Asian Development Bank wants deeper education cooperation with Finland
Education sector representatives from the Asian Development Bank and from Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan are visiting Finland from 22 to 24 March 2023. The aim of the visit is to deepen cooperation in matters related to teacher education, school meals and digital learning.
President of the Republic decides on Finland’s accession to Nato
On 23 March 2023, President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö decided that Finland would commit itself to the North Atlantic Treaty and the Ottawa Agreement, which were accepted by Parliament on 1 March 2023. The presenting minister was Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The President of the Republic also confirmed the acts bringing into force the Treaty and the Agreement.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs granted an authorisation for Russian fertiliser cargo stopped at Port of Kotka
On 9 March, the National Enforcement Authority Finland imposed interim measures to freeze a shipment of fertilisers, loaded on board at the Port of Kotka. The fertilizers were suspected of being under control of a person listed in the EU sanctions against Russia. An investigation, carried out in cooperation among authorities, confirmed the link between the shipment of fertilisers and a sanctioned individual.
The President, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs were among the most visible Finns abroad in 2022
The Finnish missions and embassies report that following the application for NATO membership and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Finland’s political leaders featured prominently in the international media. In 2021, it was Finnish athletes who received most mentions in the international news media, but last year President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto rose to the top of the list alongside athletes.
Finland to grant additional support to earthquake areas in Türkiye and Syria
Finland will grant additional EUR 12 million in humanitarian assistance to help earthquake survivors in Türkiye and Syria. The support will be used to finance food aid, water services, emergency shelters and protection to those who lost their homes.
EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and matters concerning Tunisia
EU foreign ministers will convene in Brussels on 20 March. A joint session of EU foreign and defence ministers will be held on the same day. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will represent Finland at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen will represent Finland at the joint session. In addition, Minister Haavisto and Minister Kaikkonen will meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Finland issues its fourth National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security
Finland’s new National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security was published on 13 March. This is Finland’s fourth National Action Plan (NAP), extending from 2023 to the end of 2027. The NAP is the result of a broad-based stakeholder collaboration. Its key objective is to strengthen women’s participation in the area of peace and security, and thereby support efforts to build sustainable peace.
International visibility increases Finland’s influence
Finland’s image grew stronger in 2022. Finland has had remarkable visibility in foreign media, and news about Finland has met with an exceptionally positive reception. In particular, opinions about Finland’s government and people have become even more positive. Increased familiarity with Finland is important as the country seeks ways to influence the world, according to the Country Image Annual Report, published by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Finland responds to Ukraine’s requests for support
Ukraine has requested support from Finland, particularly to meet the immediate and longer-term needs related to education, the environment and radiation safety. Finland will provide Ukraine with EUR 29 million in humanitarian assistance and development cooperation support.
The Permanent Joint Mechanism between Finland, Sweden and Türkiye met in Brussels
The third meeting of the Permanent Joint Mechanism between Finland, Sweden and Türkiye was held in Brussels on 9 March. The discussions took place at NATO Headquarters. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also participated in the first part of the meeting.
Finland to attend session of UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York
The 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will take place in New York between 6 and 17 March 2023. Finland will be represented at the session by a broad-based delegation headed by Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality Thomas Blomqvist.
UN Conference on Least Developed Countries offers opportunity for Finland to strengthen partnerships
State Secretary Johanna Sumuvuori will lead Finland’s national delegation to the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar. More than one third of Finland’s development cooperation funding goes to the least developed countries, which also make up the majority of Finland’s bilateral partners.
Finland’s trade dependence on China at EU average
Commerce accounts for most of Finland’s imports from China, while exports to China are centred around large industrial companies, according to a report on Finland’s trade dependence on China. The report was coordinated by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It is a collection of information and figures to support discussions on Finland’s dependence on China.
Foreign Minister Haavisto to UN Human Rights Council and Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will visit Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 to 27 February. He will deliver Finland’s address to a High-Level Segment of the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council on 27 February.
EU expands sanctions against Russia in response to continuing invasion
On 25 February 2023, the EU imposed new sanctions as a response to Russia’s continued attacks against Ukraine’s civilian targets and critical infrastructure. The tenth package of sanctions introduces new export bans on critical technology, industrial products and dual-use items. In addition, the EU introduces new measures to prevent the circumvention of sanctions.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs shows Finland’s solidarity with Ukraine and honours victims of Russia’s aggression
Friday 24 February marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will mark the day in many ways. Finland wants to show its solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and to commemorate the victims of Russia’s aggression.
Minister Skinnari to visit Central Asia together with Finnish companies
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will lead a broad delegation on a visit to Uzbekistan from 21 to 23 February and to Kazakhstan from 23 to 25 February. Minister Skinnari is scheduled to meet state leaders of both countries.
