Visiting Finnish youth politicians say that their country should continue foreign aid

10 May 2013

imageOne of the youth political leaders buys a garment produced by a micro-entrepreneur supported by the Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), a project jointly run by the Government of Nepal and UNDP. Photo: John Narayan Parajuli, UNDP Nepal

Kathmandu - A Finnish youth political delegation comprising of eight major parties represented in the Finnish parliament, who were in Nepal on a week-long familiarisation trip, have said that their country should continue aid to developing countries.

“There is an ongoing debate in Finland on whether to decrease or increase foreign aid,” said Ms. Maria Ohisalo of Greens of Finland, which is part of the governing coalition. “The great work we have seen here in Nepal is one good example of the need for our country to strengthen international solidarity by increasing assistance. In total Finland should spend 0.7 percent of the GDP on foreign aid.”

We can’t just be content with what is happening in Finland, Ms. Ohisalo said, but rather we have to see to it that all the countries around the world have the opportunity and support for development.

The delegation comprising of Finnish youth political organisations representing both ruling and opposition parties visited several UNDP supported projects including Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL) that supports micro-hydro power plants to provide a clean energy source to villages that are off-grid and remote. Energy works as a development multiplier—improving living standard by providing better opportunities for education, health and income generation.

The delegates also visited micro-entrepreneurs supported by Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) a government project supported by UNDP with financial assistance from AusAid, and Ward Citizen Forum run by Local Governance and Community Development Programme (LGCDP) – a joint programme supported by several development partners including UNDP.

Members of the delegation said they were impressed by how development aid was being spent.

The communities we have visited in Nepal are hardworking and do not expect others to do the work for them, but we can offer them a hand and help them get started, said Mr. Robert Byggmästar, vice-president of the youth organization of Swedish People's Party.
Delegates said that they also learned many things from their visit to Nepal. There is strong debate in Finland on decentralising energy production, they said. Examples from Nepal show that decentralised energy sources are beneficial and feasible, they said.

While in Nepal the delegates met with the Chairman of Council of Ministers Rt. Honorable Khil Raj Regmi, Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. Neel Kantha Uprety and Nepali youth political leaders, UNDP officials, women activists and officials at the National Human Rights Commission.