Thursday, 17 December 2015
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Overseas Development Aid
513. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade how the priority area for action in One World One Future relating to hunger and nutrition is being advanced by positions Ireland is taking at this week's World Trade Organisation ministerial conference; if Ireland is supporting binding outcomes for least developed countries which would advance their peoples' food and livelihood security; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45729/15]
The 10thMinisterial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is taking place from 15th to 18thDecember in Nairobi. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is the lead Department on WTO matters. My colleague, Mr. Damien English T.D., Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation is representing Ireland at the Ministerial Conference. At the WTO, the European Commission leads negotiations on behalf of the European Union, including all 28 Member States. Ireland is actively participating in the formulation of EU positions at the negotiations.
Ireland’s development co-operation programme, which is at the heart of our foreign policy, recognises that international trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty, including the fight against hunger and undernutrition. My Department liaises closely with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to ensure that the needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are taken into account in the articulation of Ireland’s position on the WTO at EU level. Ireland supports agreement on a development package at the Ministerial Conference, especially on following up the decisions taken at the ninth Ministerial Conference on duty-free, quota-free access; on an LDC Services Waiver; on Rules of Origin; and on Cotton and Food Security.
I understand that Minister of State English, while attending the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) in Nairobi, has urged the EU Commission to strive for a balanced negotiated outcome from this week’s Ministerial Conference which would deliver a tangible dividend for LDCs. I also understand that with the assistance of our Embassy in Nairobi, he is having discussions with a number of local non-governmental development organisations.
Ireland has also provided €50,000 this year to support LDC participation at the Ministerial Conference so that the Least Developed Countries can be present and make their voices heard directly during the negotiations.