Government budget proposal: The government ignores suggestions by development cooperation organisations for graded cuts

“I am disappointed that the government didn’t change its decisions on the scale and timetable of the cuts on development cooperation funding. The very constructive proposals of NGOs for grading the cuts were ignored”, says Finn Church Aid (FCA) Executive Director Jouni Hemberg.

Monday morning, the Finnish government published its proposal for national budget 2016. After cuts in development cooperation, Finnish development cooperation funding drops to 0.35 percent of GDP.

This means that development cooperation organisations will lose 49 million euros, in other words, 43 percent of their government funding. In the case of FCA, this means that direct assistance will end for nearly half a million people.

“I am disappointed that the decisions on the scale of the cuts to development cooperation and the internal structure of the development cooperation budget weren’t changed. Even despite the fact, that a clear shift in the global political scene, and massive refugee floods, have been clearly visible to everyone this autumn. These cuts will directly raise the number of refugees heading for Europe, as mentioned by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker”, says Jouni Hemberg.

“The suggestions made by NGOs to grade the cuts were ignored too, and the cuts will be imposed without a transitional period. Grading the cuts would have ensured that NGOs could close down their programmes in an ethically sustainable way. Now, the government had no will for it”, Hemberg adds.

Last week, Finland allocated additional funds to providing education to Syrian refugee camps. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka is planning to propose a 15 million euro increase to Humanitarian Aid in the Syrian region in the government supplementary budget.

“It’s positive that Finland is aware of the urgent need to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis. Unfortunately, this addition is very small in relation to the cuts. Also, circumstances are currently extremely difficult in countries from where refugees aren’t coming to Finland or Europe”, says Katri Suomi, FCA Global Advocacy Adviser.

With these cuts Finnish development cooperation funding drops regrettably low; to 0.35 percent of GDP.

“This is a clear indication of Finland not carrying its global responsibility. Fortunately Sweden and Norway are increasing their funding for development cooperation”, Katri Suomi says.

The budget will now be submitted to the Finnish Parliament.

Further information:
Katri Suomi, Global Advocacy Adviser, tel. +358 40 635 1738
Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, tel. +358 50 325 9579