Sustainable development is harmonious development of social, economic and environmental areas.
In other words, a country can be considered sustainable, if the quality of people's life is improving, there is a safe and clean living environment and natural resources are used reasonably in order to increase economic competitiveness.
Goals for Estonian sustainable development have been agreed until the year 2030 in National Strategy on Sustainable Development "Sustainable Estonia 21”. These goals are: vitality of Estonian cultural space; increase of people’s welfare; socially coherent society; ecological balance.
Long-term development of the field of environment is governed by the goal “ecological balance” consisting of the following parts:
use of natural resources in the manner and volume ensuring ecological balance
conservation of biodiversity and natural areas.
Activities and timetables for the achievement of environmental goals are set out in the Estonian Environmental Strategy and sectoral (e.g. waste, forest) development plans.
Through the instruments of environmental management, environmental topics are integrated into other policies on a daily basis and environmental education gives additional knowledge to people, regardless of their age, thus enabling to develop environmentally-friendly behavioural and consumer patterns in the future.
Estonian Strategy for 2020 brings together the activities from different fields, taking into consideration economic competitiveness. In the nearest future, focus is set on productivity and employment and specific activities shall be determined in the development plans of different ministries.
Topics related to sustainable development, competitiveness and reporting are coordinated by the Strategy Unit of the Government Office. Advisory functions are performed by the Commission for Sustainable Development and inter-ministerial working group for sustainable development.