There is strong political and financial commitment for global sexual and reproductive health and family planning (SRH/FP) in the Finnish development policy and cooperation. After ODA cuts in 2016, Finland is expected to increase its Official Development Assistance (ODA) during coming years.
The general elections, in April 2019, changed the governmental parties and the new Government is very vocal on development cooperation and SRH/FP. The new Government is expected to continue the longstanding commitment to promote rights of women and girls and SRH/FP in development cooperation.
Policies & funding
Women and girls are priority in Finland’s Development Policy
Finland launched the Government Report on Development Policy: ‘One World, One Future – Towards Sustainable Development’ in 2016 based on the 2030 Agenda. It sets the rights of women and girls as the first key priority of Finnish development policy with strong emphasis on SRH/FP. Gender equality and SRH/FP are also among the funding priorities.
The new Minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Mr. Ville Skinnari, highlights that SRHR is the main sub priority of Finland’s development cooperation under the first priority of women’s and girls’ rights.
ODA concentrates on the rights of women and girls
In the new budget proposal, it is estimated that the Government’s development cooperation expenditure will be € 1.030 million in 2020, corresponding to approximately 0.41 % of GNI. A total of € 684.1 million is proposed for the ODA administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In 2020, the ODA administered by the MFA will rise approximately €100 million compared with the current level in 2019.
Finland’s priority in multilateral development cooperation is the enhancement of the rights and status of women and girls. In the new Government Budget Proposal for 2020, MFA points out that more support will be channeled for multilateral cooperation and for development cooperation involving civil society organisations. Amongst the UN organizations, Finland prioritizes UNFPA, UN Women and UNICEF.
2016 ODA cuts have also hit these organisations and SRH/FP related core funding to UNFPA has decreased from €19 million in 2016 to €17.5 million in 2017 and €17.7 million in 2018. Despite these cuts in funding, UNFPA remains the second largest receiver of Finnish funding to UN organisations, which indicates that Finland’s commitment still lies with SRH/FP related issues. This is further supported by the fact that Finland’s funding for SRH/FP in 2018 has increased by 36% compared to 2017, amounting to € 20 million. In line with 2020 estimates, there is a positive forecast that funding will increase during the current Government. In the Nairobi ICPD25 Summit Finland committed to increase significantly funding to UNFPA and highlighted Finland’s strong political support to the organization and SRH/FP.
Fragile states are also emphasized in Finland’s development cooperation policy and funding. For example, Finland supports SRH/FP in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Myanmar and Syria and its neighboring areas through UNFPA and Marie Stopes International.
Finland had a strong, progressive voice in the 2030 Agenda process in support of human rights and gender equality, including FP. Finland wants to profile itself as a champion in gender and SRH/FP issues. Women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality continues as a main priority in Finland’s development cooperation.
Comparably to his predecessor, the new Minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Mr. Ville Skinnari, is a vocal SRH/FP advocate at national, European and UN level. The Minister emphasizes the importance of SRH/FP in his public speeches and announcements.
- Government Report on Development Policy 2016, summary
- The Finnish Foreign Service UN Strategy
- Freedom to Choose: Sexual and Reproductive Health and rights in Finland’s Development Policy
Updated January 2020
- European Institutions
- United Kingdom