Sustainable economies and decent work

Finland aims to strengthen developing countries’ economies in order to create more jobs, livelihoods and wellbeing.

Finland’s objectives in development policy priority area on sustainable economies and decent work

  • Strengthen access to decent work and provide opportunities for decent livelihoods and income for the most vulnerable people. Finland increases awareness of especially women and persons with disabilities, of their rights to decent work, social protection and income. Key partners in this work include civil society and trade unions.
  • Promote a private sector in developing countries that is responsible and supports sustainable development. Entreprises operating in developing countries have a critical role in creating employment, livelihoods and income, and in providing goods and services for the poor. Through Finland’s support, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and especially women entrepreneurs, benefit from improved access to business and innovation support services and finance. Finland offers companies training on responsible business and decent working conditions. In addition, Finland enhances capacities in developing country education and research institutes and companies to co-create innovations that advance sustainable development. Innovation partnerships with Finnish counterparts are promoted.
  • Strengthen developing country governments’ capacity to promote responsible business conduct and support a solid business-enabling environment that enhances innovation. Finland’s aim is that developing country governments respect and monitor the implementation of decent work standards, enhance regional economic integration, and operate in accordance with international trading rules. Finland supports developing country governments’ ability to promote new know-how, technology and innovations that enhance sustainable development.
  • Strengthen the international community’s ability to advance responsible business conduct and innovation that benefits the poor and especially women and the youth. Finland engages in multilateral cooperation to ensure that trade, investment and taxation policies consistently support sustainable development goals and encourage the participation of developing countries. Finland strengthens knowledge and effective monitoring of international standards of responsible business conduct, in particular The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Finland engages in dialogue with its multilateral partners to secure their support for responsible business, technological innovation and start-up entrepreneurship in developing countries.

Work in this priority area focuses particularly on the role of women in the economy. This means increasing womens’ employment opportunities and providing financing services to female entrepreneurs and companies whose products and services are designed for women. Similarly, efforts are made to match women-owned or women-led companies in developing countries with Finnish companies. These targets require actions to eliminate structural discrimination and to remove barriers to women’s participation.

It is also important to drive innovation and digitalisation. A stable and predictable business environment that encourages innovation is essential to drive private sector development and economic renewal. Finland works towards boosting innovation in developing countries and supports international innovation partnerships to create solutions that promote the Sustainable Development Goals and benefit developing countries. Finland aims to ensure that the digital transformation leaves no one behind. Digitalisation should directly benefit everyone, including the most vulnerable people.

While practical work in developing countries is carried out directly with people, companies and public administration, Finland also makes efforts to influence international regulation to make it more conducive for sustainable economic development and decent work. Finland supports civil society and uses instruments such as financing to influence the activities of development finance institutions and intergovernmental organisations. Financing arrangements targeted at the private sector support companies operating in developing countries. Companies are also offered training in corporate responsibility and human rights issues. Financing is allocated to individual developing countries and to regions. Our international advocacy forums include the European Union, the UN, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD and the International Labour Organization ILO.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasises the role and responsibility of the private sector in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Companies play an important role as creators of new jobs, and they are key to the development of innovative technologies and solutions. Companies with global value chains have great power, and a great responsibility for the impacts of their operations.

Finland’s objectives in development policy priority area on sustainable economies and decent work support the UN Sustainable Development Goals 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 17 (partnerships for the goals). Moreover, work in this priority area to strengthen economies and to increase sources of livelihood, decent work and wellbeing, and its emphasis on equality, responsible business and innovation pave the way for the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.

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