Sweden and Finland: Strong supporters of UN Women

UN Women

Sweden and Finland are respectively the second and the fifth biggest contributors to UN Women.

In 2019 Sweden the government of Sweden and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), contributed  over $56 million, which makes Sweden UN Women’s second largest funding partner.

In the same year 2019, the Government of Finland contributed overall $20.0 million, which made Finland UN Women’s fifth largest contributor.

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The UN Women website recently interviewed Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson and the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland, Ville Skinnari.

Here are some excerpts:

Peter Eriksson, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation

“I am a minister in a feminist government. I am a SheDecides Champion. I work in a ministry guided by a feminist foreign policy. Rights, representation and resources are the bedrock of this policy. They are the bedrock of our pursuit of gender equality,” says Peter Eriksson Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation.

“UN Women is a natural key partner for us. It is a forerunner for gender equality at all levels – global, regional and national – and within the UN system itself. We have been one of UN Women’s strongest supporters, politically and financially, since it was established 10 years ago.”

Ville Skinnari. the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland.

Ville Skinnari. the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland explains Finland´s strong support for UN Women:

“UN Women is a unique fit as its triple mandate covers broad thematic reach, both in normative and operative work, but also the UN system-wide gender equality coordination.

Achieving gender equality requires standard setting, cooperation between different actors as well as actions at country level. UN Women is the leading organization for this work thanks to its mandate,” Skinnari says.

Longstanding support for gender equality

Both Finland and Sweden have for a long time integrated gender equality into their development cooperation policy.

“It is one of the focus areas of our current overall policy framework,” says Mr. Eriksson. “It has a given place in several specific policies and strategies that guide our multilateral development cooperation. These include our feminist foreign policy, its annual action plan and our multilateral development policy.”

“Our Government programmes target for our development cooperation is that 85 per cent of new programmes should contain gender-specific activities and gender should be mainstreamed into all our development cooperation,” says Finland´s Mr. Skinnari. “This target is supported by new guidance and minimum standards on mainstreaming; gender analysis and data disaggregated by sex, disability and age will be required across all development instruments.”


Sweden and Finland both have a strong history of support to UN Women, through both core and non-core funding, but being particularly strong on core.

“Core funding is the backbone of the UN system and its organisations,”says Sweden´s Eriksson. “It enables strategic work and quality assurance, and allows for efficiency and flexibility in the delivery of resources – when and where they are needed most.”

“Core funding is useful due to its flexible, comprehensive and strategic nature,” says Mr. Skinnari. “It helps make the funding cycle more predictable and the organization as a whole more efficient. In order to address the urgent global needs, like currently in the COVID-19 pandemic, core contribution plays an important role.”

See the full interview with Mr. Eriksson here.

See the full interview with Mr.Skinnari here.