To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to reverse the decline in the percentage of GDP allocated to overseas development aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
(Minister of State, Mr. Joe McHugh T.D.)
The Government is strongly committed to Ireland’s overseas aid programme, and to its place at the heart of our foreign policy. In the Programme for Government we have set out our ambition to make progress towards the UN target as resources permit. I have consistently stated that progress needs to be made in a sustainable and manageable way, which continues to strengthen Ireland's recognised role as a reliable and effective partner in providing humanitarian assistance and contributing to the fight to end global poverty and hunger.
Yesterday, the OECD published the official ODA figures for 2016. I am pleased to report that Ireland’s total contribution to ODA in 2016, increased by some 12 % on the 2015 levels, to €725 million. This is the third consecutive year of growth in the ODA volumes, and is a very clear demonstration of this Government’s commitment to increasing resources to our Aid Programme as economic conditions allow. The OECD also confirmed that we last year reversed the trend of a declining ODA / GNP percentage. Ireland’s percentage rose to 0.33% for 2016, up from 0.32% in 2015.
The challenge now is to continue to make sustained, manageable progress in meeting our commitment towards moving towards the UN target, while ensuring our aid programme continues to focus relentlessly on the core objectives of eradicating global hunger, reducing extreme poverty and providing humanitarian assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.