O'Donnell welcomes OECD Report on Irish Aid - OECD Report endorses rapid growth and high standards of Irish Aid
Liz O'Donnell TD, Minister of State responsible for Development Aid, today welcomed the findings of the OECD review of the Irish Development Aid Programme.
"The review sets Ireland's aid programme in a very positive light. It shows that we have a high quality, results driven aid programme which has grown faster over the last five years than any of the 20 other OECD donor countries. We set high standards for our aid programme and we put these standards into practice. This has been recognised by our peers" the Minister said.
"This report is very good news and the findings reflect the wealth of experience and competence that we have gained in our 25 years of involvement with developing countries" the Minister added.
" Our growth trend stands dramatically against the international trend in aid flows. Between 1992 and 1997, total aid from DAC member states fell from $60.8 billion to $47.6 billion or from 0.33% to 0.22% of their combined GNPs. During the same period we trebled our aid budget and moved from 0.16% to 0.31% of our GNP. And for 1999 our aid budget is set to reach an estimated 0.35% of GNP" the Minister added.
The Minister said "our aid budget has risen very quickly to the point where we are now half way towards the UN target of 0.7% of GNP."
The OECD says that our rising aid budget is a reflection of Ireland's commitment to reducing poverty in developing countries and the potential for further growth is supported by Ireland's strong economic performance, coupled with solid political and public support.
The strong endorsement of Ireland's Aid programme by the DAC committee is particularly welcome in this, the 25th year of Irish Aid.
The Minister of State also welcomed the Cologne Agreement on debt alleviation for highly indebted poor countries. The Minister said "This was an ancouraging and welcome start to the issue of relieving one of the most pressing problems facing poorer countries today. This initiative should not be seen as an end in itself but as the first stage in a process which will hopefully see an easing of the crippling burden of debt for these countries".