International Development Association (Amendment) Bill, 1999: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill. Its purpose is to enable the Government to make a payment of £20 million as a Twelfth Replenishment of the International Development Association, known as IDA12. The Bill amends the International Development Association Acts, 1960 to 1997, to allow the above payment to be made to the association.

Ireland joined the association on its foundation in 1960 and made its first contribution in 1962. The Bill is a technical measure and many people will be interested to know what the International Development Association is. The International Development Association, or IDA, is the World Bank's group concessionary lending window. It provides long-term loans at zero interest rates to the poorest developing countries. The mission of IDA is to support efficient and effective programmes to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in its poorest member countries. IDA helps build the human capital policies, institutions and physical infrastructure needed to bring about equitable and sustainable growth. Its goals are to reduce the disparities across and within countries, to bring more people into the mainstream and to promote equitable access to the benefits of development.

IDA lends only to countries with aper capita income in 1998 of less than $895 per annum and which lack the financial ability to borrow from other World Bank institutions. At present, 78 countries are eligible to borrow from the IDA. Together these countries are home to 2.3 billion people, a substantial proportion of the total population of the earth. In fact, it is 53% of the world's population. Today, 1.5 billion of these people survive on incomes of less than $2 per day. When discussing our own circumstances we should bear these countries and their serious levels of poverty in mind.

IDA lending has a maturity of 35 to 40 years, with a ten year grace period on repayment of principal. When a country receives a loan through the IDA it is not obliged to make repayments on the capital for the first ten years. There is no interest charged but credits do carry a small service charge which is currently three-quarters of 1% on undistributed balances. This percentage effectively covers the administration costs involved in managing overall IDA activities.

Since 1960, IDA has lent almost $115 billion to over 100 countries. It spends, on average, $5 billion to $6 billion per annum for different development projects, especially those that address basic needs such as primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation. It also funds projects that protect the environment, improve conditions for private businesses, build necessary infrastructure and support reforms aimed at liberalising countries' economies. These projects pave the way towards economic growth, job creation, higher income levels and a better quality of life.

Ireland is currently a member of the World Bank and its four affiliates, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Ireland joined the World Bank in 1957 and the IDA in 1960. Our total capital subscription to the bank to date amounts to approximately $636 million or 0.35% of total subscriptions. About 6% or $37 million of the subscription has been paid and is usable by the World Bank for lending. The remaining 94% of the subscription is non-paid in or callable capital which constitutes a general guarantee on the bank's obligation. Ireland's subscriptions and contributions to the International Development Association since 1960 have amounted to $114 million or £70 million.

How does the IDA allocate its funds to the various countries? The reason this organisation is part of the World Bank is that it operates like a bank. There is a commercial discipline attached to its lending even though it is interest free and subject only to the small administration fee of three-quarters of 1%. Rather than give non-repayable grants, it imposes a discipline on the receiving countries to use the funds wisely because the money will have to be repaid 30 to 40 years hence. The benefit of this policy is that many countries which received funds 20 or 30 years ago are repaying them now and the moneys are coming back into the IDA. It means there is effectively a revolving fund. From that point of view, it is better than grant-in-aid.

The moneys we advanced to the IDA in the 1960s and 1970s and which was loaned to various countries is now coming back into the system and is being loaned again to other countries which need it at present. In due course those funds will return to be loaned to further countries in need in the next generation. There is a banking approach but it is a lenient approach given that the funds are effectively interest free.

The IDA uses certain criteria to determine which countries are eligible to borrow IDA resources. The first is relative poverty which is defined as GNPper capita below an established threshold. The current threshold is $895 per annum. The next is lack of credit worthiness to borrow on market terms and, therefore, a need for concessional resources to finance the country's development programme. Many countries would not meet commercial World Bank criteria for advancing loans and the IDA is the lender of last resort to those countries. They cannot get funding from other sources. It is also important that the recipient countries have good policy performance, defined as the implementation of economic and social policies that promote growth and poverty reduction. Each year the World Bank and IDA carry out performance ratings of the various countries because it is important they do not give money out willy-nilly. There must be certain criteria.

They look at a variety of areas, including the economic management of those countries, their structural policies, policies for social inclusion and equity and public sector management and institutions. It is important the funds are given to countries where they will be of real benefit and where the countries meet certain criteria.

These are all the macro-economic issues about which we, in the western world, might be concerned, but we must ask ourselves what is done by the International Development Association. The IDA addresses poverty through a broad range of projects, including projects targeted at human resource development such as education, health, safety nets, water supply and sanitation, the provision of infrastructure, and agriculture and rural development. The IDA also contributes to poverty reduction by advising governments on the best policies for attaining broad-based economic growth and reducing the vulnerability of the poor to economic shocks.

The IDA is now the single largest donor of funds for basic social services in the poorest countries. Children, 1 billion of whom live in IDA recipient countries, are the main beneficiaries of the resulting investment in basic health, primary literacy education and clear water. To put it simply, thanks to the IDA, some 45,000 primary school classrooms have been constructed or rehabilitated in African countries which enabled 1.8 million children to benefit from access to primary education; in Asia, more than 6,700 health care facilities were constructed or upgraded and then equipped and staffed to provide basic health care for a rural population; the social investment fund in Latin America reached some 9.5 million beneficiaries and activities supported by these projects generated almost 1 million person months of employment; in Africa, some 5 million textbooks, mostly produced and developed locally in Africa, were supplied to the primary schools; and in India, the national AIDS control project supported training of 52,500 physicians and has 60% of the nursing staff in the HIV/AIDS management topics. When one looks at the result of the donations from the western countries, one sees the real impact of the delivery of funds on ordinary people.

Many of these situations are addressed by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, the first international response to provide compre hensive debt relief to the Third World's most heavily indebted poor countries. This initiative was launched by the World Bank and the IMF in 1996. It is a matter which we discussed here at length over the past year in the context of the legislation relating to the Bretton Woods Agreement and as part of Ireland's contribution to the poorer nations. The HIPC initiative broke new ground by removing the debt overhang for countries which pursue economic and social reform targeted at measurable poverty reduction and reducing multilateral debt, and it also helps countries exit from endless debt restructuring into lasting debt relief. In summary, the World Bank has worked pro-actively towards rapid implementation of the HIPC initiative. Some 14 countries have qualified at least partially for debt relief packages amounting to some $23 billion. Some nine countries have formally qualified for more than $14 billion in debt relief and five have qualified preliminarily for an additional $9 billion. The HIPC initiative is well under way and it is having a real and practical impact in these heavily indebted countries.

I am pleased with the general support which the Bill has received from the Opposition parties during the debate to date. It is a sign that Ireland is a mature nation which has come a long way in 70 years. Having been the recipient of funds after the Second World War, Ireland is proud to be in a position to contribute to such funds.

Ireland contributed £13 million to the last tranche under the legislation and the Bill makes provision for a contribution of £20 million to be paid over a six year period. It is not that Ireland will pay just approximately £3 million per annum because the last tranche is still ongoing and within the next few years the thirteenth round will be up and running. Therefore, Ireland will be contributing to perhaps three different tranches of this fund in any one year. Since 1960, Ireland has contributed £70 million to the fund and this year we will contribute £7 million. I look forward to the legislation to enable Ireland to provide funds in due course for the next round, which will deal with the thirteenth replenishment of the IDA's funds, which is due to commence next month.

An important part of this initiative is that this will be the first time the International Development Association will contribute to the HIPC initiative, to which I referred already. To date, most of that was done specifically through the World Bank, but now the IDA will make direct contributions towards alleviating the debt in these Third World countries. That brings me to the question of debt cancellation and what is called breaking the chain of debt. Many Deputies, and especially members of the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service, would have received many representations on this topic since we discussed the Bretton Woods Agreement legislation some time ago. We must join the people who are involved in the campaign of the Jubilee 2000 committee and support them in their work, and also recognise the outstanding world leadership on debt cancellation provided by the Pope, President Clinton and Bono and various other high profile media stars which has been a tremendous help.

