Minister Cannon T.D. Closing remarks at the launch of Ireland’s Policy for International Development
Speech28 February 2019
It gives me great pleasure to participate in today’s launch of A Better World.
Today is both a beginning and an end.
It is the beginning of an exciting next stage in the story of Ireland’s development cooperation, as we look forward to celebrating 50 years of Ireland’s official programme in 2024.
In launching A Better World, we also mark the end of what was an inspiring and collaborative process which helped formulate this policy over the past sixteen months.
I would like to acknowledge and voice my appreciation to all those in my Department and across government who contributed to the process of developing A Better World.
Let me also thank our moderator and panellists today for their excellent contributions.
Suzanne Keatinge has been actively involved in the public consultations on this policy from the outset. She has a central role in coordinating the Irish development NGO sector – a sector which has been, and will remain, central partners in our work.
Sophie Healy Thow is an inspiring and engaging young leader – I am delighted she was able to join us here today and I thank her for underlining the importance of addressing food security and for highlighting the importance of the contribution and leadership of our youth.
I would also like to thank the Taoiseach and Tánaiste for their personal commitment to international development, critical to ensuring that Ireland plays its full role as a global leader.
I would like to extend our appreciation to UCD for hosting this event today and for their considerable contribution to the policy process as well as the education of future generations.
I would also like to sincerely thank the thousands of people who have contributed to this policy throughout the consultation process over the last year, including at public meetings in Cork, Sligo, Dublin, Galway and Limerick.
We have engaged with, and drawn inspiration and expertise, from NGOs, academics, individual citizens, development experts, international organisations, representatives from the private sector and students and young people.
The process benefited from over 185 substantive written submissions – amounting to over 1 million words - and over 14,000 other contributions from across Ireland and around the world.
These contributions have helped ensure that A Better World speaks to how Ireland can most effectively contribute to addressing the range of challenges facing our world in the decade ahead. It is a policy for Government, shaped and crafted by our people.
A Better World draws from Ireland’s own history and our development journey, including in the three areas which will be the focus of the policy priorities: food, protection and people.
The focus on Protection will intensify Ireland’s work to address the needs of people and communities in fragile and conflict affected states, and we will strive towards ending conflict and contributing to building lasting peace.
We will build on our investment in Food and nutrition security, using Ireland’s expertise to contribute to shaping global food systems and markets that deliver better outcomes for both producers and consumers.
A Better World will see us investing in People by improving universal access to essential social services such as health, quality education and social protection. We will strive to ensure that particularly at times of crisis, education, health and social protection services continue to reach those most in need. We will have a particular focus on girls.
This policy commits not only to intensifying our contribution to development cooperation – it will also change how we work.
We will work more effectively across all government departments, with civil society, research and education institutions and the private sector.
We will increase our investment in public engagement and outreach.
It is well known and recognised that Irish people are among the most generous and forwarding looking in the world. We have a strong sense of community – meitheal – and awareness of our inter-dependency with others.
We need to work with others to tackle global challenges and to reach a shared, equitable and prosperous future for our present and for future generations, in solidarity with across the world.
At the outset, I said that today was an end and a beginning. In closing this event, I look forward to beginning the next phase of our journey, building A Better World together with you all.