Mayor Jan Vapaavuori hosted the annual afternoon seminar for ambassadors on Tuesday 16 February. The virtual event attracted more than 120 representatives from Helsinki-based embassies and other international organisations from 55 countries.
The city’s increased international importance is an achievement of Helsinki's current strategy period. Helsinki engages in active co-operation with several cities, city networks and global organisations. Major organisations from the World Economic Forum to Bloomberg Philanthropies have elevated the city to the core of their operations. Digitalisation, combating climate change, management of cities and curbing the coronavirus epidemic have been some of the key focus areas of Helsinki’s international activities.
This year, the main themes of the ambassador event were the measures in managing the coronavirus situation, Helsinki’s fresh analysis concerning the future of urban traffic and the creation of a new company to boost Helsinki's international marketing and attract investments to the city.
“International cooperation is important, especially under exceptional circumstances. The cities around the world are constantly learning from each other, we get resources for improving our operations and an opportunity to find new solutions. Helsinki's international activities are strategic and far-reaching. We want to ensure that diplomats living in Helsinki have the best possible understanding of our operations and that they can support our endeavours in the best possible way”, emphasised Mayor Vapaavuori.
Head of the social and health care division Juha Jolkkonen spoke about Helsinki’s measures to curb the coronavirus epidemic. Jolkkonen described the current situation in terms of infections, the division of duties between different authorities and Helsinki’s special characteristics when it comes to the coronavirus.
The objective of the analysis concerning the future of traffic in Helsinki has been to create an understanding of how the operational environment changes in the future and how the cities should prepare for these changes in their own activities. Director of transport and street planning Reetta Putkonen presented the results of the work completed in December and Helsinki's best practices in building a sustainable traffic system.
In the last address, director of strategic initiatives Sanna-Mari Jäntti said that Helsinki would considerably intensify its measures to improve the city’s international standing and competitiveness. The city is about to create a new company, where the operations of Helsinki Business Hub and Helsinki Marketing are merged. The aim is to reach the next level in terms of the investments to Helsinki, talent moving to the city and the attraction of visitors.