Keeping the Aid promise

25/06/2013 at 10:41 am 1 comment

Last year, EU countries cut their budgets for aid to Sub-Saharan Africa by about 20 percent. This is substantially more than the reduction in their overall development budget, which amounted to “only” 7 percent.

“This indicates that the region has less priority,” according to the ONE campaign, which produced a report with these figures.

The report says that if European countries are serious about achieving the MDGs – reducing hunger, poverty, AIDS, maternal and infant mortality and gender inequality and ensure access to education and clean water – they must not let sub-Saharan Africa pay this ‘disproportionate toll’.

ONE also argues that the timing of the cuts is wrong. The report analysed the progress towards the MDGs by 46 sub-Saharan countries and concluded that thirty countries are doing better than they were in 2010. 

“Just when the stakes are highest and the possibility of ending extreme poverty is on the horizon, governments should be striving to meet their promises and galvanise support, not turning their backs on some of the poorest countries.”

This sentiment was also echoed in Dublin, at a number of event marking the end of the Irish EU Presidency.

Ireland’s President, speaking at a meeting of EU parliamentarians said:

“We cannot allow an economic crisis, caused by speculation and unregulated markets … that operated in an ethical vacuum, to stall the progress of humanity ensuring that one billion global citizens remain consigned to lives of relentless hardship and hunger.”

Ireland’s Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello said:

This generation has the means and tools to end extreme poverty. The question is, does it have the will?”

Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland, spoke at a meeting commemorating the visit by US President John F. Kennedy saying:

“It is suggested by some that a small country can do little in a world that seems increasingly dominated by the very large few. But the reality is that Ireland is often the forerunner of truly democratic aspirations and realisations.”

And finally, Social Justice Ireland, in its Submission to Government on Budget 2014 wrote:

“Social Justice Ireland believes that in Budget 2014 Ireland’s overseas aid budget should not be reduced any further. In the context of Ireland’s current challenges it is important to bear in mind that many people in the world are in a far worse situation and have been in this situation for a very long time. The Irish Government made a commitment to reach a target of spending 0.7% of our national income on overseas aid by 2015. Ireland should provide international lead- ership on this issue and honour its com- mitments on ODA. Since 2008 Ireland’s ODA budget has fall- en by 32%, a cut of €298m. In 2013, Ireland will give €622 million in overseas aid; an amount equivalent to 0.48% of GNI. At present we are moving back- wards from the target we have committed to. Social Justice Ireland strongly urges Government to provide an additional €47m in Budget 2014 towards reaching that 2015 ODA target.”

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. R Storey  |  25/06/2013 at 11:20 am

    Quality not quantity is the key to reducing poverty.
    The budget cuts offer an opportunity for ‘do no harm’ aid and aid that is transparently efficient.

    Reply

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