News & Media

Howlin calls for a Legally Binding Overseas Aid Target of 0.7% GNI

12 April 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking at the debate on the Government’s overseas aid policy, Labour leader Brendan Howlin TD called for a law, like in the UK, to ensure all governments are obliged to meet Ireland’s target of raising overseas aid to 0.7% of GNI by 2030.

 

Deputy Howlin said: “The Government has pledged to meet Ireland’s longstanding commitment to spent 0.7% of GNI on overseas development aid by 2030. But they have not provided any clear, year by year, timeline or roadmap for how this will be achieved.

 

“Ireland has a proud record of state and voluntary service overseas, and the quality of Irish assistance is widely acknowledged to be very high. Labour welcomes the Government’s alignment of its new strategy with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and its prioritisation of gender equality, reducing humanitarian need, climate action and strengthening governance.

 

“But we must remember that we first pledged to meet the 0.7% target by 1975, and we are unlikely to achieve the latest target of 2030 unless we pass a law to make it a binding requirement. In the UK, a cross-party agreement was reached to make the 0.7% target binding since 2015 and we can do the same here. Labour would certainly support a legally binding commitment to spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas development aid.

 

“There are well over 700 million people around the world living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.90 per day – but development aid is working to bring about sustainable economic growth in the most disadvantaged countries. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg have all met the 0.7% target, and other countries are not far behind. Ireland can afford to meet our full commitment to combat global poverty.”