Taoiseach Launches White Paper on Irish Aid
MONDAY 18 SEPTEMBER, 1400hrs
Taoiseach launches White Paper on Irish Aid
Today at the Mansion House the Taoiseach launches the Government's first ever White Paper on Irish Aid.
Reaching the 0.7% of GNP target of expenditure on overseas aid will mean spending in the order of €1.5 billion annually by 2012. The White Paper sets out the blueprint for that expenditure into the future.
Speaking at the launch the Taoiseach said:
“I believe our aid programme is a practical expression of the values that help define what it means to be Irish at the beginning of the 21st century. It represents our sense of broader social concern and our obligation to those with whom we share our humanity. Every day of the week, Irish people, through the aid programme, are providing the human and financial resources to uphold that vision.”
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D. said:
“Through the programme set out in this White Paper: vastly increased development assistance, the commitment to peacekeeping, rapid response to humanitarian disaster and a new focus on conflict resolution, we are adopting this new international role for which we are uniquely positioned.”
Minister Lenihan concluded the launch by saying:
“This is an ambitious plan, on a never before imagined scale. This is the first time in our island history that we have both the money and the expertise to make a real difference. A key challenge for Irish Aid is to how to involve Irish citizens, institutions and expertise in the work we do abroad.”
The publication of the White Paper on Irish Aid follows an extension consultation process with Irish NGOs, international organisations and directly with the Irish public through a series of town hall meetings around the country.
The White Paper outlines key principles that will guide the expansion of the government's aid programme up until 2012.
In addition it announces some new areas of focus and initiatives to allow for greater and active participation by the Irish public.
Malawi is to become Ireland's ninth partner country.
A new Rapid Response Initiative will include a roster of highly-skilled individuals from Ireland for deployment at short notice to emergency situations and disasters as they occur.
A dedicated Unit for Conflict Analysis and Resolution will be established at the Department of Foreign Affairs to share Ireland's experience and knowledge of conflict resolution and peace-building.
A Hunger Task Force will be set up, drawing on public and private sector expertise to tackle the root causes of food insecurity, particularly in Africa.
Early in 2007 the government will open a Information and Volunteering Centre to facilitate those wishing to volunteer to work in the developing world.
Note for Editors
The White Paper on Irish Aid is being launched today at 1.45pm in the Round Room at the Mansion House.
The White Paper can be downloaded from: www.irishaid.gov.ie
18 September 2006