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. Official Development Assistance (ODA) has risen in recent years and is expected to rise during the coming years, according to the Finnish Governmental Programme. Finland remains committed to raise its ODA to 0.7% of GNI. In 2021, Finnish ODA amounted to € 1,257 million, equivalent to 0.5% of Finland’s GNI.
The Minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Mr. Ville Skinnari, has repeatedly highlighted that sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is the main sub priority of Finland’s development cooperation under women’s and girls’ rights. This position was reconfirmed in 2021, with the adoption of the Report on Development Policy across Parliamentary Terms. This new policy reinstates that one of the main goals of Finland’s development cooperation is to promote the rights of women and girls, including SRHR, and confirms this longstanding country’s commitment in development cooperation also in future parliamentary terms.
In 2021, Finland also adopted the Finnish Africa strategy, which frames cooperation with African countries, the African Union and regional organisations, and which states SRH/FP as one of the key thematic areas. The strategy highlights SRHR and FP as key thematic areas where Finland intensifies the exchange of views and builds cooperation with those African stakeholders.
Finland emphasises that the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved by 2030 without fulfilling everyone's SRHR globally. Political and financial commitments made by the Government of Finland are reflecting the country’s strong will to enhance SRHR and sustainable development today and in the future.
In 2019, Finland released its new Humanitarian Policy in which SRHR is one of the key priorities to concentrate humanitarian assistance. Finland is focusing on vulnerable groups, especially girls, women and persons with disabilities in humanitarian activities. In the Humanitarian Policy, Finland notes that e.g. lack of family planning (FP) in conflict areas increases inequality.
Policies & funding
ODA concentrates on the rights of women and girls
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 2021, the MFA points out that more support will be channeled for multilateral cooperation and for development cooperation involving civil society organisations. Amongst the UN organisations, Finland prioritises UNFPA, UN Women and UNICEF.
Finland spent €51 million on SRH/FP in 2020, which in an increase of 71% compared to the previous year. After adding support to other programmes more focused on governance programmes for gender-responsiveness, the country’s contribution to SRHR amounts to €52 million. Core funding to UNFPA has been on a rising track from 2017, at the level of €17.5 million to €17.7 million in 2018 and € 20 million in 2019. In 2020 the funding increased significantly to € 33 million, following the commitment made during the Nairobi ICPD25 Summit. UNFPA hence remains the largest receiver of Finnish core funding among the UN organisations, which indicates Finland’s strong commitment to SRH/FP related issues.
Finland also funds international NGOs through its ODA. In this year call for proposals, Finland decided to prioritise SRHR, as the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened the availability of these services globally, and tax transparency in developing countries. This confirms the promotion of SRHR as one of the key goals of Finnish development cooperation. The country also announced increased funding for SRHR INGOs so that International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was admitted € 3.5 million, Ipas, € 3.5 million and MSI Reproductive Choices, € 8 million in 2021–2024.
Fragile states are also emphasised in Finland’s development cooperation policy and funding. For example, Finland supports SRH/FP in Afghanistan, Somalia, Myanmar and Syria and its neighboring areas through UNFPA and Marie Stopes International.
The level of ODA may start decreasing in 2023: according to the general government fiscal plan for 2021, an expected € 35 million reduction will be applied that year. How these cuts will be reflected on funding for SRH/FP remains to be seen. As SRHR remains one of the main priorities of Finland development cooperation, that should also be reflected on financial allocations. 2023 will also be a year for general elections.
Finland had a strong, progressive voice in the 2030 Agenda process in support of human rights and gender equality, including FP. Women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality continue being main priorities in Finland’s development cooperation.
The Minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Mr. Ville Skinnari, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pekka Haavisto, are both vocal SRH/FP advocates at national, European and UN level. The Ministers often emphasise the importance of SRH/FP in their public speeches and announcements.
Finland is also active at the EU level: in 2021, the country joined the Team Europe Initiative focusing on SRHR in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Country factsheet with tracking data 2020-21
- Report on Development Policy Extending Across Parliamentary Terms
- Finland’s Humanitarian Policy (In Finnish)
Updated January 2022
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