Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

181 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, as previously stated, a total of £27.35 million was allocated to non-governmental organisations which represents almost 20% of the funds under direct Ireland aid control for expenditure purposes; if this can be clarified, in view of the fact that the two biggest sending agencies GOAL and Concern received only £4 million between them in 1999; and if he will say which organisation or groups received the other £23.35 million. [7924/01]

As I have indicated, the provisional outturn for the aid programme in 2000 was approximately £210 million, of which £138 million is under the direct control of Ireland Aid through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Non-government organisations received approximately £19 million directly from the Department of Foreign Affairs. In addition, it is estimated that approximately £8.35 million was dispersed to NGOs via APSO and the NCDE – both organisations are directly funded by Ireland Aid. Therefore, in 2000, a total of £27.35 million was allocated to NGOs which represents almost 20% of the funds under direct Ireland Aid control for expenditure purposes. A number of Irish NGOs also receive considerable funding from multilateral agencies such as the UN and the EU to which the Government contributes from its overseas development assistance budget.

The figures alluded to by the Deputy in relation to Concern and GOAL refer to 1999. In that year Ireland's aid programme amounted to £181.4 million, of which £110 million was under the direct control of Ireland Aid. NGOs received approximately £24.6 million which is equivalent to about 22% of funds under the direct control of Ireland Aid for expenditure purposes. A little over £5 million was allocated to GOAL and Concern from Ireland Aid funds, including APSO, in 1999, that is, 20% of the funding provided to NGOs. In addition both NGOs received over £6.5 million from EU funding mechanisms supported by Ireland Aid. A detailed breakdown of individual funding allocations for all NGOs and missionary groups, including GOAL and Concern, is set out in the Ireland Aid annual reports which are available in the Oireachtas Library.

The Development Assistance Committee of the OECD carried out an in-depth review of the Government's programme of development co-operation in 1999 which noted that by the standards of the DAC, Irish official support for NGOs represents a relatively large share of the programme. As I have mentioned on many occasions, I wish to enhance the excellent partnership which has been built with many NGOs and missionary orders over the years. The sub stantial funding channelled through these organisations is indicative of the belief that they are an important channel of aid delivery.
The review of Ireland Aid, chaired by the Minister of State, Deputy O'Donnell, is under way and will be examining all aspects of the aid programme, including working with NGOs. The challenge ahead for all of us committed to maintaining the excellence of our development co-operation programme is how to manage the growth of our aid expenditures, while retaining and enhancing the quality on which Ireland Aid has built its international reputation. Increased expenditures by Ireland Aid or NGOs do not automatically guarantee improved quality delivery and more effective disbursement. The recent article in theTrocaire Development Review entitled, Some Challenges facing the Irish Government and NGOs, provides some useful thoughts and discussion on working more closely with NGOs.
We must remain true to our guiding principles by working at all levels, including with NGOs, to bring about sustainable improvements in the lives of the poor. We must strive to increase our focus on the quality of outcomes and the impact of development programmes and projects. In this endeavour the Ireland Aid review committee has advertised in the national press requesting submissions to its deliberations from interested parties and stakeholders. I hope that there will a wide response in order that the aid review committee may examine as wide a range of submissions as possible. The committee will also consult with the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Question No. 182 answered with Question No. 177.