Thursday, 23 June 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Overseas Development Aid
133. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the degree to which Ireland’s overseas development aid programme continues to engage with the most seriously deserving cases worldwide in order to address such issues as starvation, famine, conflict, abuse of women and children and other human rights violations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33199/22]
The priorities for the Government’s investments in international development are set out in A Better World, the white paper on international development published in 2019. The focus is on reaching the furthest behind first, through working with those living in some of the world’s poorest or most climate-exposed countries and those living in conflict settings, with a particular emphasis protecting women and girls. Around two thirds of Ireland’s international development programme, frequently called Irish Aid, is managed by my Department.
The quality of Irish Aid’s work is internationally recognised. A 2020 OECD Peer Review of Ireland's development cooperation found Ireland to be a strong voice for sustainable development which invests in strong partnerships with civil society and was effective in addressing fragility. Also in 2020, the international think-tank ODI found Ireland to be the most principled donor country in allocating overseas development aid. This year, the budget day allocation to Official Development Assistance exceeded €1 billion for the first time, a 20% increase on the 2021 allocation.
A longstanding strength of the Irish Aid programme has been working to reduce hunger, through investment in food systems, knowledge sharing, climate action, and humanitarian response. This year, at least €193 million in Irish Aid funding will go to improving food security. I recently issued a call for urgent collective action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Horn of Africa, following four consecutive failed rainy seasons. We have also sought to use our role on the UN Security Council to champion hunger, including through our role as penholder on the Conflict and Hunger file.
My Department’s interventions are informed by a focus on governance and rights, including support for the essential work of human rights defenders through our diplomacy and through the Irish Aid programme. I attach priority to championing the prevention of, and responses to, gender-based violence, including at the Human Rights Council and on the Security Council.