Written answers

Thursday, 6 October 2005

Department of Foreign Affairs

Overseas Development Aid

5:00 pm

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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Question 39: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action being taken by Ireland to assist in meeting the millennium development goals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26912/05]

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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Question 119: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the recent UN summit in New York to discuss proposals for general UN reform and to review progress towards the achievement of the millennium development goals; the progress that has been made to date on each of the goals; the position regarding Ireland's priorities on both of these key areas at the United Nations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26836/05]

Photo of Conor LenihanConor Lenihan (Minister of State, Department of Foreign Affairs; Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Question Nos. 39 and 119 together.

Ireland attaches the greatest importance to the millennium development goals and has adopted them as the overarching framework for our development co-operation programme. The goals correspond to Development Co-operation Ireland's focus on reducing poverty and supporting the provision of basic services to the poorest people. Deputies will be aware that the Taoiseach announced on 14 September in New York that our official development assistance will reach the target of 0.7% of GNP by 2012, three years earlier than the agreed EU deadline of 2015. A proportion of this increased funding will be devoted to such purposes as combating HIV-AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases, assisting countries in emergency situations and in reconstruction following conflict. We are continuing our programme of support to education, basic health services, water and sanitation in the seven countries where we have established co-operation programmes and will be looking at the possibilities for extending such co-operation to other similar countries. We provide substantial support to the work of Irish non-governmental organisations in the development field as well as to the major UN bodies such as UNICEF, UNDP and the High Commissioner for Refugees.

The timetable we have set ourselves places Ireland in the forefront of donors worldwide. On the basis of current anticipated growth rates, spending on ODA would be of the order of €1.5 billion in 2012 and would be maintained at that level at least in subsequent years. We have interim targets of 0.5% of GNP in 2007 and 0.6% in 2010. In regard to UN reform, I refer the Deputy to the Minister's reply today to Question No 1 on this issue.

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