Ireland has begun a review of its policy on official development assistance to make sure that it is spending its money well.
The review comes as Ireland’s overseas aid drops for a third year in a row as a percentage of its gross national product, the Irish Times reports.
In 2010, Ireland spent some €675 million ($930 million) – equivalent to 0.53 percent of its GNP - mostly on assistance to Africa. The figure represents a decrease from 0.55 percent in 2009 and 0.59 percent in 2008.
The 2011 overseas aid budget is expected to be €659 million, a reduction to 0.52 percent of GNP. Ireland has so far provided more than €9 million for the response to the famine in the Horn of Africa this year.
But Minister of State for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan claimed that the government is “ensuring that we maintain our plan to reach 0.7 percent of GNP by 2015.”
Ireland’s white paper on Irish Aid was published in 2006. But O’Sullivan said the government has to re-evaluate its policy to make sure that its aid is still effective given the “huge” changes in Ireland and the rest of the world.
The review process is expected to be completed in July next year after Ireland holds consultations with partner countries, non-governmental organizations, the public and other stakeholders in the first quarter of 2012.
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan has appointed Nora Owen as the new chairwoman of the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group. The group is an independent, non-executive expert body whose main role is to offer advice to the minister on Ireland’s aid program.
As head of the group, Owen is expected to take on a big role in the ongoing review of the country’s overseas development aid policy.
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