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UNICEF innovation activities to Finland – new hubs will promote learning and innovative financing solutions

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 23.8.2021 13.38 | Published in English on 23.8.2021 at 14.00
Press release

The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF will establish two innovation hubs in Finland. The hubs are the latest addition to the UN competence cluster built in Finland in recent years by UNOPS and UN Global Pulse.

Finland's long-term partnership with UNICEF will deepen as the children's fund will transfer part of its innovation activities to Finland. Two innovation hubs will be established in Finland, focusing on the development, testing and scaling of new solutions in the field of learning and innovative financing. The hubs will start operating during this autumn.

Almost all children in the world start school, but it is estimated that 617 million children and young people do not learn even the basic skills at school. UNICEF’s Global Learning Innovation Hub will promote teaching and learning especially in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education through digital solutions. The Global Innovative Finance Hub, on the other hand, will seek and develop new types of financing models and financial technologies that will benefit the children of the world. 

“The placement of the hubs in Finland is an excellent indication of Finland's commitment to UNICEF's work and our strong innovation expertise. We want to develop new solutions to address the learning crisis in cooperation with children and young people. The hubs now being established will support Finland's strengths and our objective to create a UN cluster of innovation in Finland,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

UNICEF is Finland's long-standing UN partner in promoting children's rights, and Finland and UNICEF have been collaborating for several years to promote innovation. For example, Finland supports the UNICEF Innovation Fund and the development of international policy guidance on AI for children. 

The hubs will offer opportunities for multi-sectoral cooperation with the Finnish private and public sector as well as research and civil society organisations. The hubs will enable Finnish technological and social innovations to be utilised more widely throughout the world.
“Partnerships are at the very heart of our work to reach every child. UNICEF is grateful for Finland’s generosity and support. Together, we’re committed to innovating and finding solutions to the challenges facing the world’s most vulnerable children,” says UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

UN organisations already operating in Finland are The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), the UN Global Pulse (formerly the United Nations Technology Innovation Laboratory UNTIL) focusing on foresight work, the Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation (S3i) initiative of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).


Jarmo Sareva, Ambassador for Innovations, tel. +358 295 350 418

Mikko Autti, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 295 350 034

Emilia Mustajärvi, First Secretary, Unit for Sustainable Development and Climate Policy, +358 295 350 376

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format [email protected]

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