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.
Combating disinformation to protect human rights
More and more false and harmful information is deliberately disseminated especially in electronic information networks. The intentions behind dissemination of disinformation are varied: to undermine faith in democratic institutions, to sow discord between population groups, to put blame on and discriminate against minorities, to silence researchers and journalists, to win elections, and to gain personal or economic benefit. Unfortunately, the list is long and expanding.
Civil Society Statement at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference
The civil society statement sets out a demand for peace in Afghanistan against a backdrop of the deaths of 100,000 civilians having been killed or injured in the last ten years and, more recently, a campaign of assassinations targeted at journalists, human rights workers, religious scholars and civil society activists.
Finland co-hosts international conference to support Afghanistan
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference, co-organised by Finland, the United Nations and the Afghan Government, will be held on Monday and Tuesday, 23–24 November. The conference will take place in the middle of a historic peace process. Continuing support from the international community is needed to have a sustainable foundation for the peace process and to achieve peace. Finland’s representatives at the conference will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the ministerial conference will be held virtually with Geneva as the hub of logistics.
Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Finnish missions’ entry permit services – current situation
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence the entry permit services of the Finnish diplomatic missions abroad. All missions are not able to provide these services in the same way and to the same extent as in normal circumstances before the pandemic. The missions have been able to serve customers in questions related to entry matters in the countries where this has been possible taking into account health security and local official regulations. In this fall, the missions have been reopening their services as far as possible, and currently entry services are provided in most countries at least to a limited extent.
At a vantage point in the European Commission: Team Europe to strengthen the EU’s leadership in development cooperation
The European Union — with its Member States — is the world’s largest funder of public development cooperation. However, this work is not always familiar to Finns. In this article series, we will introduce the EU development policy objectives and the Finns implementing them.
Artificial intelligence and human rights contribute to sustainable development
Concerns about the security of the internet and risks associated with emerging digital applications have increased in recent years. Misuse of artificial intelligence, for example through facial recognition technology or automated content moderation, may undermine the development of democracy and the rule of law and deteriorate the position of minorities, for example. The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), an intergovernmental human rights organisation, explains the connection between artificial intelligence (AI) and human rights in its recently published statement.
Effectiveness of crisis management requires closer cooperation between different actors
At its fourth session on 12 November, the Parliamentary Committee on Crisis Management examined the effectiveness of Finland's crisis management operations and the interfaces between internal and external security from the perspective of crisis management.
Young people’s comments on Finland’s Africa strategy
Young people in Africa have enormous potential, as was stated in the workshop on Finland’s Africa Strategy organised by the Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi on 23 October. The event featured speeches by State Secretary Johanna Sumuvuori from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, UN Youth Delegate Yuri Birjuli and Ronny Eriksson, founding member of the Ambitious Africa network.
Finnfund’s investments empower women in developing countries
Microloans that increase women’s income and strengthen their financial independence. Better food security through financing targeted at smallholder farmers. Companies where half of the management are women. Finnfund, a government-owned development financier, has invested recently in companies of this kind in developing countries. The aim is to promote gender equality by investing in profitable projects.
Finland holds lead role in UN’s Generation Equality campaign – We welcome you to join discussion on technology and innovations to support equality
On 24 November 2020, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise a public webinar on equality, technology and innovation. The themes will be promoted under Finnish leadership in the global Generation Equality campaign.
Changes to travel guidance and entry restrictions due to COVID-19 situation
According to the Government decision made in September, restrictions on entry may be lifted for traffic between Finland and those EU and Schengen countries and the counties on the green list specified by the Council of the EU where the incidence of COVID-19 has not exceeded 25 new cases per 100,000 persons in the previous 14 days. The Government assesses the situation in different countries once a week. This news article will be updated with changes to the guidance and restrictions.
“Many brilliant young professionals in Africa have decided to dedicate their lives and expertise to strengthening tax justice”
“It is old-fashioned to think that you need to send money to organisations in Washington DC or Paris, in order to be able to support Africa in tax justice matters. Direct cooperation with African countries and specialist organisations can be a much more efficient strategy,” says Timo Voipio, Programme Director of Government of Finland’s Taxation for Development action programme. Three questions about development cooperation is a series of interviews with specialists in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Europe and Africa promote green, digital and sustainable development
What could Finland do to support the goals of the EU’s Africa policy? What opportunities do the Africa–EU Partnership and its instruments offer to Finnish actors? What kind of expertise is needed in the implementation of the Africa–EU Partnership? A discussion event will be held on Thursday 5 November on links between the EU Strategy with Africa and the Africa strategy for Finland as well as on the opportunities offered to Finland through the Africa–EU Partnership. EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will attend the virtual event in Helsinki.
Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy 2020 – security and global responsibility sharing go hand in hand
Today, on 29 October 2020, the Government adopted the Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy and submitted it to Parliament. The report, being drawn up once during each government term, assesses Finland's foreign and security policy operating environment and defines the goals and priorities for Finland's actions within the next few years. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto considers it important that the Finnish foreign and security policy strengthens Finland's security and prosperity in a situation where our operating environment is in an intense state of flux. “Global challenges, such as climate change and pandemics, require global responsibility sharing. Common solutions to global challenges can efficiently be sought only within the rules-based international system.”