I urge the Government to look at European level at an initiative which is known as the Clarke proposal, which is named after the former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, whenever it is appropriate. Mr. Clarke mentioned the possibility of putting a levy on all foreign exchange transactions to provide an international fund to relieve debt in Third World countries. Many institutions and banks in the western world are making substantial profits purely on foreign exchange transactions and a small levy could alleviate the substantial debt in some of those countries. One must bear in mind that most of these poor countries have weak currencies and suffer as a result of these foreign exchange transactions. Normally these currencies are most disadvantaged by devaluations and they need help in this regard. I recognise that there are practical difficulties in implementing such a levy. It would need to be done almost on a world-wide basis because if a country or a particular exchange was not involved in implementing this levy, a great deal of business would be attracted to that country to avoid paying it. However, the principle is correct. The mechanics of it will be difficult to arrange, but it is something we should look at to provide a fund which could be used to cancel the debt of the poorest countries in the future.

There has been much discussion about how much Ireland is contributing to overseas development aid. I want to highlight that in 1992, Ireland contributed £40 million to ODA and in 1999, we contributed £178 million. That is a four-fold increase during the course of the 1990s. Ireland's GNP in 1992 was £25 billion and now it is £56 billion, which is a two-fold increase. Therefore, Ireland's contribution to ODA has increased four-fold during a period when the GNP increased two-fold. Ireland has effectively doubled the contribution to ODA as a proportion of GNP from a figure of 0.16% in 1992 to a figure of 0.31% this year. We all realise that 0.31% is not sufficient, but we must recognise that we have made a considerable improvement from the position in the early 1990s. The Government, as part of its review of its programme for Government, is looking at the total contribution to ODA to see the measures it can implement to increase it even further. While I must acknowledge that significant progress has been made, I recognise that more progress can be made in this area.

Ireland's track record of contributions to development in Third World countries is good when we take account of the voluntary sector, whether it is through organisations like Concern, GOAL or other non-governmental agencies. In general, the NGOs will be happy with the Bill in that Ireland is making a direct contribution to a fund which does not charge any interest to the receiving countries. In contrast to the legislation on the Bretton Woods Agreement, on which we were contacted by a large number of people in the constituencies who were concerned about Ireland's contribution to the fund under that legislation, I received no representations on the Bill. People must be satisfied that we are making a contribution to this fund. If that was not so, we would have heard about it outside this House before now.

Ireland has a keen interest in contributing to ODA. Some 150 years ago Ireland experienced famine, which was immortalised in song ever since. At that time Ireland was exporting corn and other edible products while people were dying of starvation. In years to come the poorer countries will feel they were ravaged in the same way, considering people are dying of starvation in their countries and vast amounts of their resources are going towards paying interest and contributing to the profit of western banks. I believe this is the modern day version of what happened during the Irish Famine 150 years ago when products rather than financial resources were leaving the country. However, it amounts to the same thing at the end of the day.

We must consider the basic human rights of people in these heavily indebted poorer countries. We must recognise that we in the west are the haves whereas people in the poorer countries are the have nots. Our duty is to improve the living standards of everyone, not just in the western world but on the planet. We all live in a global village and this Bill is a positive step towards improving the living standards of people in poorer countries. I support fully the proposals in the Bill and commend the Bill to the House.

I welcome the Bill. The Twelfth Replenishment of the International Development Association is timely and Ireland's contribution of £20 million, which the Bill will enable the Government to make, is an appropriate contribution. The overall contribution from donor countries will be approximately £10 billion, therefore, this is not a huge amount of money in proportion to the total replenishment. This is Ireland fulfilling its international obligations and the £20 million will be reckonable when calculating what percentage of GNP we donate to overseas development aid.

The money being allocated to the IDA is being used for the poorest of the poor countries. It is being used for the 80 poorest countries in the world. I note from the explanatory memorandum that it is being used for countries with aper capita income of less than £720 per annum and that more than 90% of the IDA lending goes to countries with per capita income below £507 per annum, or the enormous sum of £1.76p per day. This is targeted at the poorest people on the planet and the lending is undertaken in 80 of the poorest countries.

I agree also with the stated objectives of IDA lending. They correspond to the objective of Ireland's overseas development programme, which is welcome. This is an investment in people, in primary education, clean water and sanitation to ensure there is at least a basic universal health service available in these countries. It is also designed to promote broad based growth, an approach which should be adopted universally. It is designed to support good governance because there is not much point in overseas development aid either by way of direct grant or lending if those countries are governed by corrupt regimes which hoover up the bulk of the money being made available from abroad. Hand in hand with the proper investment in poorer countries, there must be increasing and sustainable democracy. The combination of aid and democracy are the two streams which will develop human rights in these poor countries. Many of these countries and their citizens are not just the victims of poverty but of human rights transgressions also.

Fine Gael generally welcomes the Bill. We are of the view that we lag far behind in our obligations in terms of overseas development aid and that, on an all-party basis, we should make a commitment to increase in a very short time our overseas development aid under all headings up to our international obligation of 0.7% of GNP.

The world is a much changed place from the world that existed even when many of us entered this Parliament. Since the Berlin Wall came down, people's way of looking at the world has changed because the world has changed. There was a theory at the time that this was the end of history. An American academic of Japanese origin, Fukiama, promulgated the view that it was the end of history, that the western democracies, the free market and liberal democracy was the way forward, that this model would be adopted worldwide and that as a consequence there would be no further conflict between peoples. He said that while there might be outbreaks of nationalism in Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world, the big battles were over and we were going to proceed through the nineties and into the next millennium with that new model. It would not be a Cold War model any more where the east was pitted against the west, where forms of Marxism or socialism were pitted against capitalism but the end of history where liberal democracy reigns supreme. Of course, this has not happened. The conflicts which are now developing are between the great world civilisations. Western Christianity is ignored on the one hand. There is the Islamic world, orthodox Christianity, the Hindu civilisations, the Chinese civilisation and Japanese civilisation. One will find that every world conflict is now in the fault line between civilisations, whether that is the conflict in Chechnya between Russian Orthodoxy and Slavic civilisation and that of Islam or the conflicts nearer to home in the Balkans.

These are conflicts between the civilisations and they are at the meeting points of the great civilisations. That is the model and the best way of seeing the world order at present. It is the best paradigm to understand what is happening in the world. Frequently the fault lines between the civilisations are also the fault lines between the rich and poor. It is an uncontradictable fact of history that where poor countries adjoin rich countries, the people from the poor countries will attempt to move to the rich countries. That has always happened. There has never been a rich civilisation yet which did not act as a magnet to attract people from the surrounding poorer lands. However, the pace of the migration has changed dramatically. It probably took over a millennium for the Celtic people to move from the Caucuses until they arrived in Ireland. Now this is just a four hour plane journey and one can obtain the information on the Internet to make sure one knows how to proceed when one arrives.

The pace of change is colossal and when we reflect on our overseas development aid, we should not just see it in terms of our social objectives, our commitment to social progress based on our common humanity with the poor people of the world, but as the other side of the coin of the domestic problems in Ireland in terms of migration to Ireland and Europe. We should see it also in terms of the conflicts in the world at present. We are looking at a very small part of a jigsaw which could provide a new world order, not just on the grounds of our shared common humanity but on selfish grounds, so that we can develop countries to encourage people towards self-fulfilment and self-development in their own lands. We should also be looking at these issues.

