Independent review: Finland’s development cooperation produces positive results, but there’s also room for improvement
The draft of an independent review published on 4 June finds that Finnish development cooperation is of a good average standard and produces positive results in developing countries.
Results on the Ground? – An Independent Review of Finnish Aid written by Ritva Reinikka, a Doctor of Economics and a long-time director with the World Bank, examines the effectiveness of development aid and lists ten recommendations for measures that could improve its implementation. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs commissioned the review last autumn at the request of parliament.
“I hope that this review will do its part to help in updating Finnish development cooperation, so it is more effective than previously, and helps people recognise those things that Finland and all Finns should be proud of,” Ritva Reinikka commented.
Finland a more important actor in development policy than its size denotes
The review brings to light both the strengths of Finnish aid and the areas that still require development. It also praises the effectiveness of Finnish development cooperation: although the recipient country is always the actor that produces the greatest results, the aid is a definitive factor that accelerates development. Finland’s long-term cooperation countries Namibia and Vietnam, which are now both in the process of giving up development aid, are cited as examples In Ethiopia, where Finnish aid has brought clean water to three million people, aid has contributed to the faster accomplishment of the Millennium Goals.
Finnish development cooperation is internationally at a reasonably high standard and in certain fields even the world’s best. Finland’s areas of strength include the water management, education and forestry, as well as measures that will improve the status of women and girls. Finland has also been able to successfully support developing countries’ own institutions, as well as the transparency and development of governance.
Finland is a reliable actor, which emphasises cooperation and work in accordance with agreed upon principles. This is specially reflected in humanitarian aid, states the review.
Development needed to help in correction of fragmentation and measuring the results
As a small country, Finland can build its own profile in the international arena and be a larger actor than its size denotes. However, at present, Finland's resources are too scattered. The review recommends that Finland focus its activities more clearly on specific strategically chosen sectors and countries.
Finland should cut down on bureaucracy and develop measuring the results, so that information can be collected to help with decision making and to guarantee that results do not remain obscure and hidden.
“Ms Reinikka’s report is comprehensive and realistic. It will act as an important expert perspective, when we realise the new government's policies," Pekka Puustinen, Director General of the Department for Development Policy stated.
The review will be discussed among others at an open discussion event for various development policy actors on 4 June. The final review will be completed by the end of the month.