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Minister O’Sullivan announces Review of White Paper on Irish Aid

Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Malawi, Mozambique, 2011

Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan, T.D., today announced the Review of the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, as she begins a five-day visit to Africa.

Speaking ahead of her visit to Malawi and Mozambique, which are priority countries for Ireland’s development programme, Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan said:

“In our Programme for Government, we undertook to review the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid.  Ireland has a strong reputation internationally for the effectiveness of its aid programme, which has been described by the OECD as cutting edge.  The Review will ensure that we build on that reputation, and maximise the contribution Ireland can make to the fight to end global poverty and hunger.”

The detailed Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid will take place over the coming year. It will involve an evaluation of progress in meeting the commitments in the 2006 White Paper, and of the changing economic context at home and abroad.  The Review will set out clear priorities for the future direction of the Irish Aid programme.

Minister O’Sullivan begins a two-day visit to Malawi on Monday, where she will see Irish Aid-supported programmes to reduce hunger, improve agricultural productivity and tackle HIV and AIDS.

On Wednesday, she will travel to Mozambique, where she will spend three days examining Ireland’s role in reducing HIV rates and improving basic education and healthcare for the most vulnerable communities. During her visit she will hold high-level political discussions with the Governments of both countries and meet representatives of Irish NGOs.

“The Government’s programme for overseas development is having a major impact in reducing poverty, hunger and vulnerability in some of the world’s poorest countries.  Over the coming days I want to see and assess the life-saving work we are supporting in Africa as we prepare for the Review of the aid programme” the Minister said.

 “The Government recognises the scale of the challenges we face at home and abroad.  It is not only right, but also in our own interest as a people and a State, that we maintain our efforts to help the poorest people and communities in Africa and other parts of the developing world.  Up to a billion people suffer today from hunger.  Persistent poverty and inequality represents a threat to lives and to economic and political progress.”

“In current circumstances, it is essential that we redouble our efforts to ensure that every cent spent on our aid programme delivers value for money, with clear accountability to the Irish public, and to the partners and communities we are working with in developing countries.” 

“I look forward to hearing the views of the Irish people and Irish developing organisations, as well as the views of our partners in Africa, as we work together to strengthen our programme to meet the challenges ahead.”

The Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid will be led by the Expert Advisory Group on Irish Aid, and will involve consultations nationally and internationally over the coming months with a wide range of interests, in Ireland and the developing world.

Note for Editors: 

·         Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

·         The White Paper on Irish Aid was published by the Government in 2006. It sets out Ireland’s vision for development, and outlines how and where the Irish Aid programme will work to achieve the overarching aim of poverty reduction. 

·         The Review will be led by the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group, whose role is to offer independent advice to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State for Trade and Development on the aid programme.   

·         The Expert Advisory Group provides a wide range of expertise and experience which covers areas including governance, democratisation, growth and development.

·         It is chaired by Chris Flood, former Chair of the Advisory Board for Irish Aid and a former Minister of State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Sports and Tourism. Members include Professor Tom Lodge, Director of the MA in Peace and Development Studies at the University of Limerick; Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick, Director of the Centre for International Development at University College Cork; Professor Jane Harrigan, Professor of Economics and Head of Department at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London; Donal McNally, second secretary general at the Department of Finance and  Ronan Murphy, former Director General of Irish Aid.

·         For 2011, the Government has provided €669 million for Official Development Assistance (ODA), for programmes in some of the poorest countries focusing on the fight against hunger, poverty and exclusion.

·         For further information on Irish Aid, visit www.irishaid.ie

·         To request an interview with Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs on +353-87-9099975.

12 June 2011