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DAC peer review of Irish Aid programme launched

Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Ireland, 2014

“Ireland continues to excel in delivering effective aid” – OECD

 

The OECD has found that “Ireland continues to excel in delivering effective aid” and “Ireland punches above its weight on global development issues”. 

The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Peer Review is the most serious, wide-ranging and in-depth review of each country’s aid programme done by peers in other Government aid programmes. Ireland’s review was carried out by Austria and Portugal, with Lithuania as an observer, over the course of one year. It was launched today by Mr. Erik Solheim, DAC Chair, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD and Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD. 

Welcoming the review of Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas aid programme, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, said: 

“The report shows that Ireland continues to be a world leader in effectively tackling hunger and poverty and assisting the world’s poorest communities to survive and thrive. All Irish citizens can be immensely proud of this work and the difference it makes in the lives of the millions of people around the globe. 

“Ireland has played an important part in the progress seen around the world – extreme poverty has been cut in half since 1990 and 17,000 fewer children die each day. However, one in nine people worldwide remain hungry. Ireland is spending 20% of our development budget on fighting hunger and working hard to galvanise international action to end hunger. These actions have been commended by the OECD. 

“I am also heartened by OECD  recognition of the commitment of  Irish people to our aid programme, particularly during the recent extremely challenging economic times. Next year we will provide around €600 million in overseas development assistance, which is a significant sum. This report shows that the money is being spent effectively to fight child malnutrition, increase the number of children at school; immunise against childhood diseases and provide clean water, basic healthcare and improved economic opportunities to millions of people.” 

Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, noted the OECD’s praise of Ireland’s overall approach to development: 

“We spend around 80% of the aid budget on Sub-Saharan Africa; where it is needed most. 

“By focusing on inclusive economic growth, Ireland brings together development, trade and political objectives for the continent, using our aid as a catalyst to stimulate economic growth and trade in partner countries.” 

The OECD Report also praises Ireland for responding rapidly and effectively to natural and other disasters.  

Minister Sherlock, who recently visited a South Sudanese refugee camp in Ethiopia and also travelled to Sierra Leone as the first European Minister, went on to say: 

“Today’s report commends Ireland for continuing to punch above its weight on humanitarian crises.   

“Ireland is one of the top 20 governments contributing to international humanitarian assistance.  So far in 2014 we have provided €68 million in humanitarian support to crises, especially in West Africa, Syria and its neighbours, South Sudan, and in other areas, demonstrate vividly how disaster derails development.  

“I saw this first hand when I visited Sierra Leone since the onset of the Ebola crisis.  I saw it also when I visited the Gambella region of Ethiopia with President Higgins.  Gambella is host to almost 200,000 South Sudanese refugees.  Crises of this scale need the kind of swift and targeted response at which Ireland excels. 

“Today’s OECD report and the recent appointment of Ireland as co-facilitators for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals negotiations show that Ireland is valued globally as a trusted, honest broker and as a long-term partner.”  

ENDS

Press Office

2 December 2014 

OECD Main Findings:

•Ireland continues to excel in delivering effective aid. 

•Ireland punches above its weight on global development issues. 

•Ireland’s overall vision for development cooperation is centred on fighting hunger and poverty. 

•Irish Aid targets poor people and gets to where it is needed most. 

•Ireland's Official Development Assistance allocations provide an excellent reflection of its policy priorities to fight hunger and poverty for vulnerable people, as well as its commitment to the MDGs and the least developed countries. 

•By also focusing on inclusive economic growth as part of its development policy, Ireland hopes to strengthen capacity for trade and investment in partner countries. 

•Ireland is adapting its development cooperation to a changing world – it is reinforcing the link between its development, foreign, and commercial goals, which includes promoting two way trade with Africa. 

•Ireland delivers effectively on its commitment to international development and to promoting global public goods such as peace, human rights and food security. 

•Irish Aid is meeting its target of spending 20% of our budget on fighting hunger. 

•The focus on hunger is a legacy of the famine in Ireland in the 1840s. 

•Partners value Ireland as an honest broker, and a trusted and long-term partner. 

•Ireland’s aid is fully untied and Ireland is committed to keeping it that way. 

•Priorities are shaped by what the Irish public supports, as well as being informed by Irish Aid’s country level experience. 

•Ireland’s ODA in 2013 was 0.45% of GNI – well above the Development Assistance Committee average of 0.3%.  

•Ireland remains committed to achieving the level of 0.7% as soon as economic circumstances permit. 

•52% of total ODA goes to Least Developed Countries – the largest share of any DAC member. 

•In the climate of financial crisis, wide ownership and support of the aid programme across the political spectrum helped safeguard the budget from even more significant cuts. 

•Ireland’s partners value our capacity to be innovative and to pilot programmes to test out new ideas. 

Notes to editors: 

•The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a forum where the governments of 30 democracies work together to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of globalisation. Every four to five years, the OECD Development Assistance Committee reviews and assesses each member’s development cooperation system. 

•The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD promotes development cooperation and other policies so as to contribute to sustainable development-including pro-poor economic growth, poverty reduction and improvement of living standards in developing countries. 

•Every four to five years, the DAC reviews and assesses each member’s development cooperation system. The Review makes recommendations and suggestions for improvement.  A follow up process ensures these lessons are translated into policies, programmes and practices of the DAC member.  

•The objectives of the DAC Peer Reviews are to improve the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation policies and systems and to promote good development partnerships for better impact on poverty reduction and sustainable development in developing countries. Peer Reviews promote individual and collective behaviour change of DAC members to ensure their development cooperation policy framework and systems are fit for purpose. 

•The Peer Review involves five stages: i. Preparation and planning, ii. Fact-finding, analysis and report writing, iii. The Peer Review meeting, iv. Approval and publication, and v. Follow-up. The Reviewers speak to NGOs and partners with whom we work; visited of our key partners countries (Malawi), and met with senior Department staff who work on the aid programme. In all, the process takes one year; from submission to the publication of the final report. 

•Ireland joined the DAC in 1985, whereupon it signed up for a regular peer review of its programme. On average, each country is reviewed every four years.