A Better World, Ireland's international development policy, sets out the Government's commitment to alleviating poverty and reaching the furthest behind first.
Ireland works with a variety of partners in order to reach those in greatest need. Ireland, as an EU Member State and, also, working through the United Nations and other multilateral agencies is able to match financial investment in development and humanitarian response with effective advocacy. The Government, through Irish Aid - Ireland's official development assistance programme, managed in my Department - also support the work of Irish NGOs and missionaries in their development work around the world. Through programmes managed by Irish Embassies in Africa, in Vietnam and elsewhere, Ireland is investing in the development of some of the world's poorest countries, complemented in recent years by a new focus on Small Island Developing States with an emphasis on climate resilience. Through these mechanisms and relationships, Ireland provides quality, vital assistance to people living in challenging and insecure environments, helping to improve their lives These engagements give Ireland a significant global presence and footprint, including in fragile states and conflict-affected contexts.
Successive OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) peer reviews have commended Ireland’s development cooperation for its poverty focus and commitment to Least Developed Countries. The OECD DAC’s most recent review, published in May 2020, notes that Ireland 'walks the talk' in allocating ODA to least developed countries and fragile states, priority partners and sectors. The OECD finds that this clear focus enables Ireland to exercise leadership and make a visible difference. The Overseas Development Institute, a leading development think-tank, has also ranked Ireland as the most effective international donor in directing resources to those in extreme poverty.
In 2019 Ireland contributed over €180 million in humanitarian aid, delivering life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable communities across the globe, in partnership with trusted NGOs, UN agencies and the Red Cross Family. Ireland recognises that reducing humanitarian need requires an approach that anticipates the onset of crises, acts fast, and delivers assistance in a way that lays the groundwork for recovery. To this end Irish Aid funding is predictable and timely and our engagement long term. In fragile and protracted contexts such as Somalia, DRC and Yemen, Ireland supports vulnerable populations to become more resilient to shocks and stresses, including climate change and violent conflict. This reduces the need for repeated humanitarian interventions and protects hard won development gains. As the single greatest driver of humanitarian need is conflict, Ireland is committed to conflict prevention and peacebuilding, through the funding of activities as well as political and diplomatic engagement.