PRESS RELEASE: DÓCHAS CALLS ON IRELAND TO SHOW LEADERSHIP IN EUROPE ON AID

27 october 2016

Dóchas – The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations – has today welcomed the publication of the CONCORD AidWatch Report 2016. This annual report assesses the quality and quantity of overseas aid provided by EU member states, including Ireland.

Dóchas CEO, Suzanne Keatinge commented “Ireland’s aid programme is renowned for being of a high standard, and this year’s AidWatch report confirms this once again. It finds that almost all of Ireland’s ODA spending is being used for genuine aid, particularly in least developed countries.”

However, the AidWatch report also reveals a complete lack of political commitment among European Member States to adequately resource overseas development aid (ODA).  This, despite plenty of evidence that it does make a huge difference to the world’s poorest. Ireland is no exception in that regard.

Keatinge continued:  “The AidWatch report finds that only five EU countries met the agreed target to spend 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) in 2015 - Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This is an extremely worrying trend. The fact that Ireland is in the camp that lags so far behind on our ODA commitments seriously undermines its leadership potential on aid.”

Following the Government’s announcement of the budget earlier this month, Ireland’s ODA spend is expected to drop below 0.3% in 2017; the lowest in 17 years. Dóchas continues to demand that the government reverse this trend by putting in place a multi-annual plan to reach the 0.7% target, as a matter of urgency.

The AidWatch report’s findings on ODA are particularly worrying in light of the proposed cuts to EU development aid contained in the draft EU budget for 2017.

Keatinge added: “Ireland must continue to uphold the integrity of where our money is spent while using our influence at EU level to ensure that EU budget allocations are transparent and in the interests of the people we are supposed to be helping.  Aid cannot be simply an instrument for individual self-interests of EU member states.”

ENDS

For further information contact Aideen Blackwood, Communications Officer, Dóchas on 01-4053801 or by email at aideen@dochas.ie.

Notes for the Editor:

·         What is AidWatch? AidWatch reports on the quality and quantity of development aid provided by the EU Member States and the European Commission. CONCORD created the first AidWatch report in 2005 with the aim to hold EU leaders to account for commitments to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on development assistance in a genuine and effective way. The highly anticipated report is published every autumn.

·         The 2016 Report can be downloaded here.

·         Find the infographics and graphs accompanying the report here.

·         Find all the AidWatch reports at www.concordeurope.org/aidwatch-reports.

·         EU development aid has a tremendously positive impact on people’s lives around the world. In 2014, the European Commission financed, among others, healthcare for more than 1 million pregnant women, school places for 30 million children in the developing world and 13 million hectares (about the size of New York) have been protected from environmental devastation.  See also DG DEVCO report - impact of EU aid in 2013-2014: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/eu-results-report-2016.en_.pdf

·         Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations. It provides a forum for consultation and cooperation between its members, and a platform for them to speak with a single voice on development issues. For more information, visit: www.dochas.ie.

·         CONCORD is the European confederation of relief and development NGOs. Its 28 national associations, 20 international networks and 3 associate members represent 2,600 non- governmental organisations, supported by millions of citizens across Europe.