Multilateral cooperation

By actively engaging in multilateral cooperation, Finland is able to play a more important role in international development policy than its size would suggest. Working through the United Nations and development financing institutions is one example of multilateral development cooperation. 

The United Nations and its agencies as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are the most important of the international organisations in this process. Important development financing institutions include the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). International environmental and climate cooperation is also part of the multilateral cooperation. 

Finland has allocated a total of EUR 172 million for multilateral development cooperation in 2019. This is 34 per cent of Finland’s official development cooperation funding, ODA. Other development cooperation spending also includes the Finnish contribution to the European Union's development cooperation budget. In 2019, it totals EUR 221 million euros. 

Multilateral cooperation is an integral part of Finland's development policy

By taking part in multilateral development cooperation, Finland can influence the way in which development financing and the efforts to improve conditions in developing countries are targeted. 

Finland provides multilateral actors with financial assistance and is actively working to ensure that they pursue issues that are important to Finland. Funding consists of membership fees and core contributions, financial contributions to development banks and environmental and climate funds, as well as thematic and regional/country-specific aid. Working together with other member countries, Finland can influence the way in which the money is spent.

Important channels for exerting political influence include the UN General Assembly, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the governing boards and executive boards of organisations, funds, programmes and financing institutions, bilateral meetings and visits, negotiations on additional funding for development bank loan funds and environmental and climate funds, as well as occasional negotiations on capital increases.

Finland is also working with its partners to improve the operating practices of the organisations. Our focus is on strategic planning of the activities, impact, effectiveness, openness, coordination with other actors and evaluation of the results. 

Spending by multilateral actors and the achievement of the targets set for them are closely monitored. Finland is a member of the MOPAN network of donor countries (Multilateral Organizations Performance Assessment Network), which evaluates the effectiveness of international organisations and the results achieved by them. 

Finland is an important player in the UN agencies promoting gender equality

The Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) were drafted by the countries of the world under the auspices of the United Nations. The achievement of these goals is evaluated at the UN on an annual basis. 

In its multilateral development cooperation, Finland gives priority to UN agencies that promote gender equality and work to reduce inequality:

  • UN Women - the UN Entity for Gender Equality. Finland emphasises the combating of violence against women and the role of women in peacebuilding, economic development and decision-making. With a core funding contribution of EUR 10 million in 2017, Finland is one of the largest and most influential providers of funding for UN Women.
  • United Nations Population Fund UNFPA. Finland stresses the need for proactive intervention in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. With a core funding contribution of EUR 17 million in 2017, Finland is one of the largest providers of funding for UNFPA.
  • United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF. Finland's priorities at UNICEF include education for girls and child welfare. In 2017, our core funding for the organisation totalled EUR 7 million.

Finland also supports the work of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

International cooperation helps to combat environmental degradation and climate change

Finland supports international organisations and funds in their environmental and climate work. The aim is to develop multilateral environmental and climate cooperation and to ensure that international treaties and conventions are observed.

The cooperation helps developing countries in their efforts to introduce more effective environmental and climate measures. This is particularly important in countries with limited administrative resources. There is conclusive evidence that sustainable management of natural resources contributes significantly to peaceful development in developing countries. 

Through Green Climate Fund GCF, Finland supports developing countries in their efforts to achieve low-carbon and climate-resilient growth. The Global Environment Facility GEF serves as the official funding channel for a number of environmental treaties and conventions. In GEF, Finland gives priority to the gender equality perspective and more effective cooperation in the private sector.

Development banks support the efforts to reduce poverty

Development financing institutions (also called development banks) are institutions owned by a large number of countries that provide developing nations with soft loans, grants, capital investments, guarantees and technical assistance. Their basic mission is to reduce poverty and support sustainable development. Development banks also aim to direct between 28 and 40 per cent of their funding at climate measures in developing countries. 

Traditionally, funding for developing countries has been channelled to the public sector. Nowadays, development financing institutions are also increasingly channelling support to the private sector. Funding is provided for such purposes as improvements in the operating prerequisites of companies.

In the autumn of 2017, Finland and the International Finance Corporation IFC, which is part of the World Bank Group, established a joint climate fund to support renewable and clean energy solutions and other climate projects in developing countries.

The World Bank is the second largest channel for Finland’s official development assistance after EU. The Ministry of Finance is the main body responsible for matters concerning the World Bank in Finland. Finland is represented in the Board of Governors of the institution by the Minister of Finance, with the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development acting as the deputy representative. Read more about the World Bank and Finland’s role in the institution:

Finland exerts its influence through trust funds

Finland is a party to about 40 trust funds in the World Bank. This is also called Trust Fund cooperation. The trust fund with the biggest financial resources is the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund whose main role is to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. 

Other trust funds that have received funding from Finland include the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Knowledge for Change Program (KCP), Nordic Trust Fund (NTF), which focuses on human rights, Donor Funded Staffing Program (DFSP), Digital Development Partnership (DDP) and Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE).

Finland is also actively involved in the work of the following regional development financing institutions: African (AfDB), Asian (AsDB) and Inter-American (IADB) Development Banks, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Decisions in the international financing institutions are made in their executive boards in which the member countries act through their own voting groups. For example, in the World Bank, Finland belongs to the same voting group as the other Nordic countries and the Baltic states. In the African Development Bank, Finland acts together with Denmark, India, Norway and Sweden, whereas in the Asian Development Bank, we have Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden as our partners. 

Finland also provides funding for bilateral cooperation through development financing institutions.

Helsinki is also a UN city

The World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (WIDER-Institute) is located in Helsinki. It produces research data on the challenges of global sustainable development in the field of development policy and cooperation.

Helsinki is also home to the HELCOM Secretariat (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission), a Country Office of the International Organization for Migration IOM and a United Nations Technology Innovation Lab (Until).

Finnish experts around the globe

Since 1965, Finland has provided financing from its development cooperation funds to recruit Junior Professional Officers and volunteers for UN agencies and international financing institutions. The purpose of the programme is to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations, increase the number of Finnish development cooperation experts and, above all, to encourage Finns to apply for tasks in international organisations.

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