Centenary celebrations of the autonomy of the Åland Islands set to begin
Next year will mark 100 years since the Åland Islands gained autonomy. The autonomy celebrations will take place throughout the centenary year, from 9 June 2021 to 9 June 2022. Self-government is a part of Finnish democracy and gives the Finnish administrative structure its unique and multi-dimensional nature. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland is a part of the anniversary events.
According to the OECD, Finland’s development cooperation has been successful also during the COVID-19 pandemic
Finland has received positive feedback on the good quality and implementation of development cooperation. Particular praise is given for the reforms and results-based approach to development cooperation. This shows in the Mid-term Review of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Administrative Court partially overturned reclamation of Ministry for Foreign Affairs' development cooperation funding to Zambia National Farmers’ Union
The Zambia National Farmers’ Union appealed to the Administrative Court of Helsinki against the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ decision to reclaim development cooperation funding from the Union related to a case of suspected misuse dating from in 2015. The Administrative Court’s ruling overrules the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ reclamation decision partially.
Ministers are being challenged by the youth in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs programme at the World Village Festival
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will participate in the virtually held World Village Festival on 29–30 May. The theme of the event – future – is prominently featured in the programmes produced by the Ministry.
Finland supports the work of human rights defenders
Human rights defenders play an important role in strengthening democracy-building and in supporting sustainable development. At the same time, however, human rights defenders continue to be subjected to sanctions, which are getting even tighter. The shrinking space of civil society and restrictions on freedom of expression threaten the position of human rights defenders. At an event in April, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto exchanged views with women human rights defenders (WHRDs).
Mikko Kivikoski appointed Deputy Director General of the Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
The Government appointed Mikko Kivikoski to serve as Deputy Director General of the Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for a fixed term from 17 May 2021 to 31 August 2025.
Twinning activities extended to new countries: Finland’s success in winning tenders continues, with Zambia as new beneficiary
Early this year, Twinning activities were extended to seven new countries under the three-year pilot of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA). The results of the calls for proposals for the first two pilot projects have already been published, and Finland is very proud to have been awarded both projects. Finland will now help Zambia enhance anti-corruption measures and audits of central government finances. Winning these two tenders is a fine complement to Finland’s recent successes in Twinning projects.
Partners in Development series brought up the role of companies, organisation and universities in development cooperation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Finnish Development NGOs Fingo and Finnish chambers of commerce held a new kind of series of live broadcasts, entitled Partners in Development, in March and April. The series comprised seven events, in which various bodies from different parts of Finland presented their contribution to development cooperation.
Finland committed to ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines
Finland supports developing countries to fight against COVID-19 with more than EUR 80 million from its development cooperation appropriations. The sum includes a EUR 2.5 million core contribution paid to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, last year. International cooperation is instrumental for defeating the pandemic.
New Ambassador to Iraq, Permanent Representative to the OSCE and non-resident Ambassador to the Vatican
At the presidential session on Friday 9 April, the President of the Republic appointed a new Ambassador to Iraq, granted an authorisation to represent Finland in the OSCE and appointed a non-resident Ambassador to the Vatican.
Now accepting nominations for the third International Gender Equality prize
The Finnish Government launched the International Gender Equality Prize in 2017, when Finland celebrated the centenary of its independence. The purpose of the prize is to promote gender equality in global contexts and to promote discussion about equality. The nominations are open until 16 May 2021.
Business travel during COVID-19: topical information about entry restrictions on the websites of Finnish missions abroad
To support people travelling on essential business during the coronavirus pandemic, Finnish missions abroad keep their websites updated on local travel restrictions. Rules and guidance in different countries can change rapidly, which is why the Ministry for Foreign Affairs advises people travelling on business to always check the official website of the country of destination, to consider whether the trip is essential, and to act responsibly.
Improvements to the status of foreign berry pickers
On 31 March 2021, the Government proposed new legislation to improve the legal status and earnings opportunities of foreign berry pickers and to make the competitive environment equal to companies in the sector. As foreign berry pickers have not been deemed to be in an employment relationship but instead to work as entrepreneurs, their status is currently unregulated from a legal point of view.
Visa applications for seasonal work to be received in Minsk, Belarus
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will open a Visa Application Centre in Minsk for the reception of visa applications for people in Belarus wishing to apply for seasonal work in Finland. Estonia represents Finland in Minsk in other Schengen visa application matters. People who aim to submit a visa application for other than seasonal work purposes should follow the instructions of the Embassy of Estonia.
Finland raised alert level of its travel advice to Myanmar
Due to the military coup on 1 February 2021, the situation in Myanmar is now deeply disturbing. On 29 March 2021, Finland together with the other Nordic countries raised the alert level of its travel advice, urging travellers “to leave the country as soon as possible”.
Joint op-ed by 18 foreign ministers on the fight against impunity for crimes committed in Syria
Ten years ago, millions of Syrians took to the streets of Dara’a, Aleppo and Damascus, calling for democracy and respect of their fundamental rights and basic freedoms. The brutal response by the regime triggered over the span of a decade one of the most serious criminal enterprises and humanitarian crises since the Second World War resulting in more than 400 000 deaths and in countless violations of human rights.
Advance voting abroad in Finland's municipal elections in 2021
The municipal elections will be held on Sunday 13 June 2021. The Act on the Postponement of the 2021 Municipal Elections entered into force on 29 March 2021. The advance voting period will be from 26 May to 8 June in Finland and from 2 to 5 June abroad.
Finland opened Honorary Consulate in Mosul, Iraq
On 18 March 2021, Finnish Ambassador to Iraq Vesa Häkkinen opened an Honorary Consulate of Finland in Mosul together with Najm Al-Jubouri, Governor of the Nineveh Governorate. The Honorary Consulate of Finland is the first foreign honorary consulate in Mosul.
Let us celebrate Nordic Day together!
Nordic Day is celebrated on 23 March in all the Nordic countries and Åland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland in honour of the fundamental treaty of Nordic cooperation, which was named after Helsinki and was signed on 23 March 1962. It defines the duties and composition of the Nordic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers and, in general, the main areas and methods of Nordic cooperation.
Finland’s Africa strategy – Towards stronger political and economic partnership
The Finnish Government has approved Finland's Africa strategy on 18 March 2021. It will be used to diversify and deepen Finland’s relations with African countries, the African Union (AU) and regional organisations, with focus on political and economic relations.
Hannele Pokka appointed to Water and Climate Leaders Panel
Former minister and permanent secretary Hannele Pokka, currently Professor of Practice in environmental liability at the University of Helsinki, has been appointed to the Water and Climate Leaders Panel, established by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Partnership in energy sector to strengthen local communities and sustainable development in Africa
The first event in the series of live broadcasts entitled Partners in Development, which are organised in collaboration between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Finnish Development NGOs Fingo and chambers of commerce, focused on energy. The participants agreed that, in developing countries, cooperation with local communities is the key to eradicating energy poverty and to the green transition. The Foreign Ministry's Twitter and Facebook channels gathered together more than a thousand viewers.
What is Antarctica — and how does it relate to Finland?
Antarctica, located around the geographical South Pole, and the surrounding islands south of 60 degrees South latitude together form the Antarctic region. Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on earth. It does not belong to any state and has no indigenous or permanent settlement.
The Foreign Ministers of Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark: strong commitment to Gender Equality and the rights of all women and girls.
For decades, Nordic countries have prospered due to the equal participation and inclusion of women and girls in all areas of societal life. For us, ensuring the enjoyment of human rights of all women and girls, in all their diversity, and ending gender-based discrimination in all of its forms, is the right and the smart thing to do because gender equality benefits everyone.
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.