Finland

Finland’s development co-operation prioritises the rights and status of women and girls; sustainable economies and decent work; quality education; peace and democracy; and climate change and the sustainable use of natural resources. A growing share of Finland’s development co-operation programme focuses on private sector-driven instruments. Finland’s total official development assistance (ODA) decreased in 2023 (USD 1.6 billion, preliminary data), representing 0.52% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

In mid-2021, the government published a Report on Development Policy Across Parliamentary Terms. Finland emphasises themes founded on its values and strengths in its development policy. These include the rights of women and girls, good quality training and education, and biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. In addition, Finland provides humanitarian assistance to help people who are suffering from acute crises. Finland has nine long-term partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the majority of which are least developed countries (LDCs).

Finland provides half of its ODA multilaterally. It has contributed to significant changes in the policies and practices of multilateral organisations, such as working to manage results and championing gender equality across a range of investments related to peace and security, agriculture, and climate change. In 2022, Finland published an evaluation of its development co-operation response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finland’s development co-operation is centred on a human rights-based approach. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) approach to reducing poverty and inequalities emphasises horizontal inequalities, notably gender and disability, as well as the intersections between group inequalities. This focus is expected to remain part of the MFA’s cross-cutting objectives. The MFA has a series of tools to ensure that projects comply with minimum standards for gender equality and disability inclusion, including data disaggregation when monitoring implementation and using OECD-DAC policy markers.

The 2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review praised Finland for working towards a government-wide consensus on its development co-operation objectives and a road map to increase the ODA budget. Finland has made great strides in results-based management and reporting, using results maps and common indicators in each of its four priority areas. The mid-term review stressed the need for guidance, staff resources and monitoring to ensure that Finland’s private sector instruments benefit priority partner countries, which are mainly LDCs. The review also encouraged Finland to continue exploring ways to attract and retain development expertise in the MFA and embassies. The mid-term review found that Finland had undertaken steps to address 10 of 12 of the 2017 peer review’s recommendations. Finland is currently undergoing an OECD-DAC peer review in 2024. Learn more about Finland’s 2021 mid-term review [DCD/DAC/AR(2024)3/22] and 2017 OECD-DAC peer review.

Finland provided USD 1.6 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2023 (USD 1.5 billion in constant terms) representing 0.52% of GNI.1 This was a decrease of 9.5% in real terms in volume and a decrease in the share of GNI from 2022. Finland is not in line with its domestic, international and EU commitments to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within Finland’s ODA portfolio in 2022, 93.4% was provided in the form of grants and 6.6% in the form of non-grants.2

In 2023, Finland ranked 10th among Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI. Finland’s bilateral ODA focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on fragile contexts (19.9% of bilateral ODA in 2022) and the LDCs (17.2% in 2022). A growing share of Finland’s development co-operation programme focuses on private sector-driven instruments. In recent years, Finland has mobilised a high share of finance from the private sector that targets LDCs and other low-income countries, although this focus declined in 2022. At USD 409.9 million in 2022, in-donor costs for refugees were a significant share (25.4%) of Finland’s total (grant equivalent) ODA. The increase of in-donor refugee costs in 2022 means that shares of bilateral ODA allocated to other areas may have decreased from 2021 to 2022, even if absolute volumes have not.

Finland is committed to several international targets and Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Finland provided a higher share of its ODA bilaterally in 2022. Gross bilateral ODA was 63.5% of total ODA disbursements. Twenty-eight per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Finland allocated 36.5% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2023, Finland provided USD 69.4 million (preliminary data) of net bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, a 6.2% increase from 2022 in real terms. USD 26.6 million of the amount was allocated to humanitarian assistance, a 5.7% decrease from 2022.

In 2022, Finland provided USD 890.1 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, a fall of 12.9% in real terms from 2021. Of this, USD 596.1 million was core multilateral ODA, while USD 294 million was non-core contributions earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 20.3% of Finland’s non-core contributions and 79.7% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Sixty-eight per cent of Finland’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2022 were allocated to EU Institutions and to the UN system.

The United Nations (UN) system received 33.8% of Finland’s multilateral contributions, of which USD 152.9 million (50.8%) represented earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 301.1 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Finland’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNFPA (USD 47.2 million), the WFP (USD 34.9 million) and UN Women (USD 30.6 million).

