Bilateral cooperation is focused principally on sub-Saharan Africa. Four countries - Tanzania, Lesotho, Zambia and Sudan have been priority areas for the bilateral aid programme for many years. With the expansion in the resources of the programme the number of priority countries has been extended to include Ethiopia and Uganda. A development programme is also to be established in Mozambique.
The bilateral programme concentrates on achievable objectives within specific geographical regions in these countries. Irish Aid works in cooperation with Governments in partner countries to ensure consistency with their own development strategies. A great deal of emphasis is placed on direct involvement with local communities, and environmental and gender concerns are given a high priority.
Projects in recent years have included, in Lesotho, village water supply and sanitation, technical assistance to the Ministry of Works in Maseru and technical and vocational education. In Tanzania, projects have included rural development at Kilosa, livestock improvement at Pemba and education in hydrology at the University of Dar-Es-Salaam. In Zambia projects have been undertaken at the Dairy Produce Board in Lusaka, on urban renewal and in maternity clinics.
In Sudan, projects have included the provision of water supply for the rural population, forestry planting and primary health care. In Ethiopia, projects include two reconstruction projects and a primary health project. In Uganda, support is given to developing a major district programme in the Kibaale District, a telecommunications project and a UNDP/World Bank research project are also funded.
Other countries in which Ireland operates bilateral ODA programmes include Somalia (rehabilitation projects), Zimbabwe (agriculture and small business development projects) and South Africa, following the transition to non-racial democracy (education, public administration projects). ODA is also provided to Vietnam and Cambodia, and to the autonomous Palestinian Administration in Gaza and Jericho. There is a modest programme of cooperation with the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.
The largest part of multilateral ODA is channelled through the European Union. Voluntary contributions are made to UN development and relief agencies. The major recipients in 1995 were the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).Contributions are also made to the World Bank and to its subsidiary, the International Development Agency (IDA). The IDA provides loans on concessionary terms to the least developed countries.
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