Due to the increasing global demand for natural resources demand for geological expertise is also increasing. There is a global lack of expertise in matters related to, for example, geological mapping, information management of geodata, assessment of raw materials, and groundwater. This can also be seen increasingly in matters related to the environment. As a result of this, GTK has increased its activeness and strengthened its international role as a research institute, a creator of a common data foundation at the EU level and a realiser of development policies.
GTK strives to follow its strategy and become a European expert in the field of natural resources. GTK already has a key role in Finland’s and the EU’s mineral policies. GTK is a member of the organisation of European Geological Surveys (EuroGeosurveys), working groups of the European Commission and networks promoting sustainable use. In development cooperation projects GTK emphasises the importance of sustainable development based on raw materials.
GTK has exported projects to over 40 countries. GTK’s export project operations are concentrated in countries receiving development aid from Finland and in countries listed in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland’s Wider Europe Initiative.
GTK is an important actor in Finnish development cooperation and GTK's input in realising the objectives of Finnish development policy in this sector is important. GTK is participating in ten development cooperation projects in Asia, Africa and South America. Most projects focus on supporting sustainable development based on raw materials in, for example, poor countries that have rich mineral resources. Projects are usually carried out in cooperation with ministries responsible for a country's raw material administration or the local research organisations. The work includes geological mapping, creating databases on natural resources, environmental issues, developing investments in raw materials industry and developing the natural resource policies and administration of the countries. In addition to reinforcing institutions, an important factor is promoting cooperation between public administration and the private sector, (Public-Private Partnership). Regionalising projects is an important trend. In four Central Asian countries, for example, GTK is participating in a thematic project as a part of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland’s Wider Europe Initiative. In addition to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, GTK’s development cooperation is funded by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).