Ireland must strengthen aid commitment, say NGOs

Wednesday, 04 Apr 2012


The latest statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), published today, show that Ireland reduced its spending on official development assistance (ODA) by 3.1% in 2011.

Commenting on this review, Ireland’s overseas development organisations have highlighted how aid shortfalls threaten the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"We have promised to work towards a better, fairer, healthier and wealthier world. And we signed up to the UN’s recipe for getting to such a world. Yet, we have not kept our side of the bargain," said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Ireland’s overseas aid agencies.

"Our aid programme is an expression of our awareness that Ireland’s future lies in international cooperation. Yet we have not invested in this area the way we should have, or the way we promised. We must acknowledge our international responsibilities and live up to our promises."

Overall, the aid figures released by the OECD today show a real increase in ODA from 2000 until 2010 but that ODA fell significantly last year. The OECD warned that "The fall of ODA is a source of great concern, coming at a time when developing countries have been hit by the knock-on effect of the crisis and need it most."

Ireland had been well on-track to achieve its aid targets until 2008 when it reached 0.59% of national income, but this has since fallen to 0.52%. In December 2009, the Government also gave up on its 2012 deadline, moving its commitment to the 0.7% target to 2015.

Dóchas members said today that the OECD figures show that Ireland must do more on reaching 0.7% by 2015, and they welcomed the Government’s review of Ireland’s overseas aid programme.

"If Ireland is to help rid the world of extreme poverty, our overseas aid has to continue to be effective and predictable. The Government’s review of the White Paper on Irish Aid provides a real opportunity to set out a strategy for how Irish Aid can continue to be among the most effective aid programmes in the world.

"To repair its reputation and restore credibility, we are calling on the Government to announce practical steps, including a binding timetable of aid increases, and to copperfasten its aid commitment in legislation" concluded Zomer.

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