On June 10, 2010 former Taoiseach Dr. Garret FitzGerald launched “Act Now on 2015”, a campaign led by 61 anti-poverty organisations to call on Government to deliver on its promise to reach the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid by 2015. Social Justice Ireland is a member of this campaign.
Launching the campaign Dr. Garret FitzGerald, the first Taoiseach to see the strategic importance to Ireland of having a dedicated development cooperation programme, said: “If we are to end extreme poverty, it is vital that all countries, rich and poor alike, deliver on the promises they have made. Ireland should honour its promise to raise, within a couple of years, its official aid to 0.7% of GNI.”
The launch of ‘Act Now on 2015’ comes ahead of the European Council meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which will take place in Brussels on 17-18 June. At this meeting, European heads of state will decide a common EU position for this September's MDG summit at the UN.
“Ireland has an opportunity in the coming weeks to push for an ambitious action plan by the European Union to deliver the Millennium Development Goals to tackle global poverty. The government should publish its own action plan showing how it will deliver on its aid promise over the next five years,” said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas and Chairperson of the campaign.
The campaign is calling on the government to:
- Announce binding annual targets to achieve 0.7% by 2015 at the latest;
- Enact legislation to guarantee Ireland's aid commitment.
Social Justice Ireland supports these calls and urges Government to act on them immediately. Action to support the poorest people on this planet should not be deferred until the economy recovers. We can and should act now.
The launch coincides with the release of the annual AidWatch report, which tracks the EU's progress towards achieving its aid quantity and quality commitments. The report is compiled by CONCORD, the European NGO confederation, and this year's report finds that EU donors, including Ireland, are falling short of the promises they made.
"Europe's leaders made - and reiterated - a promise to the world's poorest people, that they will not stand idly by when so many people die needlessly of preventable diseases and hunger. Now is the time to deliver on those promises,” said Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire and President of the EU-wide NGO umbrella organisation CONCORD.