The first advisory board to address relations between Finland and developing countries, the Advisory Board for Economic Relations with Developing Countries (TALKE), was established in 1979. The Board consisted of representatives of political parties and interest groups, and its task was to act as an advisory board for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In 1992 the name of the Board was changed to the Advisory Board for Relations with Developing Countries (KESU) and the mandate was revised to cover more broadly than before issues pertaining to Finland’s relations with developing countries. The board monitored and assessed Finland’s development cooperation, funding, trade and other economic relations, agricultural policy, issues associated with human rights, the position of women, culture, the promotion of democracy and environmental protection. KESU also laid emphasis on consistency in different policy areas and issued statements on all key proposals which were presented by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to parliament or government, dealing with strategies, platforms and annual financial commitment authorizations. In addition to the statements, the Advisory Board prepared proposals and recommendations on other questions pertaining to its field of interest, organised seminars and discussion sessions, ordered reports and produced publications. The members of KESU represented political parties in accordance with the balance of parliamentary power, non-governmental organisations dealing with development cooperation and the business community. There were 14 actual members with a personal deputy nominated for each of them.
In 2003, the name of the Advisory Board was changed to the current Development Policy Committee and its sphere of activities broadened. While TALKE and KESU had acted as advisory boards specifically serving the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Development Policy Committee contributes to Finland’s development policies as a whole. The Development Policy Committee issues statements on the activities of not only the Ministry for Foreign Affairs but also of the other sectoral ministries operating in the field of development policy. The mandate of Committee was changed so that it focuses more clearly on enhancing policy coherence for development. Its members include representatives of political parties, non-governmental organisations engaged in development cooperation, the business community, researchers, agriculture and trade unions. Moreover, the Committee has expert members from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other Ministries.