International community and Afghanistan government discussed the country’s development and reform agenda
The Fourth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) concluded today after two days of constructive discussions between the Afghanistan government and international partners on the serious challenges faced by the country, the opportunities for development and peace, and government’s vision, plan and strategy for next five years up to 2025. The SOM was attended by senior officials from more than 40 countries and international organizations, ministers and officials from the Afghan government, as well as civil society and private sector representatives.
Changes to border traffic and travel recommendations, non-essential travel should be avoided
At its session on 23 July, the Government decided on changes to border traffic restrictions and travel recommendations. Internal border control will be reinstated for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. All traffic is allowed from certain non-European countries. Persons returning from abroad should follow the quarantine instructions issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Travel restrictions are further relaxed but non-essential travel should still be avoided
Finland allows recreational travel to Finland from those European countries where the number of coronavirus infections is at a sufficiently low level. People are able to travel to these countries and to return to Finland from them without self-isolation. On 15 June, the restrictions on non-essential travel were lifted for Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway and will be lifted on 13 July for Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the Vatican.
Foreign Ministry continues to promote youths’ peace work in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting the Salam project
The Foreign Ministry’s Salam project, which promotes peace and reconciliation, will continue in the form of annual workshops until 2023. The project aims to provide Iraqi and Afghan youth with opportunities for networking and accumulating knowledge about peace work and about how to use media skills as a way of exerting influence.
Government plans to lift restrictions on tourism
The Government plans to lift the internal border control from 13 July for those countries where the incidence of COVID-19 is at a sufficiently low level. Based on the current development of the epidemic, internal border control could be lifted for the following countries: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
Limited reception of residence permit applications to resume in Finnish missions abroad
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Finland suspended the reception of ordinary visa and residence permit applications starting on 19 March 2020. The reception of ordinary visa applications continues to be suspended but activities relating to residence permit applications were gradually resumed in the missions on 16 June 2020.
Everyone has the right to leave Finland; however, non-essential travel should be avoided
Coronavirus and its spread are still a global risk. Starting on 15 June, internal border control and quarantine recommendations will change in respect of certain countries, but it is recommended to avoid non-essential travel to other countries. The changes will apply to travel to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Although Finland has abandoned internal border controls and quarantine recommendations for certain countries, the country of destination may have its own restrictions on the entry of tourists. Always check the up-to-date entry regulations from the authorities of the country of destination, for example from the country’s nearest mission.
Foreign Ministry’s repatriation flights have ended
The repatriation flights arranged by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis have ended. Altogether 16 flights were carried out, with a total of 3,227 tourists returning to Finland or through Finland to their home country in Europe. Around 2,000 of the passengers on the flights were tourists returning to Finland.
Evaluation Report “Adapting for Change – Country Strategy Approach in Fragile Contexts”
Finland’s development cooperation with its long-term partner countries is planned and implemented under a Country Strategy approach, which in its present form was launched in 2012. The purpose of the country strategy evaluation launched in March 2019 was to assess the applicability and feasibility of the Country Strategy approach in fragile contexts, over the period 2012-current, given their specific challenges and requirements. The evaluation drew evidence from the experience of Country Strategies in four countries, namely Afghanistan, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Somalia and in one region, i.e. the Strategy for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian aid in response to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq was included, to draw wider findings and conclusions. Findings are expected to inform the next generation of Country Strategies.
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