[Irish Examiner] - Calls for state to act on aid promise

Friday, 11 Jun 2010

FORMER Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald is heading a campaign to push the Government to honour its commitments on overseas aid despite the recession.

The Act Now On 2015 campaign was launched yesterday as a survey showed most countries in the EU would fail to meet their aid commitments to the word’s poorest people this year, leaving serious doubts over their long-term promise to substantially increase overseas aid by 2015.

The AidWatch survey shows just six out of the 27 European Union nations will meet their pledge to contribute aid to the value of 0.56% of gross national income – half a cent for every euro of wealth generated – by the end of this year. Ireland is among those that will not meet the target as a series of cuts in the overseas aid budget means the total sum contributed this year is likely to work out at around 0.52% of GNI.

It means a struggle ahead to reach the target of contributing 0.7% of GNI to overseas aid by 2015 – the pledge made by all EU members and the United Nations at the time the millennium development goals were agreed in 2000.

The Act Now On 2015 campaign is coordinated by Dóchas, an umbrella group representing 45 Irish aid agencies and is supported by a further 16 Irish anti-poverty organisations.

Speaking on its behalf, Mr FitzGerald said: "If we are to end extreme poverty, it is vital that all countries, rich and poor alike, deliver on their promises. Ireland should honour its promise to raise, within a couple of years, its official aid to 0.7% of GNI."

Justin Kilcullen, director of Trócaire, a member of Dóchas, said the promises made by European donors, including Ireland, should not be abandoned.

Ireland was on target to meet its commitments in 2008 when the overseas aid budget was €921 million but that has fallen this year to €671m.
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Friday, June 11, 2010

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