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Press Releases, 6/29/2017 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Finns want to promote women’s and girls’ position through development cooperation

Press release 123/2017
29 June 2017

Finns remain strong supporters of development cooperation. Based on a survey commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 85 per cent of the Finns consider development cooperation important. They support especially the promotion of the position of women and girls.

The proportion of those in favour of development cooperation has steadily risen since 2010. The number of those who regard development cooperation very important is now six percentage points higher than last year. Furthermore, a larger number of respondents, that is, 19 per cent, think that development cooperation plays a critical role in efforts to lift developing countries out of poverty.

The citizens endorse the number one priority of Finland’s development policy, which is promotion of the rights and status of women and girls. The majority – 64 per cent – of the Finns consider it the best way to reduce global inequality. They would advance women’s and girls’ position, above all, by providing more education and by eliminating violence and abuse.

“Internationally, Finland is known to be a promoter of the position of women and girls. This year, we have stepped up especially the appropriations to the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is good to hear that the Finnish people clearly value this work,” Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen says.

Should the Finns be given an opportunity to select one target for development cooperation, matters related to women and girls would come second right after education.

Development cooperation to combat climate change

The Finns consider development cooperation an effective means to improve global security. More people than before, that is 86 per cent of the respondents, consider that development cooperation can help to prevent refugee crises. Nearly 90 per cent of the respondents view Finland’s humanitarian aid important.

Additionally, more than a half of the Finns believe that development cooperation can mitigate climate change.

“The prominence of global problems in the media has made people aware of them. It also appears that the younger generation in Finland is more international than its predecessors and that they understand that global concerns must be tackled,” deems Research Manager Juho Rahkonen from Taloustieto.

About the results

The survey also highlighted the need to increase and improve communications about the results. The majority of the respondents believe that Finland’s development cooperation is efficient and effective but the proportion of this group has slightly dropped in the recent years.

“The need has been recognised in the Foreign Ministry. To mark the centenary of independent Finland, we publish 100 results in development cooperation on our website and a more comprehensive report of the results will be prepared next year,” Minister Mykkänen tells.

The survey was conducted as a face-to-face interview and 1,007 Finns responded to it during May. The Ministry has commissioned a similar survey of the citizens’ views annually since 2002.

Survey result highlights:

  • As many as 85% of the respondents consider development cooperation very or fairly important (2016: 84%)
  • Finland’s development cooperation is considered efficient and effective by 61% of the respondents (2016: 61 %)
  • A greater proportion of respondents, that is 19% (2016: 14%) are of the opinion that development cooperation plays a critical role in efforts to lift developing countries out of poverty.
  • If the Finns could select one target for development cooperation, education (16%), women and girls (15%) and Africa (14%) would be among the top three.
  • The proportion of those who consider that development cooperation can prevent refugee crises is 86% (2016: 80 %)

Inquiries: Juho Rahkonen, Research Manager at Taloustutkimus, tel. +358 50 375 9008, and Marja Koskela, Diplomatic Adviser to Minister Mykkänen, tel. +358 40 352 0463.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format

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Updated 6/28/2017

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