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Multilateral development cooperation

A significant share of Finland’s development cooperation funding is channelled multilaterally. Finland’s multilateral development cooperation partners are international organisations such as the United Nations, and financial institutions specialising in development, such as the World Bank. Finland also uses these organisations and institutions as common forums for political advocacy among the many actors who are members.

Monenkeskinen yhteistyö on pitkälle vuoropuhelua eri toimijoiden kesken. Kuva Learning for All -ministeritapaamisesta. Dialogue between different parties is an important part of multilateral cooperation. This photo has been taken in Learning for All Ministerial meeting in the spring of 2013. Photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank.

Funds which Finland provides to these organisations and development financial institutions as part of a multilateral approach to aid, become part of their resources and they themselves decide where the money will be used. Finland’s international environmental cooperation and financing of work on climate change are also considered part of multilateral development cooperation.

Finland’s goal in multilateral cooperation is to reduce fragmentation of implementation of development policy and development cooperation, and to ensure that multilateral development cooperation also complements the partner country’s own poverty reduction programme. In addition, Finland considers it important to participate in cooperation and dialogue with the Nordic countries and with other donor countries whose operations are similar to those of Finland.

The UN Agencies are the cornerstone of international development

In 2000, all UN member states committed to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were supposed to be reached by 2015.

Even though a large part of the MDGs will probably remain unrealized, common goals have been recognised as a good way to urge governments to take action.

Led by the UN, the preparation process for new goals for the era beyond 2015 is currently underway. The high-level panel set up by the UN has been drafting development goals that include, for example, targets related to peace and security. Issues related to access to sustainable energy and sustainable management of natural resources will also be highlighted. The objective is to have the final goals adopted in autumn 2015.

Kuva: UN Women/Ashutosh Negi.The newest UN organisation is UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. One of its aims is to empower also women to be politically active. Photo: UN Women / Ashutosh Negi.

In developing countries, the UN system is represented by the field operations of different agencies. These operations are divided into three groups:

  1. funds and programmes,
  2. operations of specific organisations, and
  3. the partner organisations.

The great majority of these UN field operations are concerned with questions of development.

The UN operations’ funds and programmes play a significant role in Finland’s development aid, since approximately one-third of Finland’s multilateral development assistance is distributed through these channels.

Many of the UN organisations’ field operations in development are coordinated by the UNEconomic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and follow ECOSOC guidelines. In addition, efforts are being made to increase the coordination of development assistance through the Secretary General’s special development group in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as through the special coordination process set up at the 2005 World Summit.

This resulted in the One UN model. The One UN seeks to harmonise country level activities so that the various UN actors in the country be overseen by only one country manager, with a single, integrated, programme and budget. Furthermore, at the UN Headquarters level, the models for field operations are also being harmonised and integrated.

Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) are a way to global know-how

Development finance institutions (DFIs), also called development banks, are multilaterally owned institutions that provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries. The basic mission of DFIs is to provide loans to support the reduction of poverty and the promotion of sustainable development, as well as to provide extension services and carry out research.

Maailmanpankin pääkonttori Washingtonissa (D.C.) kevätkokouksen 2013 aikaan.The World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. urged people to end poverty during the spring meeting 2013. Photo: Simone D. McCourte / World Bank.

Participation in the activities of DFIs offers Finland an important opportunity to participate in the development dialogue and to have an effect on international development policy and the directions taken by development financing, and in that way also having an effect on improving conditions in developing countries.

The World Bank is the second most important channel for Finnish Official Development Aid (ODA), after the EU.

Of the regional development banks, the African Development Bank and Fund (AfDB), is the most important for Finland. Finland also takes part in decision-making in DFIs, and sits on their boards. While working in DFIs, Finland has access to know-how, research results, and opportunities for collaboration, which can all be beneficial in other development cooperation.

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Updated 4/28/2014

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