Ireland is recognised as a world leader in overseas development, so we were pleased to see the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade today strongly endorse Irish Aid’s approach to reducing global poverty.
The Joint Committee today published its review of Irish Aid and its overseas development programme. The review has developed a set of clear, realistic and achievable recommendations, which the Government should be encouraged to implement.
The review calls for a firm commitment to achieving overseas development expenditure of 0.7% of GNI by 2030 and calls on the Government to publish a roadmap outlining how it will reach this target.
This cross party commitment to achieve the sustainable development goals on time is very welcome.
A family in Somalia stand at a tent donated by Irish Aid through Trócaire. (Photo: Allan Gichigi / Trócaire)
The Committee also recommends that Irish Aid continues to champion 100% untied and quality aid.
Tackling climate change is highlighted as being key towards poverty reduction. Ireland’s poor record on climate action is a concern as it adversely affects the poorest people in the world. The committee noted that this is a matter where increased policy coherence across Government is essential if the Irish Aid programme is to have maximum impact.
Finally, with the strong link between violent conflict and poverty, we welcome the recommendation to increase the focus on peacebuilding, which must increase efforts to prevent and end conflict in line with World Humanitarian Summit commitments.
Should Ireland be successful in securing a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021, this would provide an excellent opportunity to advocate for stronger and improved work on peacebuilding.
While today is already too late for families trapped in Syria or Yemen, now more than ever there is an urgency for greater focus on peace, ending conflict and protecting civilians. And Ireland can and must play a strong role in that.