Finnish Official Development Aid for sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub-Saharan Africa.
Finland is one of the donor countries that is most supportive in family planning (FP), Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and gender issues. This study examines Finnish ODA for FP and SRHR: its decision-making structure, other stakeholders and funding levels. Data consists of documents from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) and interviews conducted at the MFA and with other experts. While Parliament decides on the overall level of ODA funding, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development has considerable autonomy. Other stakeholders such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population and Development and the Family Federation of Finland (Väestoliitto) engage in advocacy work and have influenced development policy. Although the Development Policy 2007 mentions the importance of health and SRHR issues and HIV/AIDS is a cross-cutting issue, interviewees stated that the importance of health and SRHR in ODA has declined and that the implementation of cross-cutting issues is challenging. Multilateral funding for UNFPA, UNAIDS and GFATM, and thus the proportion of SRHR funding within the health sector, is however currently rising. Funding for population-related activities has increased and represented 4.8% of Finland's total ODA in 2009. Almost all of this funding is directed towards basic reproductive health and HIV/AIDS issues and the majority is directed through multilateral channels (78% in 2009), mainly UNFPA and UNAIDS. IPPF, Ipas and Marie Stopes International also receive support.