The Government is committed to Ireland’s overseas aid programme. This commitment was expressed and enhanced by the publication earlier this year of our new Policy on International Development, “One World, One Future” which clearly sets out our vision for a sustainable and just world, and our goals and areas of focus for the coming years. It also reaffirms the centrality of the aid programme to our foreign policy. The new policy states clearly our commitment to achieving the UN target of providing 0.7% of Gross National Product (GNP) for Official Development Assistance (ODA) when economic circumstances permit.
Over the past two years, the Government has broadly stabilised the budget for development assistance – allocating €629 million on ODA in 2012 and €622 million in 2013. These very significant allocations of public funds clearly demonstrate that we have consolidated the development assistance budget - a major achievement in light of the very difficult fiscal conditions facing the Government. Equally importantly, our aid programme remains one of the best in the world and our leadership on the hunger and nutrition agendas continues to be acknowledged internationally.
The Estimates process for Budget 2014 is now in its final stages and is being framed in the context of the Government’s overall fiscal consolidation strategy. The Departmental budget allocations for 2014 will be a matter for Government decision and will be announced in the Budget Statement next week.