Ireland’s Overseas Development Assistance is an essential foreign policy tool, enabling Ireland to respond to complex human needs and humanitarian crises around the world. Along with a group of like-minded 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). The Programme for Government states that `we will continue to make progress towards achieving the UN target of 0.7% of gross national product for ODA, as resources allow’.
Progress towards achieving the UN target needs to be made in a sustainable and manageable way, with a critical focus on the delivery of quality interventions designed to achieve sustainable results. Ireland’s development cooperation programme has been recognised as among the best in the world from a quality perspective, including by the Brookings Institute and the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.
The Tánaiste has committed to a new White Paper on international development policy during 2018. This White Paper requires careful planning and consultation with other Government Departments and stakeholders on how to make progress on the UN target. This preparatory phase is underway, and will set the scene for a public consultation in line with national guidelines.
The ambition in the White Paper will be to put in place the policies which will enable Ireland to continue to lead and deliver global aspirations for a better world, as reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A strong voice for Ireland in international development will extend our global footprint, underpin our support for a rules based international order, conflict prevention and peace building, contribute to the reduction of poverty and hunger, and assist in disaster alleviation, with a focus on the impacts of climate change.
The White Paper will also build on the independent work of the review of the Irish Aid programme recently completed by the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence (JCFATD).