International Development

This policy focuses on the most pressing challenges we have identified to help Ireland contribute to a better world for everybody on our planet, and for the planet itself.

Ireland has historically contributed beyond its small economic and geographic scale in the promotion of equitable development and poverty alleviation in developing countries – originally driven by the Christian ethos of missionaries. As Ireland grew more secular and wealthier, it built on this foundation to produce the modern development policy framework that we now follow.
However, the Green Party’s entry into a coalition Government, the rise of climate change, an increasingly complex geopolitical context, and Ireland’s 2021-22 seat at the UN Security Council has prompted our working group to look afresh at the international development framework and recommend seven specific policy actions and principles, which are:

Key policy points

Increase Ireland’s spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA) every year, to reach 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2025.

Build on our track record of “co-operation” and “partnership”, in international development and use our position in international fora to advocate for a more democratic approach to governing international public finance.

Strengthen our coherence across government, in line with our EU obligations on Policy Coherence for Development, to ensure other government policy is supportive of our international development efforts, and to improve efficiency and effectiveness of development policy and programming across different departments. This would include bringing greater responsibility for policy and spending under the DFA.

Make a step-change improvement in our transparency and accountability and invest more in monitoring and learning - to improve accountability to the Irish public and to the communities and populations we are aiming to support.

Put the climate and biodiversity crises at the core of our development co-operation. A 2020 OECD review found that “Ireland’s allocations align well with its priorities, with the exception of climate change … the share of climate-relevant actions has progressed only moderately." The biodiversity crisis and other environmental damage also need greater prioritisation.

Build on our strengths internationally on fragile and conflict-affected contexts, including by bringing our wide-ranging peacekeeping, peacebuilding and reconciliation experience and expertise into our international development work.

Support legally binding mechanisms on Business and Human Rights in the United Nations, in the European Union, and at home to ensure human rights, biodiversity and the environment are respected across companies’ value chains.

Continue to pursue excellence in areas where it is already doing well, notably gender equality.

Policy revised: December 2023

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 1, 2, 5,13,16, 17

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