ensured in the proposed national budget for 2015-2018, though cuts to the present level are foreseen.

Finland has prepared Prioritized Action Plan (PAF) according to the current NBSAP in order to increase possibilities under the new multi-annual financial framework.

The Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO 2008–2020 aims to halt the ongoing decline in the biodiversity of forest habitats and species, and establish stable favorable trends in Southern Finland’s forest ecosystems. The objective of the programme is to ensure that Finnish forests will continue to provide suitable habitats for endangered and declining species. METSO-programme is also an example of payment of ecosystem services (PES). The voluntary approach of METSO is highly valued by forest owners and the possibility to retain their property rights.

Action 3a: Stakeholder awareness and enforcement

The communication programme for the National strategy and action plan for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity 2013–2020 was updated in 2013. The programme now corresponds with the policies of the global biodiversity strategy and action plan. To support this update, an analysis was conducted of the state of biodiversity communication in Finland.

The communication programme has six theses for influential communication as well as core messages (directed to companies, decision-makers, scientific communities and citizens as well as globally) offer practical tools for more influential communication on biodiversity. The communication programme can be freely used by anyone and is available on the homepage of the Ministry of the Environment ( /en-US).

Action 3b: Stakeholder awareness and enforcement

Business and Biodiversity Finland seeks to create public awareness and offers information about best practices concerning biodiversity management as well as tools for companies to implement in their own operations. The B@B network help companies to identify and manage their own impacts on nature. The initiative encourages companies to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services in all environmental and sustainability management systems and practices. The programme is executed by FIBS in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment.

National Guidelines for applying the IUCN Protected Area management categories in Finland were approved in 2013 as one of the first countries in Europe; classification of established State-owned PAs has been completed in March 2014.

Over 90% of the network is owned by the state and is managed by the Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services, working as a nationwide organization divided into three regional units. The data on protected areas has been updated in the UNEP-WCMC database on PAs. Also guidelines and GIS databases for management planning have been developed 2009–2013.

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EU target 2

Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services

The 2013 ecological assessment of surface waters accords a good or high status to 85% of the surface area of Finnish lakes, and 65% of rivers. Only a quarter of coastal waters achieved the same status. Overall inputs of nutrients have decreased since the inception of the Action Plan, by 9% for nitrogen (N) and 10% for phosphorus (P) comparing to the BSAP baseline years (1997–2003). In the longer time perspective, since 1994, the reductions have been even larger – inputs of N and P to the Baltic Sea have been cut by 18% and 16%, respectively.

Action 5: Knowledge of ecosystems and their services

The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Finland (2013–2014) - project aimed to systematically incorporate the value of ecosystem services into all levels of decision-making. The project’s goal to identify Finland's most important (key) ecosystem services and propose methods to assess their current status and future trends.

Data link:

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Action 6a: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure

Metsähallitus has under the METSO programme restored forests and mires in protected areas nearly 16 000 hectares between 2008 and 2013 and more than 26 000 hectares before 2008. The restored area covers approximately 0.1% of Finland’s surface area.

Finland has established a national restoration prioritization working group, the prioritization plan is expected to be ready by the beginning of 2015.

In addition, Finland together with the other Nordic countries and the Nordic Council of Ministers supported have launched a project to produce specific inputs on how the countries can formulate strategies for management and political authorities to approach restoration target.

Action 6b: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure

The Finnish Environment Institute had a Green infra - The dependence of ecosystem services and biodiversity on the green infrastructure -project and a follow up project, which final report is due to beginning of 2015.

Data links:

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Action 6a & 6b: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure

National target 5: The loss of all natural habitats has been halted, and the degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats have been significantly reduced. Finland has invested in the development of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems assessment method. The method was first introduced in September 2012, at the IUCN world congress in South Korea, and the development work will continue (Consolidation of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

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EU target 3

Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity

Target 3a: Agriculture

Finland´s Agri-environmental scheme supports the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity by providing positives incentives to the farmers. In particular, two voluntary special support forms – traditional biotopes and other measures to enhance biodiversity – have had positive impacts on biodiversity.

Target 3b: Forestry

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) So far, a bit less than 500 000 hectares of forests have been certified. Approximately 20.7 million hectares of Finnish production forests are certified under the Finnish PEFC system.

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Action 10: Agricultural genetic diversity

In Finland, there are three gene bank herds for native cattle and sheep breeds.

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The national strategy for conserving the crop wild relatives was published in 2013 (Heli Fizgerald, MTT Report 121).

