EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs to discuss Ethiopia and Ukraine on 19 April
The main topics to be discussed at the April meeting of the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs are the situation in Ethiopia and Ukraine. Finland’s representative at the informal video conference will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The Ministers will also hold an informal exchange with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba.
Ministers Lintilä and Skinnari to promote Finnish exports to Sweden in the food, textiles and health sectors
Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will make a virtual Team Finland visit to Sweden on 15 April 2021. The visit is intended to intensify trade relations between Finnish and Swedish companies, particularly in the food and beverage industries, the textile industry and the sustainable healthcare sectors.
In 2020, Finland’s ODA to GNI ratio rose to 0.47 per cent
Finland's development cooperation expenditure in 2020 amounted to EUR 1 119 million. This represented 0.47 per cent of Finland's gross national income (GNI). Last year, the total amount of the exclusive ODA budget item administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was EUR 708.4 million.
Ethiopia: Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto on a second mission mandated by the EU HR Borrell
Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, mandated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, is undertaking a second mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Foreign Minister will discuss the situation in Ethiopia, notably the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications.
Recommendations to Finland on the realisation of civil and political rights
Today, on 1 April 2021, the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee issued its recommendations to Finland concerning Finland’s seventh Periodic Report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Reviews by Finnish missions abroad show that innovative solutions to fight COVID-19 put Finland in the spotlight in the world media in 2020
According to Finland in the World Media, an annual survey commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the innovative management of the coronavirus pandemic was the most important theme connected to Finland last year. Other news in the world media highlighted the strengths of Finland’s country image: equality, high-quality education system and stable society. The review estimates that Finland’s general reputation has further improved in foreign media.
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari visits Stockholm
Minister Skinnari will visit Stockholm on 31 March–1 April. The purpose of the visit is to promote both countries’ access on a growth track in international trade after COVID-19. Worldwide and European recovery measures offer excellent growth opportunities for Finnish and Swedish companies when they explore solutions related to green transition, digitalisation and development of industries.
Technology and equality addressed in the Generation Equality forum on 29–31 March – Finland holds an international lead role
The actions through which the global campaign will promote gender equality in technology and innovations will be announced on a virtual forum held in Mexico. Finland holds a lead role in this work. The forum will be attended by Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.
In the first half of 2021, Finland grants nearly EUR 70 million in humanitarian assistance to strengthen food security, support refugees and promote the rights of vulnerable people
More than 200 million people across the globe need humanitarian assistance due to conflicts, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. The provision of humanitarian assistance is one of the most concrete ways of responding to crises and disasters. Finland grants a total of EUR 69.6 million to humanitarian work carried out by the UN organizations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and Finnish civil society organisations.
Foreign Minister Haavisto hosts a meeting of Nordic and Baltic Foreign Ministers (NB8)
In 2021, Finland acts as the chairing country of Nordic and Baltic countries cooperation, NB8. This year’s first NB8 meeting of Foreign Ministers will be on Friday, 26 March. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the meeting will take place virtually.
Finland supports least developed countries’ trading opportunities
In 2021–2022, Finland allocates EUR two million for the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), which works to strengthen the creation of trading opportunities for least-developed countries (LDCs). The agreement on the support was signed on 23 March 2021 in Geneva.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to attend the meetings of EU and NATO Foreign Ministers
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will attend the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday 22 March. The agenda highlights are the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood, Turkey and discussion with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. In Brussels Minister Haavisto will also attend the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 24 March.
Finland’s Africa strategy – Towards stronger political and economic partnership
The Finnish Government has approved Finland's Africa strategy today. 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.
Support for Myanmar to be reassessed
Together with the European Union, Finland has firmly condemned the military coup in Myanmar against its civilian government and urged restoration of the civilian government. The military authorities are demanded respect for human rights, the rule of law, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression, including peaceful protests. The armed forces’ violence against protesters is strongly condemnable.
Higher profile for Finland’s international crisis management
In its recent report, the Parliamentary Committee on Crisis Management proposes that the level of ambition in Finnish crisis management should be raised. This requires commitment to more active and diverse participation, enhanced effectiveness and deeper cooperation between those involved in crisis management.
