With Ireland approaching an extremely important Budget 2021 announcement by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe on 13 October, Misean Cara made its budget submission to Government in late August – following up on, and coherent with, the Irish development NGO submission by Dóchas.
Misean Cara emphasised that in the current context for sustainable development, with worsening effects of climate crisis and the SDGs substantially off-track even before the multiple crises (health, economic, education) brought about by COVID19, this is a crucial time for Ireland to show its solidarity, commitment, and international leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Demonstrating that leadership (crucially with regard to sustained ODA levels and support for cancellation of sovereign debt repayments in 2020 and 2021 to allow poor countries to cope with COVID19 and invest in their societies) would be consistent with Irish foreign policy, development cooperation policy, Ireland’s campaign for the Security Council, and long-term strategic interests.
In detailed, specific asks, Misean Cara urged that the Government ensure that Budget 2021:
- Underlines Ireland’s 0.7% ODA/GNI comment by maintaining Ireland’s existing investment in ODA (circa €838 million in 2020) in line with Programme for Government multi-year commitments, and build credible momentum to reaching 0.7% – as called for in the recent OECD/DAC Peer Review of Irish development assistance;
- Support the full, coordinated cancellation of all bilateral, multilateral and private sovereign debt repayments due in 2020 and 2021 from low- and middle-income countries – especially though supporting use of Ireland’s voice in the IMF, World Bank and Development Banks;
- Acts on the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence, when, in 2018, it urged that the Government “examine opportunities to increase funding to missionary bodies” in light of their enduring commitment to tackling poverty, inequality and injustice in the world.
Misean Cara members are responding with specific COVID19 pandemic projects in 28 countries, while continuing to support economic, social, cultural, and civil rights (including tailoring project responses to address the new pandemic reality) in over 50 countries.
We know only too well (being unable to fund some solid, well-grounded proposals) that members and their grassroots partners are crying out to offer additional, effective support to marginalised communities if they only had access to more funding – which they leverage brilliantly from their own local and international sources of funding to create transformational change on the ground.
Misean Cara highlighted in its submission that the SDGs, which Ireland played a leading role in shaping, provides a powerful framework for “a better and more sustainable future for all”. The transformative potential of the SDGs will only be achieved, however, if all countries buy into a serious global partnership to end deprivation, reduce inequality, and create a circular, green economy.
On our side, as longstanding partners and stakeholders in Irish development cooperation, we remain committed to developing our portfolio of projects upholding rights in education, health care, livelihoods, emergency contexts and wider society across the world – as a unique missionary expression of Ireland’s reach, shared humanity, and solidarity in the world.