In April 2022, Irish Aid published its Climate and Environmental Finance Report 2020 detailing the "levels and channels of Ireland’s international climate finance". In the opening paragraph of the Executive Summary, the Department confirms "The Programme for Government (2020) sets out a commitment to double the proportion of Official Development Assistance that is climate finance by 2030." and the commitment by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D., to the provision of €225 million per year of climate finance to developing countries by 2025. However, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Climate Finance are not the same thing, and by conflating the two Ireland runs the risk of reneging on our international commitments.
The Report further states that "Climate finance represented 10.18% of Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2020 across all channels. Similarly, approximately 10.4% of ODA delivered through bilateral and CSO channels specifically in 2020 was climate finance.". Again, this begs the question as to what Ireland is counting when it comes to ODA.
The UN 2030 Target of 0.7 per cent of national income for ODA, which was agreed as part of the UN 2030 Agenda, is a separate commitment to those made at COP 15 in 2009 and in the Paris Agreement in 2015 which related to Climate Finance.
Ireland spent €867.5 million on ODA in 2020, 0.41 per cent of GNI*. If, as the Irish Aid Report suggests, €88.3 million of that was actually climate finance, this reduces our ODA / GNI* to 0.37 per cent. Just over half of the 2030 target.
Social Justice Ireland calls on Government to develop a strategy with a view to reaching the UN target by 2027, beginning with an additional €207.6m in 2023. However, this needs to provide clear delineation between ODA and climate finance. Rebuilding our commitment to ODA, honouring the UN target, and developing a comprehensive strategy to meet our ODA and climate finance targets should be important policy paths for Ireland to pursue in the coming years.
Social Justice Ireland also supports the call for the permanent cancellation of all external debt payments due from developing countries in 2022, with no penalties, and the provision of additional emergency finance that does not create more debt. Currently 60 countries spend more on debt servicing than on healthcare.
Budget Choices 2023 is available to download now.