Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Aid agencies call on Irish Government to go beyond aid

Source: Dóchas press release, 26 February 2008

Representatives of Irish aid agencies met with senior government officials today, and called for greater efforts to end global poverty.

In their presentation to the Inter-Departmental Committee on Development (IDCD) - a body set up to coordinate the work of Government Departments - the members of Dóchas praised the high quality of Ireland's aid programme but warned that other areas of government policy could cancel out the benefits for poor countries.

Helen Keogh, Chairperson of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Irish aid agencies, said:

"The government has shown that it is serious about tackling global poverty and inequality by investing in overseas aid. “Today we congratulated government on its aid programme, and urged it to go further, by eliminating the negative impact on poor people of other areas of government policy. As long as trade and fisheries policies, for instance, keep poor countries at an unfair disadvantage, we will never be able to make poverty history" added Ms Keogh.

Dóchas members challenged the Committee to become "a champion for development" by playing a proactive role in the development arena. They stated the Committee should devise positive and coherent policies that support developing countries and not wait for problems to arise to react.

Dóchas made its comments at a meeting of the IDCD, an intra-departmental body that brings together the most senior civil servants of the 15 Government Departments. The creation of the IDCD in April 2007 was broadly welcomed by Dóchas members as it was seen as an effort to improve the quality of Irish aid.

"For several years, Dóchas members have called for a whole-of-government approach to global development. The creation of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Development is a significant step in the right direction. Dóchas will continue to support all efforts to improve coherence as a means to make a real difference in the lives of poor people", stated Hans Zomer, Director of Dochas. Read on...

Listen to the interview on policy coherence for development with Michael Woods, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Irish Parliament

See also Euforic's newsfeed and dossier on coherence