Summit for Democracy: Report on Commitments made by Finland
The urgent need to defend against authoritarianism and to stand up for the values of liberal democracy is highlighted today by the increasing violations of human rights and the deterioration of security globally due to the Russian war on Ukraine.
Along with other participating governments, Finland made commitments at the 2021 Summit for Democracy. Finland’s commitments were based on our long-standing action on democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Finland has also participated actively together with our civil society partners in three democracy cohorts: Gender Equality as a Pre-requisite for Democracy, Technology for Democracy, and Rule of Law and Access to Justice Champions. We can already report on important achievements from the Year of Action, and continue to implement our commitments in the future.
Highlights of our achievements at national level include:
- As part of the National Democracy Program 2025, a Government Resolution on Democracy Policy was published in November 2022 under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice. The Resolution outlines Finland’s democracy policy and the Government’s measures for developing democracy and inclusion on a long-term basis at national, regional and international level. It covers issues such as functioning and safety of elections, equal participation, pluralistic media and democracy, human rights and media education. This resolution will serve as the basis for the work of the future Governments in coming years.
- The Government of Finland continued implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice. A good portion of the identified actions has been completed and the rest are under implementation.
- Yet another achievement is the act on establishing a Transparency Register. The purpose of the act is to improve the transparency of decision-making and, by doing this, to prevent undue influence and reinforce public confidence. The Finnish Parliament adopted the act in February 2023 and it will enter into force in January 2024.
- The Government of Finland handed the Government Report on the Administration of Justice to the Parliament in November 2022. The Report sets medium-term objectives for achieving reasonable quality in the administration of justice in Finland.
- In 2021, Finland became the first country to adopt a National Action Plan on Youth, Peace and Security to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 2250. Implementation of the National Action Plan has began in collaboration with several ministries and youth organizations.
International democracy support and promoting democracy and human rights in the multi-lateral system are an important aspect of Finland’s contribution to democracy worldwide. During the Year of Action, Finland’s efforts to this end included:
- A new official development assistance budget line for democracy and rule of law support was introduced in the government budget in 2020 to indicate Finland’s commitment to promote and defend democracy globally. Actions of Demo Finland and the Rule of Law Centre have been funded from the budget line and it has also been used to provide core funding to International IDEA.
- As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Finland has systematically raised its priority topics in its national statements and fought back hostile amendments aimed at weakening the language of resolutions. The priorities are the rights of women and girls, new technologies and digitalization, sustainable development and climate change.
- Finland has published the fourth National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security for 2023-2027.
- Finland served as vice-chair of International IDEA in 2022 and now continues as an active Member State. Finland supported International IDEA’s active engagement in the Summit for Democracy process.
- The renewal of Finland´s membership on the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CoD) was approved under peer review process in 2022. Currently Finland co-chairs with Lithuania the CoD Working Group on Women and Democracy.
- After the Chairship of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) in 2021, Finland has continued as an active member of the Friends of the Chair of the Coalition advocating for the FOC priorities and a more diverse coalition.
- Finland has acted as co-leader of the Generation Equality campaign’s Action Coalition on Technology and Innovations for Gender Equality, and advances gender-transformative technology and innovation through advocacy, programs, financial support and policy.
Following Finland’s long democratic tradition, the Government of Finland has worked together with the Finnish civil society during the Summit for Democracy Year of Action. The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Demo Finland, and the Rule of Law Centre have participated in the aforementioned democracy cohorts and these actors have also contributed to Finland’s overall commitments:
- The Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, has continued its Democracy and Participation Program, which aims at strengthening the capacity for the renewal of Finland’s democracy. As part of work done in EDMO-NORDIS consortium, Sitra and its collaborators published a Guide for Digital Information Literacy (DIL) in Sept 2022. This guide can be used as a basis for educational materials on the topic and broadens the concept of “media literacy” up to the challenges of hybrid media environment.
- Demo Finland, a Finnish multi-party co-operative organization of all the parliamentary parties of Finland, promotes political dialogue and multi-party democracy in Finland and in partner countries in Africa and Asia in collaboration with its local partner organizations. Special attention is paid to the political rights and participation of women. As a new initiative, Demo Finland started multiparty cooperation in Somalia in 2022.
- In 2022, the Rule of Law Centre initiated new programs, in collaboration with international organizations, including UNODC and the International IDEA, aimed at improving access to justice, expertise of judicial authorities and strengthening the fight against corruption.
Finland remains committed to strengthening and developing democracy nationally, regionally and globally now and beyond the Second Summit for Democracy. More detailed descriptions of the implementation of, and next steps for, our commitments can be found in the complementary document.