With the General election fast approaching all the major political parties have issued their manifestos. Over the past few months, in the run up to the election, representatives from Dóchas met with all the parties to stress the importance of the ODA budget and other issues related to international development and the work of development NGOs.
So far, the majority of the election coverage and debate has focused on domestic issues. So, if international development is important to you, it may be difficult to determine where the parties stand on global justice and whether it has featured in their party manifestos.
Fiona Coyle of Dóchas has sifted through the manifestos to see where each party fares on policies related to international development. Here's her synopsis:
Anti Austerity Alliance/ People Before Profit
The AA/PBP manifesto does not have any specific reference to ODA and international Development.
The manifesto focuses on Foreign Policy and in particular on the issue of Irish neutrality.
The Fine Gael manifesto does not explicitly commit Ireland to achieving the UN target of 0.7% of gross national product for ODA target. They do however commit to making progress towards the target, as resources allow.
Under conflict resolution and multilateral engagement the manifesto specifically recognises that women and girls are disproportionately affected by violent conflict and commits to the implementation of Ireland’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
The Sustainable Development Goals are explicitly referenced and the manifesto commits Fine Gael to implement the SDGs and to promote their implementation around the world.
The manifesto highlights the importance of NGO partnerships.
The Fianna Fail manifesto does not explicitly commit Ireland to achieving the UN target of 0.7% of gross national product for ODA. It states that Fianna Fail has earmarked an additional €80m in Overseas Development Aid towards this goal and will invest further resources as economic growth increases.
The manifesto commits Fianna Fail to combating climate change including a €13m increase to the Green Climate Fund.
Fianna Fail explicitly references the migrant crisis and among the stated commitments is €1.2m towards the expansion of aid to refugees in camps in the Middle East.
The Green Party manifesto explicitly commits to ensuring Ireland’s expenditure on Overseas Development Assistance reaches 0.7% of GNI by 2020.
The have a strong commitments on climate change including the introduction of legislation for binding targets on climate change in line with the Paris Agreement.
They commit to developing a tax and human rights policy for Ireland.
The Labour manifesto does not explicitly commit Ireland to achieving the UN target of 0.7% of gross national product for ODA target. Labour commit to increasing the ODA budget by at least €200m by 2021.
The Sustainable Development Goals are explicitly referenced and the manifesto commits Labour to their implementation both at home and abroad.
The manifesto recognises the link between tax and human rights, including how Ireland’s tax system can impact on financial flows from developing to developed countries. Labour commit to developing a tax and human rights policy incorporating issues such as corporate transparency, double taxation agreements, and the interaction of national taxation systems
A continuing partnership with civil society is also referenced.
The Renua manifesto has no stated reference or commitment in relation to Ireland achieving the UN target of 0.7% of gross national product for ODA target.
Renua priorities include developing Ireland’s reputation in the field of conflict resolution and developing a new white paper for Ireland’s foreign policy.
The Sinn Fein manifesto puts as a priority the need to develop an interdepartmental plan to reach the 0.7% target as a matter of priority. This plan will be publicly available. Sinn Féin will also pursue other overarching development-friendly policies in government to complement our ODA spend.
The Sustainable Development Goals are explicitly referenced and the manifesto includes a commitment to establish a national action plan to implement and monitor the state’s activity on reaching the targets and goals contained in the SDGs.
They commit to having a robust and overarching Policy Coherence for Development framework at the core of government’s work.
The Social Democrats manifesto does not have any specific reference to ODA or international development.
The manifesto addresses Climate Change and TTIP.
My take on it
These are some of the key highlights from the party manifestos. It is not an in-depth analysis but rather a tool to facilitate further discussion. I would love to hear your comments. Personally I think it is disappointing to see a clear move away from explicitly committing to delivering the 0.7 target. Dóchas would encourage our members to keep highlighting the importance of this commitment to election candidates.