Changes in CSOs’ development cooperation support from the start of next year
According to the new Government Programme, appropriations allocated for development cooperation will be subject to considerable cuts beginning in 2016. Significant changes will also be made to support for the development cooperation of civil society organisations (CSOs) and municipal sector actors. A meeting to discuss the matter with CSOs and municipal actors carrying out development cooperation took place on 30 June.
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka stresses that the cuts stem from the savings required by Finland’s economic situation. “In the 21st century Finland has been able to increase its development aid significantly, and CSO's development cooperation has also risen considerably. But in the current economic situation, all public spending must be reduced. This also applies to development cooperation,” the minister states.
The budget for the present year contains EUR 114 million in support for CSOs’ development cooperation. The total sum envisaged for 2016 is EUR 65 million. Some application rounds and previous forms of support cannot be implemented as a result of the spending cuts, or their implementation will be postponed.
Measures with regard to various forms of support:
- This year’s annual application round for small and medium-sized organisations’ project support has to be interrupted. Existing project support decisions are not subject to cuts. The intention is to initiate a new application round in the spring of 2016.
- The support awarded to organisations receiving programme support and operating grants will be cut equally by about 38 per cent.
- There will be no application round for communications and global education project support in the autumn of 2015. The cuts do not affect the two-year grant decisions made for 2015–2016. The intention is to organise the next application round in 2016, when support can be sought for the year 2017.
- The application round for the municipal sector is interrupted. The aim is to incorporate municipal sector support in the application round for small and medium-sized organisations’ project support.
- The general application round for international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) planned for 2016 is cancelled.
Minister Toivakka emphasises that even in the midst of cuts, Finland adheres to the quality and effectiveness of its development cooperation, and these will be developed further. “This requires structural changes. Civil society’s development cooperation will be planned for the longer term in such a way that the priorities defined for aid are more clearly visible,” the minister points out.
The priorities for development policy defined by the Government are the position of women and girls, well-functioning democracies, sustainable energy production, water and food security, and strengthening entrepreneurship and the tax base in developing countries.
The evaluation of the forms of support to civil society, which had been under preparation earlier, has been launched, and CSO cooperation will be developed further on the basis of the results. The first evaluation results will be reflected already in the decisions for 2017. Cooperation concerning EU-funded activities will be deepened.
CSOs’ development cooperation will continue to be an important and established part of the development cooperation financed by Finland. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will continue its close interaction and open discussion with the organisational field.
Undersecretary of State Anne Sipiläinen, Deputy Director General Riikka Laatu and Head of Unit Jyrki Nissilä represented the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the discussion. The event was attended by more than 100 representatives of organisations.
Inquiries: Riikka Laatu, Deputy Director General, Department for Development Policy, +358 295 350 970, Jyrki Nissilä, Head of Unit, Unit for Civil Society, +358 295 351 205.