O'DONNELL APPROVES IR£4.8 MILLION PACKAGE OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., Minister of State for Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Development Cooperation, today announced a package of Ireland Aid grants totaling IR£4.8 million to meet ongoing emergency humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance needs in 18 post-emergency countries, including East Timor and Bosnia. ( A full list of countries/regions is attached).
Since 1994 Ireland Aid has spent more than IR£6 million on mine action projects and support for victims in countries such as Mozambique, Bosnia, Angola and Cambodia.
The Minister said: "The existence of landmines is a scourge and a major obstacle to development in many post-conflict countries. The assistance approved today includes support for projects in Cambodia and Angola. Each of these projects produces artificial limbs which give victims of landmines the opportunity to rebuild their lives in a dignified way. Most of the staff working on these projects are disabled themselves which enhances the worth of the projects."
" Ireland also played a leading role in the negotiation of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines and was among the first countries to ratify it."
"As well as supporting long term development Ireland continues to play its part in responding to the most urgent and pathetic humanitarian needs in the world. However, we do not see people in these countries as passive recipients of aid. Examples of this can be seen in two of the projects I have approved today in Afghanistan and Angola."
"A maternal health care programme will be funded to assist Afghan women who have limited access to health care and the highest infant mortality rate in the world. The programme provides training and medical supplies to midwives who subsequently work to improve, and in many cases save, the lives of mothers and their children. In Angola many people displaced by the conflict are currently entirely dependent on food aid. Ireland is supporting the provision of seeds and tools so that people can grow their own food."
The estimates for ODA for 2001 show an increase of IR£52m over 2000. This will bring ODA as a percentage of GNP to 0.35%. We are on course to reach the interim target set in the Programme for Government of 0.45% in 2002 - totaling IR£365m.
Work is now progressing for laying the basis for the mix of activities and programmes to manage and spend this massive expansion of the budget. To this end a review is planned over the next three months in consultation with all the stakeholders in the Irish overseas development programme.
The Countries/regions covered in the IR£4.8 million package are:
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Kosovo)
Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia)