Development NGOs urge government to fulfil its promise to allocate 0.7% of GNI to the overseas development aid budget

The call from the members of Dóchas comes as European Development Ministers convene in Brussels today to agree an EU negotiation position on a new global deal for development finance.

This meeting forms part of an international negotiation process to agree a new set of development goals, a new framework for financing for development, and binding recommendations on climate change to replace the Kyoto protocol.

Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella body for Irish NGO’s says, “This year the international community will make critical decisions that will shape the future of our planet and will impact on people around the world. Ireland has proven itself to be a world leader when it comes to implementing development programmes. However, we need to ensure that we honour our commitments when it comes to our overseas aid budget.”

“It is important for Ireland’s economy to recover, and in order to do so we need to invest not only in our domestic economy but also in international processes which will create a more sustainable global economy. We are proud that Ireland is playing a key role in these negotiations,” he stated.

“Through these processes if we can create more peace and prosperity and more trade links and higher access to education globally, this will also impact positively on Ireland. We can do this through increasing our overseas aid budget, as well as through other means,” said Zomer.

Dóchas, as an umbrella body representing 59 non-governmental organisations in Ireland, makes several recommendations for consideration during this negotiation process:
• The urgent announcement of credible plans by EU member states to deliver on existing commitments on development finance, most notably the achievement of the 0.7% ODA/GNI target.
• More domestic resources for sustainable development through progressive taxation and effective international tax cooperation;
• A reinforcement of the unique and specific role of public finance (including Overseas Development Aid);
• Greater regulation and monitoring of the contribution of private sources of finance to sustainable development, and the explicit inclusion of established “Development Effectiveness” principles in discussions about support for the private sector;
• A permanent and lasting solution to sovereign debt crises;
• A regulatory framework to ensure that trade and investment is oriented to contributing to states’ human rights obligations and international social, environmental and climate change commitments.

Notes:
• 2015 is a pivotal year as UN members are set to agree new strategies to address the most pressing global problems: extreme poverty, hunger and climate change.
• The first summit will take place in Addis Ababa in July, and will focus on financing for development. This will be followed by the Sustainable Development Goals summit in New York in September and finally in Paris in December there will be a summit on climate change which will agree binding recommendations to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
• Today’s informal meeting (12th March 2015) will shape the EU’s negotiation mandate for the summit in Addis Ababa on financing for development.
• Ireland will be represented by Séan Sherlock, Minister of State at Department of Foreign Affairs with Special Responsibility for ODA, Trade Promotion and North South co-operation
• In a recent Eurobarometer survey, nearly 3 out of 4 Irish people said they were in favour of increasing Ireland’s development aid budget: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb_special_439_420_en.htm#421