Irish Champion Aid Givers
Updated : May 8, 2009
Irish people can be very proud of their role in fighting global poverty after an international report praised the State’s work in developing countries.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) review said Ireland was a champion in helping the world’s poorest.
Overseas aid minister Peter Power said Ireland’s ranking as the world’s sixth most generous donor per head of population was an extraordinary feat, despite recent budget cutbacks.
“I do believe this report gives Ireland an excellent rating for our overseas development programme,” he said.
“In my view, the report gives the Irish people cause to be proud of the differences our country is making in the fight against global hunger and poverty.”
Ireland has spent €4bn on overseas aid during the last six years, with financial assistance up 90% since the last OECD report in 2003.
Launching the report, Karen Jorgenson of OECD, said Ireland was leading the way in the fight against poverty in developing countries and was a big step ahead of other countries in tackling gender discrimination and climate change through foreign aid.
But she said there were areas of concern, including the move of the government’s Irish Aid unit to Limerick from Dublin and the resulting loss of expertise.
Ms Jorgenson said more needed to be done to ensure Irish Aid policies are rolled out into other government departments and she called on the overseas aid target of 0.7% of national income to be retained despite the economic crisis.
“It’s clear that the cut in aid in Ireland and in many other donor countries will have an effect on poor people in developing countries,” she said.
“This is why it’s all the more important that Ireland sticks to the good practice it has developed, that it works closely with its development partners to minimise the damage and that it keeps working to achieve results and share these with the public.”
The OECD, an organisation of 30 countries working towards developing the world’s economy, produces a report every four or five years on the overseas aid of member countries.
The latest review, led by Italy and New Zealand, looked at Ireland’s work in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Vietnam, East Timor and Zambia