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Press Releases, 7/3/2014 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Support for development cooperation continues to be strong

Press Release 156/2014
3 July 2014

The attitudes of Finns towards development cooperation have remained positive: 82 per cent of the population considers development cooperation to be very important or rather important, while 16 per cent consider it to be of minor importance or unimportant.

“It's great that Finns see the importance of development cooperation. At the same time, citizens’ need for information must be met: the study shows that more information is needed about the results of the work done and the use of appropriations,” Development Minister Pekka Haavisto says.

Support for development cooperation is stable regardless of political views. The majority of the supporters of all parties considered development cooperation to be very important or rather important. Support for development cooperation is greatest among the Greens and Christian Democrats – 98 per cent of them consider development cooperation to be very important or rather important.  The respective figure among supporters of the Coalition Party, the Centre Party and the Social Democratic Party is between 80 and 85 per cent. Sixty-six per cent of the Finns Party supporters consider development cooperation to be very important or rather important, and 32 per cent consider it to be of minor importance or unimportant.

On the other hand, citizens’ confidence in the results of development cooperation has declined slightly during the past decade.

“On the basis of research, it seems that the more a respondent perceives that he or she knows about development cooperation, the more the person wants to invest in it financially. If there are doubts concerning misuse, it pays to report them: in the beginning of June the Ministry for Foreign Affairs launched the State administration’s first so-called corruption button, which can be used to give notice of suspicions concerning the use of funds,” Haavisto states.

Finland does its share in reducing poverty

Eighty-four per cent of Finns are of the opinion that rich countries have a responsibility to help developing countries. Finns, however, are aware that development cooperation is only one means for bringing about change: 59 per cent agree that development cooperation has an impact, but that this alone is not enough.

Nearly half of Finns believe that the most important way out of poverty is education – in the survey, education rose to be the most important field of development cooperation, as was the case also in previous years.

“The role of education in Finnish development cooperation has increased during the term of this Government. Newly launched approaches include the development of occupational education and children’s education in refugee camps. The Ethiopian education sector has been supported for some time, especially the development of special education. In addition to basic education, secondary education and occupational education in developing countries must be developed,” Development Minister Pekka Haavisto says.

Moreover, the results for the first phase of the programme to develop the quality of education in Ethiopia are promising: schools have a new curriculum in use and more than 78 million new textbooks, almost 92,000 teachers are qualified in accordance with the new requirements, and more than 31,000 schools have benefited from school-specific funding. Similarly, the proportion of girls among students completing comprehensive school has clearly increased during the programme.

For the survey, Taloustutkimus Oy interviewed 1,000 Finns over the age of 15 years in May. The survey was commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has investigated the attitudes about development cooperation by means of corresponding interview surveys on a regular basis since the 1990s.

The report of the survey on Finns’ attitudes about development cooperation in 2014, and the corresponding reports for the years 2002 to 2013, can be found on the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at http://formin.finland.fi/kehityspolitiikka/mielipidemittaukset.

Additional information: Additional information: Research Director Juho Rahkonen, Taloustutkimus, juho.rahkonen@taloustutkimus.fi, mobile tel. +358 50 375 9008; and Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to Minister Haavisto, milma.kettunen@formin.fi, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869.

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Updated 7/3/2014


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