Development Policy Committee proposes a global responsibility model for Finland

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 9.5.2019 15.18
News item

Finland should plan and conduct long-term development policy that extends over several parliamentary terms. The Development Policy Committee notes in its report that Finland could respond to global challenges more effectively in this way.

The Development Policy Committee today published its report entitled ‘The state of Finland’s development policy in 2019: Global responsibility to be conducted over several government terms and across administrative boundaries’. The report proposes that Finland adopt a model that would specify not only the goals and priorities of development policy but also the level of funding and the main principles. These would then be transferred from one government to another, ensuring continuity and helping to reach better results.

Finland's development policy needs a long-term vision like the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda as well as measures addressing climate change, and global challenges like poverty and inequality, require that independent programmes running for the period of one government term be replaced by long-term development policy. This would improve the continuity and results, the report notes.​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Members of Parliament and the Development Policy Committee debate the content of the report; (from left to right) Ida Schauman (Swedish People’s Party), Antero Laukkanen (Christian Democrats), Saara-Sofia Sirén (National Coalition Party), Chair of the Development Policy Committee Aila Paloniemi (Centre Party), Kimmo Kiljunen (Social Democratic Party), Inka Hopsu (Green League), and Hanna Sarkkinen (Left Alliance). Advice for government formation talks

The report provides an assessment of the future and offers advice for the government formation negotiations and for members of the new Parliament.

“Finland needs a clear plan of how it will shoulder its global responsibility. Even though development funding has been volatile, our development cooperation activities have produced better results,” says Aila Paloniemi, Chair of the Development Policy Committee.

“Implementing the 2030 Agenda goals requires the input of all policy areas and actors, and global responsibility should be shared across administrative sectors. Development policy programmes that are in force for one government term at a time have lack the necessary coordination. We propose a model that lays down guidelines for long-term development policy, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The aim is to adhere to what functions well and where Finland plays a special role. The current strengths of our development policy would be included,” says Marikki Stocchetti, Secretary-General of the Development Policy Committee.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen hopes that the message about global responsibility will reach the government formation talks.​​​​​​​ Results-oriented development policy

“Finland wants to reduce poverty in all parts of the world, and the principle of global responsibility is a good model,” says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen. “However, good plans will not materialise without sufficient resources, including funding and skilled staff,” she says.

“The majority of people in Finland consider development policy important and the prevailing atmosphere is favourable. People want to know where development cooperation funds are used and be sure that they reach the intended destinations. Excellent results have been achieved; thanks to Finland's support, a growing number of women and girls have access to sexual and reproductive health services. We are also in the vanguard when it comes to the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in the developing countries,” Minister Virolainen notes.

Increase in appropriations

According to the Development Policy Committee's report, the global responsibility model should include a clear plan for raising Finland's development cooperation funding to the level recommended by the UN. The 0.7% of GNI target level should be reached no later than during the next two government terms. At least 0.2% of GNI should be directed to the least developed countries.

“No matter what political colours have been represented in government, Finland has not done enough to attain the 0.7% target level. Almost all political parties are now behind the 0.7% target and we need to stick to the level. Finland must reach the level of the Nordic reference group,” says Foreign Trade and Development Minister Virolainen.


Development Policy Committee

The Development Policy Committee is the only body monitoring and evaluating Finnish development cooperation and policy on a systematic and broad basis. The Government appoints the Development Policy Committee for each government term. Its members include representatives of parliamentary parties, advocacy organisations, NGOs and universities.