Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: The 'Development partners' discussion series sheds light on the present-day development cooperation


Arranged by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Finnish Development NGOs Fingo and chambers of commerce, the 'Development partners' live broadcast series showcases development cooperation operators from various parts of Finland.

In the series, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari takes a virtual tour around Finland and engages in discussions with various parties involved in development cooperation on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Twitter and Facebook channels. The purpose of the discussions is to illustrate, through practical experience, what today's development cooperation can be at its best: a partnership that promotes sustainable development goals and opens up opportunities for Finnish operators.

"Finland's special competence provides us with an opportunity to be a forerunner and a development cooperation operator beyond its actual size. We also need to strengthen the joint synergies between trade and development to support the success of Finnish companies around the world. At the same time, it is important to renew and clarify our common concept of development cooperation," says Minister Skinnari.

Each discussion involves a local company engaged in development cooperation and a representative of the NGOs. 

"The attainment of the goals of sustainable development, solving of complex development problems and promotion of a just world for each and every one of us calls for the contribution of all the operators involved. By building partnerships and cooperation between development organisations, companies and local operators in developing countries, we will be able to bear our global responsibility more comprehensively and learn from each others' competencies,” says Annika Launiala, Director of Advocacy at Finnish Development NGOs Fingo ry. 

The events are arranged under specific themes in different localities, taking into account the special characteristics of the regions concerned. Minister Ville Skinnari will discuss with experts on the impact of the energy sector, innovations, forest know-how and health technology on sustainable development goals. 

"Many developing countries are already growth economies that need different kinds of competence and technologies to build sustainable growth in their society. Finland has a diverse range of such competence available, so it is good that experts in the fields of trade and development also work together to prepare cooperation with these countries," says Timo Vuori, Executive Vice President for International Affairs, Finland Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, the last broadcast in the series provides practical tips for companies that are interested in conducting business in developing markets. 

Timetable and themes:

  • Thursday 11 March 8.30–9.30 Development partners in Vaasa: Energy. Participating in the discussion: Petri Polvilampi, Director, Project Management, Wärtsilä Oyj; Jussi Laurikainen, Programme Adviser, World Vision, and Eva Nilsson, Doctoral Researcher, Hanken School of Economics
  • Wednesday 17 March at 9.00–10.00 Development partners in Oulu: innovations. Participating in the discussion: Janne Haverinen, Professor of Practice and founder of IndoorAtlas, University of Oulu, and Annika Launiala, Director of Advocacy, Finnish Development NGOs Fingo ry.
  • Monday 22 March at 9.00–10.00 Development partners in Joensuu: forests. Participating in the discussion: Jarno Hämäläinen, Head of Unit , REDD+ and Sustainable Forestry, Arbonaut Ltd, Hanna Matinpuro, Executive Director, Siemenpuu Foundation, and Timo Tokola, Professor, University of Eastern Finland
  • Friday 26 March at 13.30–14.30 Development partners in Turku: health technology. Participating in the discussion: Peter Essen, Adviser, Bayer Oy; Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, Finn Church Aid, Riikka Erkkilä, COO, Aqsens Health Ltd
  • Wednesday 31 March at 9.00–10.00 Development partners in Helsinki: funding and cooperation opportunities. Participating in the discussion: Antti Piispanen, Commercial Counsellor, Department for External Economic Relations, Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Vesa Koivula, Head of Meteorological Infrastructure & Capability Development, Vaisala Corporation, and Mika Välitalo, Advisor, Innovation and Development, Finnish Development NGOs Fingo ry

The discussions can be followed on the Twitter and Facebook channels of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.


Kirsi Airio, Special Adviser to Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 50 574 1729

Timo Vuori, Executive Vice President for International Affairs, Finland Chamber of Commerce, tel. +358 50 553 5319

Annika Launiala, Director of Advocacy, Finnish Development NGOs Fingo ry, tel. +358 50 317 6766



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