O'Donnell to chair top level review of Irish Overseas Aid Programme
The Government today gave the go-ahead for a review of the county's overseas development programme administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs. This follows the Government decision in September last to quadruple Irish ODA spending to an estimated IR£800m by 2007, and to IR£365m by 2002. Currently, the overall ODA budget amounts to IR£208m with a IR£52m increase set for next year. This will mean that Ireland will reach the UN target for ODA as a percentage of GNP of 0.7% by 2007, and the interim target set by the Programme for Government of 0.45% of GNP by 2002.
Minister of State, Liz O'Donnell TD, who is responsible for ODA, is to chair the review group which aims to set out the best possible basis for the expanded programme. "This will involve a fresh look at policy and practice in Ireland's engagement with the wider world in human development terms. What is vital is that we seize this opportunity, presented by secure funding for the first time to ensure coherence, direction and impact of ODA as a central plank of Government foreign policy," she added.
Minister O'Donnell said she believed we could build on the strengths of our current programme which was widely acclaimed and learn from the experience of other countries who have major development programmes. "I also want to increase the sense of public ownership of the Irish ODA programme so that our citizens understand the complexities of aid and development," she added.
The Review Group will include independent experts and representations from several Government Departments relevant to ODA and will involve consultations and inputs from all stakeholders such as Irish Agencies and NGOs, multilateral agencies, developing countries themselves, and the Oireachtas.
"Having at last placed the ODA budget on a secure footing into the future, the task now is to manage and devise the best mix of activities for maximum impact on poverty, disease and chronic underdevelopment in the world.
Ireland brings to ODA our race memory of famine and disease; empathy with and experience of emigration and underdevelopment. We also bring contemporary experience of rapid development, peacekeeping and multilateralism".
Now that we as a country are rich, our practical solidarity with the poor is more important than ever before," the Minister said.Top