The demands on the global humanitarian system have increased exponentially in recent years, with a 600% increase in humanitarian needs over the last 12 years. Currently, $24 billion USD in financial aid is needed to address the scale and complexity of these needs, with the clear imperative to ensure maximum positive impact for people affected by the multitude of crises, primarily driven by conflict.
Ireland prioritises the provision of needs based, principled humanitarian aid, to high profile humanitarian crises such as Syria but also to ‘forgotten crises’ which receive less attention such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan and Eritrea.
A central part of maximising Ireland’s response is strong and continued commitment to engaging multilaterally, including through the EU and UN. Such engagement allows Ireland to participate in deliberations and decisions on effective humanitarian assistance to those in greatest need around the world.
An example of this is Ireland’s partnership with the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. OCHA is responsible for coordinating and leading coherent and effective responses to humanitarian crises. OCHA manages the Central Emergency Response Fund (which releases funding rapidly to sudden onset disasters and to crises which are under-funded) and 18 Country Based Pooled Funds. Ireland is a strong supporter of both mechanisms and a member of the OCHA Donor Support Group (ODSG). During 2018, Ireland will become the Chair of the ODSG, working even more closely with OCHA and other donors to enhance the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Ireland also plays a strong role internationally on the protection of civilians and international humanitarian law. For example, Ireland attended the Second Brussels conference on Syria (organised by the EU and UN) where we strongly emphasised adherence to humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and called on all parties to the conflict to fulfil their responsibility to protect civilians and to allow for the safe passage of humanitarian assistance.
Promoting international peace and security in regions of conflict is a core mission of the United Nations. By necessity UN-authorised interventions are most often required in the most sensitive war-zones. Ireland has a strong tradition of contributing to UN and EU peace-support missions, including in some of the world’s most complex and intractable conflicts. Ireland currently participates in six UN peacekeeping missions and twelve EU crisis management missions. This Government is committed to ongoing participation in such peace-keeping operations as a tangible contribution to the development of global peace and security. In particular, Ireland is seeking election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, which presents a valuable opportunity to influence decisions regarding the development of peace keeping missions to ensure the broadest possible protection of the most vulnerable populations.
In a time of growing humanitarian need, Ireland continues to respond, working closely with partners. Our response is rooted in multilateralism and this coordinated response allows us to achieve a much greater impact for humanitarian aid while also seeking to protect the vulnerable.