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Home NATIONALDev cooperation vital to solve refugee crises: Survey
Wed, 13 Jul, 2016 12:06:10 AM
FTimes Report, Jul 13
FTimes File Photo.
Eighty four per cent of Finns consider development cooperation ‘very important’ or rather ‘important’ in preventing refugee crises, according to a  survey.
As many as 80 per cent think that development cooperation can play a role in preventing refugee crises and reducing the need to leave one’s home country.
Finns specially value activities aiming at people's well-being and the functioning of societies, including the improvement of education, water supply, health care and good governance, according to findings of the survey on Finnish development cooperation published Tuesday. 
“I’m very happy to see that Finns recognise the role of development cooperation in resolving migration issues and also other global crises. Contrary to what the general atmosphere might suggest, people understand the importance of development cooperation and support it more than before,” said Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen.
“This issue has been debated a lot in the past year. People can see that there is a connection between the developing countries standing on their own feet and a reduction in uncontrolled immigration.”
If people feel safe and have work and an income, they have future perspectives in their own country and do not feel forced to leave, the minister continues.
Finns find that the significance of development cooperation lies, in particular, in activities with long-lasting impact, such as strengthening democracy and good governance, as well as education and gender equality work.
The majority of Finns (62%) prefer to maintain the current level of development cooperation appropriations as per the survey commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The share of those in favour of cuts decreased from 26 per cent last year to 18 per cent.
Age, sex, level of education and political party affiliation have some bearing on people’s attitudes.
The youngest respondents, under 25-year-olds, have the firmest belief in the role of development cooperation in preventing refugee crises.
Thirty five per cent of university degree holders would step up the appropriations, while only 11 percent of those with a vocational degree or mere basic education share their opinion.
More than half of the respondents (61%) agreed totally or somewhat that Finnish development cooperation is effective and efficient.
Public trust in development cooperation outcomes has, however, diminished slowly but consistently over the past 15 years, the findings show.
“The cuts that the Government Programme introduced into development cooperation appropriations have now been implemented and it is time to look forward. This year, the amount of available appropriations exceeds EUR 800 million,” Mykkänen noted.
The survey also shows that we have the burden of proof for engaging in effective and efficient work, the minister mentioned.
“In development cooperation, Finns appreciate activities aiming at securing vital basic needs for people in developing countries,” explains research manager Juho Rahkonen of the Finnish market research company Taloustutkimus.
“Some examples are the enhancement of water supply, education and health care. In these sectors, the impact of aid can often be seen directly and immediately, and even a small monetary input can bring about a significant improvement.”
Taloustutkimus conducted computer-aided personal interviews with 1,004 Finns over the age of 15 in May-June 2016 for the survey.
The MFA has surveyed citizens’ views of development cooperation every year since the early 2000’s.
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