Government to seek public submissions on future of aid policy
Conor Lenihan T.D., Minster of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, today announced that the Government is to seek public submissions on the future direction of the Ireland's overseas aid programme.
These submissions will form part of a broad process of public consultation over the coming months, which will include a series of public meetings and a stakeholder conference. It is intended that this process will lead to the publication of the first ever White Paper on development policy in 2006.
Inviting the submissions, Minister of State Lenihan said;
“This will be the first ever White Paper on overseas development policy. The Irish public, as well as NGOs and others who are familiar with the problems of developing countries, should be given every chance to express their views on all aspects of our development cooperation policies.
Public interest in the Government's aid programme has always been high and this process will give us a chance for us to hear what the public want us do with what is, essentially, their money.
The consultation process will also give us an opportunity to inform the public about the work that we do, on their behalf, not only in offering assistance in the event of natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami, but also in our longer term development programmes, primarily in Africa.”
The Government has already earmarked a minimum sum of €1.8 billion for the next three years, 2005 – 2007 for overseas aid. This makes Ireland the eighth largest contributor of aid in the world when calculated on a per capita basis.
The aim of the White Paper, in the context of this rapidly increasing budget, is to set out coherent, effective and sustainable policy priorities for the Government's official programme of development assistance, and that is informed by both public and expert opinion and meets with best practices in the field.
Advertisements calling for submissions will appear in the national papers tomorrow, 17 February.
16th February 2005
For more information on the Irish Government's official aid programme, Development Cooperation Ireland, please go to: www.dci.gov.ieTop