Trócaire urges Government to increase spending on overseas aid

Ireland’s overseas aid ‘saves lives’, says chief executive Caoimhe de Barra

Trócaire called on the Government ‘to uphold Ireland’s reputation as a leader in international development’.  Photograph: Kim Haughton

Trócaire called on the Government ‘to uphold Ireland’s reputation as a leader in international development’. Photograph: Kim Haughton

 

Trócaire, the Catholic bishops’ social justice agency, has called on the Government to “honour its commitments to increase investment in overseas aid”.

It should “commit to achieving spending of 0.5 per cent of GNI (Gross National Income) in overseas aid by 2025, as part of a pathway to reach the historic UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on overseas aid”, it said.

It noted how October last “marked the 50-year anniversary of rich countries committing to spend 0.7 per cent of their GNI on aid to low- and middle-income countries. However, high income countries have time and again reneged on their commitments, with Oxfam calculating that in the 50 years since the 0.7 per cent commitment was made, donor countries have failed to deliver a total of $5.7 trillion in promised aid.”

In a pre-Budget submission, it said “an increase in overseas aid is needed now more than ever with 235 million people around the globe – the equivalent of 47 times the population of Ireland – expected to need humanitarian assistance and protection this year.”

In addition, “Covid-19 had resulted in more than 4.5 million deaths worldwide, increasing inequalities in wealth, gender and race,” it said, while “the number of deaths will continue to rise in the absence of equitable roll out of vaccines across the world”.

Uphold reputation

It called on the Government “to uphold Ireland’s reputation as a leader in international development by increasing spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Budget 2022”.

This state should “significantly increase ODA investment in agriculture and food systems between now and 2030, progressively aligning allocations with sustainable approaches based on agroecological principles” and “ensure climate finance allocations will also increase alongside ODA increases in its [Government’s] lifetime”.

Trócaire chief executive Caoimhe de Barra said that Irish overseas aid was “more vital now than ever as the world navigates a series of challenges including the triple threats of Covid-19, climate change and conflict”. The agency had helped 2.7 million people in 25 countries last year, working to tackle the root causes of poverty, injustice and violence, she said.

“Local organisations, including Trócaire’s partners, are often first to reach the most vulnerable communities at the onset of humanitarian crises, and to remain working with them in the longer term,” she said.

Ireland’s overseas aid “helps keep children in school, trains teachers and doctors, keeps hospitals open and helps farmers to adapt to the shocking effects of climate change.” Ireland’s overseas aid “saves lives”, she said.