Jan Vapaavuori wearing a gray hoodie that says "Helsinki".
Photo: Jetro Stavén

Helsinki on a roadmap to a sustainable future

People walking towards Kaisaniemi on a Saturday in late May are met by a cheery and colourful carousel of senses. The smell of delicious food and the rhythms of diverse music from the World Village Festival waft through the streets. The Festival is a happy and approachable event, which has become a tradition for many Helsinki residents.

I am delighted to once again be the patron of the World Village Festival, which plays an important role as an enricher of the city’s cultural life and a forum for discussing current global themes. This being the 22nd iteration of the festival speaks volumes about the significance of the event.

This year’s main theme is a sustainable future. A significant part of the implementation of the sustainable development goals takes place locally, in cities. Helsinki promotes the goals of UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for example, through the carbon neutrality target, prevention of marginalisation, the physical activity programme as well as efforts in equality and inclusion.

The World Village Festival has always been an event, which brings together people from different backgrounds to listen to music, but also to each other. In these exceptional times, its significance is even more evident. Culture and events are among sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus restrictions. It is particularly valuable that the World Village Festival has succeeded in creating an extensive and attractive programme in an entirely virtual format.

Every year, the festival audience has always gained new ideas and approaches to global themes affecting us all, in addition to the cultural experiences. I believe that this will happen this year as well, even though the event is carried out in different ways than in the previous years. I hope that we will meet again in person at the festival next year.

Jan Vapaavuori
Mayor of Helsinki