The number and complexity of humanitarian crises globally has increased in recent years, with the UN estimating that over 148 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and protection. Conflict is the most significant driver of this increased need.
Reducing humanitarian need is one of the four key priorities in Ireland's new development policy, A Better World. 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 and Sudan. Over 90% of Ireland’s humanitarian funding in 2018 was directed in support of those affected by conflict.
Critical to maximising Ireland’s response is our strong and enduring commitment to effective multilateralism, particularly through our membership of the European Union and the United Nations. Ireland is a strong contributor to efforts to prevent and to resolve conflict, prevent genocide, and eliminate the abuse of women and children.
Ireland has a long tradition of contributing to UN and EU peace-support missions, including in some of the world’s most complex and intractable conflicts. Ireland has maintained a continuous presence in UN peace support operations since 1958, and has more than 570 personnel in United Nations mandated missions overseas. The Government is committed to participation in peace-keeping operations as a tangible contribution to the development of global peace and security. This commitment informs Ireland’s decision to seek election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2021-22. If elected, membership of the Security Council would allow Ireland to play an important influencing role in the international response to the needs of the most vulnerable.
The Women, Peace and Security Agenda recognises the unique impact of conflict on women and girls and the importance of their full equal and meaningful participation in decision-making at all stages of peace-building and in sustaining peace.
As part of Ireland's commitment to supporting peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts around the world, Ireland is a strong supporter of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Ireland has already implemented two National Action Plans on WPS: (NAP1 2011-2014) and NAP 2 (2015-2018). Ireland's third National Action Plan launched on 21 June 2019, renews and strenghtens this commitment.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 and there is a push internationally for UN Member States to increase their work in this area and to move from rhetoric to the reality around the implementation of national action plans and the inclusion of women in peace processes. Driven by both conviction and experience, Ireland as a global champion on WPS will continue to push this agenda forward through the activities outlined in its NAP. Ireland also continues to support civil society efforts in peacebuilding and mediation, supporting nine partner organisations in 2018, in addition to Ireland's support for the UN's mediation support and Peacebuilding Fund