Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon, speaking during his recent visit to the Irish Consulate in New York. Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, is standing in the background.
By Irish Echo Staff
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, has welcomed his government’s 2019 budget and its “significant increase in funding” for Ireland’s work to reduce global poverty and hunger, and to better respond to ongoing humanitarian challenges.
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The budget’s estimated total in overseas development aid for 2019 amounts to €816.9 million, an increase of €109.8 over the previous total.
“I am pleased that this year the government was able to significantly increase the funding available to overseas development assistance – the highest increase in ODA in over a decade,” said Coveney in a statement.
“This is a credible first step towards meeting the government commitment to dedicate 0.7% of GNI (Gross National Income) to ODA by 2030. And today’s announcement includes a €44.8 million increase in 2019 for Irish Aid, the international development programme managed by my department.”
And Coveney continued: “Our investment in international development and in the collective response to humanitarian disasters is an important statement of who we are as a people.
“It is also clearly in our interest to contribute to global solutions for global problems. As a small state, as an island, and as an open economy, we are better off when countries work together.
“Ireland does development well and we have a reputation for quality. Just last month, a well-respected think tank, ODI, issued a study which found that Ireland was the most effective donor at reaching those in extreme poverty. What we are doing works and has real impact.
“There have been many reminders in recent years of the interconnectedness of our world. The Ebola crisis, to which Ireland responded in a way which should make people proud, showed the importance of investing in health systems not just at home but abroad.
“We see other European countries struggle to respond to movements of people resulting from conflict and lack of economic opportunity. At the same time, countries objectively much worse off than EU Member States are hosts to millions of refugees.
“The effects of climate change are affecting our neighbouring continents. Ireland, as a global island, has a responsibility to help with the collective response – and it is fundamentally in our interest to do so.
“The UN’s 2030 agenda and the EU plan for Africa announced by President (Jean Claude) Juncker last month set out a path for how this response can be shaped. A healthier, safer world in which millions more people can work in dignity close to home is in our interest.
“That is why after last year’s budget I announced that I would bring forward a new policy on international development. Work on that is nearing completion, following the closing of public consultations. This policy, once launched, will guide us in our international development efforts over busy but exciting years ahead for Irish Aid.”
Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon, added: “I am delighted that the government has today committed to increasing Ireland’s ODA spend by €109.8 in 2019. This will ensure that Ireland remains on track to achieving our commitments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Irish Aid, the Irish government’s overseas development programme, is internationally recognised as one of the most effective aid programmes in the world and in 2017 we provided assistance to people in over 130 countries around the world. The Irish people can be proud of what we have achieved so far but there is more to do.
“Ireland remains committed to leaving no one behind and in particular to reaching those furthest behind first. Our new international development policy will be crucial in guiding our work in 2019 and beyond.”