Development: Finland should not back-track on its aid commitments, says OECD


06/11/2012 - Finland is making efforts to improve its development co-operation, sharpening the focus of its efforts and emphasising the importance of human rights. To make these efforts effective, says the OECD’s Review of the Development Co-operation Policies and Programmes of Finland, the government should honour its commitment to increase funding, focus on areas and countries where it can have the most impact, and improve the way it manages development co-operation.


During the review, the Development Assistance Committee of the world’s major aid donors praised Finland for increasing its aid by 35% to just over USD 1.4 billion (0.52% of its GDP) during the 2006 – 2011 period. However, Finnish budget projections show that aid will be flat for the coming two years and fall short by almost USD 50 million of the estimated volume needed to reach the 0.7% ODA/GNI target in 2015. The review warns that failure to increase its aid would hurt Finland’s reputation and diminish the impact of its programme in developing countries.


Finland’s new aid policy defines a broad spectrum of priorities which allows for flexible implementation in developing countries. However, the review recommends that to have maximum impact, Finland should translate these broad priorities into clearly defined objectives, identify monitorable results,  and provide its staff with adequate guidelines and training.


The Review’s recommendations are geared to help the Finnish government make its aid more effective, including: hire and retain headquarters, embassy and field staff with development experience; delegate more authority to embassies to increase impact in the field; develop a strategic approach to working with civil society organizations; reduce the amount of aid that is tied; provide timely information on multi-annual commitments to partner countries and multilateral partners; and ensure that all relevant policies support, or at least do not undermine, development in developing countries.


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For more information about OECD’s Review of the Development Co-operation Policies and Programmes of Finland, please contact in the OECD’s Development Co-operation directorate.


Members of the Development Assistance Committee met with the Finnish government to discuss this review on 26 September. The examiners were Austria and Switzerland.


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