14 April 2015
A development policy programme that changes with each Government’s term of office does not serve long-term development objectives and does not provide adequate steering for their attainment, the Development Policy Committee concludes. The Committee recommends that the main objectives and operating principles of development policy be stabilised at a level more permanent than changing policy programmes, such as through an Act on development cooperation.
According to the Committee, the main objectives of development policy – the reduction of poverty and inequality and the promotion of sustainable development – as well as the values and operating principles of development policy require a more permanent base. The Development Policy Committee proposes that at the start of the next Government’s term of office, a Prime Minister’s announcement be made that would ensure the continuity of the main elements of development policy and would serve as a preparatory phase for a possible Act on development cooperation.
“The purpose of the change is to intensify and sharpen development policy steering and to focus it on defining concrete intermediate goals, resources, and priorities for activities,” says Chairman of the Development Policy Committee, Member of Parliament Jouko Jääskeläinen (Christian Democrats of Finland).
“Now the promises of the Government Programme and the priorities of the development policy programme do not appear explicitly in allocating financing for development cooperation. In particular, support directed to the private sector and the development of forms of cooperation have remained at a more modest level than expected,” Jouko Jääskeläinen continues.
The annual statement on Finland’s development policy published today expresses concern that despite the promise contained in the Government Programme, appropriations for development cooperation have continually been the object of cuts. Although the allocation of emissions trading revenues for development and climate financing has compensated for the cuts made to some extent, revenue from emissions trading is an insufficient and uncertain source of income. According to the Development Policy Committee, Finland should publish a clear timetable and plan for meeting development and climate financing commitments.
A comprehensive approach to development issues is needed in the future. The UN sustainable development goals to be decided next autumn are common to the whole of Finland. They require that the following Government carry out stronger policy steering than at present as well as efforts across the borders between actors and jurisdictions. Finland’s initiatives on issues of food security and taxation are a promising step towards a new operating culture.
The Development Policy Committee recommends that the human rights based approach, the idea leading this Government’s development policy, be maintained and incorporated in Finland’s long-term development policy elements. The human rights based approach blends Finland’s development policy into the monitoring of human rights and the strengthening of democracy. The human rights based approach also serves as a guideline for foreign and security policy and external economic relations.
The Development Policy Committee is an advisory body appointed by the Government. It follows and evaluates Finland’s activities in various policy areas that influence developing countries.
Additional information: Jouko Jääskeläinen, Chairman of the Development Policy Committee, mobile tel. +358 50 512 0782, Marikki Stocchetti, Secretary General of the Development Policy Committee, mobile tel. +358 50 535 86499