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Minister Tavio's opening remarks in United Against Corruption -seminar

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 15.12.2023 10.00
Speech

Esteemed participants,    

Risk management has become an integral part of everyday work for private and public sector. The world has become more uncertain and complex, and so have the risks. In order to achieve results, we must have a good understanding of underlying risks and necessary preventive measures.

The evergrowing emphasis in risk management is well demonstrated in today’s seminar. I am delighted to see a full house of representatives from public and private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society and academia. We all share the same objective: be it development cooperation or trade, we work towards effective, efficient and long-lasting impact. We simply cannot meet this goal without a proper risk assessment.

Part of Finland’s development policy is to support people in fragile countries and in emergencies. As decision-makers and public sector actors, we are using taxpayers’ money and must earn their trust every day. This happens through doing the right thing at the right time.

Dear guests,

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has recognized the importance of risk management in development cooperation. This Government is fully committed to enhancing risk management in development cooperation. The Government Programme emphasizes monitoring the use of funds. We take every suspected misconduct case seriously and all cases are thoroughly investigated. This is done according to our internal standard. 

The Government has reaffirmed Finland’s long-standing commitment for international rules-based order. This commitment is reflected in practice through multiple ways. One element is Finland’s staunch support to the United Nations through the provision of financial support to UN development and humanitarian agencies. As a strong and reliable partner, our goal is to make the system even better. We have paid extra attention to the risk management systems in UN organizations that we support financially. Through our own assessments, we have found it necessary to continue the conversation among friends who share the same goal.

Dear Ladies and gentlemen,

Finland has strongly condemned Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine from the beginning. Also Finnish society at large stands firm with Ukraine. Our feeling of solidarity with Ukraine stems from our own historical experiences. 

Ukraine will be the largest beneficiary of Finland’s development cooperation during this government term. Strengthening structures supporting the rule of law and combating corruption will be taken into consideration in all forms of support. We are about to finalize our national reconstruction plan for Ukraine in cooperation with business and industry and the Team Finland network. During 2024, the plan will be broadened to long-term plan, including a review of the use of development cooperation resources.

We can all agree that the risks are there but the risks not to support Ukraine are much higher.  Our mutual aim is to ensure that Ukraine’s reconstruction will be a success story.

Last Saturday, on the 9th of December, we observed the International Anti-Corruption Day. The theme for this year relates to uniting the world against corruption. Today’s event is our contribution to this highly relevant work. As a country ranked as one of the least corrupted in the world, we have been able to see the concrete benefits within all parts of our society. 

When we provide financial support to developing countries, there is no room for any kind of wrongdoing, abuse, or sexual harassment. The organizations and people that we work with must understand this and act accordingly. 

Luckily, we are fortunate to have good people and partners to work with. This event underlines how we are working together to fight corruption in the delivery of aid. Finland’s footprint in the UN is more than money, as we can see that Finnish experts have many important roles in the UN working for integrity and risk management. We are also looking forward to learn from civil society and private sector how to prevent any wrongdoing in the delivery of aid.

Dear participants, 

I encourage you all to have an open, frank and confidential conversation around an important yet challenging topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas on how to improve the way we work. I wish you an inspirational and forward-looking seminar.