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Budget 2020 an opportunity to build on progress on Overseas Aid

While Ireland faces a number of challenges, including deficits in our public services and infrastructure, unacceptable rates of poverty, and high levels of national debt, it is important to remember that many people in the world face a far worse situation. Budget 2019 allocated €817m in overseas aid; an amount approximately equivalent to 0.39 per cent of GNI*.

The United Nations-agreed target is for developed countries like Ireland to provide 0.7 per cent of national income in aid. Since 2008, when Ireland’s ODA reached a peak of 0.59 per cent of GNP, expenditure as a proportion of national income, regardless of how that is measured, has decreased significantly. This limits the resources available for tackling extreme poverty, hunger, and human rights abuses.

Ireland’s improving economic situation is an opportunity to recover lost ground in relation to our ODA commitments. We strongly welcomed the €110m increase in the ODA allocation in Budget 2019, and urge Government to provide an additional €144m in Budget 2020. Government should also make a commitment to increase the aid budget over the next six years to 0.7 per cent of GNI*. The table below shows how Government can reach this target by 2025.

Using GNI* as a proxy for GNP, this would return the aid budget to pre-recession levels by 2023, allowing coherent forward planning for aid recipients which would maximise the impact of that aid.