Publication of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Annual Report for 2006
The Minister for Foreign Affairs has accepted his Department’s Annual Report for 2006, which was prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Management Act, 1997.
The report details the progress made by the Department during 2006 in delivering on its strategic high level goals and operational objectives. Significant progress was made across the broad range of issues dealt with by the Department.
Areas covered by the Report include:
· The publication of the St. Andrews Agreement in October, which represented further significant progress towards the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Movement on the political front was accompanied by the deepening of North / South co-operation and reconciliation on the island.
· The publication of the first ever Government White Paper on Development Aid, including a range of new initiatives in this area, and the delivery of an internationally recognised high quality Aid Programme, which exceeded €600M in 2006.
· The enhanced delivery and development of consular protection and passport services to Irish citizens throughout the world, including
- the introduction (on target and well within budget) of the ePassport in October,
- the successful, early mass evacuation of Irish citizens from Lebanon in July (the first ever such mass evacuation by the Government), and
- increased financial assistance to, and improvement of, emigrant services in Britain, the US and elsewhere.
· The situation in the Middle East and the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which dominated the European and international political agenda in 2006. The Report details the activities of the Minister and the Department (including targeted visits by the Minister) to assist European and wider international efforts to resolve these crises.
· The Department’s continued support for the process of reform and renewal within the UN, building on the Minister’s work in 2005 as Special Envoy to the UN Secretary General.
· The establishment of a Conflict Resolution Unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs, which over time aims to make a positive and distinctive Irish contribution in selected areas of conflict around the world.
· The active and constructive engagement of the Department in ongoing debates about the Future of Europe and its enlargement, including the sponsorship of legislation for the recent accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU.
· The extensive activities undertaken by the Department and its Missions in promoting Ireland’s economic and cultural interests abroad.
The Report also details achievements and developments in the Department’s financial and human resources management, including progress in preparing for the decentralisation of the Development Cooperation Directorate to Limerick.
The full report is available (in Irish and English) on the Department’s website www.dfa.ie.Top