Discretionary government grants to civil society organisations operating in the field of foreign and security policy awarded for 2023
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has awarded EUR 1,726,000 in discretionary government grants to 26 civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in the field of foreign and security policy.
Finland supports education in crisis areas and fragile operating environments
Under-Secretary of State Pasi Hellman from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will attend the pledging conference of the Education Cannot Wait fund in Geneva 16 to 17 February. The fund supports education in humanitarian and prolonged crises. Finland will grant two million euros to the Education Cannot Wait fund this year. In 2020–2022, Finland supported the fund by a total of EUR 6 million.
National Audit Office assessed Finnfund’s investments and risk management
On 13 February, the National Audit Office of Finland issued its audit report on Finnfund’s investments and risk management. Finnfund is an impact investment company that is almost entirely state-owned. It has a statutory duty to promote the social and economic development of developing countries.
Berry pickers’ visa applications to be processed with particular precision
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs suspended the issuing of visas to Thai berry pickers in November 2022. The Ministry stated as grounds for the suspension certain ambiguities concerning wild-berry picking, including risk of trafficking in human beings, an ongoing police investigation in Finland and the possible amendments to the status of wild-berry pickers prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Number of visa applications at Finnish missions on rise after pandemic
The number of visas applied for at Finnish missions abroad are on the rise again after the pandemic years. However, the number of visas granted was only about one fifth of the number of visas granted in 2019, the year before the pandemic started.
Discretionary government grants for CSOs’ Europe information awarded for 2023
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has awarded EUR 445,000 in discretionary government grants to civil society organisations (CSOs) for their Europe information purposes. In this application round, grants were awarded to 22 CSOs and 24 projects.
Finland strengthens its international profile with a new Climate Honours diploma
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is launching the new Climate Honours diploma to recognise and thank those involved in climate work. Finland’s network of missions around the world will grant Climate Honours to individuals and small organisations that are leading the way in combating climate change.
Minister Skinnari to lead a trade mission to India
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will visit New Delhi and Mumbai from 8 to 10 February. The visit aims to promote commercial and economic opportunities between Finland and India. In Mumbai, Minister Skinnari will inaugurate Finland’s new Consulate General. Parts of his programme will be a collaboration with Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry.
Finland to send emergency aid to victims of earthquake in Türkiye and Syria
Finland will be sending EUR 1 million in humanitarian assistance to Türkiye and Syria through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The support will be used to provide food, shelter, medical supplies and psychosocial support to people who lost their homes in the two countries.
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Skinnari opened Finland’s Embassy in Doha
Minister Ville Skinnari is visiting Qatar from 5 to 7 February 2023. On 5 February, he inaugurated the new Embassy of Finland in Doha as a representative of the Finnish State. The Embassy started operations in December 2021. Besides the inauguration ceremony, Minister Skinnari’s programme in Doha includes meetings with authorities, researchers and representatives of business and industry. The visit aims to continue to foster good relations and promote trade between Finland and Qatar.
Finland joins core group dedicated to holding Russian leaders accountable for aggression against Ukraine
On 2 February 2023, Finland joined a core group set up to support Ukraine in achieving accountability for Russia’s crime of aggression against Ukraine. Altogether 19 states and the European External Action Service have joined the group in addition to Finland and Ukraine.
Swedish Foreign Minister to attend Hanalys foreign policy forum in Finland
Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström will visit Helsinki from 6 to 7 February. He was invited by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto to attend the Hanalys foreign policy forum at Hanaholmen on 7 February.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Somalia Khadija Mohamed Almakhzoumi to visit Finland
The first Minister of the Environment and Climate Change of the Federal Republic of Somalia Khadija Mohamed Almakhzoumi visits Finland on 31 January–3 February 2023. The visit is on the invitation of the Finnish Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo. The purpose of the visit is to support the new ministry in starting its work.
Analysis by the Development Policy Committee: Finland’s development policy needs a more ambitious human rights based approach
An increasingly tense international situation, prolonged conflicts, catastrophes exacerbated by climate change and the questioning of the justification for human rights are further increasing the need for a human rights based development policy.
Finland helps to mitigate climate change in developing countries by investing
A silent revolution has taken place in Finland’s development cooperation: Finland is now seeking development impacts through investments, meaning that the invested capital flows back to Finland with a slight profit. Last year, development policy loans and funds yielded around EUR 2.2 million in revenue for the central government.
This is FINLAND Magazine 2023–2024: Discovering the source of a good life
This is FINLAND Magazine 2023–2024, a publication exploring Finland’s strengths and expertise, is now available in English. This year’s Magazine highlights some of the building blocks of a good life in Finland: nature, work, culture, renewable energy and innovation.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs helps Finns in distress abroad
In 2022, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the missions abroad provided consular services to a total of approximately 256,000 customers. The demand for advisory services, in particular, continued to grow. During the year, the ministry’s 24/7 service received more than 8,000 contacts in total.