See the section Geographic, sectoral and thematic focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2022, Finland’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year, primarily due to an increase in reported in-donor refugee costs. It provided USD 1 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 57.1% in real terms from 2021.

In 2022, country programmable aid was 23.4% of Finland’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 42%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 409.9 million in 2022, an increase of 536% in real terms over 2021, and represented 39.5% of Finland’s total gross bilateral ODA.

In 2022, Finland channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector. Technical co-operation made up 4.8% of gross ODA in 2022.

In 2022, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 142.9 million of gross bilateral ODA, of which 3.5% was directed to CSOs based in developing countries. Overall, 3.4% of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 10.4% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2021 to 2022, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 21.4% to 13.8%, although in volume amounts were relatively stable. Learn more about the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2022, Finland’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 196.2 million was allocated to Africa and USD 92.8 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 18.9% and 9% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 69.4 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe (of which 87.5% was allocated to Ukraine). Africa was also the main regional recipient of Finland’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, 23% of gross bilateral ODA went to Finland’s top 10 recipients. As of 2022, all of Finland’s top 10 recipients were long-term partner countries. The share of gross bilateral ODA not allocated by country was 69.2%, of which 57.1% consisted of expenditures for processing and hosting refugees in provider countries.

In 2022, Finland allocated 0.11% of its GNI to the LDCs. This is above the DAC country average of 0.08%. Finland allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (17.2%) to least developed countries in 2022, noting that 69.2% was unallocated by income group. Additionally, Finland allocated 9.2% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2022, equal to USD 94.9 million.

Support to fragile contexts was USD 206.8 million in 2022, representing 19.9% of Finland’s gross bilateral ODA. Twenty-four per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, a similar share to 2021 (23.8%), while 18.4% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 23.9% in 2021. Five per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 6.7% in 2021. Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2022, the largest focus of Finland’s bilateral ODA was refugees and asylum seekers in Finland. Spending on in-donor refugee costs accounted for 57.1% of gross bilateral ODA commitments (USD 409.9 million). ODA for social infrastructure and services totalled USD 246.2 million, focusing on government and civil society (USD 125.3 million). USD 24.3 million was committed to health and population in 2022, accounting for 2.4% of gross bilateral ODA, and representing a 21.3% increase from 2019 in real terms. Economic infrastructure and services amounted to USD 125.8 million (12.3% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on social sectors in 2022.

In 2022, Finland disbursed USD 24.1 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response, down from USD 27.2 million in 2021. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, Finland provided USD 2.7 million in ODA for donations of doses to developing countries in 2022. All COVID-19 vaccines accounted for donations of doses from domestic supply in 2022.

In the period 2021-22, Finland committed 67.6% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 53.3% in 2019-20), compared with the 2021-22 DAC average of 43.3%. This is equal to USD 488.9 million of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. Unpacking the gender equality data further:

  • The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 9.8% in 2021-22, compared with the DAC average of 3.9%.

  • Finland includes gender equality objectives in 46.5% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, above the 2021-22 DAC average of 17%.

  • Finland screens the majority of their bilateral allocable aid activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (95.4% in 2021-22).

  • Finland committed USD 29.6 million of ODA to end violence against women and girls and USD 11.3 million to support women’s rights organisations and movements and government institutions in 2021-22.

Learn more about Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls: DAC Guidance for Development Partners and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2021-22, Finland committed 29.7% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 211.6 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (the DAC average was 35.1%), up from 25.3% in 2019-20. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Five per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11%.

  • Twenty-seven per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 189 million) focused on climate change overall, up from 24.5% in 2019-20 (the DAC average was 30.5%). Finland had a greater focus on adaptation (22.7%) than on mitigation (20.4%) in 2021-22.

  • Five per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid (USD 33 million) focused on biodiversity overall, up from 1.8% in 2019-20 (the DAC average was 7.2%).

Learn more about the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change [DAC/CHAIR(2021)1/FINAL].

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Finland committed USD 1.1 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2022, USD 1.1 million more than in 2021. The 2022 value is equivalent to 0.2% of Finland’s bilateral allocable aid.

