Assessment Report: From Reactivity to Resilience
The independent assessment studied the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to learn from it and thereby enhance MFA’s ability to respond and adapt development policy and co-operation and humanitarian assistance in crisis situations.
The assessment followed two tracks of inquiry. The first was descriptive (how has the MFA responded?), and the second was evaluative (how relevant, efficient and coherent was the response?).
The assessment covered both the acute and early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and elements of the longer-term response to build forward. It focused on the period from March 2020 up till the end of 2021.
The MFA’s activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic were analysed along six dimensions: 1) financial response, 2) policy dialogue response, 3) policies and procedures, 4) risk management, 5) knowledge management, and 6) staff.
The assessment concludes that Finland’s COVID-19 pandemic response was relevant both with respect to – and beyond – Finland’s explicit development policy priorities and changed partner country needs. While health is not an explicit development policy priority, Finland nevertheless mobilised significant funding for vaccines. Within its parameters, the MFA’s COVID-19 pandemic response was quick and flexible.
Coherence was ensured by building on MFA’s long-term strengths in policy dialogue and influencing, partnerships with multilateral organisations and coordination with like-minded countries and by adding new elements like Team Europe.
The assessment found that the response owes a large debt to the motivated, devoted and at times overburdened staff. The resulting increased workload and the pandemic strained managers and staff in embassies and in Helsinki, but the organization could not fully secure the safety and well-being of all staff despite efforts made.
Ministry's response to the evaluation
Management response (PDF, in Finnish, 2 pages, 126 KB)
Webinar recording and presentation of evaluation results
PowerPoint presentation of evaluation results - Webinar 28 April 2022 (PDF, 34 pages, 1.6 MB KB)
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