20/04/2009 - Ireland’s net official development assistance (ODA) was USD 1.3 billion in 2008, a 90% increase over 2003 in real terms. Ireland’s aid grew from 0.39% of gross national income in 2003 to 0.58% in 2008 during a period of exceptional national economic growth.
Ireland ranked 6th among members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2007 in terms of ODA as a percentage of GNI. In 2009, however, as a result of the global economic crisis the Irish government reduced Ireland’s budget for overseas development by EUR 95 million. The DAC strongly urges the Irish government to continue working toward meeting its 0.7% ODA/GNI target in 2012.
Ireland is a champion in making aid more effective. Poverty reduction is the overarching goal of Irish Aid, and reflecting this, its programme is well concentrated on a limited number of very poor African countries. Ireland is a predictable and flexible donor, and its attention to local priorities is appreciated by the developing country partners with whom it works.
Ireland’s approach to Irish NGOs and multilateral partners is strategic and targeted and it provides humanitarian assistance in accordance with internationally agreed principles.
Ireland is balancing efforts to meet the best international development standards while dealing with the impact of the global economic crisis. Irish Aid is a strong, cutting edge, development co-operation programme, fully integrated into the Department of Foreign Affairs. However, the move of its headquarters from the capital poses challenges. It will take time before the long-term impact on the aid programme can be assessed, and the DAC urges careful monitoring.
Ireland is focussing on achieving results and should enhance its efforts to measure the impact of its aid programme. The DAC urges Ireland to communicate development results to the public to maintain support for overseas development.
The Development Assistance Committee, which groups major aid donors that are members of the OECD, issued its Main Findings and Recommendations on Ireland as part of a series of examinations of member aid policies and programmes. The peer review, led by Italy and New Zealand, took place on 24 March. The Irish delegation attending the review meeting was headed by Peter Power, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for Overseas Development and Human Rights.