Finland has been active in most of the main cultural programmes of UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the EU (see also chapter 1.4.1). Of particular importance is the participation in the UNESCO ASPnet (Associated Schools Project Network / international education) activities, the cultural policy monitoring and development programmes of the Council of Europe, and the EU Kolarctic Neighbourhood activities.
The current INTERREG Nord is a EU-program that supports cross-border cooperation in order to strengthen the economic and social development. Geographical areas included in the program are north Norway, north Finland, north Sweden and Sápmi (which spreads over all three countries). Culture (including cultural heritage) and environment is one of the four identified priority areas of the programme for 2014-2020. The programme has two specific goals for culture:
- the region’s culture and heritage have become stronger and more vital; and
- strengthened Sami language within the Sami population.
Within this area, the emphasis is on promoting measures that contribute to long-term sustainable development and maintaining the common cultural heritage.
Transferring traditional knowledge, especially the Sami cultural heritage, among young people is a major target of the programme. The cross-border initiatives aim for example in using technological solutions to highlight the region’s culture and heritage and developing measures for documenting and processing the cultural heritage for future product and service development.
In addition, Finland takes part in the INTERACT III –programme supporting Interreg-initiatives, in the URBACT III –programme for urban co-operation and the ESPON 2020-research -programme.
In general, much of the international / transborder cultural projects have been financed within the framework of the EU Structural Funds.
On 12 June 2006, the Parliament of Finland approved Finland’s adherence to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (which entered into force in 2005) and the President of Finland confirmed this adherence by signing the respective national Act on 29 June 2006. Finland’s adherence to the convention was ratified after all the Member States of the European Community and the Community itself had deposited their Instruments of Ratification, Accession or Acceptance to the Director General of UNESCO. So far, there are no decisions which organisation(s) of the Finnish cultural administrative system will take the responsibility for in implementing the information and monitoring functions stipulated in Article 9 of the Convention. So far the monitoring has been carried out by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Commission for UNESCO. In 2013 Finland ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (which entered into force in 2006). Finland was the last of the Nordic countries to ratify the convention. For more information, see chapter 3.1. Heritage issues and policies.