In recent years approximately 80% of Ireland's Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget has been allocated to Vote 27 — International Cooperation which is managed by my Department through its external delivery vehicle, Irish Aid. The remaining 20% is accounted for through ODA eligible contributions by other Government Departments and Ireland's share of the EU Development Cooperation budget.
Total ODA for 2010 was €676 million of which €522 million was expended by my Department. Total ODA for 2011 was €651 million of which €521 million was expended by my Department. Total estimated ODA for 2012 is €639 million and I expect that approximately €514 million will be expended by my Department. I would additionally note that total ODA expenditure dropped by approximately 30% between 2008 and 2011. Current expenditure levels equate to approximately 0.5% of GNP and the Programme for Government commits us to reaching the UN target of 0.7%. We will seek to achieve this by 2015.
Ireland's aid programme prioritises the fight against global poverty and hunger, focusing on the world poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. It has an enviable international reputation and is recognised as one of the best and most effective aid programmes in the world.
The programme reflects the core values of the Irish people and continues to enjoy very strong public support, even in the current very difficult economic circumstances. As recently as last week an independent poll showed that almost 90% of people are proud and supportive of their aid programme.
The Government is ambitious for, and committed to, the aid programme. We are determined that it will maintain and build on its high international reputation, and continue to build the foundations for real change, future prosperity and well being in the lives of many of the world's poorest people.