Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney launched A Better World, Ireland’s new policy for international development. It is a strong political endorsement of Ireland’s development cooperation programme and state commitment to achieving 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2030. Read Eamonn’s blog below.
Misean Cara welcomes new Irish development policy – targeting the ‘furthest behind first’
Misean Cara has strongly welcomed the launch by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney of A Better World, Ireland’s new policy for international development, in a strong political endorsement of Ireland’s development cooperation programme and state commitment to achieving 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2030.
The new policy commits Ireland to “making a step-change contribution” on four key priority areas – gender equality; reducing humanitarian need; climate action; and strengthening governance – in order to direct Ireland’s development supports to ‘the furthest behind first’. In addition, it will see Ireland focus on specific clusters of targeted interventions in relation to protection, food and people.
A Better World, rooted strongly in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provides the framework for an expanding development programme, as the Taoiseach and Tánaiste pledged anew that Ireland would reach the UN’s target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance (ODA), better known as overseas aid, by 2030.
At the policy launch in Dublin on 28 February, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke proudly of Ireland’s high-quality development programme, underlining that it was in Ireland’s national interest to “contribute to the shaping of a better world.”
This policy demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to achieving the SDGs and Reaching the Furthest Behind First, and to the multilateral system in responding to the challenges of this generation, and generations to come, on urgent issues like climate change, peace, poverty and hunger, the Taoiseach added.
An Tánaiste Simon Coveney noted that Ireland is expanding its development programme (“built on decades of missionary and NGO work”) as an investment in peace, safety and security, and as a projection of Irish values and statement of solidarity with people who are in need, as well as because it furthers strategic foreign policy goals on international friendship and influence.
“Misean Cara welcomes the urgency and scaling up around climate action,” said CEO Heydi Foster, “as well as the strong focus on women and girls, and Minister Ciaran Cannon’s statement of continued support for the work of Irish missionary organisations and NGOs – a recognised cornerstone of the Irish programme.”
Misean Cara also notes the new policy’s emphasis on governance, human rights and civil society space, having made a strong case for it in its own White Paper submission; and Ireland’s expanding peace and conflict prevention efforts, in recognition of how violent conflict exacerbates poverty and vulnerability, including for refugee, IDP and migrant populations.
“This new policy really speaks to the complex challenges for sustainable development in a globalised world, including groups of people being left behind in pockets of vulnerability in poor, fragile, violence-affected and even middle-income countries,” said Heydi Foster.
“We look forward to drawing on members’ experience and actively supporting new initiatives in areas like women’s economic empowerment, education for girls in emergencies, climate action, protecting civil society space, policy coherence for development, and engagement with the public about Ireland’s global solidarity.”
“It’s very heartening to see a strong, whole of Government support, from the Taoiseach down, for sustainable development and Leaving No One Behind,” Heydi Foster concluded, “especially when we see nationalism and authoritarian populism on the rise in many countries around the world in which Misean Cara members are working.”