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New guidelines on humanitarian assistance to strengthen Finland’s support to crisis areas

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 13.12.2019 9.00
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Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights is one of the key themes of the new guidelines. It is important for Finland to maintain people’s livelihood opportunities even in prolonged crises.

The Guidelines on Finland’s humanitarian assistance will supersede the earlier guidelines from 2012. The aim is to strengthen and guide our activities so that Finland remains a principled, innovative, flexible, reliable and effective actor in the provision of international humanitarian assistance.

The world’s humanitarian situation has changed significantly in the 2000s. There has been a sharp increase in the number of people in need of aid. Today, the number of ongoing crises is higher and crises last longer than before. A growing number of people in need of aid are internal or external refugees. Climate change has already increased the frequency and extent of natural disasters. At the same time, technological advances, among other developments, create opportunities for new kinds of operating models and more efficient use of existing data.

With the updated guidelines on humanitarian assistance, Finland aims to respond to these challenges and seize new opportunities.

“Finland wants to be actively involved in developing a more efficient and effective response to humanitarian emergencies. We also want to support the creation of cooperation channels for humanitarian aid, development cooperation and peace making and thereby reduce overlapping work. Our aim is to build the resilience of countries and communities to help them recover from crises,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

Finland to advance the status of persons with disabilities

Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights is one of the key priorities in the new guidelines. Violence, forced displacement and disruption of law enforcement resulting from conflicts or natural disasters breed gender inequality and increase sexual and gender-based violence.

The new guidelines put stronger emphasis than before on the importance of preserving economic opportunities among local people and business in crisis areas and of taking into account the role of the private sector in humanitarian assistance. Prolonged crises, especially, require solutions that cannot be provided by humanitarian actors alone.

Humanitarian interventions are based on needs assessment and non-discrimination, which covers gender equality, respect for the rights of persons with disabilities, and risk reduction and damage control. Finland wants to contribute to ensuring that persons with disabilities have opportunities to full and meaningful participation at all stages of humanitarian aid operations.

“Finland is committed to continuous dialogue and cooperation with its partners concerning where and how we can best support people in distress. At the same time, we will defend and promote the existing rules that have been laid down in order to protect people in distress and to protect organisations established to help them,” says Minister Skinnari.


The Guidelines on Finland’s humanitarian assistance

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