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Societal actors

Various actors in Finnish society participate extensively in the implementation of development policy and development cooperation. The Foreign Ministry supports the work of these actors in many ways. Development cooperation also increases Finns’ competence.

Many different ministries carry out development policy in their own administrative sector, in this way strengthening policy coherence. This means that different administrative sectors make decisions supporting developing countries and ensure that, in other policy areas, Finland at least does not weaken the attainment of development goals.

In particular, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry of Finance are important actors from the perspective of policy coherence.

Finnish government agencies, municipalities and universities also take part in the implementation of development cooperation through various exchange programmes and joint projects carried out between institutions in developing countries and Finland.

Researchers, media professionals and cultural actors strengthen Finns’ knowledge of developing countries and promote the public discussion of development issues.

State actors’ development cooperation strengthens capacity

Finnish state actors, such as ministries and government agencies, participate in development cooperation through cooperation with the public sector in developing countries. The objective of cooperation is to strengthen public servants’ capacity and the functioning of organisations in developing countries.

The Foreign Ministry finances cooperation carried out by state actors through what is called the Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI). In 2014, eleven new projects totalling about EUR 5.5 million in funding were launched. The implementation period for projects is generally three years.

The ICI can be used quite flexibly for various capacity-strengthening projects. Essential factors are the active role of the developing country actor and the development impacts of the project. The Foreign Ministry monitors the effectiveness and sustainability of projects as well as the instrument’s complementarity with other forms of development cooperation.

The ICI promotes young Finnish experts’ possibilities to participate in development cooperation, and is a good example of how development cooperation strengthens the capacity of both developing country partners and Finnish actors.

Higher education institutions participate in partnership and exchange programmes

The Foreign Ministry supports cooperation between higher education institutions in Finland and developing countries that strengthens both parties’ capacity in development issues. Cooperation is based on needs identified by the higher education institution in the developing country. The principles are reciprocal learning and equal partnership. The partner education institutions commit themselves to implementing the projects, in which they invest their own resources.

At present, cooperation between higher education institutions focuses on Finland’s long-term partner countries for bilateral development cooperation. The higher education institution programmes described below are administered by the Centre for International Mobility CIMO.

The HEI ICI (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument) programme advances the administrative and teaching capacity of higher education institutions in developing countries and supports their own development plans.

A total of 23 projects receive funding during the programme period 2012–2015. The Foreign Ministry provides a total of EUR 10.5 million from development cooperation appropriations in support for the projects.

In 2012–2015, for example the following have been developed through HEI-ICI-projects:

  • curricula in the health care sector
  • cooperation between higher education institutions and businesses in the field of sustainable development and clean technologies
  • concrete teaching and research tools
  • systems for monitoring the results of teaching
  • capacity associated with e-learning

The objective of the North–South–South Higher Education Institution Network Programme (NSS) is to develop partnerships and enhance human capacity in higher education institutions in the North and the South. The programme’s activities include teacher and student exchanges, joint intensive courses in the partner institutions in the South and activities that promote networking.

A total of 35 projects were supported during the programme period 2012–2014. Some of the projects continue in 2015. The Foreign Ministry provides a total of EUR 10.5 million from development cooperation appropriations in support for the projects.

NSS projects in 2012–2014 focused on the following sectors: biology, energy production, ICT, innovation, land administration, the media, art, animal health care and social sciences.

Results of NSS projects:

  • new contacts with Southern partners and the business sector
  • improvement of educational opportunities for vulnerable groups through scholarships, online courses and local cooperation
  • an increase in the number of female students along with the model provided by Finland
  • the diversification of teaching and research cooperation

The Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) and the North–South–South Higher Education Institution Network Programme (NSS) will be merged into one funding instrument in 2016. Read more about cooperation between higher education institutions:

A new funding model for the municipal sector’s development cooperation

Municipalities and federations of municipalities have their own role in the implementation of Finland’s development policy. Cooperation projects between municipalities in Finland and in developing countries support the development of democracy and the capacity of local administrations in sectors and areas outside the reach of other development cooperation means and instruments.

The projects for instance promote citizens’ participation and increase developing countries’ capacity to provide services effectively, economically and in a manner that takes account of the different population groups’ needs and possibilities for participation. Other actors, such as education institutions or businesses, may also participate in cooperation.

The Foreign Ministry awards discretionary government grants for the planning of municipalities’ development cooperation projects. This is a new funding model, for which an appropriation of EUR 500,000 is available in 2015.

Development policy researchers produce knowledge on development issues

New information and fresh perspectives are needed so that the objectives of poverty reduction and sustainable development can be reached better. Both decision-makers and citizens need this new knowledge. Through development policy research, researcher communities and various stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the planning of development policy and development cooperation.

The Foreign Ministry funds research focusing on development and developing countries that helps to understand poverty and development as well as their cause-and-effect relationships. The Foreign Ministry promotes the continuance and development of contacts and networking among research actors in Finland, in developing countries and in other parts of the world

The Foreign Ministry and the Academy of Finland jointly fund the Academy’s development research. The research projects usually last for many years. The application instructions are available on the development research pages of the Academy of Finland’s website.

The Foreign Ministry also provides support to international research institutions and projects. Examples include the Nordic Africa Institute and the European Centre for Development Administration (ECDPM) as well as the European Development Report (ERD).

In addition, the Foreign Ministry grants support to the research institutes and programmes of various multilateral organisations, such as the World Bank’s Knowledge for Change Programme (KCP) and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER).   

Development research is also supported as part of the country and regional programmes.

Media professionals arouse public discussion of development issues

Journalists and photographers contribute to Finns’ knowledge of developing countries and development issues. The Foreign Ministry’s Unit for Development Communications offers Finnish journalists the possibility to learn about the implementation of development policy and development cooperation in the field by awarding travel grants and organising an annual introduction programme on development issues for journalists.

Culture-sector actors increase awareness of cultures

Each year the Foreign Ministry grants support for culture-sector projects carried out in developing countries. The objective is to promote long-term cooperation and the equal exchange of experiences between culture-sector actors in developing countries and Finland, as well as to support the development of a pluralistic culture.

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