By Cian Molloy - 12 July, 2020
The Catholic overseas aid agency Trócaire has launched a campaign, ‘Build Back Better’, that urges the Irish and UK governments to play their part in rebuilding the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit developing countries especially hard.
“Overseas aid has lifted millions out of poverty, slashed maternal and infant mortality rates, and led to more people being in school than ever before,” says Trocaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra. “Aid works but aid budgets are now under threat due to the COVID financial crisis. We can’t let the poorest people in the world suffer most.”
At present, most OECD countries, including the Republic of Ireland have already committed to spending 0.7 per cent of their national income on helping the world’s poorest people.
“That commitment amounts to spending just 70 cent for every €100, but Irish Governments have so far failed to do that,” says de Barra. “At a time when the World Food Programme has said that COVID fall-out threatens famines of ‘biblical proportions’ – with an additional 265 million people possibly facing starvation by the end of 2020 – we need to do the right thing and invest in protecting the world’s poorest people.”
Because of the all-Ireland nature of the charity, Trócaire is lobbying both the Irish and UK governments.
The charity noted that the UK is currently meeting its 0.7 per cent of national income spending commitment, but de Barra said: “The government must also ensure there is no politicisation of humanitarian assistance to further the UK national interest which could put the lives of aid workers directly at risk and prevent aid from reaching the most vulnerable.
“We have a unique window of opportunity to transform to more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies that leave no-one behind. Building back better is not a return to business as usual. Trócaire calls for a global recovery that puts both sustainability and human rights at the heart of the response at home and internationally,”