Development Co-operation Reviews: Ireland 1999

The OECD Development Assistance Committee's 1999 review of Ireland's development aid programmes. It finds that in 1999, Ireland marks the 25th anniversary of Irish Aid, its official aid programme. Over the last five years, the volume of Ireland’s official development assistance (ODA) has risen by an average of 20 per cent a year in real terms, the most rapid growth by a Member of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Preliminary data indicate that Ireland’s development co-operation reached 0.30 per cent of GNP in 1998, nearly double its 1992 level, and is projected to reach 0.35 per cent in 1999. After six years of impressive growth in volume and improvement in quality, most of the increase in aid in 1999 is being used for debt relief measures, European Union contributions, emergency humanitarian assistance and support for refugees in Ireland, rather than for allocations for the long-term development programmes administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Political commitments on aid allocations undertaken by the Minister of Finance mean that increases in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ part of the programme are now expected in 2000 and 2001. Two main issues confront the Irish Aid programme: how best to grow and how best to manage that growth. These are clearly issues which Ireland needs to consider and resolve itself, but the Development Assistance Committee can draw on its collective experience to contribute to Ireland’s reflections on these issues. A starting point, from experience elsewhere, is that Irish Aid should maintain and enhance the focused nature of the programme which is now one of its major strengths.

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