10. Helsinki strengthens and diversifies its promotion of interests

In terms of the promotion of Helsinki’s interests, the city now has a stronger international profile and has become better known as a pioneer not just in digitalisation and the fight against climate change but also, for example, learning and events. Voluntary Local Reviews produced in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals show Helsinki as a frontrunner in promoting the activation of leading international cities.

On a national level, Helsinki’s visibility and impact have increased thanks to more active communication and the C21 network.

Helsinki consolidates its own interest in Finland, forwards the creation of a modern urban policy agenda, and ever more actively creates partnerships with the rest of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and with other big cities in Finland.

Helsinki will strengthen its international activities with a special focus on digitalization and on combating climate change – two factors that are among the strongest global change factors and that unite all leading cities today, and thus make for good profiling areas in international relations.

Helsinki has engaged in more systematic cooperation with international partners during the strategic planning period. The city’s high profile and partnerships have made a big impact during the coronavirus pandemic. Helsinki has also increased its cooperation with other big cities in Finland through the network of Finland’s 21 largest towns and cities (C21). A new operating model has been formulated together with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

Helsinki has taken an extremely active role in the reforms of Finland’s health and social services system and regional government and lobbied not just for its own interests but also those of other big cities. Helsinki has not shied away from defending its interests. Helsinki has made an important contribution to the reform of the Finnish Land Use and Building Act. The City of Helsinki has been actively involved in the planning of land use, housing and transport in the Helsinki Region, the Growth Corridor Finland project, the future of Finland’s national transport system, Finland Railway and the Helsinki Airport rail link.

Objectives and an operating model have been agreed for the promotion of interests. It has become apparent during the strategic planning period that having a common and consistent understanding of the most important threats, opportunities and solutions relating to the promotion of the city’s interests is crucial for success. Helsinki still needs to make more of an impact, and new ways to promote the city’s interests need to be developed.

Helsinki has raised its own ambition level at comparisons between leading cities in the world. In terms of the chosen international benchmarks, Finland’s ranking has remained unchanged in three comparisons, improved in two and fallen in five.