In Budget 2019 on Tuesday, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced an increase of €110 million on the sum indicated in last year’s Budget, the most significant increase in ODA in a decade and an important step on the longer road towards Ireland’s achievement of its UN commitments on international development spending.
“This is certainly a welcome development and suggests a seriousness on the part of the Government, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister Ciarán Cannon, that Ireland should continue to play a strong role in international development,” said Misean Cara CEO Heydi Foster.
Tuesday’s increase is expected to bring Ireland’s ODA/GNI* level – the percentage of national income it spends on Official Development Assistance (ODA) – to 0.39%, which allows for a solid trajectory towards the international target of 0.7% as a vital means of supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.
“With 68.5 million people forcibly displaced globally and 100 million additional people at risk of poverty by 2030 due to climate change, and also in the context of Ireland’s new International Development Policy to be launched before the end of the year, it’s heartening to see the Government’s new resolve in stepping up for the Global Goals,” Ms. Foster said.
Misean Cara is hopeful that Irish and international civil society organisations will be allocated a good proportion of the Budget increase, alongside multilateral and priority country commitments, given their special focus on reaching the furthest behind first in line with the SDGs’ commitment to ‘Leave No One Behind’.
In particular, Misean Cara advocates that the Government should listen to the argument made by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence (JCFATD) for consideration of additional funding for Ireland’s missionary organisations.
Ireland has long expressed its commitment to reaching the 0.7% ODA/GNI target as an expression of its seriousness about international development cooperation.
Irish civil society organisations – including Misean Cara – have been calling for a clear roadmap for Ireland reaching that target by 2025, in order to signal its commitment to, and properly resource, the world’s shared journey to achieving the SDGs.
While exact spending out-turns and percentage figures are likely to vary somewhat with Departmental and national budgets this year and next, the working projection is that a 2019 spend of €817 million on ODA, as announced, would move Ireland to around 0.39% ODA/GNI*.
“Ireland’s development assistance is of a recognised high quality and the increased funding will allow its development partners, national and international, to do more to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity,” Ms. Foster continued.
“Misean Cara has significant scope to scale up its activities – in education, health, sustainable livelihoods and human rights – in a robust and accountable way, and we will continue to play a full part as the steady expansion of Ireland’s development programme tracks our planned, incremental growth to 0.7% ODA.”
Feature Image: Members of the Roco Paco Group who have benefited from an underground water supply which has enabled them to produce vegetables all year round. WACFO (Women and Children First Organisation), run by the Sisters of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, empowers some of the poorest households in Pabo, Uganda to provide for their own basic needs in health, education, nutrition and shelter. Photo: Lar Boland.