Closing remarks by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio at the LDC Future Forum in Helsinki

Distinguished ministers, Under Secretary-General, Permanent representatives, dear friends, It is my great pleasure and honor to close the second LDC Future Forum in Helsinki.

It is my great pleasure and honor to close the second LDC Future Forum in Helsinki. I have been briefed that the sessions have been interesting and discussion has flown actively throughout these two days. You have gone through many concrete examples and case studies.
Besides some Finnish souvenirs and winter memories, I hope you will take with you also new ideas and solutions.

The topic of the Forum has been the role of innovations in transforming the economy and society, for innovations can truly accelerate development. Scaling up is much needed to reach the sustainable development goals.

Innovations have also been one of the cornerstones in Finland’s own development story and taken us to where we are today.
Finland has a strong interest in using technology in new ways to provide services for citizens and make their daily lives easier. Fast telecommunication networks, universal connectivity and high-quality digital services make a difference for citizens’ living, especially in a sparsely populated country.

We should remember that innovations are not only about new technology or digitalization. Social innovations are also important – from free school meals to maternity health clinics and maternity boxes for expecting mothers.

As we have discussed, digitalization is leaping forward, but we also see digital gaps still being wide. We need to pay special attention to digital gaps which prevent women and girls from accessing online data.
The digital economy holds many promises, but apart from the private sector we also need to enable institutions, citizens and civil society organizations to fully benefit from it. I hope that the Forum has given inspiring ideas on how to tackle these challenges.
Finland is committed to stand beside you also in the coming years while we implement the Doha Programme of Action together.

Dear participants,
We have an important year ahead. I would like to wish the best of success for the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States in May in Antigua and Barbuda, and the third UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, which I will personally attend in June in Rwanda.

I want to thank the Office of the High Representative for the hard work in organising this Forum, and all the partners – UNU-Wider, FERDI, OECD Development Centre and UNICEF - for contributing to a successful Forum.

I also want to thank every one of you for taking your time to come to Finland, to discuss and share ideas and learn from each other.
Luckily, we do not have to say long goodbyes as we will meet again next year. I am very much looking forward to the next LDC Future Forums. I hope that in the Forums to come, we can build on the concrete ideas developed this week in Helsinki.
I also want to express my thanks to Zambia and especially His Excellency Minister Felix Mutati, who has kindly offered to host the next Future Forum in 2025.

I hope to see you again in the Future Forums and other occasions.

Thank you.