New Ambassadors to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok
At the presidential session on 26 June, the President of the Republic decided to appoint Sami Leino to the post of Head of Mission at Finland's Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Jyri Järviaho to the post of Head of Mission at Finland's Embassy in Bangkok, starting on 1 September 2020.
Government plans to lift restrictions on tourism
The Government plans to lift the internal border control from 13 July for those countries where the incidence of COVID-19 is at a sufficiently low level. Based on the current development of the epidemic, internal border control could be lifted for the following countries: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
Transparency of Finland’s development aid remains average in donor transparency index
The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs ranked 29th among the 47 donors in the aid transparency index for 2020, which is published by Publish What You Fund. The transparency points of Finland’s development aid increased slightly, but the rating remained average and the ranking fell as other organisations improved their transparency relatively more.
Uzbekistan-Finland Intergovernmental Commission of Trade and Economic Cooperation supports trade, investments and project cooperation
The Intergovernmental Commission of Trade and Economic Cooperation between Finland and Uzbekistan held a video conference on 16 June 2020. The Commission was co-chaired by Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov.
Everyone has the right to leave Finland; however, non-essential travel should be avoided
Coronavirus and its spread are still a global risk. Starting on 15 June, internal border control and quarantine recommendations will change in respect of certain countries, but it is recommended to avoid non-essential travel to other countries. The changes will apply to travel to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Although Finland has abandoned internal border controls and quarantine recommendations for certain countries, the country of destination may have its own restrictions on the entry of tourists. Always check the up-to-date entry regulations from the authorities of the country of destination, for example from the country’s nearest mission.
Evaluation: Finland is globally influential in multilateral development cooperation
A comprehensive assessment of Finland’s multilateral influence shows that Finland has been able to make a significant contribution to the activities of multilateral organisations and to promote themes that it considers important globally.
Hearing the voice of developing countries on global tax policy
Finland's new Taxation for Development Action Programme 2020–2023 was published on 9 June. The speakers in the online publishing event commended the demand for tax responsibility and emphasised strengthening Africa’s own taxation capacity and listening to the voices of developing countries when it comes to global tax policy.
The pandemic underscores the importance of Internet freedom
Fighting the pandemic requires access to factual information on the Internet. How to bridge the divide between the digital haves and have-nots? How to defend the rule of law and human rights in these exceptional times? These were some of the questions debated in the panel discussion marking the publication of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) Joint Statement on COVID-19 and Internet Freedom.
Hunger slows down development – food security is the foundation for the development of society
Food security lies at the heart of the development of societies and is one of the factors guaranteeing civil peace, says Sanna-Liisa Taivalmaa, Senior Adviser for Rural Development. Three questions about development cooperation is a series of interviews with specialists from the Department for Development Policy.
Supporting women human rights defenders, preventing female genital mutilation, training business skills – civil society organisations promote the rights of women and girls in many ways
Civil society organisations (CSOs) that are supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs play a significant role in and bring added value to the promotion of the rights and status of women and girls. Their activities help to ensure that progress reaches persons, groups and communities that live in vulnerable settings.
Water management project in Far West Nepal adapts to coronavirus
Clean water and hand hygiene are key in efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Rural Village Water Resources Management Project (RVWRMP) aims to improve availability of and access to clean water and sanitation in remote areas in Nepal – also during the pandemic. The project in Far West Nepal is supported by Finland and the European Union.
Development policy for journalists — application round open for Development Academy of autumn 2020
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise an induction course into development policy and development cooperation for journalists (Development Academy) in autumn 2020. The Development Academy 2020, which is to be held in September-November, will focus on topical multilateral cooperation. Applications will be accepted from 29 May to 18 June 2020.
Foreign Ministry’s repatriation flights have ended
The repatriation flights arranged by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis have ended. Altogether 16 flights were carried out, with a total of 3,227 tourists returning to Finland or through Finland to their home country in Europe. Around 2,000 of the passengers on the flights were tourists returning to Finland.
Finland strengthens support for Venezuelan migrants and refugees
Speaking at the International Donors Conference in solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the countries of the region on 26 May 2020, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto announced that Finland will provide additional EUR 200,000 as support for Venezuelan refugees living in Colombia. The support will be channelled through the Inter-American Development Bank.
Finland’s work in health security sector gains global recognition
Finland’s expertise and active contribution to health security is acknowledged by the WHO and internationally. Assessments of different countries’ capacity to handle health emergencies were launched during Finland’s chairmanship of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The process continues and work is effective.
There is no sustainable development and democracy without free civil societies
Civil society has played a key role in Finland's development. In a similar vein, civil society organisations’ contribution is needed in developing countries, says Anu Ala-Rantala, senior officer of the Unit for Civil Society. In our series entitled ‘Three questions about development cooperation’, we ask Foreign Service specialists about their work.
Coronavirus crisis heightens inequality and distress among vulnerable groups
The coronavirus crisis exacerbates the position of people who were already in a vulnerable situation before the outbreak of the pandemic. This shows for example in Lebanon, which has the world’s highest refugee population in proportional terms, and in South Africa, which is one the most unequal societies of the world.
