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Minister Joe Costello meets World Health Organisation Director General Dr Margaret Chan

Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Ireland, Global, 2014


Minister Joe Costello meets World Health Organisation Director General Dr Margaret Chan

The Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD today met the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan, to discuss progress in tackling a number of global health issues including polio, malnutrition and the dangerous impact of tobacco smoking. 

Ireland’s overseas development programme, Irish Aid, supports the work of the WHO, particularly in relation to the fight against hunger and malnutrition and the eradication of diseases linked to poverty such as polio. Irish Aid also supports the WHO to develop the capacity of the world’s least developed countries to build sustainable healthcare systems.

In 2013 Ireland provided over €5 million in funding to the World Health Organisation, including almost €3 million for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and €1.2million to assist the WHO’s to improve the health of people living in the least developed countries.


Speaking after their meeting in Government buildings, Minister Costello said:

"Tackling under-nutrition, particularly in mothers and young children, is a priority for Ireland’s overseas development assistance programme. I am pleased with the progress being made by the World Health Organisation, particularly in relation to the fight against polio and malnutrition. 

"Partnerships such as this are critical to delivering sustainable improvements in nutrition.  Civil society and private sector organisations also have a crucial role to play in ending malnutrition. They can have a central role in delivering food in the field, in producing affordable nutritious products, in supplementing food with important micro-nutrients, and improved communication that can lead to changes in behaviour. 

"I am looking forward to the International Conference on Nutrition in November which will be co-hosted by the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

"Ireland will co-host two events at the conference – one with the US, Canada and others, highlighting the importance of nutrition in the post-2015 international development agenda.  The other event will involve the launch of the Global Hunger Index 2014 in partnership with Concern Worldwide."



Press Office

26 June 2014 

Notes to the editor 


  • Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie 
  • The Department of Health and Children leads Ireland’s relationship with the WHO while Irish Aid leads on matters related to developing countries. 
  • In 2013 Irish Aid provided over €5 million in voluntary and project specific funding to the WHO.  This  includes:
  • €1.2m Voluntary Core Funding to assist the WHO to fulfil its six core functions that contribute to poverty reduction through improved health status of people living in the least developed countries.
  • €2.9m for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  Ireland has committed up to €5m to support the final push to eradicate polio in the world. 
  • €500,000 for the Global Health Workforce Alliance. The Alliance was created in 2006 to address the chronic shortage of health workers. This shortage, estimated to be at over 4 million globally with 1.5 million alone needed in Africa, is recognised as one of the most fundamental constraints to achieving progress on health and reaching health and development goals. Ireland is one of the original financiers of this initiative and is just about to sign a new agreement for the period 2014-2016.
  • €600,000 covering support to humanitarian programmes including countries such as Syria.
  • €40,000 to provide technical guidance in relation to Under 5 Mortality and Morbidity (U5MM). Ireland´s first Resolution ever to be adopted at the Human Rights Council was on preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five as a human rights concern in September 2013. The Resolution called for the application of a human rights based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality of children under five.  
  • Dr Chan is in Ireland on an official visit to attend the launch of the Healthy Ireland Council.