UNICEF gathered young persons’ perspectives on artificial intelligence: more education is needed
Last year, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF hosted a series of workshops for young people from different parts of the world in order to gather information about children's experiences of artificial intelligence (AI). The results of the consultations support global policy guidance.
Countering disinformation to defend human rights
The fight against disinformation is important also from the perspective of the realisation of human rights. Disinformation is a challenging issue, because it has not been defined in international law, and there is not a straightforward way to distinguish misleading information from correct information. The Finnish Coalition Chair will pay special attention to the introduction of normative instruments for internet stakeholders.
Draft law concerning the national D visa to be circulated for comments
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has sent the draft law concerning the amendment of the Aliens Act, prepared in cooperation with the authorities, for a round of consultation. It proposes that Finland would also adopt the national D visa. The proposal establishes the visa application and the prerequisites for issuing.
Young ambassadors for peace resolve conflicts and break the chain of revenge
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched projects to promote peace and reconciliation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The aim of the projects that are expected to last until 2023 is to encourage young people to work for peace and to use media skills as a way of exerting influence. The Ministry's Communications Department is responsible for the projects.
Human rights and sustainable development at the core of a call for proposals for international non-governmental organisations
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) opens a call for proposals for international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). The application round will run from 15 February to 26 March 2021.
Finland invests in climate diplomacy ahead of summits
The year 2021 will be a “super year” for climate change and biodiversity. Finland's own ambitious climate objectives are internationally credible and open up plenty of opportunities. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari discuss the prospects.
Evaluation: Finland’s support helps create success stories in partner countries – Stronger economies, more jobs and better livelihoods
A new evaluation of Finland’s cooperation with partner countries to strengthen their economies, create jobs and improve livelihoods shows that Finland’s work has yielded good results in the energy sector, taxation, innovation and the economic empowerment of women.
Changes to travel recommendations: avoid all travel to Brazil, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs urges to avoid all travel to the Brazil, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom in accordance with the recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. For all other countries, the Foreign Ministry’s general travel advice due to the COVID-19 pandemic is to avoid all but essential travel.
A major partner country for EU development cooperation, Niger achieves development despite challenges
Together with its Member States, the European Union is the world's largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA). In this third article in our series on EU development cooperation, Olai Voionmaa, Head of the Political, Press and Information Section at the EU delegation to Niger, tells us about the EU’s activities in Niger.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs to participate in the first ever Educa goes digital event
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is participating in the international programme and will be present among the virtual exhibitors at the Educa goes digital event on 29–30 January. At the event, on Friday, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will take part in a panel discussion on the topic of the global learning crisis.
Finland strengthens investments in companies of the poorest countries
The coronavirus crisis has hit companies in developing countries hard. Finland has increased its guarantees to development finance institution Finnfund, which will strengthen the targeting of its investments to the companies of the poorest countries as well as promote economic and social development.
100 years of diplomatic relations between Latvia and Finland
Tuesday 26 January 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Finland and Latvia. Finland was the first Nordic country to recognise de jure Latvia’s independence on 26 January 1921. A multitude of special events will take place in Finland and in Latvia throughout this year to commemorate the occasion.
Changes to travel recommendations: avoid all travel to United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs urges to avoid all travel to the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa in accordance with the recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. For all other countries, the Foreign Ministry’s general travel advice due to the COVID-19 pandemic is to avoid all but essential travel.
Direct passenger flights from the UK, Ireland and South Africa continue to be suspended
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has decided that the suspension of direct passenger flights from the UK, Ireland and South Africa to Finland be continued until 25 January 2021. Due to the decision, many travellers find that returning to Finland is even more difficult than before or may be prevented altogether.
Panel discussion on climate change and biodiversity loss based on Sir David Attenborough’s documentary
Experts preparing for the 2021 UN summits will meet youth to discuss the protection of biodiversity and climate action. The event is organised by the British Embassy, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and WWF Finland.
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.
Free, open and safe internet to all
We welcome you to follow an online discussion on universal access to the internet and Finland's priorities as chair of the Freedom Online Coalition. The event will be webcast on the International Human Rights Day, Thursday 10 December, at 14.00–15.30. Finland will chair the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) in 2021.
Finnish missions abroad to celebrate Independence Day with virtual events
The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing changes to this year's Independence Day celebrations, both in Finland and at Finnish diplomatic missions abroad. This year, many traditional Independence Day receptions around the world will be held virtually. These virtual receptions also serve as a kind of country branding pilot project.
From his home country Finland, Santa Claus confirms Christmas deliveries will proceed
The year 2020 has been like no other year in recent memory. Anytime humanity faces difficult challenges, children have even more questions and concerns than usual about what is happening in the world. The coronavirus has affected the lives of just about everyone on the planet, regardless of age.
EU development policy proved agile in responding to coronavirus outbreak in spring in Namibia
The European Union together with its Member States is the world's largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA). In the second article in a series about the development cooperation conducted by the European Union, Ambassador Sinikka Antila, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Namibia, tells about the EU’s activity in Namibia.
New Head of Mission to the Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU and an authorisation to represent Finland in Azerbaijan
At the presidential session on Friday 27 November, the President of the Republic appointed a new Head of Mission to the Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union and decided on an authorisation to represent Finland in Azerbaijan.