Press release: Budget 2018 is time for Ireland to catch up on overseas aid

29 august 2017

Dóchas – The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations

Tuesday, 29th August 2017

BUDGET 2018 IS TIME FOR IRELAND TO CATCH UP ON OVERSEAS AID

Dóchas – the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations has called on the Irish Government to get back on track towards achieving the UN target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI*) on overseas development assistance (ODA) in Budget 2018.

Speaking at the launch of the Dóchas pre-budget submission, Dóchas CEO Suzanne Keatinge said, “In 2000, Ireland agreed to the UN target of spending 0.7% of GNI* on ODA. This would mean spending just 70 cent in every €100 to help the poorest people in the world. Spending on ODA peaked at 0.59% in 2008, but since then we have seen a downward trend – with Ireland spending just 0.33% on ODA in 2016.

“We acknowledge that the Irish government worked hard to protect the ODA budget at a time of economic crisis. However, we must now accept that Ireland is falling behind. As the economic recovery picks up, it is time for the government to catch up to its commitments on aid.  It’s about making the right political choices to help the poorest and most marginalised people in the world.”

The pre-budget submission by Dóchas, who represent 60 NGOs working in international development in Ireland, calls on the government to put in place a realistic multi-annual plan to achieve 0.7% by 2025. The first step is to increase the aid budget by 0.05% this year – or in numerical terms – by €128 million.

Keatinge continued, “The aid budget is known to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. At a time of unprecedented political, economic and social upheaval globally – with 128 million people in 33 countries currently in need of humanitarian assistance, and 65 million people displaced from their homes by war and conflict – it is more important than ever that countries like Ireland play their part.

“And we know that the Irish public support increasing the aid budget. In a survey conducted by Dóchas and IPSOS MRBI in May this year, 80% of people agreed that it was important that Ireland keep its promise on overseas aid.

“Committing to the 0.7% target on ODA, by 2025, will also ensure the best possible chance of achieving Ireland’s commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to end hunger, reduce extreme poverty and tackle climate change by 2030. Ireland can be a global leader on the SDGs but funding is urgently required to make that happen.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Aideen Blackwood, Dóchas Communications Officer on 01-4053801 or aideen@dochas.ie.

Notes for the editor:

·         Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations. It provides a forum for consultation and cooperation between its members, and a platform for them to speak with a single voice on development issues. For more information, visit: www.dochas.ie.

·         Dóchas currently has 61 member organisations, who are working in Ireland on issues related to international development.  A list of Dóchas members can be found here - http://dochas.ie/membership/our-members.

·         The full text of the Dóchas pre-budget submission can be found here: http://dochas.ie/sites/default/files/Dochas%20Pre%20Budget%20Submission%202018%20Final.pdf.

·         The CSO published a measurement of national income in July 2017 called Modified GNI (GNI*) this is intended to be a more realistic measurement of size and growth within the Irish economy. More details available here: http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/newsevents/documents/reportoftheeconomicstatisticsreviewgroup/ESRG_Presentation_-_Press_Briefing.pdf.

·         The results of the Dóchas IPSOS MRBI poll from May 2017 can be found here: http://dochas.ie/news/press-release-80-irish-people-think-ireland-should-spend-more-aid.

Data on Ireland’s ODA spending in comparison to other OECD countries is available here: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Data: Net ODA, available from https://data.oecd.org/oda/net-oda.htm