News - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
During the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council Finland has in various ways showcased Finland’s Arctic expertise and environmentally-friendly innovations. Uusi Puu - The New Wood -project presents wood-based bioeconomy and circular economy solutions at the Arctic Council meeting on 7 May Rovaniemi. The everyday heroes and new innovations shown in the exhibition demonstrate in very concrete ways how wood-based innovations can be used to respond to global sustainable development challenges.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is an international body active in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, has published its Mutual Evaluation Report of Finland. The FATF states that the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is overall at a relatively good level in Finland, but there are also shortcomings.
As the Presidency of the Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe, Finland organised a side event on sign language in Strasbourg, France, on 10 April. The side event was organised in connection with the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to publish a study on the rights of deaf people in the Council of Europe and its Member States.
The Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union will enter into force on 10 April 2019. The Regulation will establish a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments in Member States on the grounds of security or public order and create a cooperation mechanism between the Member States and the Commission.
Finland will be investing a total of more than 20 million dollars in solar and hydroelectric power in the poorest countries in the world. The power plants to be built in Senegal and Nepal will open the way for commercially viable and emission-free energy production and the eradication of energy poverty.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has introduced guidelines for environmentally sustainable meetings. The guidelines have been used for two years in Arctic Council meetings held in Finland, and now they have been made available in printed form for the Ministry’s personnel. The guidelines help preserve nature and save costs.
Following the decision of Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 1.4 million to civil society organisations' (CSOs) development communications and global education projects in Finland. In this call for proposals, project support will be granted to 14 CSOs.
The recently published “Polku 2030” report identifies development aid funds as an important means of promoting sustainable development. Attaining the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda should lie at the heart of Finland's next government programme, the report recommends.
The last plenary meeting of the Finnish Chairmanship reviewed the reports and recommendations of the Arctic Council’s Working Groups, discussed cooperation between Working Groups and Observers, and prepared the Declaration of the Ministerial meeting. Representatives of all of the eight Arctic States and six Permanent Participant organisations representing indigenous peoples, as well as observers from Europe, Asia and international organisations, attended the meeting.
Finland supports the follow-on financing of the World Bank’s Decentralizing Funding to Schools Project in Myanmar. The project improves the quality of basic education in different parts of Myanmar, especially aiming to support the schooling of the most vulnerable children.
Which type of due diligence is expected of companies with regard to human rights, the environment or anti-corruption activities? This was the topic of a seminar and workshop co-organised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland.
A long-term loan from Finland is being used to revitalise agriculture and other rural livelihoods affected by climate change in developing countries. The funding aims to increase food security and create employment for young people.