Preliminary strategy for preserving perennial ornamental plants was also done (Juhanoja et al. 2013)

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Action 11a & 11b: Forest holders and biodiversity

The Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO 2008–2020 aims to halt the ongoing decline in the biodiversity of forest habitats and species. The objective of the programme is to ensure that Finnish forests will continue to provide suitable habitats for endangered and declining species. METSO-programme is also an example of payment of ecosystem services (PES). The Finnish Government funds the METSO programme approx. 38 MEUR/year, which allows it to deliver annual yields of about 7 500 hectares of permanently protected areas, with temporary agreements signed to protect 6000 hectares a year. Biodiversity values of key biotopes in commercially managed forests are enhanced by nature management of about 1 500 hectares a year.

Action 12: Biodiversity in forest management plans

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) promotes ecologically, socially and economically sustainable forestry throughout the world. The PEFC system includes requirements for forest management and use, verification of origin of wood raw material, as well as for the independence and competence of the auditors.

EU target 4

Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and ensuring good environmental status of the marine environment

Action 13a: Fish stock management

  • The aim of the Fishing Act reform is to promote the natural reproduction of fish and to create a new regulation system for the sustainable use and management of fish stock that is based on information. In addition, the new act will simplify the fishing permit system, strengthen regional participation, clarify the roles of the different actors and increase cooperation between them. Regulation is proposed as the most important tool for fish stock management. The following new means of regulation are proposed to be included in the act, among others:
  • Adipose fin clipping of salmonoid and the related fish release requirement,
  • Introducing a maximum landing size for fish,
  • Approving the maximum sustainable yield and the amount of traps allowed, and
  • Banning the sale of fish caught by anyone other than professional fishermen

Efforts are being made to enhance the protection of depleted and threatened fish stock, in particular. The regulation of fishing would be based on regional and national management plans. The regulation would be put into effect by decrees and by the administrative decisions of the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

Government resolution on national Fish Passage Strategy was accepted in 2012. The purpose of the strategy and the priority axes proposed in it is to promote measures to reinforce, in particular, the natural reproduction of the threatened migratory fish stocks.

Action 14a: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems

The National aquaculture spatial plan will be completed in 2014. The aim of spatial planning is to minimise the load of aquaculture in areas that are environmentally and recreationally vulnerable. The production is allocated to areas with better tolerance of emissions. The aim of spatial planning is to move the production to the outskirts of the water systems, which would also reduce the conflicts between other water system uses, such as leisure housing, recreational use and nature conservation.

The proposal for the new guidelines for environmental protection in fish farming was completed in 2013. The guidelines for environmental protection in fish farming are general guidelines on best practices in fish farming for ensuring environmental protection. The objective of the guidelines is to streamline the authorities’ operations and monitoring. In Finland, the starting point for the development of fish farming is the reconciliation of business and environmental policies. Aquaculture production will increase in Finland in the future. The aim is to create the prerequisites required for an ecologically and economically sustainable increase of production.

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EU target 5

Combat Invasive Alien Species

Finland’s National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species was completed in April 2012. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has established the Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien, which acts as the expert body on questions and policies concerning invasive alien species. One of the most important tasks of the Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien Species is to coordinate and follow the implementation of the National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species.

EU target 6

Help avert global biodiversity loss

Action 17c: Drivers of biodiversity loss

The national work ongoing in Finland aims at having concrete results in 2014 on the assessment of the main values of ecosystem services, for instance, efforts underway are a project on identifying harmful subsidies and the work under the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Action 18a: Resources for global biodiversity conservation

Finland submitted its Resource mobilisation strategy to the Secretariat in March 2014 (CBD notification 2013-50). This submission builds upon the initial report in 2012 and the submission in response to notification 2012-023. The report for Finland differs from the previous because of increased reliance on Official Statistics. For the private sector only statistics on environmental expenditure in industry are reported. For the public sector the environmental protection statistics expenditure is allocated to environmental domains according to CEPA 2000 classification (Classification of Environmental Protection Activities and Expenditure)

Environmental protection expenditure allocated to biodiversity and landscape protection in the statistics is reported in the category ’Directly related to biodiversity’? Expenditure allocated to waste management, waste water management and water protection or other environmental protection is reported in the category ’Indirectly related to biodiversity’? Additionally, statistical data are specified in accordance with reporting requirements.

Statistical data on public sector environmental protection expenditure are consolidated. That is, money transfers between the government and municipalities have been taken into account in calculations to avoid double counting.

Data link:

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Action 20: Access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits

Finland signed the Nagoya Protocol in June 2011 and has concluded and published a national study on the implications of the Nagoya Protocol on access and utilization of genetic resources in June 2012. The study contains administrative and legislative proposals for the implementation and ratification of the Nagoya Protocol including proposals for amendments to existing legal acts as well as a proposal for a new ABS Act. The legislation and administrative measures needed for ratifying the ABS protocol is prepared by a national ABS working group which started its work in 2013. Finland has designated a National ABS Focal Point and has an existing authority in relation to patent applications. Finland still needs to establish a National ABS Clearing House mechanism and checkpoints in line with the Protocol (e.g. research funding agencies). Finland is aiming to ratify the ABS protocol as soon as possible.