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Press Releases, 3/18/2014

Finland is increasing its support for fragile states

Press release 63/2014

One fifth of the world’s population lives in fragile states suffering or recovering from conflicts. Fragility and poverty go hand in hand: fragile states are unable to meet the basic needs of their citizens and to ensure their well-being and safety. To get on their feet, these countries need the support of the international community.

“The need for assistance is diminishing in many of our traditional development cooperation partner countries, so it is wise to direct more assistance to countries where the need is even greater. The development of fragile states is linked to issues directly affecting us as well, such as the matter of refugees,” Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto says.

In recent years, the assistance given out of appropriations for development cooperation has already been increased, for instance to Somalia, South Sudan and Afghanistan. In the future, input will rise, among others, in Somalia and Myanmar. The work will emphasize, in particular, the building of a constitutional state, education and gender equality as well as strengthening the countries’ own financial base, for example through the development of taxation.

“In the long term, citizens’ confidence in the State will be increased by the fact that the State looks after their basic needs, offers means of livelihood, justice and security. This for its part will also prevent the rise of an environment favourable to conflicts,” the Development Minister states.

The work is guided by the publication Guidelines for Finland’s development policy and development cooperation in fragile states, released on 18 March. The aim is that Finland will be able to respond better to the challenges posed by fragile states as an operating environment. Attention will be paid, for example, to better risk management as well as to measures that can minimize risks while at the same time maximizing the possibility of achieving the desired results.

Conflict prevention is also a key priority for Finland. It must be possible both to recognize the signs of fragility in good time, and they must bring about a quick reaction. Special attention is paid to the role of civil society in developing fragile states.

Finland also promotes the development of fragile states through international networks. Development Minister Haavisto is currently co-chair of the forum International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS). The network brings together fragile states, donors and civil society actors.

Additional information: Adviser Tanja Viikki,  Unit for Sectoral Policy, tel. +358 295 351804, and Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to the Minister for International Development, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869

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Updated 3/20/2014

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