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News, 5/15/2018

Indicators to measure Finland's global responsibility

How to measure Finland's footprint in the global promotion of UN sustainable development goals? Readily available indicators measuring global responsibility do not exist but a recent analysis shows how challenging the task is.

Photo: Hanna Päivärinta
Finland supports coffee production in Myanmar.
Finland supports coffee production in Myanmar.

The diverse matters included in the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda range from gender equality to the promotion of world peace and efforts to stop climate change. Measuring progress in the different goals and targets is not straightforward in the domestic context, but the challenge is manifold when the global impacts of Finland's actions are considered.

On the government website at, discussion has been conducted this spring on the grounds of the national indicators for sustainable development based on the UN 2030 Agenda. The indicators have been assembled into "monitoring sectors" corresponding to Finland's goals. The most recent analysis published on the website concerns global responsibility and consistency. In other words, which figures shall we select for consideration, when measuring our contribution to the promotion of the global common goals?

The amount of development aid is an important indicator

Based on the analysis, development policy and trade policy are particularly central policy areas impacting the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.

Development policy reduces poverty globally and supports developing countries' stability and capacity to attain the national SDGs. Finland places special emphasis on the promotion of equality.

"The support to developing countries granted by Finland and other donors has led to important milestones: for example, the proportion of the world's population living in extreme poverty has halved after 1990, and the majority of girls attend school. Development cooperation also bolsters global efforts to fight climate change," says Counsellor Pasi Pöysäri, who coordinates 2030 Agenda matters at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

One of the indicators measuring global responsibility is related to the amount of development cooperation. In 2017, it represented 0.41% of Finland's gross national income (GNI) but, in the long term, Finland is committed to meeting the 0.7% target. In addition to the total amount of funding, it is important to look at its targeting. According to the UN, developed countries should channel 0.15%–0.2% of ODA/GNI to the least developed countries.  Last year, Finland allocated 0.13% of its GNI to the least developed countries, but it is committed to raising the level to 0.2%.

Environmental and development impacts of trade

Finland supports sustainable development in trade policy through free trade agreement with the EU.

"We support, for example, the export of environmental products and work to eliminate subsidies on fossil fuels. Trade policy can also be used to promote market access of developing country products and to grant preferential tariffs,” says Pöysäri.

The Center for Global Development is a non-profit organisation that ranks the world's richest countries annually on their dedication to policies that benefit people living in poorer nations.   Finland has performed well in the annual index and the trade policy component of the  Commitment to Development index was chosen as one of the indicators that will be monitored when the global impacts are measured.

Matters central to global responsibility include not only development aid and trade policy but also Finland's participation in international crisis management.

"In relation to its population, Finland is the biggest country in the EU as concerns contribution of personnel to civilian crisis management operations. Moreover, approximately 40% of Finnish civilian crisis management experts are women," Pöysäri tells.

The analysis published on serves as a basis for open online discussion on the selection of monitoring indicators. An overall estimate of how Finland's foreign policy promotes the achievement of SDGs and what could be done to improve consistency in all administrative branches will be available in the spring of 2019.

The whole analysis is available at (in Finnish):

Globaali vastuu ja johdonmukaisuus: kauppapolitiikassa suunta parempaan, mutta kehitysyhteistyörahoituksen taso on alhainen

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