Ireland is one of the best performing donors when it comes to directing its development aid to the world’s neediest countries, according to a new OECD report.
The report shows that 0.24% of Ireland’s gross national income was spent as Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Least Developed Countries in 2012, exceeding the UN target of 0.15% and outperforming many other donors in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
The latest DAC Peer Review of Ireland puts Ireland’s net ODA at 619 million euros in 2013 (0.45% of gross national income), according to preliminary data, down from 629 million euros (0.47% of GNI) in 2012. The decline reflects the pressure on Ireland’s aid budget since the 2008 crisis, though the ODA/GNI ratio is still well above a DAC average of 0.30%.
Ireland has reduced its foreign aid by 30% since 2008 as it scaled back government spending, but the cuts have been less than those in many other countries under similar economic pressures, reflecting Ireland’s political commitment to development co-operation.
Irish ODA peaked at 0.59% of GNI in 2008. After an 18.4% reduction in 2009, declines over 2010-12 averaged 4.4%.The report notes that as its economy recovers, Ireland will be well placed to find ways to build back up its ODA budget in line with its commitment to eventually deliver 0.7% of GNI.
“Ireland’s efforts to help the world’s neediest people while going through a tough economic time itself are impressive. It sets an example with its focus on food security in the poorest and most vulnerable countries and with its commitment to high-quality development aid that is seen to have a real impact,” said DAC Chair Erik Solheim.
The top recipients of Irish aid in 2012 were Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia, with the core focus of Ireland’s development agency being on fighting hunger.
The review found that Ireland fully implemented 11 out of 17 recommendations made in a 2009 DAC Peer Review, such as increasing the proportion of ODA going to priority countries and providing those countries with a multi-year outlook for the aid they would receive. Ireland should now work on further improving transparency, making sure it has the staffing to deliver its aid agenda and focusing on partnerships where it can add real value.
Each DAC member is reviewed every 4-5 years as a way to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements. A review uses input from officials in the country being reviewed as well as civil society, the private sector and other donors in recipient countries. Read more here about DAC Peer Reviews.