Ireland should lead the call for more effective international aid

Situation in Horn of Africa should be a wake up call to us all
Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Alan Farrell, has urged the international community to do everything possible to improve the effectiveness of overseas development aid.

Speaking after he attended the OECD’s Working Party on Aid Effectiveness in Paris last week, Farrell said:
“The plight of millions of people faced with starvation in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda, and the lives of many millions more affected by the world food crisis, means that this issue should take absolute priority.

“We must have a full and constructive debate on how overseas aid is best delivered. We must make sure that every cent of Irish taxpayers’ money is well spent and that it reaches its intended recipients – such as the people of Somalia who are hit by this appalling crisis.

“Although there is a range of principles that aims to make international aid more streamlined and effective, I would question whether enough urgency is being shown.

“An international forum such as the OECD’s Working Party on Aid Effectiveness is a start. But how much real urgency is there to make sure that bureaucratic barriers do not slow the pace of reform?

“We have no time to waste – and neither do the people in Somalia. This must be reflected by a massive sense of urgency by all involved in these kinds of negotiations.

“There is a major conference on Aid Effectiveness in South Korea this December and that really is the last chance for the international community to reform this process fully and decisively.

“Ireland has always punched above its weight in overseas development and is well placed to lead the call to improve aid effectiveness. The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee referred to Irish Aid, the Government’s official aid programme, as ‘a champion in making aid more effective’.

“Ireland has lead the way internationally in calling for an end to the scandal of global hunger whereby over one billion people go to bed hungry every night. Our leadership in this area was referenced repeatedly by President Obama on his recent visit here. We should bring this leverage to bear in trying to galvanise the international community to make aid more effective.

“I urge the Irish Government and the Irish TDs and NGOs who attend that conference to bring a real sense of urgency to proceedings and to ensure that preventative steps are taken to avert crises in the future.”

Alan Farrell attended last week’s OECD Working Party on Aid Effectiveness as a member of the European Parliamentarians with Africa and he was supported by Irish Aid, Ireland’s official programme of assistance to developing countries.