NGO report monitoring European aid finds gaps between EU states’ promises and actions

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014

 As a major report on European aid is launched in Paris today, Irish NGOs call on the Government to set a plan for the future of Ireland’s aid programme.

The AidWatch Report: Aid Beyond 2015: Europe’s role in financing and implementing sustainable development goals post 2015’ monitors the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU member states. It finds that EU member states continue to fall short of their stated aid targets, and that many EU states are diluting the effectiveness of their overseas aid programme by including funding that never reaches developing countries.

The report highlights Ireland as one of the strong performers on quality, but also shows that Ireland has repeatedly missed its own deadlines for increasing the amount of aid it provides.

  • Ireland and the UK are the only two countries to fully untie their aid.
  • Ireland, the UK and Luxembourg were noted as the three countries that had bilateral aid that was nearly fully ‘genuine’ – ie. that all overseas aid is going to countries that need it.

Commenting on the report, Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella body of overseas development and humanitarian organisations said:

“We have overwhelming evidence that the coordinated approach of Irish overseas aid is making a crucial difference to the lives of millions of marginalised people. This is why Ireland’s continued commitment is so important. It is now urgent for the Government to present a strong, credible strategy, on how Ireland will meet the UN target of spending 0.7% Gross National Product on overseas aid. Key annual targets need to be set - and met.”

“President Michael D. Higgins is currently in Africa, where he has highlighted the impact of Irish aid, and how our solidarity with other countries is helping us build new trade partnerships for the future. And the Ebola crisis has highlighted once more that we can no longer afford to treat social and economic problems abroad as being of little relevance to us here in Ireland. We need a long-term investment plan, and remove the lack of predictability that is proving to be Ireland’s Achilles heel in our relations with billions of people in the developing world.”

Other key findings of the report include: 

  • Despite the growing humanitarian development challenges such as the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, EU aid is off track to meet the 0.7% aid target in 2015 with a funding gap of €41 billion
  • Only 4 EU countries are meeting aid targets: the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg
  • Aid budgets are increasingly being used to cover in donor costs such as domestic spending on refugees.


Notes to the Editor 

  • CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs. It represents NGOs from all 28 EU member states, as well as 18 international networks and 2 associate members. Since 2005, CONCORD has published the AidWatch to monitor the quantity and quality of EU aid.
  • The 2014 AidWatch Report: Aid Beyond 2015: Europe’s role in financing and implementing sustainable development goals post’ is available here
  • EU member states have committed to spend 0.7% of their income on international
  • development cooperation, as part of a global compact to eradicate hunger, poverty and disease. The United Nations has shown that progress towards these “Millennium Development Goals” has been remarkable, but that the goal on which the least progress was made is the one that refers to the rich countries’ responsibility to provide more and better aid.


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