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Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 56. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  the extent to which it is intended to improve or expand Ireland's overseas development aid programme; the extent to which it is intended to establish bilateral programmes with new countries, if any; if the multi-lateral programme is likely to be extended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10279/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen As the Deputy will be aware, the Government decided in September 2000 to move progressively to the UN target for overseas development of 0.7% of GNP. The intention is that this target will be met by 2007 and that an interim target of 0.45% of GNP will be achieved by the end of 2002.

Following this decision, agreement was reached between the Ministers for Finance and Foreign Affairs on a three year allocation for Vote 39 for the period 2001-03.

The amounts agreed were as follows:

  Vote 39 Increase onprevious year
  €m €m
2001 239 64
2002 372 133
2003 441 69

Achievement of the 0.7% target will require further annual increases in funding and it is [792] anticipated that the budget required in 2007 will be almost €1 billion. An increase of this order of magnitude will offer significant opportunities to strengthen our support across all areas of the existing programme as well as allowing scope for possible expansion in new directions and in the geographical spread of the programme.

Against the backdrop of the expansion of the programme, the Government established a committee of experts to carry out a comprehensive review of the aid programme. The Ireland Aid Review Committee has had to address a wide range of complex issues. As part of its work, it undertook a wide consultation process and analysed submissions from more than 250 groups and individuals. The committee's report, which has been published this morning, is an excellent contribution which will provide a comprehensive blueprint for the future development of the aid programme. It makes a number of recommendations in relation to bilateral programmes with new countries and to the multilateral programme which I commend to the Deputy's attention. The Government accepts these recommendations and steps will now be taken to implement them.

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