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Supporting Ireland’s Ambition to Increase Overseas Aid
Apr 24, 2018

Later today TD’s will debate Ireland’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.  NGO’s like ChildFund want the Irish Government to provide a road-map to reach its 2025 target

Two boys play in the playground at a ChildFund-supported early childhood development center in Fentale District, Ethiopia, 8th May, 2017. Photo: Jake Lyell for ChildFund.

Dublin, April 24th, 2018: Dochas (Edit: Brian Mac Neill)

Today in Dáil Éireann a debate takes place with hugely important ramifications for NGO’s and developmental organisations like ChildFund, that work to assist people in some of the most disadvantaged communities on earth.

Ireland has earned a stellar international reputation for its commitment to overseas development assistance, and a proud legacy of helping the most disadvantaged to fight economic inequality.   Indeed, it is this high level of respect and trust in Ireland’s integrity that saw it chair the entire SDG negotiation progress, along with Kenya.   Its important now that the Irish government continues takes a leadership role on the international stage, and to return our ODA commitment to 0.7% of Gross National Income.

The text below is a briefing note by Dochas on behalf of International NGO’s like ChildFund, spelling out what we want to see coming out of today’s Dáil Éireann debate, and beyond.

Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non Governmental Development Organisations, with 60 members who work to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and global injustice. This short briefing outlines the importance of the Dáil session on Thursday 26 April to support increasing Overseas Aid in line with the cross-party review of Irish Aid’s highly successful overseas aid programme.
Ireland has a long and proud history of standing in solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable people across the globe, and taking action to alleviate grinding poverty and relieve suffering. The quality of Ireland’s international aid programme is respected globally, and its principled leadership has earned it a reputation on the global stage of a state that believes in the power of collective action to build a better and safer world for all.
The Irish public have long been supporters of Ireland’s commitment to overseas aid, even during tough economic times. According to our recent poll, 80% of people think that Ireland can, and should do more. However,
our poll also reveals that more than half already think we are spending much more on aid than we are.
In February, Dóchas warmly welcomed and fully endorsed the report by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence (JCFAT) in its review of the Irish Aid programme. Not only did the report offer practical solutions to ensure our foreign assistance is impactful, but it recommended that Ireland commit to and implement a plan to increase spending on overseas aid.
Ireland reached only 0.3% in 2017, a further reduction from 2016, and a far cry from the high of 0.59% reached a decade ago. We also need to remember that this is at a time when resources do permit, after all Ireland is now the European Union’s fastest-growing economy for the fourth year in a row with a growth rate of 7.3% in 2017. It is vital then that we recommit to Ireland’s pledge to meet the 0.7% target of GNI spent on ODA by 2025. Achieving this target means that 70 cent in every €100 would go towards eradicating absolute hunger in the world, giving young girls and boys an education, and providing life-saving assistance at times of conflict and natural disasters. The facts show the significant impact ODA can make – for example, between 2000 and 2015, over 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty; 2.6 billion people have
gained access to improved water sources and the under-5 mortality rate has almost halved. NGOs are at the forefront of delivering many of these changes.

Drawing on the Joint Committee’s report on Irish Aid,

Dóchas wishes to highlight three key recommendations:

  • We call on the government to publish a multi-annual road-map to reach the target of 0.7% spend of GNI on its overseas aid programme by 2025. While we welcome an indicative road-map published by Minister Ciaran Cannon, we believe reaching 0.7% by 2030 is not fast enough. Increased funding, and providing it in a planned realistic road-map, will be essential if Irish Aid is to continue to deliver a quality aid programme.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need to re-frame Irish Aid’s strategy – putting the poorest first and demanding policy coherence for development at home and abroad, will ensure that Ireland can continue to lead on this transformative agenda by 2030.
  • As Ireland increases spending on overseas aid, a collective strategy is needed to critically engage the Irish public so they understand where and how their money is being spent. Part of that effort rests in Irish Aid increasing its commitment to fund Development Education and Public Engagement with its NGO partners.

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