Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Irish Aid

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin Bay North, Labour)
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449. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when the Rapid Response Corps Panel will be open for new applicants; if the existing panel members will have to reapply when applications for a new panel are opened; if not, if they will be automatically enrolled if they wish; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32489/22]

Photo of Colm BrophyColm Brophy (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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The Rapid Response Corps is an important element of my Department's humanitarian response capacity, complementing the support to humanitarian agencies which my Department provides through the Irish Aid programme and our diplomacy, including on the Security Council. 

The Corps is a roster of dedicated experts drawn from a range of professional backgrounds applicable in humanitarian contexts and willing to be deployed in response to a request from one of four United Nations standby partners with whom my Department has formal arrangements to assist in their response to a humanitarian crisis.  The four standby partners are UN OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP. 

Deployment is typically at short notice and in response to severe, sudden-onset crises and emergencies. My Department nominates people on the roster with requested skill sets but the decision to accept a nomination is for the requesting standby partner.  My officials maintain regular dialogues with each of the standby partners, and with the Standby Partnership Network, on issues relating to the deployment of personnel from our Rapid Response Corps.   

Looking forward, it is important that Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps continues to have the evolving range of skillsets required by each of the four UN standby partners so that they can respond quickly and effectively to sudden onset crises. This requires the periodic refreshment of the skills base which Ireland can offer.  My officials are currently assessing whether the current roster has the skills necessary to support our standby partners in the evolving global humanitarian context.  That assessment will inform how my Department structures the next call for applications to the Corps, which I anticipate would be during 2023.

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