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Where now for Irish international development policy? Consultation launched

By Ann Marie Foley - 09 August, 2018

Irish missionaries have left a legacy that aid agencies and a new generation can build on, according to Ray Jordan, CEO, Gorta Self-Help Africa.

He highlighted this when appealing to Irish people to comment on Ireland’s new international development policy. Ray Jordan said that Irish people have worked in Africa for over 100 years.

“Effectively what we are doing is building on the legacy that was built by Irish missionary priests and nuns,” he said. “Now I would say it is time for the new people of Ireland, young people of Ireland, business people of Ireland, to actually look to the future,” he added.

He urged individuals to consider what kind of a “partnership” their country should have with other nations into the future. He said that Ireland’s international development policy should not be left on the sidelines.

“It should be part of our international identity,” he said. It will play a big part in opening doors and building bridges over the next two to three decades “on behalf of the people of Ireland,” he added

He was backing the Irish Aid launch of the consultation process on the international development policy which the government is currently preparing. Irish Aid, which funds overseas development, urged individuals to have their say in the consultation process on how Ireland can build on work already under way to help some of the world’s poorest communities.

Suzanne Keatinge, CE, Dóchas, also appealed to the public to contribute, stating that the consultation is a unique opportunity to shape Ireland’s future policies to help meet sustainable development goals.

Last month, when government Ministers Coveney and Cannon launched the consultation, they stated that the new policy should focus on Ireland’s contribution to building a more equal, peaceful and sustainable world. This is in line with the government’s current ‘Leave no one behind’ policy for achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

They said that the new policy will provide the framework for progressing the target of allocating 0.7 per cent Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2030 as economic circumstances permit. For 2018, the government has allocated €707 million for ODA.

It is hoped that the new policy will involve different “partnerships” which will be good for both Ireland and its partners. The ministers gave the example of Ireland’s membership of the African Development Bank, which they said will allow Ireland to deepen its contribution to “unlocking” the African continent’s great potential as well as providing opportunities for Irish companies.

They also said that Ireland has increased support to the EU’s Trust Fund for Africa, supporting over 26 partner countries in responding to issues like rapid population growth, extreme poverty, weak infrastructures, and well as the insecurities that come from conflict and climate change.

There are two ways for members of the public to put forward ideas on the policy: firstly, to make written submissions by 23 August 2018, and secondly, to attend the public consultation meetings around Ireland in September and October 2018.

The deadline for receipt of written submissions is Thursday 23 August 2018. Submissions must be made online. Those interested can access the consultation paper and guidance for submissions at: https://www.irishaid.ie/about-us/policy-for-international-development/

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