Migration is an issue which will be of increasing importance in Europe and Ireland and could dominate politics over the next 25 to 30 years. Millions of people would love to come to countries like Ireland and they will take all sorts of steps to arrive there. If anyone on the Government benches is thinking that we have a small refugee problem and if we could get the process correct it will all end in a year or 18 months, that will not happen. We are looking at the commencement of one of the major issues of the next generation and we have manifestations of it already. The principal reason people migrate is that they want a better lifestyle. As night follows day, people will migrate from poor disadvantaged areas to prosperous areas. We are now one of the most prosperous parts of the world and as night follows day, people will want to live here. Many will come from Islamic countries but a significant proportion will come from the 80 countries mentioned. We have a vested interest in developing the poorest countries of the world to ensure they can provide their citizens with a satisfactory lifestyle. There will always be an elite in these countries who will seek to migrate but if the majority of people were free from hunger and disease and had adequate shelter, universal primary education and universal health services, particularly for children, it would be a huge leap forward and would provide them with a satisfactory lifestyle.

Unless we take more seriously the issue of overseas development aid and move away from symbols and tokenism and a slow bicycle race to ensure we do not do any more than our partners in Europe or the US and Canada, we will be on a loser. As a small European country, we have a huge vested interest in ensuring the poor countries of the world are developed to a sufficient standard. Not only should we argue the case on the basis of what a decent country should do for the poor, we should also argue it on the basis of Europe's vested interest in ensuring a better world order can emerge.

The same argument applies to world peace. Most future conflicts will arise between people who see themselves as disadvantaged in contrast to what they regard as advantaged people, usually of another civilisation. That is the wellspring of violence and war. All the current and recent conflicts or wars contain these elements. We must address the crucial issue of how countries can be developed to sustain their current populations and how they can become prosperous. Let us consider, for example, the less poor Islamic nations of North Africa. The number of under-25 year olds without work in Algeria is colossal. There is no way the energetic, healthy and educated people in the Islamic countries of North Africa will remain idle in economies which are not working when they look across the Mediterranean and witness the wonders and prosperity of Europe.

The issues of migration and peace are now closely linked with the issue of overseas development aid and we should place overseas development aid in that wider context. I urge Ministers who attend European conferences in which this issue arises to place the matter in this broader context as the rich industrial countries would then be more willing to put their shoulders to the wheel in an effective manner.

A number of issues is linked in our new world order. There is the issue of aid to poor countries and the writing off of debt and the issue of how much rich industrial countries, of which Ireland is one, are prepared to pay to change the situation, not only on humanitarian grounds but also for other reasons. One of the negative issues which arises is the unprecedented level of migration which has occurred in a short period of time. Nothing like this happened previously in peace time in such a short period. Millions of people are on the move, many waving the flag of political asylum. However, persecution in the countries of origin is not people's prime motivation; most of them are economic migrants who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families in the same way as the Irish did when they travelled to the US, Australia and the UK in the past.

The migration issue is closely associated with other issues of conflict between countries and if these issues are not addressed, we will witness increasing levels of international terrorism and increasing proliferation of nuclear weapons. If poor countries believe they are being exploited by rich or strong countries, there are traditionally only two ways in which they can balance the scales. They can move from conventional warfare to terrorism or they can obtain or produce nuclear weapons.

The move towards nuclear weaponry on a worldwide basis is frightening and it is frightening to note the countries which have the capacity for nuclear weapons. However, if one analyses the situation, one will find that the countries which have nuclear weapons are, in conventional terms, weaker than their opponents. That is what the west did following World War II when it decided that the conventional armies of Russia and the Eastern Bloc were far stronger than those in Europe and the United States. The equation was balanced by going down the nuclear route and that move was re-balanced in the arms race by other countries which sought to have nuclear weaponry on an equal basis. Pakistan went nuclear because, conventionally, India was too strong. Israel went nuclear because it was surrounded by Arab countries and, conventionally, could not win without western aid and sometimes could not win even with such aid. Iran also has the capacity to produce nuclear weapons and Iraq probably has the capacity to do so.

While we are strictly speaking about the replenishment of the IDA in the context of overseas development aid, the issue of overseas development aid should be debated in a far wider context than that of our humanitarian obligations to citizens of poorer countries. There is a much wider agenda here which encompasses the migration issue, the issue of world peace, international terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If one were to look for something tangible to produce a solution to the evils I have outlined, it could best be achieved through the provision of increased levels of aid and assistance to people of goodwill who are involved in the democratisation of poorer countries. If we pitch the agenda in that direction in the fulfilment of our international obligations, we will achieve a better result.

This Bill represents an important arm of the Government's policy towards the assistance of the Third World. The Bill should and must be supported in its entirety because it will enable the Government to make a payment of £20 million to the International Development Association.

The association is one of the key institutions charged with the responsibility of reducing poverty and promoting growth and development in Third World countries. The IDA's mission is to support efficient and effective programmes to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in the poorest countries in the world. The International Development Association is one of the financial arms of the World Bank which is also known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This International Development Association (Amendment) Bill amends previous Bills which date back to 1960 when the association was founded. Ireland joined the association as a full member at the time of its foundation in 1960.

The association is the single largest source of assistance to the world's 80 poorest countries. Financial assistance is provided to countries with aper capita income below £721 per annum. More than 80% of lending administered via the World Bank goes to countries with a per capita income below £507 per annum. The contribution which Ireland is making, namely, £20 million, will be given to what is known as the Twelfth Replenishment of the International Development Association. In essence this is the next financial period during which the International Development Association will allocate key grant contributions to poorer countries. More or less every three years the International Development Association receives key financial contributions from the richer countries, including Ireland.

The association has already stated that in the near future its key targets for reducing poverty, which will include spending the £20 million allocated by Ireland, will focus on four key areas. Financial resources will be made available to promote primary education, clean water and sanitation and preventative and reproduction health services. It is estimated that 40% of investment over the next three years administered by the International Development Association will be devoted to the social sector. This will also include promoting nutrition and social protection to address special needs such as ensuring children who must work do not sacrifice opportunities to learn.

Sustainable, broad based economic growth is essential for poverty reduction. The association will support policy changes, promote projects which encourage the role of the private sector and will devote special attention to the development of small and medium sized enterprises. Good governance is critical to sustainable broad based economic development and improvements in human well being. Poor governance, including corruption, undermines the efficient and equitable provision of public goods and services and blocks opportunities for the poor and weak to benefit from the development process. The International Development Association has strengthened its framework to assess the quality of overall policy performance in recipient countries, including ensuring that such issues as open government, respect for civil and human rights and upholding the rule of law are everyday facts.

The association will support strategies to promote environmentally sustainable developments since the effects of poverty and environmental damage are often mutually reinforced. The association will increase its efforts to mainstream environmental objectives in its work, taking into account local conditions and relevant international environmental agreements.

The contribution which the Government is making, namely, £20 million, is part of Ireland's official development assistance programme. Tra ditionally Ireland has been a strong supporter of the International Development Association since its foundation in 1960. Clearly, there is a close similarity between the association's main objectives and the bilateral aid programme administered by the Government. On 11 April the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Cowen, gave a comprehensive and full address to the House outlining key Government priorities in the promotion of development aid projects in the Third World. One of the greatest challenges facing the world is to provide a brighter and more prosperous future for the world's poor. He stated that the Irish development aid programme is strong in terms of policy and implementation. It is also an integral part of Irish foreign policy and a good reflection of current international policy aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development through a focus on partnerships. It also draws on contacts established in developing countries by our missionaries and NGOs who deserve our highest commendation and praise for the compassion, dedication and professionalism they show in carrying out difficult humanitarian and civil duties in Third World countries.

