South Karelia and Pirkanmaa are the first Hinku regions

News 2019-11-18 at 17:43
Lappeenranta
The city of Lappeenranta. © Lappeenrannan kaupunki

The Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku) network coordinated by The Finnish Environment Institute is strengthening. South Karelia and Pirkanmaa are the first regions to achieve the position of a Hinku region.

Together with the Hinku municipalities in the area, Hinku regions commit to decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions in the region by 80 per cent from the 2007 level by 2030.

Both South Karelia and Pirkanmaa are strong climate workers. Both regions are committed in their essential strategies to the mitigation of climate change.

"We are an environmentally friendly region of high technology. We believe that, along with the busy traffic on the border between Finland and Russia and the world’s largest centre of forest industry, good ideas are bound to spread further from here. This way, we can be a larger climate influencer than our size suggests, and that is why we want to participate in the Hinku network", says Jukka Kopra, Chairman of the Board of the Regional Council of South Karelia.

Of the South Karelian municipalities, Imatra, Lappeenranta, Parikkala, Rautjärvi, and Ruokolahti are part of the Hinku network. These municipalities are home to 87.7 per cent of the total number of residents in the region.

The city of Tampere © Laura Vanzo / Tampereen kaupunki

"Climate and environmental problems do not follow lines on a map. Therefore, it is essential for us to view the objectives and seek solutions regionally, together with the municipalities. We also hope that the regions would cooperate as extensively as possible around these themes", says Chairman of the Board of the Regional Council of Pirkanmaa Roope Lehto.

Of the municipalities in Pirkanmaa, Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Kangasala, Lempäälä, Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Tampere, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, and Ylöjärvi are part of the Hinku network. The Tampere City Region was the first area to join Hinku earlier, paving the road for the entire region to commit to Hinku. The Hinku municipalities in Pirkanmaa are home to 87 per cent of the total number of residents in the region.

"The status of a Hinku region sends a message, even internationally, about the strong commitment of the region to the mitigation of climate change. It provides operators in the region new possibilities to make regional solutions beneficial for all of Finland – and, of course, the climate", says national leader of the Hinku network, professor Jyri Seppälä from the Finnish Environment Institute.

Number of Hinku regions expected to grow in the near future

Regions can apply for the status of a Hinku region from the Finnish Environment Institute. The Hinku municipalities must cover at least 80 per cent of the number of residents in the region, and the region, together with the Hinku municipalities, must commit to the emissions reduction targets of the region.

The Hinku status is applied for and the operations coordinated in the region by the Regional Council, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, or other regional operator after the regional government reform. The coordinating body will launch a regional cooperation group or connect it to an existing regional cooperation group. The group’s assignment is to create a regional emission reduction path spanning until 2030, together with the other essential regional operators.

Environmental Director Matti Vaittinen from the Regional Council of South Karelia and Director General Leena Gunnar from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southeast Finland feel that the objectives can be reached. "New low-emission solutions and models are constantly being created in cooperation with all of the operators. For example, LUT university in Lappeenranta is a strong support for finding future solutions. The Hinku status plays a part in the future regional strategy and land use planning. It also suits perfectly the strategic emphasis areas of the region and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southeast Finland, the mitigation of climate change and adapting to it, and promoting circular economy."

"The municipalities in Pirkanmaa joined the Hinku network slightly after the others, but have quickly spread climate work throughout the region through the shared regional environmental programme and the Pirkanmaa climate forum, managed by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, for example. Cooperation with the Regional Council of Pirkanmaa and the ELY centre provides an excellent foundation for enhancing the regional Hinku objectives, as well", says Director Olli Madekivi from the Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment.

Further articles on the topic 

Further information

  • National manager of the HINKU network, professor Jyri Seppälä, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), tel. +358 (0)29 525 1629, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi
  • Chairman of the Board of the Regional Council of South Karelia Jukka Kopra, tel. +358 (0)400 515 066, firstname.lastname@eduskunta.fi
  • Environmental Director Matti Vaittinen, Regional Council of South Karelia, tel. +358 (0)40 139 0173, firstname.lastname@ekarjala.fi
  • Director General Leena Gunnar, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southeast Finland, tel. +358 (0)295 029 136, firstname.lastname@ely-keskus.fi
  • Chairman of the Board of the Regional Council of Pirkanmaa Roope Lehto, tel. +358 (0)40 5915 660
  • Director Olli Madekivi, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Pirkanmaa, tel. +358 (0)295 022 899, firstname.lastname@ely-keskus.fi