Good Intentions Are Not Enough, say 67 anti-poverty organisations

Friday, 20 Aug 2010

The 67 anti-poverty groups and NGOs in the “Act Now on 2015” campaign have called on the Government to urgently publish a plan for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight internationally agreed targets to reduce global poverty and disease by 2015.

In exactly one month’s time, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen will step onto the podium at the UN, to outline Ireland’s track record in the fight against extreme poverty. There are many reasons to be proud of our high-quality aid programme. But unfortunately, it is weakened by the absence of a clear plan for its long-term future” said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, and Chairperson of the campaign.

The coalition of domestic anti-poverty groups, trade unions and aid agencies point to the fact that the Government has yet to publish its action plan on delivering on its aid commitments.

It is important that Ireland presents more than good intentions to the United Nations. We are calling on the Government to publish, ahead of the Summit, its year-on-year benchmarks for the achievement of the UN and EU targets of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid” said Mr. Zomer.

The NGOs in the campaign say that the UN Secretary General has pointed out that, if we are to end extreme poverty, it is vital that all countries, rich and poor alike, deliver on the promises they have made.

"Europe's leaders have frequently reiterated a promise to the world's poorest people that they will not stand idly by when so many people die needlessly of preventable diseases and hunger. Now is the time to deliver on those promises,” said Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire and President of the EU-wide NGO umbrella organisation CONCORD.

Ireland now has an opportunity to be part of an ambitious action plan to deliver the Millennium Development Goals to tackle global poverty. The government should publish its own action plan showing how it will deliver on its aid promise over the next five years,” said Hans Zomer.

The “Act Now on 2015” campaign is calling on the government to announce binding annual targets to achieve 0.7% by 2015 at the latest and enact legislation to guarantee Ireland's aid commitment.


Notes for the Editor

About the aid promises:

  • At the UN Millennium Summit, then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern committed Ireland to reaching the UN target for spending 0.7% of our GNP on overseas aid by 2007.
  • In 2005, the target date was revised to 2012. The government set interim targets “against which our progress towards the target can be measured”.
  • The Government announced in December 2009 that it had postponed the 0.7% target yet again, this time until 2015.
  • Ireland's aid budget currently stands at €671m.

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