In 2022, Finland also:

  • Committed USD 3 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.5% of its bilateral allocable aid. Regarding the payment of local tax and customs duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Finland sometimes requests exemptions. It makes information available on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

  • Committed USD 160.5 million (29% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy.

  • Committed USD 78.2 million (14.1% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as emergency response, agriculture, forestry, fishing and education.

  • Committed USD 28.9 million (5.2% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

Finland uses leveraging mechanisms to mobilise private finance for sustainable development. In 2022, Finland’s Finnfund and Ministry of Foreign Affairs mobilised USD 72.8 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles, shares in collective investment vehicles, simple co-financing and syndicated loans. This constituted a 51% decrease compared to 2021.

A share of 9.9% targeted middle-income countries, while 0.1% went to LDCs and other low-income countries (LICs) in 2021-22, noting that 90.1% was unallocated by income.

Mobilised private finance by Finland in 2021-22 related mainly to activities in banking and financial services (91.5%), as its top sector.

In 2022, Finland’s Finnfund extended USD 118.2 million in the form of private sector instruments (PSI) to developing countries. Of this, loans accounted for 53.8% whereas equities represented 46.2%.

In 2022, USD 0.6 million (0.5%) of Finland’s private sector instruments were allocated to LDCs and other LICs, with 39.1% received by middle-income countries and LMICs in particular (26.5%). Moreover, USD 71.4 million were unallocated by income. Finland’s private sector instruments mostly supported projects in banking and financial services (55.5%) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (16.3%).

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following the reform of the exercise over 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) is underway. Information on partner countries’ participation in the exercise as well as their progress is available at the Global Dashboard. Finland’s results from the 2016 and 2018 monitoring rounds can be found here.

To help improve the transparency of development co-operation, the OECD provides regular feedback to members on the overall quality of their statistical reporting and works with each member to ensure the data meet high quality standards before they are published. Regarding DAC/CRS reporting to the OECD, Finland’s reporting in 2022 was on time, with room to improve in terms of the completeness and the accuracy of the data.

Total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) is an international statistical standard that monitors all official and officially supported resources for financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries, as well as for addressing global challenges. It provides a broad measure of development finance with the objective of increasing transparency and accountability of all external support that developing countries receive. In 2022, activities reported by Finland as TOSSD totalled USD 1.74 billion, up from USD 1.65 billion in 2021, and Finland’s TOSSD activities mostly targeted SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and SDG 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Activity-level data on TOSSD by recipient are available at https://tossd.online.

The MFA is under the direction of three ministers dedicated to foreign affairs, foreign trade and development, and Nordic co-operation. The Department for Development Policy within the MFA is responsible for Finland’s international development and humanitarian policy, development finance, and overall planning and monitoring of development co-operation. The Development Policy Committee, Finland’s government-appointed advisory body, monitors and reviews Finland’s development co-operation and policy. The Political Department and the Department for External Economic Relations provide policy guidance to the regional departments responsible for their respective geographic areas. Finnfund is Finland’s development finance institution.

The MFA employs around 2 200 staff; around one-third (800 staff) are based in headquarters and two-thirds in embassies (1 400). Approximately 100 MFA staff work on development co-operation, with a further 30 locally hired staff working on development in Finland’s embassies.

An important mechanism for consulting stakeholders is the Development Policy Committee, which includes parliamentarians, experts, civil servants, civil society actors and researchers. The recent institutionalisation of the KPT has allowed it to have a longer term work programme and focus. It plays a key role in producing evidence for policy and encouraging dialogue, serving as a sounding board for the MFA. CSOs active in development co-operation co-ordinate under the umbrella body Fingo.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Finland’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review of Finland: DCD/DAC/AR(2024)3/22

2017 OECD-DAC peer review of Finland: www.oecd.org/dac/oecd-development-co-operation-peer-reviews-finland-2017-9789264287235-en.htm

Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://um.fi/development-policy-and-development-cooperation

Finnfund: https://www.finnfund.fi/en

Development Policy Committee: https://www.kehityspoliittinentoimikunta.fi/en

Finnish Development NGOs: https://fingo.fi/en/finnish-development-ngos-fingo

Finland’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform: https://www.oecd.org/development-cooperation-learning?tag-key+partner=finland#search

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1975.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

Notes

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

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