Recent crises underline the importance of development cooperation as a key instrument of foreign and security policy, according to Finland’s Development Policy Results Report submitted to Parliament on 9 November.
The Development Policy Results Report shows that despite the difficult times, Finland has managed to achieve significant results through long-term cooperation.
For example, an increasing number of girls complete basic education in Finland’s partner countries. Better weather and climate services help up to 500 million people adapt to climate change. Humanitarian assistance by UN agencies reached more than 100 million people in 2021.
“By taking part in resolving global problems, Finland helps consolidate the multilateral rules-based system. This will strengthen Finland’s global position, too,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.
During the reporting period from 2019 to 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, increasing authoritarianism and climate change reversed the long period of positive development.
The share of people living in extreme poverty increased for the first time in 20 years. In places, crises have slowed down Finland’s development cooperation and hampered the achievement of results.
At the same time, recent crises underline the importance of development policy as a key instrument of foreign and security policy. For example, a significant part of Finland’s support to Ukraine has been funded through development cooperation funds.
Results are achieved through long-term cooperation and adherence to values
The report shows that together with its partners, Finland has improved the capacity and resilience of people and societies in developing countries.
“The results reveal that development cooperation works best when we lean on our expertise and our values,” says Skinnari.
As a summary, the report states that one key to achieving results is long-term cooperation that is based on strong values. For example, Finland has steadfastly promoted gender equality through both funding and political influence.
One example of long-term development cooperation is Finland’s cooperation with Nepal, which began in the 1980s. Since then Nepal has gone through a civil war and natural disasters. Still, there is now less poverty and higher literacy than before and nearly everyone has access to clean drinking water. Nepal’s co-funding of joint programmes has been significant, which shows that the country is committed to the objectives of the cooperation.
The report reminds that Finland’s development cooperation aims to support developing countries so that in the future they can take responsibility for the wellbeing of their people and for the stability of their society. Therefore, the report recommends that Finland diversify its relations with countries that are evolving from the status of least developed countries to lower middle-income countries. One such country is Nepal.
A growing share of development cooperation is allocated to fragile countries and situations. This requires greater risk management and anticipation and better coordination of development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and peace efforts. A recently adopted Risk Management Policy in Development Cooperation facilitates more effective practices by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its partners and obliges them to develop their risk management practices.
The now published Development Policy Results Report is the second of its kind. The first Results Report was submitted to Parliament in 2018.
Source: Finland in the UAE