Our bilateral aid programme focuses on six countries in southern and eastern Africa where Irish aid is a significant player in helping them develop all aspects of their social and economic infrastructure. Our multilateral aid assists agencies which play leading roles in development agencies which deal with children, refugees, AIDS and other health issues, human rights, mine clearance, environmental degradation and women's issues. We have a growing programme of debt relief and a strong programme of assistance through our NGOs.

While we promote our bilateral aid programme we also play an active part in promoting development and co-operation policies in the context of the EU. The EU is close to finalising its next loan convention which will set the strategic and financial guidelines for relations between the EU and 70 African, Pacific and Caribbean countries. In fact, Ireland's bilateral aid programme was reviewed by the OECD last year which found that we set high standards for aid, have demonstrated aid can work, have an undeviating focus on poverty reduction and a strong performance in putting partnerships into practice. Maintaining a reputation of quality requires patient work and a slow build up to a common understanding on which the partnership process is built. NGOs and Irish missionaries play an intrinsic part in this process.

The Minister was correct when he stated on 11 April that we must not allow an exclusive focus on targets to dilute the quality of the programme or divert the Government towards a cheque writing approach to aid. However, financial resources must be made available if the bilateral aid programme administered by the Government is to expand in future. The development aid budget for 1999 is likely to amount to £178 million and the estimated budget for 2000 is £190 million. This is the highest level ever secured for the development aid budget and cumulates in an unprecedented level of growth which has been secured in recent years. We should recall that in 1992 our development aid budget was £40 million, which is only one-fifth of the current provision. In 1999 alone the development aid budget increased by £38 million.

I also welcome the statement by the Minister that the Government has not abandoned the goal of reaching the target of 0.7% of GNP, set by the UN, for our annual development aid budget. It has certainly been difficult to achieve this in recent years, primarily due to the large increase in economic growth. However, our economic growth has been the catalyst ensuring large increases in our development aid budget have been achieved.

The overall goal of our development aid programme is to reduce poverty in developing countries. This is in line with international commitments and best practice, including, for example, the undertaking by donor countries at the Copenhagen Social Summit in 1995 to devote at least 20% of aid funds to the basic social sectors, namely, primary education and basic health care. The OECD donor countries have also adopted a set of targets aimed at meeting poverty related goals such as reducing infant mortality rates by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.

Consistent with the approach taken by EU structural support for Ireland, development aid is seen as a structural intervention to support development in poor countries. The focus, therefore, is on economic growth as well as the distribution and consumption of resources. Aid is seen as supporting but not replacing initiatives taken by developing countries themselves. Earlier I spoke of the clear recognition which the Minister, Deputy Cowen, has given to promoting Irish NGOs in the partnership process for poverty reduction in the Third World. Irish NGOs, including Trócaire, Concern and Goal, as well as our missionary sisters and priests, can often support projects at a local level where it would be difficult for public aid to do so. The partnership between Irish aid and NGOs recognises the close contacts NGOs have in many Third World countries. In 1998, for example, £20.7 million, or roughly 15% of the overseas development aid budget, was channelled through NGOs. I welcome the statement by the Minister that the role of NGOs in the programme will be strengthened in the coming years. I also welcome the fact that the Government is considering the introduction of multi-annual funding for larger NGOs which are already in receipt of block grant funding. This would facilitate them in better planning of development activities and promote a greater measure of assurance regarding fund levels.

Ireland's development aid programme, which is administered in Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique, is going from strength to strength and must be supported at every turn, both morally and financially. The huge debt burden on poor developing countries is recognised as the major constraint to their development. It is impossible to accept a scenario whereby poorer countries face an unsustainable debt burden when they must also confront natural disasters, famine, conflict and an AIDS pandemic.

The Jubilee 2000 campaign has helped to focus international attention on debt issues. For its part Ireland has never given development assistance in the form of credit. Ireland Aid is not owed money by the Governments of developing countries. Although Ireland is not a creditor the Government has allocated £31.5 million to debt relief including £22 million to the debt relief activities of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The remainder will help to service the debts of Mozambique and Tanzania. Ireland is also making financial contributions to the debt relief programme administered by the European Union. Since the beginning of the year the World Bank and the IMF have approved debt relief for five countries, including three priority countries for Ireland Aid – Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. The front loading of debt relief for Mozambique will also help finance its reconstruction efforts after the recent severe floods.

I urge all Members to support the Bill. It is a key financial instrument towards promoting the overseas development aid programme administered by the Government. This has been the case since 1960 and we must continue this process into the future. As a Member I will always support increased funding by the Government for overseas development aid programmes in the Third World.

His holiness, Pope John Paul II, the Polish leader of Catholics worldwide, made a significant speech during his recent visit to the Holy Land about the Abrahamaic religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It should remind us about what we can learn from others. I often meet members of the Islamic community in my constituency. Perhaps Christians could learn the importance of church going and take some time to reflect on the issues of the day. I hope Deputy Briscoe will not mind me mentioning the richness of the diversity of the formerly strong, vibrant Jewish community in Ireland, which has been lost. I hope that community becomes vibrant again because both the Jewish and Catholic traditions can learn from each other. It is by not being traditionally nationalist and looking upon community in a narrow sense that we can contribute most to international peace and understanding and that we can grasp the difficulties faced by people in other communities worldwide. If we become white, Catholic and Irish then the dangers of us feeding off our own prejudiced views become even more acute.

I strongly welcome the leadership by the Chris tian churches and the Catholic Church, in particular, and the Jewish and Islamic communities in recent times regarding the refugee issue. I am glad that they have come together to lead. We need to reflect on our attitude and contribute to various issues. We are not a mean people. When it is put to us, we contribute voluntarily but we are coming across as a mean people who have forgotten the great pain that we went through. A total of 800,000 people who were born in Ireland live in Great Britain. When I was a young boy I spoke to an individual who knew somebody who had lived through the famine. The famine was not that long ago.

Materialism to some extent is replacing some of the stronger traditions which we have had in Ireland and that is regrettable. If churches want to find their feet again this is an area which they should challenge. We have seven years of feast now but we will experience seven years of famine again. It is a cyclical phenomenon. Other countries are used to going through periods of prosperity followed by recessions. We think this prosperity will last forever. It will reach a plateau but I do not suggest that there will be a great fall. However, in terms of continued growth we need to reflect on how well we are doing and how generous we are in sharing our wealth with others.

A total of 14 million young children and 10 million older children and young adults in developing countries die each year from easily preventable diseases and malnutrition which can be treated cheaply. Approximately 840 million people in developing countries are malnourished. Women comprise 70% of all poverty stricken people followed closely by the elderly in such countries while 79% of the world's population lives in the Third World. A total of 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. More than 90% of the 35 million HIV or AIDS infected people live in these countries and the figure doubled between 1990 and 1997. A total of 16 million people live in the Horn of Africa. They suffer from the effects of famine and drought and their lives are in imminent danger. Life expectancy in the Third World increased by more than one third between 1960 and 1999 and infant mortality rates reduced from 76 to 58 per thousand live births demonstrating that development aid works. However, the dreadful fact remains that 1.5 billion people are not expected to survive until the age of 60 and 340 million women will die before the age of 40 in the developing world.

It is time we in this House gave leadership. I want us to legislate for the 0.7% of GDP for development aid to which Ireland is committed because we will never meet it, not because the will is not there but when the Department of Finance seeks savings when the seven year famine comes along – and it does not matter who is in office – the development aid budget will be the first to be cut back. We must legislate for that contribution because no Members represent the people involved.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs stated during a debate in the House that the cheque writing approach to this problem is not the solution. He is very much into that approach in terms of writing cheques on other countries' bank accounts. It is easy for Ireland to talk about forgiving debt when it is not a creditor nation. If we want to give leadership to others then surely we should meet the 0.7% of GDP development aid commitment and then we could talk to other people about writing cheques on their accounts.

I commend Irish missionaries who have given great service worldwide, particularly in Africa. They have given their lives to the needs of others. I also commend the work of the NGOs but, as an advocate of increased expenditure on development aid, I would like to see greater accountability for that expenditure. I hope they do not take offence. We have reached a stage where we must question the existence of the multiplicity of NGOs and inquire about the number of advertising campaigns launched when terrible events occur. We must also ask whether there is not greater room for co-operation between and accountability on the part of NGOs.

NGOs obtain their money from the people, whether it is in the form of Exchequer funding or through voluntary donations from members of the public. I propose that we increase the Exchequer contribution to 0.7% of GDP by 2007 which would bring it up to over £600 million, a significant amount of money. If this happens, it must be done in conjunction with the Comptroller and Auditor General being given access to the accounts of NGOs – not merely those which detail what is done with Exchequer funding but also those which show how donations from the public are spent. Those accounts must also be made available to the Committee of Public Accounts. I do not wish to imply that there is any impropriety in this area, I am merely saying that there is an important principle at stake. I welcome the opportunity to make these points because there is a need to reflect on how we can provide leadership and make a contribution.

I was talking to a prominent individual recently who was publicly supportive of the concept of a Dublin Olympic bid. The person in question inquired what our chances would be if we put forward a bid to hold the Olympic Games. We considered what would happen if Dublin was in competition with another European city for the games – the reality is that, although it is not admitted, the games move from continent to continent every four years – and whether Athens, Manchester or Berlin would be ahead of us and we concluded that they would not. We also considered whether American, Australian or Asian cities would be ahead of Dublin and concluded that they would not. When it came to considering Africa, this prominent person said that Ireland is one of the few European countries which never colonised any part of Africa. All we did was to send people to serve there and we concluded that this would act in our interests.

We must build on the tradition of service by citizens of this small State which is appreciated by people in Africa and we must continue to provide leadership. However, we cannot do so if we do not give in generous measure. I implore the Minister and the Minister of State at the Department of Finance who is present for the debate not to be deterred by advice given by civil servants. It is nonsense to suggest that this is a Private Members' Bill. I issued a policy document on this issue but I could not introduce legislation because it would take the form of a Money Bill which cannot be introduced in Private Members' time. Money Bills can only be introduced by the Government.

If the Government wishes to leave behind a legacy to mark its time in office, introducing a Bill to deal with this matter would form part of that legacy. We will never meet the target to which I referred earlier unless legislation is introduced. I implore the Minister of State to use his influence in the Department of Finance to neutralise those forces which are advising against the introduction of such legislation.

I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the International Development Association (Amendment) Bill, 1999. I congratulate the Minister of State for introducing the Bill, the purpose of which is to authorise a contribution of £20 million to the Twelfth Replenishment of the resources of the IDA.

Before commenting on the Bill I wish to state that following our recent debate on overseas development aid it became apparent that there are two groups of people on this planet who are, in effect, travelling in opposite directions. People in the developed world are travelling into the future at great speed and we are moving faster than any of us ever dreamed possible. Ireland is an example of a country whose economy has improved dramatically in recent years. Unfortunately, however, Third World countries are undergoing a nightmare of darkness, hunger and disease.

The Minister of State referred to strategies to tackle poverty and highlighted the existence of a poverty reduction strategy paper. Ireland put in place its own anti-poverty strategy following the World Summit in Copenhagen in 1995. It is significant that we are making great strides toward reducing unemployment, the level of which has fallen well below the EU average, and also trying to help those who cannot work by providing them with an income. However, the issues which affect Third World countries are much different from those with which we in Ireland are concerned.

It is difficult to understand why Third World issues are not discussed more often. At a recent IPU conference I attended, it was difficult to find anyone willing to discuss the question of debt and the repayment of loans. Naturally there are other issues at stake. The most major of these to arise recently in Jordan involved the question of human trafficking in refugees. There will be a need for the House to address matters of this nature more often in the future. I was interested to discover that an IPU conference will be held in the African country Burkina Faso next year. I hope assistance will be given to that country if it has difficulty organising the conference.

I congratulate those involved in the Jubilee 2000 Ireland Campaign which has lobbied for debt cancellation. At the invitation of the Jubilee 2000 committee, 800,000 Irish people signed a petition calling on the leaders of the G8 countries to cancel the unpayable debt of the world's poorest countries by the advent of the Jubilee year, 2000. These signatures were presented to the G8 leaders in Cologne, Germany, in June 1999. We are now in the middle of the jubilee year and, regrettably, the debt crisis is far from being resolved, despite the many announcements in respect of debt cancellation during the past 12 months.

Even with the extra debt reductions, countries such as Zambia will continue to pay as much on debt repayments as on health and education combined. Mozambique, which has been in the news recently, has not had its debt cancelled, it has merely been suspended. Unless its debt is cancelled, Mozambique will be obliged to pay over $40 million annually to repay that debt. This situation is serious and the Jubilee 2000 committee has helped to highlight the need to find a resolution to it.

Responsibility for the implementation of the Cologne deal has been transferred to the IMF and the World Bank. I understand that these bodies announced in September last year that improvements would be made to the HIPC initiative. Jubilee 2000 believes that the HIPC initiative is not the answer to the debt issue and is of the view that pressure should be exerted on the World Bank and the IMF in respect of the easing of debt, fair trade and that they should deal with resolutions of conflict. Jubilee 2000 also makes the point that dealing with these issues would result in fewer asylum seekers and economic migrants entering the European Union.

We may be lulled into a false sense of security because a number of high profile announcements on debt cancellation were made last year by President Clinton and the British Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and they may give the impression that the debt crisis is almost over. However, a very low level of debt has been cancelled and much of the debt they promised to cancel is not being repaid, so significant resources will not be made available to the Governments of developing countries. No new moves have been announced by either the IMF or World Bank. Ireland is a member of both organisations which are significant creditors of low income countries. In order to achieve an effective end to the debt crisis, the IMF and World Bank must cancel unpayable debts in these poorer countries. Our current policy on debt is to support the heavily indebted poor countries initiative, known as the HIPC initiative, but over the last four years this has only delivered small amounts of debt reduction to four countries. I am glad the Minister of State, Deputy O'Donnell, is supporting the jubilee call to cancel debts of impoverished countries.

At the EU-Africa Summit in Cairo recently, the Taoiseach questioned whether countries should have to repay debts at an unsustainable level while facing an AIDS epidemic. Mozambique, which was recently devastated by flooding, will be paying twice as much in servicing its debt as on basic education, even after it benefits from the myriad of debt deals already outlined. So far, Mozambique's creditors have merely suspended its debt repayments for the near future. As Mozambique is one of Ireland's aid partners and Ireland Aid is helping to repay that country's debt to the IMF and World Bank, we should call for help for Mozambique in this matter.

I wish to pay tribute to the NGOs and to Irish missionaries who have been involved in helping people throughout the Third World. One of the NGOs which has been involved in bringing aid to many parts of the developing world is Trócaire. That organisation has pointed out that many lives have been saved by immunisation programmes in such countries. As a result, average life expectancy in the developing world has risen from 41 to 62 years. Of course, we all know that much more needs to be done. One fifth of the world's population still lives in absolute poverty and nearly 800 million people do not have enough to eat.

In 1995, 21 of the world's richest countries, all members of the OECD, allowed their overseas aid budgets to fall to just 0.27% of GDP – the lowest level for over 20 years. In many countries we have seen overseas aid budgets being cut drastically. This matter was debated in the House recently during Private Members' time when a motion was tabled by Deputy Gay Mitchell. I hope the Government will be able to state a date by which we will reach our UN targets for overseas aid. The Government has made commitments, however, particularly at various world food summits, to try and halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015, but that sounds like a long way in the future.

When we look at the assistance we receive from the European Union, particularly the cohesion and structural funds, we can see how much more we need to help poorer countries. EU aid to Ireland in the 1994-99 period amounted to £7 billion. In other words, Ireland is receiving almost ten times more aid from the EU than it is providing in overseas development aid. The figure for EU aid is extraordinarily high when one considers other countries that have such difficult times ahead.

Trócaire has also raised the issue of trade with poorer countries, making the point that rich countries, such as the USA, Japan and EU member states, dominate the World Trade Organisation. The rich countries also make the rules which restrict imports from the Third World. For example, while Europe strictly limits the import of clothes from poor countries, it lets in any amount from the rich, developed world. At the same time, Europe subsidises its agricultural exports to poor countries, which in turn makes local produce uncompetitive and discourages food production there.

Trócaire and other NGOs have called for the introduction of a clause which would link trading rights to the observance of human rights, particularly concerning child labour. The NGOs have called on multinational companies to ensure they conform to internationally agreed standards of health and safety conditions for workers in the Third World. Over 250 million children aged from five to 14 are forced to work for a living in developing countries. While the Third World has 80% of the earth's population, it accounts for only 20% of global trade. Trade levels in sub-Saharan Africa have fallen to a third of the 1960 figure.

A major action plan is required to tackle the debt repayment obligations of poorer countries. An NGO representative I met recently reminded me that this year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War. An equivalent of the Marshall Plan is required now to help people in Third World countries. From 1982 to 1990, the world's poor nations have financed the equivalent of six Marshall Plans for the rich world through debt servicing at a total cost of $1,345 billion. We should all support the campaign by Jubilee 2000 and by NGOs for a once-off cancellation of unpayable debts in the poorest countries. Such support is needed now because the HIPC initiative has not eased the burden on the lowest income countries. One of the countries that was supposed to benefit immediately from the IMF and World Bank policies was Uganda, but it did not receive the benefit of that scheme. Instead, it resulted in a loss of $100 million for Uganda, causing further impoverishment in that country.

I also wish to raise the denial of human rights in central Africa. We are aware of the terrible suffering caused by human rights abuses in the Sudan and Nigeria, in addition to other parts of the world such as Burma, Colombia and Mexico. There have been vicious conflicts in African countries, such as Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire, which have led to movements of hundreds of thousands of refugees, with disease and malnutrition flourishing. There has not been enough support for Africa from the international community. The first issue we need to examine is that of arms trading which should be halted. Unfair trade practices should be also discontinued and the poor countries' foreign debt burden should be relieved. In a three month period in 1994, it is estimated that 600,000 people were killed as a result of civil war and genocide in Rwanda, and over two million people fled to neighbouring countries. Almost as many were displaced internally within Rwanda.

The issues that have been raised concerning aid, trade and debt must be fully supported by the Government. I am glad that we have received good reports concerning both the quality and quantity of Irish aid to developing nations. In particular, our bilateral aid programme to priority countries has been very successful and I hope we will continue to support them. There was a time when we cut back on our allocation of overseas development aid. We have improved the situation in recent years, although we have much more progress to make in that regard. We have gone from being one of the smallest donors, as a proportion of GNP, to being in twelfth place on the list of 21 donor countries in 1998. We are still a long way behind countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, which have exceeded the United Nations target. However, we have increased significantly our ODA since 1992 and credit is due to successive Governments for their work in that regard. It is also worth mentioning the support received from communities throughout the country.

The Minister of State, Deputy O'Donnell, mentioned that aid is about poverty reduction. The Minister of State, Deputy Cullen, also referred to the need to reduce poverty. The reduction of poverty in different countries is, of course, a relative matter. The immunisation programme has been very successful. Diseases such as measles, malaria and pneumonia and malnutrition cause the deaths of 25,000 children per day in developing countries. The quality of Irish aid has been greatly commended in this regard. Life expectancy has also increased in developing countries.

European Union transfers helped us and we could make the point that they would also help poorer countries. The fact that our economy is doing well means we can afford to increase our aid. It is in our interest to ensure that aid is of good quality and is increased.

As the Minister of State knows, there was an argument in the past about ESAF. When we discuss the next replenishment, the Minister of State will examine the type of aid that is going to these countries. It is important for us to discuss these issues with our NGOs and missionaries to see if there are ways we can improve the situation. For example, given the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, there will be a lot of debate and controversy about whether we are sending aid in the right way. The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs has received replies from the Ethiopian Government rejecting what the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said. There will be debate and controversy if we do not understand exactly what is happening in these countries.

Many well off countries are involved in the arms trade and are, perhaps, arming both sides in the conflict, which is worrying. John O'Shea of GOAL has said on many occasions that we are giving money to Rwanda which is not getting to the people who need it and that we should not be giving it to the Rwandan Government. I have not heard anybody say what we should do, but we must be careful that the money goes to the people in need. The NGOs are anxious to receive aid directly so that they can help such people.

I thank the Minister for the speed with which he brought in this Bill. I hope we will look at other issues when the next replenishment of the IDA is discussed in the House.

This brief Bill is very important. The huge amount of debate on the Bill indicates the level of interest on both sides of the House. Concern about international poverty is not confined to any one party or group in the House.

The International Development Association is a significant player in the battle against international poverty. It has played an important role since its inception in the 1960s. As has been pointed out, it has put US$115 billion into over 100 recipient states since then, £114 million of which has come from Ireland. This additional injection of £20 million is very welcome. Although people will say it is not enough, the reality is that there is never enough.

While these figures are impressive and it is not my intention to in any way diminish them, the figure of $115 billion must be set against the type of expenditure made on other issues. For example, it pales into relative insignificance in comparison with the amount of money the developed world has spent on military infrastructure in that period. Consider, for example, the amount of money channelled into armaments, sometimes perversely under the guise of international aid. The reality is that, although a lot has been done, a huge amount still requires attention.

The extraordinary extent of the challenge as we enter the 21st century has been outlined in the memorandum and in the speeches by Ministers of State and the Minister in the House. The fact that more than three billion people subsist on less than $2 per day and an additional 1.3 billion people live on less than $1 per day is an indictment of the entire developed world.

The reality of Third World poverty and the debt problem has been well thrashed out and I do not want to cover the same ground. A number of speakers, including the last one, touched on the issue of debt forgiveness and the fact that Jubilee 2000 has been a very successful campaign. They rightly praised the international and national leadership of that campaign. I welcome the progress that has been made. However, I want to make two points about the institutional work that is now required.

The first point is that forgiving the existing debt is one thing, but the international community bears some responsibility for putting the debt in place in the first instance. There is now a need for international bodies, such as the World Bank and the EU, to consider putting in place institutional mechanisms to prevent any recurrence of past problems.

When the Dáil discussed the debt forgiveness figure before, I suggested that the international banking community had behaved in a scandalous manner. It threw money at corrupt regimes and put money into schemes which it knew could not possibly succeed. It did that because it knew the collateral was there because it was lending to those countries, although, in reality, it was frequently putting money into the pockets and Swiss bank accounts of despots. One institutional change which Ireland could promote would be for bodies such as the IMF to adopt lending criteria which must be applied by lending nations and institutions and to adopt an international treaty setting out sanctions against those who broke that code.

