Support for government agencies

The Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI) is used to support Finnish government agencies' and public bodies' participation in development cooperation. The projects' objective is to strengthen the skills and knowledge of state actors, such as ministries and government agencies, in developing countries.

Principles of support

An ICI project must be based on the needs of the developing country and an initiative of the developing country agency. The activity must aim at capacity development.

Complementary and additional objectives may be, for example, improvement of the partner organisation's services and product development, development of its organisation and reform of ways of action, upgrading of personnel's skills and knowledge, internationalisation and networking.

The developing country agency can represent the public sector. The Finnish agencies can be government agencies and public bodies that belong to the same legal entity as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Legal officers In the Department for Development Policy can tell, if necessary, if the Finnish candidate is eligible for a government agency.

The project duration is at least twelve months. If a project has been managed well, its later stages can be funded through the ICI.

ICI projects are guided by an administrative internal instruction, which includes detailed guidelines and information concerning the project planning and preparation.

Preparation of a project proposal

The developing country agency and its Finnish counterpart prepare a preliminary project proposal and submit it to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The length of a project proposal is 3 to 10 pages plus appendices.

Project proposals (application) are sent to the following address:

Ministry for Foreign Affairs, P.O.Box 176, FI-00023 Government, Finland

Registry office: Visiting address: Ritarikatu 2 b, open on working days 8.00–16.15

Mark ICI application and the short form of the regional unit on the envelope.

Project proposals can also be sent electronically to the public servant in the regional department who is responsible for the target country.  Applications sent to the missions will be forwarded to the regional departments in the Foreign Ministry.

Assessment of a project proposal

Eligibility for the actual project planning phase is based on assessment of project proposals in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The general minimum eligibility criteria are:

  1. The project proposal is based on a well-grounded need.

  2. The project proposal's main focus is capacity development.

  3. The project proposal can make use of the special expertise of a government agency or public body.

  4. The budget of the project proposal (funding needs) is appropriate for an ICI project.

Project that meet the minimum criteria are put in an order of priority based on the following factors:

  1. Evidence of partner organisation's active participation in the preparation of the project proposal.

  2. Evidence of that the project idea makes sense - the need is formulated in a concrete proposal and the project gives added value to the partner organisation.

  3. The project supports Finland's other development cooperation in the partner country and promotes the development policy that Finland pursues in the partner country.

  4. The regional unit has set aside a sufficient amount from its budget for the possible materialisation of the project in the country in question.

Approval of a project proposal

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs issues a decision on each proposal in writing. As the activity takes place within the state administration, the decisions cannot be appealed.  Approved project proposals are transferred to the actual project planning phase.

Project planning

Project planning starts after the decision on the project proposal has been given.

Based on the project planning, the Finnish and developing country agencies prepare an actual project plan, which is called a project document. A completed project document can be submitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at any time, because the consideration is not tied to any specific dates.

The Ministry supports project planning by reserving EUR 25 000 for the government agency's project planning phase, and by entitling the agency to 30 hours of support from a Facilitation Consultant during the planning phase.

Funding decision

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs assesses the project document and makes a funding decision after it has heard the recommendation of the Ministry's Quality Assurance Group. The funding decision is made based on normal criteria used in project management, including the project's relevance, effectiveness, feasibility and sustainability.

Provided that a favourable funding decision has been received, the Ministry assigns the Finnish government agency to undertake the ICI project assignment. After the assignment contract and the memorandum of understanding have been signed, the Finnish agency is responsible for the implementation of the project.

Facilitation consultant's services

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has hired a Consultancy Company (so-called Facilitation Consultant) to provide support services for the preparation and monitoring of ICI projects.

The Facilitation Consultant supports the Finnish government agencies and public bodies that have received a decision from a regional unit in the Foreign Ministry concerning approval of their project proposal for continued planning.

When the project cycle has advanced to implementation, the Facilitation Consultant also controls that the Finnish agencies reporting meets the legal, administrative and contractual requirements. The Facilitation Consultant's function is to support the Finnish government agency bring an effective development impact. However, responsibility for the project is born by the parties to the contract.

Manual to help project management

Institutional Cooperation Instrument - Manual and Recommended Best
Practices is designed to establish common practices for project management.

The Manual includes templates of the required documents and recommendations that help in the management and monitoring of appropriations for inter-institutional development cooperation.










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