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Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello launches Irish Aid Annual Report 2011

Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, T.D., today launched the Irish Aid Annual Report 2011 at the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre in O’Connell Street, Dublin.

The theme of the report is Accountable to People, Accounting for Aid. It highlights the results which Irish Aid has achieved in reducing hunger and poverty and building accountability in the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister Costello said:

“Irish Aid is recognised internationally for its rigorous focus on the most vulnerable people in the world’s poorest countries. In 2011, Ireland was ranked first among donor countries in terms of making our aid effective.

“We recognise clearly that in order to fight the root causes of poverty, governments must be accountable to their own citizens. While our primary focus is on reducing poverty and hunger, the report also shows how Irish Aid is supporting Governments to strengthen their national systems in areas including justice, law reform, financial management and the holding of elections. We also support civil society groups and the media to assist citizens to hold their Governments to account.

“These programmes are delivering results we can see and measure. The countries which are investing in accountability are showing demonstrable progress in improving the health of their citizens, increasing educational attainment and in reducing poverty.

“And of course Irish Aid is accountable to the Irish people for the investments we are making and for the results that are being achieved.  I am acutely aware that in these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to achieve maximum value for money and to demonstrate our results clearly to the public.”

Minister Costello told those attending the launch that the Report on the Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid would be launched later this year following wide-ranging public consultation.

Notes for the editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • In 2011, the Government provided €657 million in Official Development Assistance, which represented 0.52% of GNP.
  • Among the other results highlighted in the 2011 Annual Report are:
  • In Ethiopia the number of children dying before the age of five has almost halved since 2000.
  • In Malawi - a country which suffered severe food shortages less than a decade ago – Irish Aid support for the production of sweet potatoes has directly contributed to halving vitamin deficiency among children under the age of five.  
  • In Mozambique, the number of people on treatment for HIV increased from 170,000 in 2009 to over 250,000 in 2011, most of whom were women.
  • Vietnam has achieved impressive and sustained reductions in poverty rates from 60% in 1993 to 12% in 2011
  • In 2012, Ireland’s aid budget is expected to reach €639 million, which will represent at least 0.5% of GNP.
  • For further information or to see a copy of the Irish Aid Annual Report 2011, please visit www.irishaid.ie