The past decade has seen a sharp increase in the levels of humanitarian need worldwide. The UN estimate that over 148 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, largely as a result of conflict.
Reducing humanitarian need is one of the four key priorities in Ireland's development policy, a Better World. As well as a committment to the humanitarian principles of neutrality, independence, humanity and impartiality, Ireland is firmly committed to directing our funding to those in greatest need. A study by the ODI, a respected development think tank, has identified Ireland as the most effective donor at challening humanitarian assistance to the most fragile states for the past two years.
This need to reach the furthest behind first is also something that Ireland actively promotes and champions in EU and UN contexts. Over the past number of years Ireland has taken on some key leadership roles in the international humanitarian system. From 2018-2019 Ireland was Chair of the Donor Support Group of the UN's Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs. In this key role Ireland led discussions with the UN and other major donors on ways to improve the effectiveness of the international humanitarian response to major crises.
Ireland is currently co-Chair of the ICRC's Donor Support Group. The ICRC are one of the world's largest humanitarian organisations, often working in the most difficult and senstive conflict zones globally. Ireland will use this role to discuss with other major donors and the ICRC the role of humanitarian actors in protracted crises, and the need to eliminate sexual and gender based violence in humanitarian crises.
As an EU member, Ireland also directly contributes to the EU's humanitarian response - both financially, and through close policy engagement with the EU institutions and other member states. The EU's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) provided around €1 billion in humanitarian assistance in 2018, reaching an estimated 120 million people in need. As well as meeting urgent humanitarian needs, the EU also uses its full range of diplomatic, economic and programmatic instruments to address the underlying causes of fragility, including CSDP missions, the EU Trust Fund for Africa, and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.