Agreement between the State and local authorities to promote a smart and clean Helsinki capital region

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 24.5.2016 11.30
Press release
A growth agreement to promote smart and clean solutions was signed on 24 May 2016. The signatories of the growth agreement are the State and the municipalities of the Helsinki capital region, the City of Lahti and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council. The idea is that these urban areas should together form a leading region in smart and clean solutions.

The objectives are to boost the amount of private-sector jobs in the smart and clean solutions sector, support product development by the companies offering these solutions as well as the commercialisation of innovations and growth in exports and turnover, and promote innovative public procurement in the sector. Further goals include increasing innovations that focus on the region, implementing the climate and environmental objectives of the municipalities, and reinforcing the international reputation and image of the region's municipalities and Finland in general as a leader in smart and clean solutions.

The agreement was signed on behalf of the State by Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner and Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen. The signatories for the municipalities are the chief executives of the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti, and the Regional Mayor of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.

"With this agreement we are introducing a new kind of operating model for developing the region. The aim is to achieve world-class breakthroughs in the smart and clean sector that will enhance the international attraction of the Helsinki capital region as it competes for experts and investment with the world's other metropolitan areas," explains Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn.

The thematic focus areas of the agreement are transport and mobility, construction, energy, waste and water resources management, and consumer products and services. Digitalisation and the circular economy will be important considerations in the measures taken to proceed with the focus areas.

"The cities have a key role to play in solutions for climate change mitigation. In the Helsinki capital region in particular, mobility can be directed towards public transport, walking and cycling, and the use of new services. At the same time we can promote the emergence of new service models and business activities and better meet the needs of users," explains Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.

"Climate change and reduced resources are prompting a search for new ideas for renewing the way we do things and for boosting cooperation. The city authorities and companies within the Helsinki capital region now have a great opportunity to develop brand new solutions for which there is no shortage of demand globally," notes Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen.

The growth agreement for the Helsinki capital region is part of the key project on competitiveness in the Government Programme. The State is also to sign growth agreements with six other municipalities and two growth zones. In addition, there are two city-based thematic networks within the sphere of the growth agreement procedure. The aim is to enhance business growth and improve competitiveness based on specific regional strengths. The agreements will remain in force until the end of 2018.

At the heart of the agreement procedure is the identification of strategic development areas and goals that the municipalities and the State can together commit to and for which they can allocate resources. The finance allocated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy for implementing the agreements is part of the appropriations for launching regional innovations and experimentation (AIKO), amounting to approximately EUR 15 million reserved for this purpose in the period 2016-2018.

Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, has set up a fixed-term foundation for the implementation of a Smart & Clean project for the Helsinki capital region. The foundation will function in close collaboration with the project participants and coordinate the project's development efforts. Companies, higher education institutions and research institutes will also be involved in the cooperation through the foundation.

Sitra press release in Finnish (24 May 2016)

Further information:

Jannika Ranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 29 504 7165
Hanna-Maria Urjankangas, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 29 506 3739

Tea Usvasuo, Special Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and the Environment, tel.  +358 46 922 8946
Olli Maijala, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel.+358 029 525 0174

Katariina Myllärniemi, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 29 534 2759

Suvi Anttila, Senior Officer, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 29 534 2019