Press Release 131/2014
3 June 2014
On 3 June the Ministry for Foreign Affairs took into use an online service that anyone can use to report suspicions of abuse in relation to development cooperation. The service is the first of its kind in the Finnish state administration.
“Now anyone who suspects abuse involving development cooperation has the opportunity to press the red button, so to speak. Here the Ministry for Foreign Affairs leads the way for the entire state administration,” Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto says.
“Citizens must be able to trust that development cooperation funds go for the right purpose. That’s why the threshold for reporting has been made as low as possible.”
Notification can be given at www.vaarinkaytosilmoitus.fi. The service operates in Finnish, Swedish and English. If necessary, notification can also be given anonymously.
Haavisto believes that, like with other transparency, the new system will have a preventative effect.
“In negotiations on cooperation, too, we emphasize that we have zero tolerance concerning abuse and easy systems available where suspicions of abuse can be reported. The more open the work is, the less temptation there is for any kind of wrongdoing,” Haavisto emphasizes.
Misuse of development cooperation funds has been tackled thus far as well, and all suspicions are investigated.
“Finland has already dealt with suspicions of abuse and, compared to many other European countries, has quickly published abuses that have come to light. We have even received phone calls from abroad and questions have been asked about cases that Finland has reported while all other financiers have not,” Haavisto continues.
The online service intensifies intervening in cases of abuse and improves risk management in development cooperation.
“Many developing countries have improved their own systems to the extent that notification can also be given through them. This is what happened recently in Tanzania. When necessary, misused funds will be recovered,” Haavisto explains.
In relation to development cooperation on the whole, the share of verified cases of abuse has been small: an estimated 1–2 per mille of all funds used for development cooperation in recent years.
The other Nordic countries have a similar notification system in use. The Swedish whistleblower system received 31 notifications in 2012 and the corresponding Norwegian service 35. Denmark has received 90 notifications since 2005.
Additional information: Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to Minister Haavisto, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869; Deputy Director General Riikka Laatu, Department for Development Policy, tel. +358 295 350 970; and Jaakko Jakkila, Advisor – Democracy and Good Governance, tel. +358 295 351 511