Cuts in development cooperation: FCA closes down operations in five countries

The Finnish government cuts 43% of its funding for Finn Church Aid development cooperation compared to the level of 2015. The cuts take effect next year. As a result of the cuts, Finn Church Aid is forced to close down its operations completely in five countries and cut down its operations in many others. Nearly half a million people will be left without direct assistance.

FCA operations will close down completely in Lebanon, Mozambique, Guatemala, Honduras and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Eastern Africa, Ministry for Foreign Affairs funding will be reduced in the Kenya and Eritrea country programmes. Following its strategy, FCA will further focus its operations on fragile states. New, alternative sources for funding are sought for Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia and Uganda.

Notable cut backs will also have to be made in Cambodia, for example, where the development cooperation programme will be closed down. Support will continue for the work of voluntary networks, such as Teachers without Borders, the youth network Changemaker, and the Women’s Bank. In Asia, development cooperation will continue in Myanmar and Nepal.

Cut backs will also be made in the Middle East and Haiti programmes.

Co-operation negotiations within FCA were launched on Tuesday 8 September. The estimated need for reduction in personnel is 25 staff years, which equates to approximately 10 percent of total staff.

In addition, FCA prepares for major cuts in humanitarian aid.

The lack of a transitional period is ethically unbearable

The close down of operations and the launching of co-operation negotiations within FCA are a result of the massive cuts the Finnish government has decided to make in development cooperation funding. The cuts of nearly 400 million euros to development cooperation, announced in August, are even greater than the cuts planned in the government policy accord published early this summer.

The government is making these cuts at the beginning of 2016 without any transitional period.

“Closing down operations within this timetable is downright cruel. The cuts should be at least graded, to allow us and other organisations to close down our operations in an ethically sustainable way. These cuts will also have a direct effect on the rising numbers of refugees trying to get to Europe”, says Finn Church Aid Executive Director Jouni Hemberg.

“The grading would be possible by internal shifts in the budget alone. For example, by giving the 30 million euro which appeared from outside the government policy accord to NGOs, even temporarily, instead of using it to support business.”

Further information: Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, tel. +358 50 325 9579