Afghan hopes painted on blast walls
At the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in November Afghanistan and the international community committed to joint development objectives for 2021-2024 and the international partners announced pledges worth US$ 3.3 billion for this year alone. Hard work now lies ahead, in making the commitments count for the benefit of the Afghan people. Ahead of the Conference, Afghan artist group Art Lords together with Afghans in five provinces painted murals on blast walls - that now serve as reminders of the hopes of the people.
Suspension of passenger flights from the UK extended
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has decided to continue to suspend passenger flights from the UK to Finland until 18 January 2021. Direct passenger flights from Ireland and South Africa to Finland will also be suspended from 11 to 18 January 2021. Due to the decision, many travellers find that returning to Finland is even more difficult than before or may be prevented altogether.
Finland's Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021
Finland assumed its one-year Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers on 1 January 2021. The main task of the Finnish Presidency will be to advance Our Vision 2030, adopted by the Nordic Prime Ministers, according to which the Nordic region will be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The Vision’s focal points are a green Nordic region, a competitive Nordic region and a socially sustainable Nordic region.
Public Sector Investment Facility – call for concept papers
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland is looking for new ideas for Public Sector Investment Facility Projects on yearly rounds of concept paper appraisals. Please send your application by the end 5 March 2021 (Finnish time) to: PIF@formin.fi.
UK flights suspended
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has decided to suspend air passenger flights from the UK to Finland for two weeks from 21 December 2020 until 4 January 2021. Due to the decision, many travellers’ return to Finland will be difficult or prevented altogether.
Applying for a visa during the COVID-19 pandemic on the basis of family ties or an established relationship
All Finnish missions abroad responsible for entry matters accept visa applications submitted by representatives of defined special groups. Representatives of such special groups include, for example, persons applying for a visa on the basis of family ties or an established relationship. The conditions for issuing a visa under the Schengen Visa Code must also be met.
Q&A about customer service at the Finnish embassies
Finland’s missions have operated throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions by local authorities and the disease situation in each country have placed restrictions on operations and customer service and have required significant additional measures to ensure the health security of customer service. It has been possible to contact missions’ customer service normally by email or telephone.
Fresh perspectives on Africa — Twitter breakfast meeting broadens notions
The Foreign Ministry’s Twitter breakfast meeting in December focused on Finns’ notions about Africa. According to the participants, the public discussion on Africa in Finland continues to focus on dire conditions and conflicts. The discussion highlighted African countries’ diversity, rich culture, active youth, and growing economic potential and innovations.
Finland and Russia celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations – Foreign Ministers Haavisto and Lavrov exchange congratulatory letters
On 16 December, Finnish and Russian Foreign Ministers Pekka Haavisto and Sergei Lavrov exchanged letters of congratulation on 100 years of diplomatic relations between their countries. Diplomatic relations between Finland and Russia were established 100 years ago on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1920.
State Secretary Sumuvuori: “Finland has great will and ability to deepen relations with African countries”
This autumn, the drafting of Finland’s Africa Strategy brought together a large group of people through common digital platforms. The group included representatives of research, education and training, ministries, businesses and civil society and diaspora organisations.
Radical training course for future diplomats
In the first half of the 20th century, when the world was not open to everyone, a career in diplomacy was thought to be grand and glorious. After the Second World War times had changed, and people around the world started to question the point in considering diplomacy as a career for the chosen few. Such changes in global contexts as the growing number of states and international organisations together with the development of faster means of communication meant that diplomacy had to be redefined. The Foreign Ministry’s Training Course for Newly Recruited Diplomats, Kavaku in short, turned 50 in autumn 2020.
Advancing meaningful participation of uniformed women in UN peace operations
To mark the anniversary of the UN Women, Peace and Security Resolution and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Embassy of Canada to Finland are co-organising a webinar entitled Advancing meaningful participation of uniformed women in UN peace operations. The event will be held on 17 December 2020 at 17.00–18.30.
EU’s new sanctions regime promotes human rights as part of EU foreign policy
Just before the International Human Rights Day, 10 December, the EU ministers for foreign affairs adopted a new sanctions regime that will allow to impose sanctions on individuals, entities and bodies responsible for serious human rights violations. The new regime is global and complements the existing sanctions regimes that are often related to individual countries. It reinforces the effectiveness of EU foreign policy. Finland has supported the EU’s initiative from the outset.
Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities is no longer a marginal issue but part of mainstream development policy and - co-operation agendas
Katariina Sario is Senior Adviser for persons with disabilities in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She is happy that disability inclusion has finally been systematically integrated in the development policy. Three questions about development cooperation is a series of interviews with specialists in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.