Ireland In The World - Development Cooperation

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Ireland, recognising that all areas of the world are inter-dependent, acknowledges its obligation to contribute to the economic and social progress of the developing countries.Private support for Third World causes is extremely high. At about 0.1% of GNP, such support represents one of the highest rates of private development assistance anywhere. In recent years, Irish agencies have played a major role in providing humanitarian assistance in the crises which have arisen in a number of countries. The activities of non-Governmental organisations such as Concern, Trocaire, Goal and the Irish Red Cross have drawn attention to the strength of the public's commitment to the Third World.

  • Official Development Assistance (ODA) Ireland's Official Development Assistance has been expanded significantly in recent years, so as to make steady progress towards the UN goal of 0.7% of GNP. Total expenditure in 1995 is expected to amount to IR£89 million, compared with IR£70 million in 1994. This corresponds to 0.27% of forecast GNP.The principles underlying development cooperation policy and the priority areas of action for the future were outlined in A Strategy Plan for Irish Aid: Consolidation and Growth (1993). The plan provides for the following:

    • expenditure on bilateral aid will increase at a faster rate than expenditure on multilateral aid;

    • there will be increased funding of development cooperation programmes with individual countries and of emergency relief;

    • steady increases will be made in contributions to UN development agencies.

    Irish Aid is administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs through its Development Cooperation Offices in partner countries. An inter-Departmental committee on development cooperation oversees the programme; a sub-committee approves individual projects. A committee of independent persons advises the Minister for Foreign Affairs on all matters concerning the development cooperation programme.

  • Bilateral ODA Bilateral assistance includes direct support for development activities in developing countries, the provision of technical assistance, cooperation with non-Governmental organisations, and provision of emergency humanitarian assistance in response to natural or man-made disasters in the developing world. Spending on bilateral assistance is expected to amount to IR£53 million in 1995.

    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.

  • Technical Cooperation Resources are allocated to technical cooperation, i.e. transfers of technology or skills through the placement of advisers or the provision of fellowships. Advisers may be placed directly by Irish Aid or through the Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). The role of advisers is usually aimed at capacity or institution-building.

  • Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Responding to emergencies around the world is an integral part of the ODA programme. Most emergency assistance is channelled through voluntary agencies.

  • NGO Co-Financing Funds are provided to non-Governmental organisations for development projects. In 1993, assistance was provided to 192 projects in 35 countries.

  • Multilateral ODA Multilateral ODA consists largely of contributions to international institutions for use in developing countries. Contributions to the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank and their related agencies are expected to amount to approximately IR£34 million in 1995.

    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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