Will the Government reflect widespread public support for overseas aid?

Monday, 13 Sep 2010

One week ahead of a crucial UN Summit, a new EU survey shows 9 out of 10 Europeans strongly support development aid.

 

Public support for development aid remains high.

One week before a crucial UN Summit on global poverty, the European Union has published a survey that shows that 89% of respondents consider development aid is “important” or “very important”.

The survey comes just weeks after Dóchas published the results of a similar poll in Ireland, which revealed that a total of 81 percent out of 1,000 respondents agreed that it was important for Ireland’s international reputation that the Government delivers on its promise of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid by 2015 at the latest.

The EU survey shows that two in three Europeans believe that the EU should honour, or even improve, on its promises to increase development aid to 0.7% of GNI by 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goal.

Next week’s UN Summit can build on this public support.

The special Eurobarometer “Europeans, development aid and the Millennium Development Goals” report gauges public commitment to development aid in view of the on-going economic crisis and in the light of the upcoming High Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in New York (20-22 September).

The Summit will examine progress towards the attainment of the UN poverty eradication initiative known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“In one week’s time, world leaders will meet at the UN in New York, to take stock of a decade of concerted action to make extreme poverty history. They all know exactly what it takes to achieve that goal, and that they have widespread support from their own people, as evidenced by the recent Eurobarometer and Dóchas opinion polls. It is, therefore, time for action on global poverty,” says Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Ireland’s Development NGOs.


Time for Action.

Earlier this year, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon published his assessment of progress towards the global anti-poverty goals, the “Millennium Development Goals”.

In his report, “Keeping The Promise”, Ban Ki-moon pointed out that If the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, not only must the level of financial investment be increased but innovative programmes and policies aimed at overall development and economic and social transformation must be rapidly scaled up and replicated.

“UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has pointed out that one of the main obstacles towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is the lack of follow through by rich countries on their aid promises. Too often in the past, UN member states like Ireland have made promises to the world’s poorest people, and not kept them. Next week’s Summit must result in action, not more promises” said Hans Zomer, on behalf of Dóchas.

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NOTES:

• Results for the Ipsos MRBI poll commissioned by Dóchas are available at http://www.dochas.ie/Shared/Files/1/MRBI_poll_Key_Findings_Final.pdf

• The Eurobarometer opinion poll is available at http://ec.europa.eu/development/icenter/featured_20100913_eurobarometer_en.cfm

• The report “Keeping The Promise” by the UN General Secretary is available at http://www.dochas.ie/Shared/Files/2/Keeping_the_promise.pdf

• As its contribution to the Millennium Development Goals, Ireland has promised to increase its overseas aid budget: 

  • At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, 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, or 0.54% of GNI. Well behind target.

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