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Government Report on Development Policy: Finland promotes sustainable economic growth, the status of women and the solving of challenges faced by fragile states

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 4.2.2016 13.45
Press release

Press Release 26/2016
4 February 2016

In this new report, Finland's development policy has been defined in line with current international and national developments. Finland increases its support to the least developed countries (LDCs) and fragile states like Somalia and commits more resources to the sending, transit and receiving countries of forced migration.

The Government Report on Development Policy was adopted on 4 February. It highlights the close links between development policy and the other areas of Finland's foreign and security policy, particularly apparent in the case of conflict areas, fragile states and refugee issues. A stable and safe world is also in Finland's interest.

Finnish development policy lays particular emphasis on the rights of women and girls and on the strengthening of the developing countries' own economies to promote employment, livelihoods and well-being. The priorities also include the democracy and the functioning of societies, as well as access to food, water and energy, and the sustainable use of natural resources.

“We will consider more carefully than before in what areas our contribution is needed to help the partner countries stand on their own feet in the future. One example is the strengthening of the taxation capacity of developing countries and the transparent use of public funds,” says Lenita Toivakka, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development.

Mobilising sustainable investments

The reduction of poverty and inequality is one of the main objectives of Finland's development policy. Well-being in developing countries cannot be improved without jobs and sustainable economic growth. This fact is clearly recognised in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN in September 2015, and in Finland's development policy.

During the current government term, Finland will support international efforts to mobilise investments for sustainable development in developing countries with over €0.5 billion. The Government will encourage and support responsible Finnish companies who wish to enter the markets of developing countries.

“In Africa, renewable forms of energy have immense potential, but at the same time, three out of four inhabitants in Sub-Saharan Africa have no electricity. The situation cannot be solved without private investments. We can contribute to their mobilisation with development financing,” Toivakka says.

More support to fragile states

The least developed countries and fragile states will play an increasingly important role in bilateral cooperation, because they have the greatest need for Finnish support. Finland will step up its support to Somalia and Ethiopia. In Africa, Finland will also continue to collaborate with Mozambique and Tanzania, while in Asia our support will be focussed on Afghanistan, Myanmar and Nepal. In Europe, Finland will support structural reform and reconstruction in Ukraine.

Correspondingly, cooperation with some of Finland’s earlier long-term partners, such as Zambia and Kenya, will gradually take the shape of a more multi-dimensional collaboration in which grant aid only plays a minor role.

Increased resources will be directed toward the sending, transit and receiving countries of refugees. Finland will step up its support to regions suffering from the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq and contribute actively to the achievement of common solutions.

Among international organisations, Finland's main partners will be the UN agencies that strive to strengthen the position of women and girls: UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF. The European Union and the development banks will also remain our key cooperation partners.

This Government Report on Development Policy was prepared in cooperation with key Finnish interest groups, and it will be considered by Parliament during the spring.

Further information: Elina Kalkku, Under-Secretary of State, Development Cooperation and Development Policy, tel. +358 295 350 556. Riikka Laatu, Deputy Director General, Department for Development Policy, tel. +358 295 350 970. Juha Kirstilä, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 295 351 834.