Irish NGOs ready to play their part in Review of White Paper on Irish Aid

15/06/2011 at 9:20 am 1 comment

On 12 June Jan O’Sullivan, Minister of State for Trade and Development, announced that a review of Ireland’s Aid Policy will take place over the next 12 months. This post presents some basic information about the White Paper on Irish Aid, the review process and why Irish NGOs should get involved.

What is the White Paper on Irish Aid?

The White Paper is a statement of government policy paper on overseas development. Published in 2006, it sets out the Government’s vision, principles, priorities and approach in this area.

The current White Paper puts the reduction of poverty and vulnerability as well as increasing opportunity at the heart of the State’s development efforts. It requires that Ireland’s aid programme be guided by principles of partnership, public ownership and transparency, effectiveness and quality assurance, coherence and long-term sustainability.

Some of the most notable decisions taken in the 2006 paper include:

-          maintaining a major focus on Africa;

-          continuing to use a number of different methods for delivering aid;

-          the creation of a Hunger Task Force;

-          the establishment of a Rapid Response Initiative;

-          ensuring that a development perspective be integrated into Ireland’s positions at International Financial Institutions (IFIs);

-          a commitment to spending 0.6% GNP on overseas aid by 2010.

Why a review?

The White Paper was written in the 2004-2006 period and implemented through the Irish Aid Operational Plan 2008-2012. With that timeframe soon ending, a new government in power, a greatly changed situation in Ireland and global trends from the Arab Spring to Development effectiveness; the government is now seeking to bring its policy on overseas development up to date.

What’s involved?

The exact details of the review process have yet to be announced, however, it would seem that the review will focus on three inter-related themes:

-          an evaluation of progress on meeting current White Paper commitments;

-          an evaluation of the current economic context in Ireland and overseas;

-          the identification of clear priorities for the Aid programme for the coming years.

The review will be led by the Expert Advisory Group on Irish Aid.

Consultations?

The government are expected to hold consultations at home and abroad with various actors including Irish development NGOs.

Four reasons for you to get involved!

1.       Development NGOs can have significant influence over outcomes

In the Dóchas submission to the White Paper consultation process in 2005, 20 of the 32 asks were either directly or partially included in the final document.

2.       The White Paper leads to major initiatives and changes which we should all seek to influence

The 2006 White Paper has led to a number of important initiatives including the Rapid Response Initiative, the Hunger Task Force, the Information and Volunteering Centre in Dublin, a major focus on HIV and Aids and an assurance that Irish aid remained untied aid. NGOs are very well placed to propose innovative initiatives to make Ireland’s development programme more effective.

3.       The White Paper is an opportunity to reset the agenda

A number of key matters which are reducing the effectiveness of Ireland’s contribution to fighting global poverty and injustice remain unresolved – the White Paper is an opportunity to deal with these once and for all.

4.       Regression

Given the national and international context, a failure by Civil Society to influence the review process effectively could see some of the major progress made by Irish Aid during the past two decades slip away.

 

Note

On Friday 10 June, Dóchas held an introductory meeting with members on the White Paper Review. Over the coming months, we will be encouraging and assisting members to ensure that Irish NGOs effectively influence the future direction of Irish aid for the better. For resources on the White Paper please go to our dedicated resource page . For more information contact michael@dochas.ie

Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness, Government, MDGs, NGOs. Tags: , , .

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