Suspicion of misuse of development cooperation funds in an education sector project funded from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund
The World Bank has carried out an in-depth review of the operation and finances of the Education Quality Improvement Program II (EQUIP II), a project of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), carried out in 2008–2017. The ARTF is administered by the World Bank. Based on preliminary results, the review detected defects in documentation and possible mismanagement of procurement in the project.
Johanna Sumuvuori appointed as State Secretary to Minister Haavisto – and Jeri Aalto, Jarno Lappalainen and Joel Linnainmäki as Special Advisers
Johanna Sumuvuori was appointed as State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto starting on 4 July. In addition, Jeri Aalto, Jarno Lappalainen and Joel Linnainmäki have started as Special Advisers to Minister Haavisto.
Tiina Vainio, Tino Aalto and Kirsi Airio appointed as Special Advisers to Minister Skinnari
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari has appointed Tiina Vainio, Tino Aalto and Kirsi Airio to serve as his Special Advisers. Tino Aalto and Tiina Vainio assumed their positions in July, and will be followed by Kirsi Airio on 1 August.
Supporting documents of visa applications for Finland: Changes concerning applications submitted in Russia
As of 1 September 2019, the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, Finland’s Consulate General in St Petersburg and the offices in Petrozavodsk and Murmansk will follow the common EU visa policy concerning supporting documents to visa applications.
New report calls for inclusive representation of young people in conflict prevention and peace processes
On Wednesday 17 July, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake announced the publication of #WeAreHere: An integrated approach to youth-inclusive peace processes, a policy paper co-authored by Ali Altiok and Irena Grizelj. The launch took place at the United Nations Security Council meeting on the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda. The paper includes case studies from countries such as Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen.
Views of the world's most substantial donor are heard at the negotiating table
The values of EU Member States are reflected, for example, in the development cooperation of the environment and energy sectors, says Hubert Perr, Head of Cooperation of the EU delegation to Kenya. The Union plays an important role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid as topics in joint meeting of two EU working groups in Helsinki
The Working Party on Development Cooperation (CODEV) and the Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) of the Council of the EU will meet in Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, on 15–16 July 2019. The informal joint meeting takes place during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Member states’ EU political directors met to discuss hybrid threats in Helsinki
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU kicked off on 1 July 2019. One of the first events arranged by the Presidency was an informal meeting of the political directors from the member states’ foreign ministries. Sustainable development is one of this Presidency’s priorities. The meetings held in Finland will therefore be concentrated in a single venue, Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall. This was where the political directors met on 9–10 July.
UN’s High-level Political Forum on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development begins – Finland places emphasis on education in tackling global challenges
The UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will meet in New York between 9 and 18 July 2019. The purpose of the annual meeting is to review the progress made globally in achieving the objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Twinning: Finland to strengthen training centres of Turkish Prison Service employees
The aim of the Twinning project starting in autumn 2019 is to develop the Turkish Prison Service in line with European standards. This can be achieved by strengthening the quality of the procedures applied in prisons and the activity of the persons working there. The joint tender of Finland and Estonia won the competitive tendering open to all EU Member States.
Asunmaa appointed Director General of the Department for the Americas and Asia
On 27 June, the Government appointed Piritta Asunmaa to serve as Director General of the Department for the Americas and Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The post will be a fixed-term appointment ending on 31 August 2023.
Young ambassadors for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan sought by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched projects to promote peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Afghanistan. A network of young ambassadors for peace will be formed during the projects, assigned to encourage young people to promote peace in their own living environments and in society.
Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports the promotion of physical activity and sports in international contexts
Sports and physical activity are among the various areas that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs uses as a means of promoting international cooperation. On 19 June 2019, the National Sports Council published its scorecard concerning physical exercise and activity in the ministries.
FCP for alumni starts on 10 June
ThisisFINLAND’s first Foreign Correspondents Programme (FCP) for alumni will bring to Finland ten journalists and media professionals who have participated in the programme in earlier years. The alumni programme will take place from 10 to 15 June. We aim to offer the participants an updated picture of Finland.