The debt issue is now beginning to be addressed. As the previous speaker said, the mechanisms are somewhat cumbersome. However, we must ensure there is no recurrence. The international banking community behaved scandalously in the past and we should make absolutely certain there is no option for it to do so in the future. The statistics which face us in the developing world are staggering and they have all been trotted out here. There was a report last week by one of the US groups which looked at the issue of AIDS and disease in sub-Saharan and southern Africa. It came up with extraordinary statistics. It suggested that 25 million people are infected with AIDS and that 11 million to 13 million people have already died. There will be a whole generation of children orphaned and a whole new round of poverty.

The second set of institutional changes I suggest the Government should promote is to look at the IDA's charter and at the four key options the IDA has identified for itself. One of those four options is the idea of supporting good governance. Notwithstanding the current excitements, we have some experience of institution building in this State. A good, sound and a non-corrupt administrative system of aids development, minimises the opportunities for corruption, provides links between the Government and the governed, opens communications channels, provides a framework in which human capital can be developed, provides for mobility of talented personnel, legitimises governing practices and, most importantly, underpins democracy.

We have some experience as a country which suffered a colonial past. We also have, in many ways, a shared framework with many of these countries, particularly those which emerged from British colonial status – the so-called Whitehall-Westminster model of government developed between London and Dublin. We have some considerable experience in building institutions. We have a good corporate structure in our Civil Service, which has served us well. We have a very good structure and much experience, which we sometimes overlook, in the parastatal area. Our State sponsored bodies contributed in an immeasurable way to the development of this nation. Lest it be said that politicians and politics did not play its role, the reality is they did because we had a framework – a frame of reference.

I suggest Ireland could play a very real role in promoting the idea of a formal international training system. We could, for example, take responsibility for a number of states under such an institution. We could expand the work done, for example, by the Institute of Public Administration and by some of the universities over the years. I would like the Minister to bring together the IPA, the IMI, APSO, the universities, the Civil Service, State-sponsored bodies and local government to see if, in addition to providing actual capital to programmes such as the IDA programme, we could also help to provide and promote human capital in these states.

The problem in the Third World will not be resolved simply by pumping funds into it, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs was right, although he has been criticised for saying it. As we see in some of the cases of the corrupt regimes, it simply enriches those people who have caused the problems. The solution must come internally with support from the developed world. In addition to providing funds – I welcome this Bill because it provides the additional £20 million – we should look at other ways to underpin, support and help develop those nations and, above all, help those people to build their own solutions from within, as Trócaire does.

I welcome the opportunity to comment on the position of those countries to whom the IDA initiative is addressed, although perhaps we do not have enough such opportunities. I agree with Deputy Roche that the contribution which would perhaps be most effective in the next ten years would be the development of a competence on ethical governance within this county which could be exported, as it were, and developed in partnership with other countries.

For many years, I have been involved in issues of aid, trade and debt as affecting these countries. I have been very much aware of the work done by organisations such as Trócaire, particularly in its structural programme, Concern, GOAL and others. What is very clear is that the transition to a sustainable lifestyle, which would take account of the indigenous cultures and of the real needs of people, shows up a deficiency in the structures of the civil society.

Classically, in the Irish university and third level system, there has been an interest in what was called "development studies". These, viewed in the receiving countries, have shifted in perception across a number of years. The development model was always seriously questioned by a number of countries seeking an indigenous path to development or, more accurately, a path out of extreme poverty towards sustainability. As we entered the 1990s and as we begin a new century, there is an even greater question mark over the title "development studies", carrying, as it does, the uncriticised assumptions of the modernisation model as initiated in a political structure by the Princeton studies between 1958 and 1963 and as sustained by a series of economic documents over the years. To put it rather simply, because in the short time that is all one can do, it was that we are in an inevitable near evolutionary path to development. We invite the poorest countries and countries at a lesser level of development to take part in what is an unfinished project of development in the world.

This is now reaching a very sharp point of debate in many different countries. One of the most distinguished scholars to study the entire subject at global level is Manuel Castels in his three volumes just published on the information society, economics, politics and culture in which he draws on the most recent information available from the UNDP, for example. This gives us some rather stark figures. Far from there being an amelioration of conditions, there has been a significant deterioration in many countries. For example, since 1980, 1.6 billion people in 100 countries have had a fall in incomes. In 70 of those 100 countries, incomes are less than they were in 1980 and in 43 of those countries, they are less than they were in 1970. Those figures are based on the UNDP figures for 1996.

As well as that, it is interesting that while at global level, between 1970 and 1985, gross national product in the world increased by 40%, the number of the poor increased by 17%. What is interesting is that this tells us about the other side of the much vaunted globalisation.

There is no observable benefit in the countries I have described of a mere liberal market driven model of globalisation. Far from lifting some of these countries, it is dislodging some of their crucial expenditure on health and education towards meeting conditions which have been drawn from a paradigm which is not of their design and not suitable to their needs. The situation has deteriorated significantly in the past 25 years. Between 1970 and 1985, with gross national product in the world rising by 40 %, the number of poor rose by 17%.

One can look at the figures another way, that is, in the 15 year period from 1965 to 1980, 200 million people saw their incomes fall. Between 1980 and 1993, a 13 year period and again relying on the UNDP figures for 1994, 1 billion people saw their income fall. Speaking of the countries towards which the IDA relief is directed, the poorest of the poor increased in number as did their experience of inequality, polarisation, poverty and sheer misery. It is interesting to think that if one takes the 1.2 billion people who, as I read in the Minister's and other speeches, would qualify as the poorest of the poor, 950 million of them are in south east Asia.

The year before last, when I was in Cambodia, teachers in that country had their salaries reduced from $15 to $10 per month to meet the external requirements of debt service. I feel it morally incumbent upon me to draw attention to these facts lest the impression be given that, in the structure of markets internationally, and their integration, known as globalisation, there is auto matically a train of political, social and economic restructuring taking place which will drag the poorest of the poor into the category of the poor and the poor into the category of middle income. It is not working like that.

I do not have the time to run side by side with what I have described the arms expenditure to which Deputy Roche, the Minister of State and other Deputies have drawn attention. If one runs arms expenditure and purchases side by side with the these figures, one finds, particularly as one enters the 1990s, a decline in real transfers of aid and an increase in arms sales. If one then looks at the pattern of structured repayments, what emerges is a truly horrific story.

I have become interested in one aspect only. It is a matter of the greatest urgency that there be a critique of globalisation as the backdrop against which initiatives by any of the international institutions come to impact on the poorest countries. I have been in politics on and off for nearly 30 years. When I entered politics it was difficult to criticise the Church. Now it is far more difficult to criticise the neo-liberal economic order which prevails and which sustains globalisation. It is as if there were a single discourse in the world and there could be no other. At the same time, the basic demographic facts and life figures contradict the rhetoric.

For example, the Minister reports that the IDA will describe in its reports a situation in which life expectancy has increased. Life expectancy is falling in many countries. In the former Soviet Union, life expectancy among males is now slightly over 50 years, due to alcoholism, decline in dietary health and climatic reasons. For example, deaths from hypothermia are reported every day. Life expectancy figures are crawling down. In Cambodia, approximately four children out of five have no access to clean water, one child in three does not reach one year of age and of those who survive the first year, another third are dead before they are five years old. Of those over five years, there is an immense nutritional gap which affects learning, competence, participation and so on. This is a backdrop we sometimes do not get the time to make when we support, for example, the immediate demands of the jubilee campaign, which speaks of the writing off of debt. I am glad we have moved from speaking of rescheduling to cancelling debt, which is the only thing that makes sense.

I do not suggest that we can handle all the sins of the IMF and the World Bank. However, they have been mentioned by the Minister of State and others, and the models chosen as examples of restructuring are very poor. Mozambique, for example, does not stand up to scrutiny in relation to the deflection of resources from the urgent tasks of education, health, sanitation and clean water to debt service. These are not simply technical matters. Later, during questions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I will deal with the issue of the 4,500 children per month who are dying in Iraq because of non-military sanctions. This is not an administrative issue. It is not simply a matter of exchanging bits of paper. It is an outrageous implication for the children of a civilian population in the consequences of a military conflict. What is taking place cries to heaven. Statistics are helpful but so much hides behind them.

One of the new gods of the neo-liberal economic order has suggested that, in the information society, there will be opportunities for Asia, Africa and Latin America to participate. When one deconstructs this piece of guff and considers the one billion television sets in the world, of which 1% are in Africa, 4% are in the Middle East, 20% are in North America, 32% are in Asia and 25% are in Europe – the Asian figure is reflective of Japan – the suggestion that an information revolution will be an instrument of globalisation and will invite the excluded parts of the planet into some participation in a humane way is seen to be totally erroneous. These countries, and an entire continent in the case of Africa, lack the basic abilities and structure for communication, not to speak of managing this transformation.

One then moves across the usual structural parameters. I welcome an increased contribution. I do not quibble about that although I have a difficulty with counting our contribution to this and other multilateral agencies into the figure for overseas development aid which is then compared to the gross domestic product. Deputy Noonan spoke of the importance of being "for real" with the ODA figure. We should not be dislodged from making a commitment. If our growth rate as calculated means the actual sum transferred is greater, so be it. I believe there is public and cross-party support for this.

Another aspect of this matter was touched on in a thoughtful way by Deputy Roche when he spoke of the structure of debt movements and repayments. In most of the post-dictatorship societies, the society is left with the burden of payment. For example, in the case of Nicaragua after the Samosa regime, the country was blocked from access to any external payments until it signed up to pay for the Samosa debts. Another example relates to the transfers into and out of the Chilean democracy while the economy was described as modernising. What is unfair, by any moral consideration, is the idea that the succeeding population which had to struggle for generations to dislodge a dictatorship has to sign up in the international institutional order to meet the contract arrangements of international debt to be able to breathe again. This is extraordinary logic although I would not be dishonest enough to say it surprises me. It does not. I do not have time to discuss the International Monetary Fund. Some other time we can discuss the World Bank, the more humane sections within it and the tensions between the two institutions. However, what is clear from all of their internal reviews is how little the real needs of the people are fed into the structure of their programmes.

I return to the case for offering models of ethi cal governance rather than the old-fashioned development studies? I remember meeting on an aeroplane somebody with whom I had studied in the United States in the 1960s. He was carrying a very large briefcase. When I asked him where he was going he said that he was going to one of the former territories of the Soviet Union. When I asked him what he was doing he said, "I am doing consultancy and I never thought this stuff would be useful again. I just dug it out of the filing cabinet". He had all the material that we had learned – the old modernisation model of the 1960s. He was recycling the old bankrupt advice in the name of consultancy to societies and communities which were restructuring themselves. That is why there is a need not only to take a very long, hard, critical look at institutions but also, much more particularly, to supplement the internal studies conducted by the different organisations, including the ones conducted within the IDA, with external studies to determine what our response is to the opinion of the people on what is being done in their name.

I am not underestimating what is a real issue for anyone involved in the practice of politics or reflecting on politics, that is, the balance between sovereignty and people's needs. Most of the countries which have moved quickly from a colonised status – I welcome the use of that word; there was at least a ten or 15 year period in which it could not be used – value to an almost extreme degree sovereignty which sometimes serves as a block for transparency which is of importance in relation to national transfers.

The Minister said, "If the globalisation of finance, labour markets, communication and commerce is inevitable then the globalisation of rights and responsibilities must follow". I heartily agree. If this is a case for a universalisation of ethics I am in favour of it but what we are getting is deterritorialised accountability. There is no accountability. Given our history, connections and the wish of all sides of the House and the public, it is very important that we be of assistance. Perhaps the best thing we can do is take a good hard look at the international market model and expose it for what it really is, a new wave of market colonisation, not a liberating set of instruments as it is frequently described.

Even in a time of intolerance when economics has become unhinged from the political economy which has become unhinged from our sensibility, it is important that we make this case and help as much as possible in allowing an alternative model to come into existence which will take account of real indigenous needs and capacity to live and make the transitions required if we are to put the statistics into better shape.

The welcome given by Deputies to the Bill is very much appreciated. It was gratifying to note that Deputies were broadly supportive of the IDA and its emphasis on help ing the poorest countries and that they support the commitment of £20 million to the Twelfth Replenishment. The debate on the three yearly replenishment of the IDA offers the Legislature the opportunity to reflect trends and developments in multilateral development assistance and the debate on the IDA 12 Bill has lived up to expectations. I wish to touch on a number of points raised by Deputies and elaborate on some of the points made by the Minister of State, Deputy Cullen, in his opening remarks.

I wish to remark on the IDA's approach to poverty reduction, the central theme of its work. The IDA recognises that its impact on poverty can be judged only by the results which its operations achieve in the field. For the Twelfth Replenishment a number of priorities have been agreed by IDA donors. These will focus on investment in people, which has been shown to be vital for development. It will also promote broad based development and encourage sectoral reforms which promote labour intensive growth and benefit the poor.

Specifically, IDA 12 will give priority to investments in education, health and social programmes; reduction in non-productive expenditure such as excessive military spending; pro-poor policy reforms, especially those which address the needs of the rural poor, small farmers and micro-enterprises; policies to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources; assuring the access of the poor to land, credit and information; establishing basic labour standards and reforming legislation and policies which disadvantage the poor.

Education provides major economic, social, cultural and institutional benefits. A new education sector strategy is being prepared by the IDA which is expected to provide a framework for deepening the policy dialogue with the world's poorest countries on the options for rapidly increasing access to quality basic education with a focus on making better use of Government, donor and private resources. In this context, Deputy Deenihan's suggestion regarding the donation of out-of-date school books to developing countries will be explored.

The question of governance was covered. I stress the importance of this aspect of development in relation to IDA support. It has increasingly been recognised that good governance is essential to economic development and the effectiveness of development assistance. The IDA 12 negotiations identified four dimensions of governance which are particularly important to economic development, poverty reduction and the effective use of IDA resources. These are accountable and competent public institutions, transparent economic and social policies and practices, a predictable and stable legal framework and participation by affected groups and civil society.

IDA lending will be selective in identifying those countries which achieve progress in implementing policy reform programmes, where needed. In particular, it will identify instances of poor governance and corruption. The experience of overseas development aid in recent decades has amply demonstrated that these and, in particular, corruption tend to undermine development and constrain aid effectiveness. Corruption also creates barriers to the effective promotion of private sector development, raising costs and reducing growth. Gender inequality is also inimical to growth in that it deprives a nation of a significant part of its productive assets. Discrimination due to caste, race, ethnicity or religion is also a significant barrier to growth and can even undermine the results already achieved when it leads to civil conflict.

The IDA and the World Bank are committed to addressing the problems of institutional weakness combined with inappropriate or unenforced policy or legal frameworks which often permit corruption to flourish. The IDA recognises that addressing these problems will require a long-term effort, particularly in building up the institutional capacity to make the necessary changes. It will require a strong commitment on the part of the Governments concerned. Such Governments will receive appropriate assistance in their efforts.

Does the Minister of State wish to move the adjournment of the debate?

A Cheann Comhairle, I think it is desirable that this matter conclude so if I could just finish this point. The IDA's mandate will also take into account issues such as democratisation and respect for human rights which can also have important long-term implications for the capacity of a country to initiate and sustain programmes for effective poverty reduction, economic adjustment and growth. It is unfortunate that there is no time to conclude this speech but I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.