Foreign affairs and home affairs ministers to discuss external aspects of EU migration policy
The home affairs ministers and foreign affairs ministers of EU member states will meet at an informal video conference on 15 March 2021. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and State Secretary Olli-Poika Parviainen. The announced theme of the meeting is the external dimension of the EU’s migration and asylum reform. The debate will focus on mutually beneficial migration partnerships between the EU and non-EU countries, and enhanced coordination between the different parties.
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari announced as a WFP global champion for school feeding
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari has been appointed a global champion for school feeding by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). In this role, Minister Skinnari will promote global awareness of school meals and will seek funding sources for school feeding programmes. The task will continue until the end of 2021.
Export authorisation requirement for COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine components extended
The European Union will continue the duration of its export authorisation requirement for vaccines against SARS-related viruses (SARS-CoV-2) and vaccine components until 30 June 2021. At the same time, clarifications will be made to the export authorisation scheme’s scope of application, and re-export will become subject to pre-authorisation. In Finland, applications for export authorisation are submitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Finland forms its preliminary position on an application based on a statement issued by the Finnish Medicines Agency, and the decision to grant an export authorisation is made in line with the opinion of the European Commission.
Finland and Estonia launched a study of their future relations
Finland and Estonia have launched a study of the future relations between the two countries and new opportunities for cooperation. The study will be led by former ministers Anne-Mari Virolainen from Finland and Jaak Aaviksoo from Estonia, supported by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) and the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (EFPI). Prime Ministers Sanna Marin and Kaja Kallas informed about the decision to start the study at their meeting in Helsinki on 19 February 2021.
The 'Development partners' discussion series sheds light on the present-day development cooperation
Arranged by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Finnish Development NGOs Fingo and chambers of commerce, the 'Development partners' live broadcast series showcases development cooperation operators from various parts of Finland.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the University of Helsinki announce a new initiative to support the strengthening of the rule of law in developing countries
Finland is strengthening its activities to support the rule of law activities in developing countries. Supporting democracy and the rule of law is a key goal of the Government programme and of the development policy of Finland. In recent years the rule of law has considerably weakened in different parts the world. The rule of law is subjected to increasing challenges that are exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. Work to promote and strengthen the rule of law is increasingly important.
Recommendations to Finland on the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights
Today, on 8 March 2021, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) issued its recommendations on Finland’s seventh periodic report concerning the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Development Policy Committee: A triple nexus approach is needed for development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and peace actions
Development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and peace actions should provide a more efficient joint response to the needs of people affected by crises. Closer collaboration between the various actors is therefore vital. This is the key conclusion of the analysis published by the Development Policy Committee (DPC), in which an expert group consisting of representatives of DPC members analyses the current situation and provides recommendations for the next steps to be taken for further improvements.
Major drop in Schengen visa applications submitted at Finnish missions because of entry restrictions and health security measures due to COVID-19 pandemic
In 2020, Finland processed a total of 152,543 applications for a Schengen visa. The decrease in the visa applications received was 83% as compared to the number of visas processed in 2019 (895,781).
The exceptional circumstances of 2020 showed in consular assistance
In 2020, the Unit for Consular Assistance provided nearly twice as much guidance compared to the previous year. In the spring, during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, personal guidance and advice were given to tens of thousands of travellers stranded abroad. Thousands of travellers were assisted in returning to Finland after air traffic ground to a sudden halt.
Discretionary government grants to civil society organisations operating in the field of foreign and security policy, awarded for 2021
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 1 026 000 in discretionary government grants to 14 civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in the field of foreign and security policy.
EU foreign ministers to discuss Russia and meet US foreign minister
The EU foreign ministers will convene in Brussels on Monday 22 February. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The ministers will exchange views on Russia, the Strategic Compass for EU security and defence policy, and Hong Kong. Foreign Minister Haavisto will give a report on his visit to Ethiopia and Sudan as Special Envoy of the European Union. The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to join the meeting by video conference. On 24 February, Foreign Minister Haavisto will attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council.
