Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) is an essential element of our overall foreign policy and national presence overseas, enabling Ireland to respond to complex human needs and humanitarian crises around the world. Peer reviews by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have consistently stated that Ireland’s development cooperation programme is of the highest quality. In addition, the Overseas Development Institute, an internationally recognised policy think-tank, recently ranked Ireland first in its efficiency at targeting extreme poverty.
Along with a group of likeminded countries, including other EU partners, the Government remains committed to making incremental, sustainable progress towards achieving the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2030. The Government reaffirmed its commitment to delivering this target in its Global Ireland 2025 Strategy and in A Better World, Ireland’s policy for international development. In making this commitment, the Government recognised that reaching 0.7% will require a significant expansion in ODA volumes over the next decade and, importantly, that difficult choices would be required between competing priorities, especially if economic circumstances change.
Based on current projections for economic growth achieving this target by 2030 would mean more than tripling the current allocations to ODA. Sustained, substantial and carefully managed increments will be required in order to maintain and improve on Ireland’s reputation for quality and given that the point of departure is 0.31% of GNI this year.
The Government is already making progress, with Budget 2019 seeing the highest increase in funding available to ODA in over a decade. Irish ODA is forecast to reach almost €817 million, an increase of approximately €110 million on 2018’s budget announcements.
Budget 2020 is being prepared in exceptional circumstances and on the basis of Government assessments of the implications of a possible no deal Brexit. Given the challenges that this may present, Budget 2020 is being framed prudently.