Dóchas, the Irish Association Non- Governmental Development Organisations, welcomes today’s OECD report on Ireland’s International Aid programme. The report underlines the value and importance of Ireland’s global leadership, funding and aid policy in order to alleviate poverty, protect human rights and seek solutions to inequality and climate change.
It is particularly timely during this COVID-19 pandemic as all these challenges are being greatly exacerbated, leaving marginalised communities in developing countries struggling to cope.
Commenting on the publication of today’s report, Finola Finnan, Chair of Dóchas said “I would firstly like to congratulate Irish Aid on a great review. Our members are a vital part of the partnership highlighted in the OECD report and now, more than ever, we need to work together with Irish Aid and the wider Government to build on the strengths of Ireland’s aid programme.”
One of those recommendations is for Ireland to increase its ODA budget to reach its international commitment 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2030. Ms. Finnan said that it was very reassuring to see the recent re-commitment to this aim by all three political parties involved in current Government formation talks. Adequate and flexible funding will be vital to the future success of Ireland’s aid programme.
Also commenting on the publication of the report Suzanne Keatinge, CEO of Dóchas, said: “The commitments set out in Ireland’s aid policy ‘A Better World’ are more important than ever now as we strive to reach the furthest, most vulnerable communities, first. The scale and impact of COVID-19 is slowly emerging in many of the countries in which we work, not just as a health crisis but also as an economic, political and social one. Dóchas, as a network, is committed to working with a newly formed government to build on Ireland’s great reputation reinforced in this review and to show solidarity with the most vulnerable across the globe.”
She continued “We valued the consultation that was undertaken during this peer review last year, and hope to continue the dialogue to ensure the recommendations are acted upon. We also need to work hard to involve the Irish public in the discussions about the relevance and importance of overseas aid to Irish society as we rise to the challenge of the pandemic. We know that unless we defeat this virus everywhere we will defeat it nowhere.”
Ireland has a reputation of punching above its weight in terms of foreign policy and international cooperation - thanks in no small part to Irish Aid’s high quality aid programme. This is something which must continue to be cherished and preserved.