Minister Heidi Hautala to visit Cambodia, South Korea and Nepal
Press release 319/2011
25 November 2011
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala will make a trip to Cambodia, South Korea and Nepal between 26 November and 7 December. During her trip, Hautala will attend the Meeting of the States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Landmine Ban Convention in Phnom Penh and the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan. In addition, she will visit Nepal, Finland’s long-term partner country.
At the start of her trip, Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala will lead the Finnish delegation at the Meeting of the States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Landmine Ban Convention, to be held in Cambodia from 28 November to 2 December. At the meeting, Hautala’s address will deal with Finland’s accession to the Convention. Parliament approved Finland’s accession on Friday.
The Convention prohibits the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, and transfer of anti-personnel mines and requires that the States Parties destroy the existing stockpiles of landmines. Moreover, the Convention obligates the States Parties to participate in mine clearing and give support to the victims of mines. Finland has supported humanitarian mine work even before acceding to the Convention.
In Cambodia, Minister Hautala will also meet representatives of local and international human rights organisations and will learn about the land registration project supported by Finland.
From Phnom Penh Minister Hautala will continue to Busan, South Korea, the venue for the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held from 29 November to 1 December. The Minister will lead the Finnish delegation. The participants in the Busan Forum will evaluate what progress has been made in improving the effectiveness and impacts of aid and will decide about future measures. One of the principal goals of the Forum is to get the emerging economies – such as China, India and Brazil – to adhere to the same rules as the traditional donor countries. The Forum will gather together a wide range of donors, partner countries, international organisations and private-sector actors.
During the Forum, Minister Hautala will participate, among others, in the side event on disability issues, organised together by Finland and USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. Signmark will be one of the performers at the event
From Busan, Minister Hautala’s trip will continue to Nepal on 2–6 December, where she will learn about cooperation between Finland and Nepal in the sectors of education and natural resources and in projects promoting human rights, the peace process and democracy. During her visit, Minister Hautala will meet with, among others, the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Education of Nepal, the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, as well as representatives of civil society organisations. She will also get first-hand information about the status of minority groups, such as Dalits and Tibetans living in Nepal.
Minister Hautala’s visit will take place at an interesting time with respect to Nepal’s development. A breakthrough was achieved in Nepal’s peace process in November 2011, when the main political parties reached an agreement on the integration of Maoist guerrillas into society. It was additionally agreed that the land areas occupied by the Maoists would be returned, the guerrillas would turn in their weapons to the Government, and a new aid package would be compiled for the victims of the conflict. The agreement also included an important decision to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Disappearances Commission. During her trip, Minister Hautala will discuss issues pertaining to the implementation of the agreement.
Minister Hautala’s trip to Asia will end in Delhi, India, where she will attend the reception held by the Finnish Ambassador to celebrate Finland’s Independence Day on 6 December.
Additional information: Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to Minister Heidi Hautala, tel. +358 9 1605 6435, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869, firstname.lastname@example.org