Finland contributes to strengthening nuclear safety
When agreements are breeched and broken away from, arms control and arms limitation efforts are facing difficult times. There is one goal, however, that brings states together: they share the view that international cooperation is needed to prevent terrorists from undermining safety in society.
Finland participates in the strengthening of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus
A tender submitted jointly by Finland and Austria has won a contract for implementing a Twinning project in Belarus. The two-year project will develop the expertise and activities of the Belarusian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
Lessons learned from school feeding in Finland
School meals have increasingly been recognised as an investment in a nation’s future, and now more countries are becoming interested in organising their own school feeding programmes. The Finnish system of providing a free meal during the school day may help countries that are thinking of launching or improving their system of school feeding.
International non-governmental organisations have been granted ten million euros for the promotion of human rights and development
Following the decision of Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has granted a total of ten million euros to eight international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) for the promotion of human rights and development for the period 2019–2021. During this Call for Proposals, over one hundred organisations submitted applications for a discretionary government transfer, applying in total for over 100 million euros.
“The expertise gained during Finland’s Presidency feels unique”
Merja Lahtinen, Desk Officer at the Unit for Human Rights Policy, worked as Team Leader for Finland’s Presidency of the Council of Europe. The Presidency of the Council required considerably more involvement than the every-day membership work at the Council. According to Lahtinen, the Presidency gave her unique expertise for her career.
Finland’s challenging Council of Europe Presidency culminated with a successful Committee of Ministers meeting in Helsinki
Finland’s six-month Presidency of the Council of Europe culminated with the Committee of Ministers meeting, held in Helsinki on 16–17 May. This was the largest ministerial meeting ever organised in Helsinki, with all 47 Member States present at the Finlandia Hall and more than 30 of them represented by the Foreign Minister. Besides the Member States, the six Observer States and certain international organisations had been invited.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the World Village Festival – climate change as the main theme
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will participate in the World Village Festival next weekend, on 25–26 May. This year’s festival will take place at Rautatientori Square and Kaisaniemi Park close to the Central Railway Station, with climate change as the main theme.
Students planned the catering for the Arctic Council’s Ministerial Meeting
The 11th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting was held in Rovaniemi, Finland, on 7 May 2019. The meeting was hosted by Finland and chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. The Foreign Ministers of all the Arctic States attended the meeting. The meetings were planned according to the green meetings concept. Catering is an essential part of sustainable meeting arrangements. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs worked in close cooperation with local service providers but and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.
Nina Vaskunlahti appointed Under-Secretary of State for external economic relations
At its session on 16 May, the Government decided to appoint a Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Nina Vaskunlahti to serve as Under-Secretary of State for external economic relations at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for a fixed term from 24 June 2019 to 31 August 2023.
Finland helps Afghanistan build better sanitation
Unicef’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene programme (WASH) has improved the quality of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan. Between 2017 and 2018, Finland contributed EUR 2 million to the programme.
Decisive moment for Finland's Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
Nina Nordström, Director of the Unit for Human Rights Policy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, says that the Council of Europe plays an increasingly difficult role in promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Nordström has piloted the Finnish Presidency of the Council of Europe together with team leader Merja Lahtinen throughout its six-month term.
Development Policy Committee proposes a global responsibility model for Finland
Finland should plan and conduct long-term development policy that extends over several parliamentary terms. The Development Policy Committee notes in its report that Finland could respond to global challenges more effectively in this way.
Changes in services provided by Finnish missions abroad
From 1 May onwards, estate services will no longer be handled at Finnish missions abroad. Address inquiries and inquiries concerning extracts from the population register will be handled only in special cases. After the amendment has entered into force, certain notarial services may also be outsourced to external service providers.
Finland's Arctic Council Chairmanship comes to an end in Rovaniemi
Finland's two-year Chairmanship of the Arctic Council will end at the Foreign Ministerial Meeting that will be held in Rovaniemi on 7 May. The Foreign Ministers of all the eight Arctic States – Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States – are expected to arrive in Rovaniemi. The Ministerial Meeting will be chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini.