Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed a commitment given by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, to develop a strategy towards achieving the UN target on Overseas Development Assistance.
Each year, Ireland as one of the 35 OECD member countries is expected to contribute a minimum net amount of 0.7% of its GNP.
O’Brien commented, “Ireland has a long and proud reputation among low income and marginalised countries. Our assistance in supporting these countries in terms of long term development and in responding to humanitarian crises is well known and well regarded.
“We have a moral obligation to support the world’s poorest people and contribute our share towards the UN’s target for international aid spending.
“In recent years rather than move closer to achieving this target Ireland has fallen further behind. Despite the fact this Government has committed to reaching a 0.7% target, the reality is that we remain very far off.
“The current ODA/GNP percentage is in the region of 0.3%, considerably less than 0.59% which was reached in 2008 when my party was in Government.
“I have been consistent in calling for a roadmap to be established that will set out how Ireland will reach its commitment of 0.7% ODA/GNP target. I am glad that the Government have finally committed to this.
“In order to allow our INGO’s to plan ahead and expand opportunity, a multi-annual funding framework must be outlined as part of this strategy.
“It is therefore crucial that the Government work in tandem with the INGO sector and parties across the political spectrum to ensure that we meet this target in an achievable and realistic timeframe.
“Ireland acted as a co-facilitator in the intergovernmental negotiations on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to forge new international commitments in a range of areas. My primary concern is that for new ones to be credible existing commitments must be met and a strategy is undoubtedly needed to achieve that.
He concluded, “Consequently, this strategy is important not only for low income countries that rely on Irish ODA, but also for protecting our long standing reputation among major world donors.”