As an all-island organisation with supporters in the north and south of Ireland, Trócaire has urged both the Irish and UK governments to play their parts to help rebuild the world in a just and sustainable way. It calls for international commitments on aid spending, as well as a renewed focus on climate action and protecting human rights.
Trócaire’s CEO Caoimhe de Barra said:
“COVID-19 has highlighted how interconnected and interdependent we are. It has also highlighted how vulnerable the poorest members of our global society are to sudden shocks. Too many countries lack basic healthcare. Too many countries lack safety nets to protect their people.
“Overseas aid works. It has lifted millions out of poverty, slashed maternal and infant mortality rates, and led to more people being in school than ever before. Aid works but aid budgets are now under threat due to the COVID financial crisis. We can’t let the poorest people in the world suffer most.
“Countries including the Republic of Ireland have already committed to spending 0.7% of their national income on helping the world’s poorest people. That commitment amounts to spending just 70c for every €100, but Irish Governments have so far failed to do that. At a time when the World Food Programme has said that COVID fall-out threatens famines of ‘biblical proportions’ – with an additional 265 million people possibly facing starvation by the end of 2020 – we need to do the right thing and invest in protecting the world’s poorest people.”
Trócaire’s call comes against the backdrop of the recent merger of the UK’s Dept for International Development with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Caoimhe de Barra said: “Now more than ever the UK needs to do the right thing and help those in the developing world by ensuring overseas aid focuses on alleviating poverty and is not used to solely further UK national interest.
“The UK is currently meeting the spending commitment of 0.7% of national income, which is admirable, but the quality of that aid must be maintained. With the real possibility of cuts to the aid budget due to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the government must not cut spending in the areas that make the biggest difference for the poorest people, such as health, education and nutrition. The government must also ensure there is no politicisation of humanitarian assistance to further the UK national interest which could put the lives of aid workers directly at risk and prevent aid from reaching the most vulnerable.
“We have a unique window of opportunity to transform to more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies that leave no-one behind. Building back better is not a return to business as usual. Trócaire calls for a global recovery that puts both sustainability and human rights at the heart of the response at home and internationally.”
Trócaire’s ‘Build Back Better’ campaign calls on the Irish Government to:
- Protect Overseas Aid from cuts in Budget 2021
- Pass the new Climate Action Bill within 100 days of government
- Introduce mandatory human rights due diligence for transnational businesses
- Enact the Occupied Territories Bill to prevent the importation of goods from illegal settlements
The ‘Build Back Better’ campaign calls on the UK Government to:
- Ensure the new Department with responsibility for overseas aid has a clear mission statement that puts a commitment to eradicating poverty at its heart
- Ensure that any cuts made to the aid budget due to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy do not affect spending in the areas that make the biggest difference for the poorest people (such as health, education and nutrition).
- Ensure there is no politicisation of humanitarian assistance to further the UK national interest which could put the lives of aid workers directly at risk and prevent aid from reaching the most vulnerable