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Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 90. Mr. Callely Information on Ivor Callely Zoom on Ivor Callely  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  if he will provide a breakdown under each subhead of the Ireland Aid Budget for 2002 of ?372 million; the authorities to which such moneys have been allocated; the evaluation process used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10456/02]

 106. 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 degree to which it is proposed to offer or increase financial assistance towards the alleviation of poverty or starvation in various African countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10612/02]

[815]

 118. 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 amount of Ireland's annual contribution under the bilateral aid programme; the extent to which it is proposed to increase such expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10624/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 106 and 118 together.

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
  €millions €millions
2001 239 64
2002 372 133
2003 441 69

Of the total of €372 million available for 2002, some €254 million is being allocated to subhead B, the bilateral grant-in-aid. This amount differs from figures quoted in previous replies because administrative costs, previously covered as part of this subhead, have since been re-allocated to a new administrative budget, subhead A. A detailed breakdown of the total allocation of €372 million by subhead is provided in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2002.

Achievement of the 0.7% target will require further annual increases in funding and it is 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.

The reduction of poverty in its various manifestations is at the heart of Ireland's programme of assistance to developing countries. All of Ireland Aid's activities are planned with reference to the impact that they are likely to have in this regard. In addition, the geographical focus of the programme is primarily on developing countries in Africa. Increased funding is being made available in 2002 for all subheads. Under the bilateral aid subhead, support is given to a wide range of activities which combat poverty and starvation, while assistance under the subhead for the work of NGOs at local level will increase by one third over 2001. Significantly increased funding is also [816] being set aside for humanitarian relief in respect of disasters world wide.

Funding across the programme is allocated in a variety of ways. Support for the priority country programmes under the Bilateral Aid programme, for example, is channelled in the first instance through the Irish diplomatic missions in those countries. Funding for multilateral organisations is directed to the EU and various agencies of the United Nations. Support is made available to numerous NGOs either directly by the Development Co-operation Division in the form of block grants or co-financing of specific projects or via Irish diplomatic missions at local level.

My Department operates an extensive range of appraisal and evaluation mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness, sustainability and value for money of programmes supported. All budget lines are submitted for advance approval to an interdepartmental committee, on which the Department of Finance and other Departments interested in aid are represented. New proposals are approved in a three stage process which involves the use of independent consultants and with an interdepartmental committee as the final stage. Ireland Aid has an evaluation and audit unit which carries out an annual series of evaluations of various programmes and projects. The programme is subject to review by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee and my Department also participates in the system of public expenditure reviews co-ordinated through the Department of Finance.

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 75.

Question No. 92 answered with Question No. 42.


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