Finland’s action to strengthen civil societies and advance their enabling environment
The strengthening of civil societies is an important goal in Finland’s development policy and a means to achieve other development policy goals. Supporting civil societies is important in the current world political situation, where civic spaces are shrinking and autocratization is on the rise.
This commissioned study for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) examines the strengthening of civil societies and advancing their enabling environment in Finland’s development policy and cooperation. It focuses on the implementation of the MFA Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy (2017) across Finnish development policy sectors. The study is based on document reviews and interviews. Additionally, an online participatory workshop with multi-sectoral stakeholders was organized. The results indicate that the strengthening of civil societies is perceived as very important across Finnish development policy sectors, and its emphasis has increased. Finnish development policy and cooperation supports civil societies through multiple funding instruments. However, much of this work remains invisible, and the overall perception regarding civil society support relates to the MFA support to Finnish CSOs. To respond to world political challenges, Finland should develop a more strategic and political approach in its support for civil societies and their enabling environments.
The report in english