Finnish development cooperation is deeply based on human rights, and therefore, there is no room for corruption, one of the worst forms of human rights violation. A new Handbook provides guidance for everyday work of development practitioners.
”Development cooperation must promote development, not destroy its premises. This is also in the heart of the new Development Policy Programme,” Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala said in the Foreign Ministry's launching of a new anti-corruption handbook on Tuesday.
Hautala said that publically funded development cooperation cannot tolerate irresponsible practitioners. ”Even though corruption rarely happens in development cooperation, it still exists, because the work takes place in the worst operating environments in the world. In 2011, Finnish foreign affairs administration detected 17 cases of abuse or suspected abuse in Somalia and Haiti, for example. The misused funds are now in the process of being recovered,” Hautala said.
According to Minister Hautala, Finnish development cooperation is deeply based on human rights, and therefore, there is no room for corruption, one of the worst forms of human rights violation.
”The new Development Policy Programme is a good basis for promoting human rights, democracy and good governance. Finland is also strongly committed to principles of publicity in development cooperation”, she said.
Corruption is a complex phenomenon and a crime against society. It also undermines the common tax base. The Handbook illustrates the complexity of corruption and helps identify the early signs of corruption.
”There are always two sides to corruption, the provider and the receiver, which both exist in poor and rich countries alike. In fact, Rwanda and Namibia have less corruption than many EU countries. Out of Finland's long-term development cooperation partners, only Kenya and Nepal are more corrupted than Russia,” Minister Hautala pointed out.
Annual worldwide bribery amounts to over a trillion dollars. In development cooperation, the means for anti-corruption include strengthening of good governance in the partner countries. It is important to improve financial administration in the partner countries and increase its parliamentary control. The partner countries should also have transparent budgets.
Anti-corruption is dangerous work. In developing countries, those intervening in corruption often risk their lives. Finland supports these so called whistle-blowers, who need protection.
”Finland has been involved in anti-corruption as long as we have practiced development cooperation. However, many things have changed, and we need a new set of updated instructions for the task. The new Handbook is a hands-on guide for all practitioners in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation in Finland and overseas,” Director General at the Department for Development Policy Jorma Julin said.
According to Julin, development cooperation always takes place in difficult operating environments, but the risks can be mitigated with the right kind of action.
”How can we keep Finnish development cooperation as corruption-free as possible? The new handbook is a robust tool that provides guidance for everyday work of development practitioners. Anti-corruption activities must be present in all Finnish development cooperation, and preventive measures are the most important,” Julin said.
Director in the UN Development Programme UNDP's Democratic Governance Group Heba El-Kholy appreciated Finland's contribution to international anti-corruption efforts. ”The fight against corruption is a long battle, where it is good to have a friend like Finland,” El-Kholy said.