Funding granted for civil society organisations’ development communication and global education projects to promote awareness of and engagement in sustainable development
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) has granted EUR 2.17 million to Finnish civil society organisations’ (CSOs) development communication and global education projects in Finland in 2021–2022. In this application round, project support was granted to 19 CSOs.
Support granted for Finnish civil society organisations linked with the UN; the aim is to promote awareness of the UN and sustainable development
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR two million to Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) linked with the UN for their basic operations and development communication and global education activities. In this application round, support was granted to six CSOs.
This is FINLAND Magazine 2021–2022: The Finnish focus on solutions also works in exceptional times
A new edition of This is FINLAND magazine has been published, showcasing Finland’s strengths to the international community. This year’s edition stresses Finnish technological expertise and digitalisation. It also explores our ambition to achieve carbon neutrality, and takes a look at Finnish society both during and after the global pandemic.
Finland seeks membership of UN Human Rights Council
Finland is seeking membership of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2022–2024. The campaign slogan: ”A Diverse World, Universal Human Rights”, underscores the universal nature of human rights. The election will take place at the UN General Assembly in October 2021.
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child underlines the primacy of the child’s best interests in a Finnish asylum case
On 4 February 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted its Views on the primacy of the best interests of the child in a matter concerning asylum. The Committee found that there had been violation of Articles 3 (primacy of the best interests of the child), 19 (protection of the child from violence) and 22 (right of the child to protection and humanitarian assistance; refugees and asylum seekers) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Digitalisation and 5G networks on agenda when Brazilian Communications Minister Fábio Faria visits Finland
Communications Minister of Brazil Fábio Faria will visit Finland on Friday 5 February 2021. His visit is part of a wider five-country tour that key Brazilian decision-makers undertake to survey potential 5G network suppliers in the world. Brazil is planning to organise an auction of 5G frequencies in spring 2021.
Finland strengthens its contribution to education in development cooperation
Finland strengthens its support for education in developing countries as a donor of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). At the virtual Educa goes digital event on Friday 29 January, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari informed that Finland will allocate EUR 25 million to GPE’s next replenishment for 2021-2025.
Minister Ville Skinnari participates in World Economic Forum panel on sustainable investments
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will participate in a panel discussion on sustainable investments, organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Friday 29 January. The annual WEF “Davos Agenda” is organised virtually from 25 to 29 January.
Finland continues to fund Syrian women’s peacebuilding efforts
Finland has granted a million euros to UN Women for its peacebuilding activities in Syria. The project, which is entitled Supporting Syrian Women’s Engagement in the Syrian Political Process: Building a Constituency for Peace, aims to support women’s engagement in and influence on political processes in Syria. The project runs from October 2020 until December 2021.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to visit Ethiopia as the EU representative
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has mandated Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto to visit Ethiopia and its neighbouring regions as the EU representative. Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto will travel to the Horn of Africa within the next few weeks. During the visit he will discuss the situation in Ethiopia and its neighbouring regions and ways how the international community could provide support in finding peaceful solutions. The topics to be discussed also include the humanitarian situation in the National Regional State of Tigray in Ethiopia. The European External Action Service and Finland will communicate on the matter in more detail as the visit approaches.
EU foreign ministers meet to discuss climate and energy matters and a broad range of other topical issues
The EU Foreign Affairs Council will hold its first meeting of the year in Brussels on Monday 25 January. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. Climate and energy diplomacy of the EU and discussions with the Foreign Minister of Japan will be the main topics of the meeting. At lunch, the ministers will discuss cooperation between the EU and the United Kingdom in foreign and security policy. The arrest of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny will also be raised.
Development Policy Committee: Safeguarding biodiversity in development policy
Finland must pay stronger and more consistent attention to biodiversity in its development policy and international advocacy work. In addition, developing countries should be supported in their efforts to implement biodiversity agreements. The view is expressed by the Development Policy Committee’s expert group, whose analysis on safeguarding biodiversity was published on Friday 22 January.