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SEI Tallinn 30th anniversary conference: “Building resilience through sustainability”

In the autumn of 2022, SEI Tallinn celebrates its 30th anniversary. For three decades, SEI Tallinn has supported decision-making and induced change towards sustainable development in Estonia, the Baltic Sea region and beyond.

20 September 2022 at 14:00 EEST

ending at 17:00 EEST

Estonia and Online

Watch the recording

Video: SEI / YouTube.

Given the turbulent times and global challenges, SEI Tallinn’s 30th anniversary celebrations focused on the topic of building resilience through sustainability. In recent years, we have seen several crises unfolding simultaneously, including Covid-19, extreme weather events and natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, energy crises, and the current war in Ukraine. Therefore, focusing on building resilience in society to tackle various crises is more important than ever. Also, it is crucial to acknowledge the role of sustainable development in building this resilience.

SEI Tallinn’s 30th-anniversary conference brought together interdisciplinary views on building resilient, just, democratic and sustainable societies that are less vulnerable to current global turbulences.


Moderator: Robert Watt, SEI Communications Director and Head of Strategic Policy Engagement

14.00-14.10 Opening words

  • Måns Nilsson, SEI Executive Director
  • Isabella Lövin, Chairperson of the SEI Board

14.10-14.20 Current crises and challenges faced by Estonia in the context of EU and global environmental policies 

14.20-14.25 Welcome speech: working towards more sustainable world (online)

  • Madis Kallas, Estonian Minister of Environment

14.25-14.35 Keynote speech: Building resilience through sustainability 

  • Vivian Loonela, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Tallinn

Part I: Building resilience in the urban settlements

It is estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. Estonian urbanization is one of the fastest among OECD countries, which means that more than 69% of the population already lives in cities. Climate change affects cities stronger than rural areas – for instance, by exacerbating the already existing heat island effect and more intense rainfalls. This has raised the need for new innovative tactics to prevent disasters, address risks and manage data about urban climatology. SEI Tallinn has recently started to build expertise and project portfolios in the field of urban climatology and hydrology emphasizing the role of a participatory approach in building resilience.

14.35- 14.45 Short presentation: Climate change in urban areas and the use of city-wide climate sensor networks (Andreas Hoy, SEI Tallinn Senior Expert). See the presentation here.

Urban pressure on Tallinn’s city climate and the interplay of grey and green spaces in urban areas based on temperature, relative humidity and precipitation data.

14.45-14.55 Short presentation: Participatory planning and resilience (Heidi Tuhkanen, SEI Tallinn Senior Expert). See the presentation here.

What is the role of participatory governance in local level climate adaptation and disaster risk management: Examples from Estonia and beyond.

14.55- 15.45 Panel discussion: How to build a more sustainable and resilient urban environment?

  • Tõnis Arjus, City of Tartu
  • Margit Keller, University of Tartu
  • Kristin Halvorsen, Center for International Climate Research (CICERO)
  • Kristjan Maruste, Comodule

15.45-15.55 Short break

Part II: Developing sustainable and resilient energy systems

The war in Ukraine has highlighted decoupling from Russia as unavoidable means for resiliency. Will it mean diversifying in the area of carbon-intensive energy, or will it push the EU to speed up on the road to decarbonization? What kind of implications will decoupling have for EU-s emissions? How do we access energy materials outside of the EU without putting our interest in front of local populations? How might Russia’s interests in other countries stop the EU from decoupling and diversifying?

15.55-16.10 Short presentation: Estonian pathways to climate neutral and resilient energy sector (Javad Keypour, SEI Tallinn Senior Expert). See the presentation here.

SEI Tallinn has worked over the last years closely with the Estonian ministries and other national-level policymakers and stakeholders to explore and develop decarbonization pathways and ways to reach the climate targets and maintain resiliency in Estonia.

16.10-17.00 Panel discussion: How the dynamics of geopolitics are interlinked with human security and global environmental change?

  • Marti Hääl, Alexela, Chairman of the Board
  • Rainer Saks, CybExer, Member of Management Board
  • Isabella Lövin, former Minister for Climate and the Environment and former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
  • Ando Leppiman, Estonian Stockpiling Agency, chairman of the Board

SEI participants

Robert Watt
Robert Watt

Engagement Director

SEI Headquarters

Måns Nilsson
Måns Nilsson

Executive Director

SEI Headquarters

Lauri Tammiste

Centre Director

SEI Tallinn

Andreas Hoy

Senior Expert (Climate Systems and Energy Policy Unit)

SEI Tallinn

Heidi Tuhkanen
Heidi Tuhkanen

Senior Expert (Green and Circular Economic Transformations Unit)

SEI Tallinn

Johanna Lehtmets

Communications Manager


SEI Tallinn

Anette Parksepp

Communications Expert


SEI Tallinn

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