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Overseas Development Aid.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 23 October 2007

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Questions (53)

Pat Breen

Question:

109 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount of aid given to organisations in Sudan; the way this funding to used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25024/07]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

There has been a sharp deterioration in 2007 in the security and humanitarian situation in Sudan, particularly Darfur. The current crisis represents a significant challenge to efforts to help the people of Sudan. Humanitarian access remains very difficult for aid workers in their efforts to reach those most in need. The security situation within some of the camps remains very volatile.

In 2006 and to date in 2007, Ireland has provided funding of approximately €32.5 million to support humanitarian operations and longer-term development engagement in Sudan. The objective is to save lives and help rebuild livelihoods of some of the most marginalised and poor people in Sudan.

So far in 2007, we have provided a little over €10 million in life saving humanitarian support. This includes €3 million to the Common Humanitarian Fund for Sudan. This is a mechanism which places funds at the disposal of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan in order that assistance can be rapidly deployed to those most in need. Funding has also been provided to organisations such as Concern, GOAL, Trócaire, Oxfam, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) for their humanitarian operations.

In relation to longer-term development work, the Government has provided in 2007 funding of approximately €5.8 million to three Irish Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) — Concern, GOAL and Trócaire — as part of our Multi Annual Partnership Scheme (MAPS). These programmes focus on health, education, nutrition and HIV/AIDS, water, sanitation and food security.

Assistance amounting to €2 million has also been provided to the African Peace Facility in order to support the African Union's peacekeeping efforts in Sudan.

In addition to the provision of funding, Ireland has disbursed essential, non-food relief supplies — tarpaulins for temporary shelter and mosquito nets — from our emergency stockpile in Brindisi, Italy to Kassala, northern Sudan. These supplies were delivered as part of the Government's Rapid Response Initiative and were provided to GOAL to assist in its emergency operations following serious flooding in that region.

I believe there is an urgent need for a full, rapid and successful deployment of the joint UN-AU Mission, UNAMID, to succeed the African Union Mission in Sudan. I urge the Government of Sudan to cooperate fully with the UN and AU on deployment of UNAMID and all parties to cease attacks on civilians and obstruction of humanitarian access.

It is in the context of Ireland's concern for the vulnerable of this region that the Government has decided in principle to contribute personnel to the planned European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) mission in Chad and the Central African Republic, which will assist the many thousands of people in these countries displaced by the Darfur crisis.

My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., intends, subject to security considerations, to travel to the region next month in order to reiterate the priority Ireland attaches to assisting all the people of Sudan and the region to achieve peace and development.

I will continue to keep the evolving humanitarian crisis in Sudan under review, providing funding to save lives, while encouraging and supporting all efforts to forge the political solution, which is absolutely essential to bring about security, stability and human development.

Question No. 110 answered with QuestionNo. 96.
Question No. 111 answered with QuestionNo. 87.
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