Development policy is an important part of Finland’s foreign and security policy. It is based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), derived from the UN Millennium Declaration, which aim at the eradication of extreme poverty.
Human rights are an integral part of Finland’s development policy, because development is not sustainable without all people having an equal right to influence and participate in the definition and implementation of their own development.
Development policy and practical development cooperation support developing countries’ own development efforts.
Guidelines for the implementation of Finland’s development policy are set out in the Development Policy Programme, which was adopted in February 2012.
As a Member State of the EU, Finland is committed to reaching the target of 0.7 per cent of its gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA) by 2015.
Economic growth alone is not sufficient to bring about comprehensive development impacts. Reinforcement of human well-being and social equality and acting in a manner that does not exceed nature’s capacity is essential in all development cooperation funded by Finland.
Finland’s Development Policy emphasises the following four dimensions:
1. A democracy and accountable society that promotes human rights
One of Finland’s key objectives is to support the establishment of well-functioning and democratic public institutions. They form the cornerstone of a democratic state. Finnish approach underlines civil society’s freedom of operation and fight against corruption. Finland pays special attention to human rights violations in conflicts.
2. An inclusive green economy that promotes employment
Finland supports an enabling environment that promotes investment, entrepreneurship, responsible business activities and decent work. This goal is pursued by promoting public and private as well as civil society partnerships. An inclusive green economy that reduces inequality and economic policy that strives for justice open up opportunities for participation in society, for employment and for access to social protection. It is important to strengthen partner countries’ tax systems and public financial management.
3. Sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment
Development policy supports sustainable management of natural resources, environmental protection and natural diversity. Finland aims at a global food security. Finland is also committed to climate change financing and helps the developing countries in adapting to climate change.
4. Human development
Finland supports children’s and young people’s right to education, strengthens education and health care systems, and promotes youth employment. In the health care sector, Finland concentrates, among other things, on the improvement of sexual and reproductive rights and on health and maternity health.
Finnish development cooperation seeks to support the developing countries’ own development and emphasises enhanced aid effectiveness as well as monitoring and learning from doing. It is important to set long-term goals in cooperation with the countries and organisations involved, to organise monitoring and to draw on lessons learnt.
Finland lays special emphasis on the following principles:
Democratic ownership. Development cooperation is carried out based on the development needs defined by the citizens in the partner country. Needs and goals cannot be set by outsiders.
Results and effectiveness. Development policy and development cooperation strive for sustainable impacts with long-term relevance.
Openness. Openness is expected from both donors and partner countries. Public decision-making and use of funds must be transparent and results must be communicated openly.
Coherence. To contribute to the reduction of poverty as effectively as possible, the development policy and other policies must be coherent. Development policy alone cannot bring about the desired goals but development impacts must be taken into account in other decision-making, too.
Finland focuses on the least developed countries in Africa and Asia and on some fragile states. The long-term partner countries are: Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia.
In the regional development cooperation, Finland seeks resolutions of cross-border problems in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The Wider Europe Initiative focuses on Central Asia.
Finland pursues its development policy goals by means of providing financing and by conducting policy dialogue bilaterally, multilaterally and via the EU. The cooperation modalities are implemented by government actors, civil society organisations or private companies.
Further information on the web pages of MFA Finland: