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Ireland’s Policy for International Development

One World, One Future, Ireland’s Policy for International Development sets out our vision of a sustainable and just world, where people are empowered to overcome poverty and hunger and fully realise their rights and potential.

Policy Overview

This new policy reflects a strong mandate from the Irish public for Ireland to continue to lead in the fight against global poverty and hunger. 

Ireland’s engagement will be planned around three goals in the years ahead:

Goal 1: Reduced hunger, stronger resilience

Our top priority continues to be reducing hunger and vulnerability, and building people’s resilience to natural and other disasters. Under this goal, we seek to ensure that the links between hunger and other development challenges, such as environmental protection and gender inequality, are better understood and acted upon with the urgency that they require.

This will also enable us to focus more on countries that are facing humanitarian crises, those in situations of fragility and those recovering from conflict.

Goal 2: Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

To achieve a sustainable solution to poverty, countries need to generate their own revenues through sustained and equitable economic growth leading to employment, revenue growth, trade, investment, and enhanced human wellbeing. Under this goal, we seek to work strategically in countries to advance pro-poor economic growth and sustainable development, supporting efforts that respond effectively to climate change.

Goal 3: Better governance, human rights and accountability

Stronger governance, the pursuit of human rights – including gender equality – and better accountability are powerful drivers to ensuring the reduction of hunger, the building of resilience, and the promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth. Under this goal, we support the building of better governance and accountability, and the protection and promotion of human rights, throughout all of our work.

Priority areas for action

In order to deliver on the goals six priority areas for action will guide our aid spending and our policy engagement.

  1. Global Hunger
  2. Countries that are fragile (See our work in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as how we work in Emergencies)
  3. Climate Change and Development
  4. Essential Services including Education, HIV and Aids, Health and Social Protection
  5. Trade and Economic growth
  6. Human rights and Accountability

Our Policy Commitments

In order to ensure that we achieve the greatest impact from our efforts we will undertake the following actions.

Greater rationalisation and focus

Engaging in a smaller number of sectors in our Key Partner Countries, reviewing our support to multilateral organisations and continuing to refocus and sharpen our support for NGOs.

Financing our aid budget

Endeavouring to maintain aid expenditure at current levels, while moving towards the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income when our economy improves, as stated in the Programme for Government.

Ensuring our own accountability and transparency remains strong

Committed to openness, transparency and accountability – joining the Open Government Partnership, delivering on our international commitments on Aid Transparency, being held accountable by the Oireachtas, publishing our results, meeting our Human Rights obligations and continuing our engagement with the OECD DAC.

A Whole-of-Government approach

Identifying specific policy areas where coherence and collaboration across government can be enhanced, strengthening the oversight role of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Development, and promoting greater coherence of EU policies.

Strong international engagement

Continuing to champion our policy goals at the UN and working to ensure that the UN system itself is more efficient and effective. Playing our part in ensuring that the EU continues to deliver aid that is effective and assists those most in need. Greater engagement with African and regional institutions and  continued support for global funds and programmes.

Making a difference at the country level

Building different development relationships in each of our key partner countries, according to needs and opportunities – addressing the causes of acute hunger where needed and building stronger economic relations where possible. Maintaining a primary focus on developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa – the region of the world where poverty remains most persistent. As we phase out our engagement with Timor Leste, Sierra Leone will become a key partner country bringing the total number to 9.

Enhanced partnerships in Ireland

Using the deep well of experience, knowledge and capacity in Ireland in the pursuit of our goals. Supporting improvements in NGO programme quality and performance and placing an increased emphasis on partnership with local civil society organisations in developing countries. Continuing to provide strategic support to Irish missionary organisations.

Exploring where Ireland’s experiences can further be brought to bear to strengthen institutions in developing countries in delivering results, from partnerships with Higher Education Institutes to Irish Aid’s new Volunteering Initiative.

Effective communication

Engage continually with the Irish public about the work of the aid programme and the important difference the work is making in the lives of people and communities living in poverty.

Putting learning and evidence into use

Updating our knowledge continually to ensure that our decisions, policies and programmes, and those of our partners, are based on sound evidence of what works and what does not. Learning from our own experience and practice, from evaluations and reviews, and from the best available research including by developing our own Research Strategy in 2013.

Increasing development awareness and engagement

Undertaking a more strategic approach to development education with support more closely targeted at a number of areas. Strengthening our support for the important work of the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA), a network of organisations and individuals involved in development education across the island of Ireland.

Achieving results

Continued effective management to ensure that our aid programme is aligned with our goals and the delivery of our commitments. Achieving real and lasting results will be central to the way that we plan, make decisions, implement, monitor, evaluate and provide accountability for our actions and programmes.

White Paper Review

Ireland’s new Policy for International Development was developed following a review and public consultation process during 2012. It builds on the solid foundations established in the White Paper on Irish Aid (2006), incorporates lessons learned from its implementation and takes account of the changing context in Ireland and globally.  

Written submissions are available here

The Review process

In March 2011 the Programme for Government committed to a review of the White Paper with three aims.

  • Review the progress made in meeting the commitments laid down in the 2006 White Paper
  • Investigate how the national and international context in which development cooperation takes place changed in recent years
  • Set out the policy direction for the aid programme for the coming years

The Review was led by Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, T.D. with independent oversight provided by the . It was conducted through an extensive process of internal learning, independent assessment and analysis, and public consultation.

A Consultation Paper was developed based on the finding of an internal review of progress made since 2006 including howIreland had performed against the 100 key decisions contained in the White Paper

Public Consultation

A public consultation process saw over 1000 members of the public and development stakeholders attend four formal public consultations, a regional consultation in Malawi and stakeholder meetings (including with the appropriate Oireachtas and Seanad Committees, the Audit Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Inter-departmental Committee on Development, diaspora groups living in Ireland, NGOs and the Private Sector).

Written Submissions 

Over 160 written responses were received including from NGOs,  academia and research institutes, individual members of the public, politicians and political parties and the  private sector. You can read their submissions here.