Thursday, 12 February 2004

Ceisteanna (49, 50, 51)

John Perry

Ceist:

34 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Government will meet the UN target of 0.7% of GNP for overseas development assistance in 2007; his views on whether progress towards reaching this target has stalled, with overseas development assistance remaining at 0.41% for the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4247/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Liz McManus

Ceist:

87 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the allocation for ODA in his Department's Estimates for 2004; if it remains the Government's commitment to meet the target for ODA of 0.7% of GNP by 2007; the proportion of that target that will be met in 2004 and in each successive year up to 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4193/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

131 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he expects to achieve the UN recommended targets in overseas development aid for this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4479/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 87 and 131 together.

The Government continues to have as an objective the achievement of the ODA target of 0.7% of GNP by 2007. Every effort is being made to provide the resources needed to work towards that target. Despite the many pressures on the public finances at present, an allocation of €400 million has been made in the 2004 Estimates to my Department's Vote for international co-operation. In addition, elements of ODA which are administered by other Government Departments are expected to total some €80 million this year. Total spending on ODA, therefore, is expected to approach €480 million in 2004, the highest ever in the history of the programme. This level of expenditure, in difficult budgetary circumstances, demonstrates the profound commitment of the Government to the attainment of the UN target.

In 2001, our aid expenditure amounted to 0.33% of GNP. Provisional figures indicate that the percentage in 2003 was 0.41%. This year it is likely to reach the same level or possibly exceed it. In percentage terms, Ireland will remain one of the world's leading donors — we are currently in seventh place — and well ahead of the EU average. The Government hopes that increased allocations, the scale and timing of which will be considered on an ongoing basis, will be possible over the coming years with a view to the achievement of our objective. As budgetary circumstances improve, we hope that renewed momentum towards the UN target will be possible.

Question No. 35 answered with QuestionNo. 25.
Question No. 36 answered with QuestionNo. 21.