Ireland among best at targeting overseas aid
IRELAND HAS some of the best targeted overseas aid in the world, and remains an inspiration to other EU countries, according to the global charity the One campaign.
The campaign, which was co-founded by Bono in 2004 and works in an advocacy role for the developing world, has given Ireland’s official development assistance programme a glowing report.
Its annual report praised Ireland for “not turning its back on the world’s poor”.
It said that total official development assistance decreased by just 3.1 per cent between 2010 and 2011 despite severe budgetary constraints.
Ireland also remains ahead of its interim target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas development aid by 2015.
In addition, it is ahead of countries such as Germany, France and Finland, who are net contributors to the EU bailout fund, in reaching those targets.
Ireland contributed €650 million in official development assistance in 2011, and is joint sixth in the EU 27 in terms of reaching the 2015 target.
Ireland is ranked as the top European country in terms of maximising the efficiency of aid given.
This means that it passes through a minimal number of organisations on the way to poor people, and reduces the administrative burden on recipient countries.
It is second in terms of fostering institutions in developing countries, and fourth in terms of the transparency of aid.
One’s executive director Jamie Drummond said the Irish public should be proud of the country’s continuing commitment to official development assistance, and it “removed the excuse” of other countries using the global economic crisis to cut their contributions.
He said Ireland was playing a leadership role in Europe by “holding the line”, and was in a position to press others to do likewise when it holds the EU presidency next year.
“It is important that people in Ireland who are having a hard time know that Ireland’s aid money is among the best spent in the world.
“It is an enormous credit to the nation,” he added.
Mr Drummond maintains that Ireland’s aid commitments were appreciated across the continent of Africa, and would eventually pay dividends in terms of reciprocal trade.
The continuing euro zone crisis is having an impact on the pledge, first made in 2002, to achieve a 0.7 per cent target by 2015.
Collectively member states are €18 billion short of their interim targets, with Germany and Italy accounting for half of that figure.
France and Spain accounted for a further €3 billion.
The EU 27 will have to collectively increase aid by €42.93 billion to reach a target of €93.78 billion by 2015.