Evaluation: Finland has reached good results in fragile countries and in conflict-ridden environments
Finland’s country strategies are of varying importance in fragile countries and circumstances but they provide opportunities for strengthening the internal and external policy coherence for development.
Finland — globally active
The whole world suffers from the crisis caused by coronavirus. No country can alone resolve the crisis. Common solutions are needed. In a video series entitled ‘Finland across the world’, produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Service specialists tell about the big picture relating to the coronavirus pandemic, the impacts of the situation on the world, and Finland’s response to the crisis.
Vital remittances to Nepal at risk due to coronavirus outbreak, says Ambassador Pertti Anttinen
Migrant workers’ remittances to their home countries have declined due to the coronavirus crisis. In Nepal, more than half of households depend on remittances from abroad that account for over one quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). We interviewed Pertti Anttinen, Ambassador of Finland to Nepal, on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on remittances in Nepal.
Twinning: Statistics Finland wins project in Azerbaijan and Finland reaches a total of 200 projects
Finland, Lithuania and the Netherlands will start developing the production of statistics in Azerbaijan through a Twinning project that will last a year and a half. The goals of the project are central to strengthening business-related statistics. A joint tender by Finland, Lithuania and the Netherlands won the tender competition for the project. This is Finland's two hundredth Twinning project.
Foreign Ministry's repatriation flights
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish missions abroad will continue to advise and assist travellers in returning from abroad. Commercial air connections continue to be the preferred option to return to Finland. Travellers should actively try to arrange a ticket back home via different airlines.
According to the Foreign Ministry’s Job Satisfaction Survey, staff are most satisfied with the operating culture in the workplace and the content of work
The analysis of the Job Satisfaction Survey, conducted in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and in its missions abroad, has been completed and the results are now available. In the Ministry, job satisfaction has remained at the same level as it was in the previous survey, which was conducted in 2018. Job satisfaction in the missions abroad has improved. The overall results are at the same level as in surveys conducted in other central government organisations.
Society's norms man-made and can be changed – Gender Equality Adviser is inspired by people’s energy and activity
Senior Adviser for Gender Equality Eppu Mikkonen-Jeanneret was in primary school when she realised that gender-based patterns of behaviour can be ignored. Equality work is needed in the fight against coronavirus, too, because the gendered repercussions will be enormous. In our series entitled ‘Three questions about development cooperation’, we ask specialists about their work.
Foreign Ministry’s assistance abroad reinforced remotely from Helsinki during coronavirus crisis
Because of the coronavirus crisis, tens of thousands of Finnish travellers have returned home in recent weeks. The Finnish missions abroad help travellers around the world, but the need for help shows also in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Helsinki, as the number of contacts to the Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre, consular services and the social media has skyrocketed.
EU Foreign Affairs Ministers’ video conference discussed Ukraine and Eastern Partnership
Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership, together with the impact of coronavirus on these regions, were the main themes of the video conference held by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Ministers on 22 April. The discussions also touched on Turkey, Afghanistan and Libya.
Foreign Ministry helps travellers stranded abroad during coronavirus pandemic through subsidised repatriation flights
So far, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has organised twelve repatriation flights in cooperation with Finnair. Altogether, 2,486 passengers have been carried home, approximately half of them Finns. This is the first article in a series about the things that have been done by the Foreign Ministry in Finland and in the missions abroad during the coronavirus crisis.
TAIEX and Twinning: Activities suspended because of coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has major implications on the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument and Twinning activities. The European Commission has cancelled TAIEX events until the summer, and solutions are sought concerning individual Twinning projects in different countries.
Humanitarian assistance is not a solution to problems caused by conflicts and disasters but is often the first step towards normality
“The purpose on humanitarian assistance is to save lives and to alleviate suffering,” says Claus Lindroos, Director of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance. Three questions about development cooperation is a series of interviews of specialists from the Department for Development Policy.
If you are travelling abroad, return to Finland!
Due to the prevailing emergency conditions based on the Emergency Powers Act, the Government has decided to restrict traffic at Finland’s external borders starting on Thursday 19 March at 00.00. Finns travelling abroad are encouraged to return to Finland as soon as possible.
Twinning: Finland to develop production of statistics in Belarus
A joint tender by Denmark, Finland and Lithuania has won a contract for a Twinning project in Belarus. The two-year project will strengthen the preconditions for producing high-quality data for decision-makers in Belarus. Finland's representative in the project is Statistics Finland.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs to arrange three repatriation flights on Friday 27 March
On Friday 27 March 2020, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs together with Finnair will organise three repatriation flights for travellers returning to Finland. The flights will be from Cyprus and Portugal. Tickets for these flights can be bought via Finnair’s ticket sales.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs launched investigations concerning 17 cases of alleged misconduct in 2019
The financial statement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for 2019 includes 17 cases of misconduct and alleged misconduct concerning development cooperation. As a consequence of these cases of misconduct, a total of EUR 70,000 of the funds for 2019 are now subject to recovery action.