Public support in Ireland for Overseas Development Aid remains high in latest Worldview data

Latest findings from the Worldview Research Project launched today

19 Mar 2024

NEW WORLDVIEW research reveals the vast majority of Irish people continue to support Irish Government spending on Overseas Development Aid (ODA). However, understanding of the impact of climate change and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is low.

The research – published by Dóchas, the Irish network for international development and humanitarian organisations – finds that 3 out of 4 people (76%) agree it is important to provide overseas aid, with 29% in favour of increasing the level of spending. Nearly 3 in 5 people (57%) say we have a moral obligation to personally support overseas aid.

This is the 4th wave of Worldview research on Irish attitudes to overseas development aid and associated sustainable development issues, undertaken by Ipsos Behaviour and Attitudes with a sample of 2,515 adults. The first wave of research was conducted in February 2021.

Specific additional questions on climate change analysed by the Development Engagement Lab revealed a “not me not now” attitude. Only 14% of the Irish public believe climate change will impact them a great deal, 59% say it is a problem for future generations, and 51% say it is a problem for developing countries in the global south.

When it comes to responsibility for climate change, 43% of respondents believe it is a matter for “other” people in Ireland apart from themselves. 40% said it is the responsibility of the Irish Government and only 17% said it is their personal responsibility.

Rather than taxing or limiting flights, or imposing tougher levies on car emissions, the majority of people said actions including halting deforestation, reducing consumption, and encouraging recycling are the most effective ways to reduce the impact of climate change.

The research also found that only 12% of Irish people were aware of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 56% not aware.

Speaking at the research launch CEO of Dóchas, Jane-Ann McKenna said: “We welcome the latest Worldview results and the fact that high levels of support for ODA have remained intact at 76%. At a time when we’re witnessing the direct and devastating impacts of conflict, climate and hunger it is clear Irish people recognise the vital support that is provided though ODA, and see a need to continue this shared sense of solidarity.” 

Ms McKenna added: “Ireland’s long-standing commitment to increase overseas aid to low-income countries, and those who are the furthest behind across the globe, is a promise which Irish people support.  However, we are concerned about the low levels of knowledge and awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals especially as 2023 marked the halfway point towards the 2030 deadline.”

“More ambitious, accelerated and transformative action is needed to communicate and implement the SDGs nationally. Eight years on from the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the world is on track to achieve only 15% of the 140 SDG targets, with regression or no progress on approximately 30% of the targets.”

Ms McKenna concluded: “More needs to be done to highlight how our own actions can impact climate and the devastating effects this can have on developing countries.”

The full research can be viewed in the Worldview Toolkit.

 Worldview Wave 4 Results Highlights

Specific questions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change revealed that:


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