Professor Eeva Furman receives the Friend of the United Nations of the Year 2020 distinction

News 2020-10-18 at 9:28

Professor Eeva Furman, the Director of the Environmental Policy Centre at the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE joins a prestigious group, when she is granted the Friend of the United Nations of the Year distinction during the upcoming UN week. The previous recipients of this honorary award include Finnish presidents Tarja Halonen, Martti Ahtisaari and Sauli Niinistö. The UN Association of Finland together with the Friends of the UNA network grant the distinction annually to a person, who has significantly promoted awareness about the UN in Finland, Finland’s active role in the UN or strengthened the role of the UN internationally.

Furman receives the distinction for her remarkable work in promoting sustainable development. In addition to running the Environmental Policy Center at SYKE, Furman is the president of the Expert Panel of Sustainable Development. “For my whole working life, I have been involved in international environmental protection. During these years I have come to understand that working for the environment means also working towards peace”, describes Furman. “Even though working towards the work program of the UN is a part of my job at SYKE, at the same time it is for me a channel through which to be a human, protect the weak and secure the ecosystems of this planet.”

Furman was a part of an expert group of 15 independent participants appointed by the UN to assess the state of sustainable development. For a period of four years the group investigated what all countries and the UN should do in order to turn development into a path towards sustainable development.

The research group gave their report to the leaders of the world last year stating that the situation was extremely severe and urgent. Increasing inequality and environmental changes are driving development further from a safe and a just world. According to the research group, the change is however still possible. “It requires a large societal transformation, which we all need to take part in”, says Furman. “The UN sustainable development goals serve as a compass for change.”

“I’m immensely thankful for the recognition I have received. I have had the pleasure of working with competent and enthusiastic people and I would humbly like to share my joy with them. This recognition is an indication of the importance of action towards sustainable development and of research in helping the change to happen”, Furman says and continues: “I hope that my work and this recognition from the Friends of the UNA will encourage the young as well as adults to act for the well-being of our planet. It will also increase our individual well-being.”

The Friend of the UN distinction’s receiver is nominated by the Steering Committee of the Friends of the UNA in Finland. Their goal is to strengthen Finnish UN-related know-how and shed light on Finnish UN policies. The honorary award is celebrated along with the opening of the Agenda – Art 2030 art event.

More information

Professor Eeva Furman, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 295 251 123,

Eeva Furman's introduction

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