Foreign Ministry’s information security awarded with certification
The information security and risk management practices of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have been assessed from the perspective of leadership, information systems, everyday work, documentation and continuous development for the purposes of ISO 27001 certification.
International community’s Responsibility to Protect starts when states fail to prevent atrocity crimes
The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) is the last available measure when a state fails to protect its population against extensive atrocity crimes. Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, the RtoP is based on a political commitment to prevent genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs publication Suomi ja suojeluvastuu – Viisitoista vuotta suojeluvastuuperiaatteen hyväksymisestä (Finland and the Responsibility to Protect: 15 years since adopting the principle of the Responsibility to Protect) is based on the policy adopted in 2016. As Finland’s national contact person in the global RtoP network, Ambassador Marja Lehto was responsible for the compilation of the publication.
Twinning: Cooperation in education sector in Moldova during COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic, which erupted in the spring, has placed ongoing Twinning projects in a new situation, which led to the introduction of digital tools and reorganisation of activities. Many projects have been suspended due to the COVID-10 crisis. One of these is the Enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, a Twinning project carried out in Moldova by Finland together with Estonia and Lithuania.
Good news: Improved food security and access to clean water in remote areas in Nepal
In the Far West regions of Nepal, food security has improved significantly through the Rural Village Water Resources Management Project, supported by Finland and the EU. Irrigation systems and innovative farming methods have contributed to diversified food production and higher crop yields. The municipalities covered by the project are located in the most remote, driest and poorest regions in Nepal.
Finland published its positions on public international law in cyberspace
Cyberspace is a global domain of information systems, where electronic data is processed using information technology. The special features of cyberspace may raise questions relating to the practical application of certain provisions of public international law. It is therefore important to take part in close international cooperation and to exchange views about how, in certain questions, international law regulates States’ use of information and communication technologies. That is why Finland is now joining the group of States that have publicly expressed their positions on international law in cyberspace.
Girls’ access to education effects the whole society
“Girls’ and boys’ equal access to education has fundamental impacts on developments in societies and on individuals’ opportunities to advance in life,” says Kati Bhose, Special Adviser on Development Policy at Finland’s Embassy in Nepal. Three questions about development cooperation is a series of interviews with specialists in the Foreign Service
Preparation of Finland’s Africa strategy launched together with stakeholders
Stakeholder consultations on Finland's Africa strategy started on Wednesday 30 September 2020. A public online event was attended by more than 300 people interested in the development of the relations between Africa and Finland. The event’s strong message was that the relations between Finland and Africa should be expanded to include not only development cooperation but also political and economic cooperation.
Pandemic poses new demands for peace processes
As part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports a discussion event, entitled Multilateralism, Peace and Security – Strengthening the Rules-Based Multilateral Framework to Sustain Peace. The event is co-organised by the World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid (WLA CdM) and Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and held on 6–8 October 2020.
Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Biodiversity Summit: mainstreaming climate action and biodiversity into all human activities
”Climate change and biodiversity need to be mainstreamed in all policy planning and budgeting,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto, in the concluding remarks of his statement at the UN Biodiversity Summit on Wednesday 30 September. Finland keeps a high profile in biodiversity matters at the UN General Assembly: President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö signed the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature to protect biodiversity and Foreign Minister Haavisto stressed the importance of biodiversity at the Leaders Event for Nature and People Meeting organized by WWF on Monday 28 September.
Joint statement by Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Finland and Sweden
Foreign Minister of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu, Foreign Minister of Finland Pekka Haavisto and Foreign Minister of Sweden Ann Linde have agreed that in case of a new significant information on the catastrophe of the M/S Estonia that has not been reported before, Estonia, Finland and Sweden will jointly assess the new information.
Technical assistance programme call 2021 for projects supporting structural reforms has been opened
The European Commission offers the Member States technical assistance to promote sustainable economic growth, competitiveness and employment, for instance. Assistance has so far been offered from the Structural Reform Support Programme, which will be replaced by the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) during the new Financial Framework period. The approval process for the new TSI Regulation will soon be completed. The call for projects 2021 has now been opened. The national deadline for submitting the applications is 28 October 2020.
Finland’s state leadership attend UN General Assembly’s high-level week 2020
Global response to address global problems: We need the 75-year-old UN now more than ever. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most events of this year’s high-level week and the 75th anniversary session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will be held virtually. The events of the high-level week will spread over a two-week period from 21 September to 2 October.
European Union is looking for specialists in the field of external relations
Are you an expert in the field of external relations? Are you interested in promoting the values and interests of the European Union in the world? The European Union is looking for specialists to work mainly in the European External Action Service (EEAS). The application period is ongoing until 13 October.
European Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management opened in Berlin
The official opening of the European Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management took place in Berlin today. Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary for Political Affairs at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, participated in the opening, which was hosted by Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas. The purpose of the Centre of Excellence is to help find solutions to international conflicts through civilian means.
Kenyan slum community defeats polluting company - human rights realised when people’s voices were heard
Just and fair laws are not alone enough to guarantee the realisation of human rights. It is also imperative that there are informed and active citizens who demand their rights. The example of the Kenyan Owino Uhuru slums demonstrates the importance of grassroots development cooperation in building a functioning civil society.