Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 615 No. 76

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  77.  Mr. Deasy  Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the level of funding allocated by the Government to Ethiopia for 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6833/06]

  104.  Ms Lynch  Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the proportion of Irish aid to Ethiopia that is on a Government basis; the proportion that is spent through regional and sectoral agencies autonomous from the federal government; and if he will ensure that no aid is discontinued to those in need in the areas of health, education and special needs such as HIV and AIDS. [6997/06]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. C. Lenihan): Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 104 together.

Ireland’s total bilateral aid to Ethiopia in 2005 amounted to €35 million. It is expected that the total funding to Ethiopia in 2006 will be at approximately the same level. Ireland’s support to Ethiopia is focused on addressing the basic needs of the rural poor. Ireland does not provide general or direct budget support to the federal government of Ethiopia.

Of the total budget for 2005, €5.3 million was delivered to sectoral programmes in the areas of health, education and transport. Working with the relevant ministries, Ireland earmarked support for the training of health workers and teachers and the improvement of rural roads.

Ireland also assisted two regional authorities — Tigray in northern Ethiopia and the SNNPR, southern nations nationalities and peoples region in the south. In Tigray, Ireland expended €6 million to assist the authorities to provide a full range of services, health, education, etc., to the people of this very poor region. In the southern nations region, Ireland provided support of €4.3 million to the regional authorities’ programmes in education, health and HIV-AIDS.

A key component of Ireland’s programme in Ethiopia is our support to the social safety nets fund, administered by the United Nations, which provides some 7 million of the poorest Ethiopians with cash for food in exchange for labour. This innovative fund, which was established with assistance and expertise from Ireland, is perceived as an invaluable instrument in preventing up to 7 million people from facing starvation each year.

In 2005, Irish non-governmental organisations working in Ethiopia received financial support of €5 million. These included Concern, GOAL, Self Help Development International and Trócaire. An additional €2 million was shared with over 30 Ethiopian-based non-governmental organisations to mitigate the effects of the HIV-AIDS pandemic.

Ireland expended €4.5 million on initiatives promoting better governance in Ethiopia. Activities supported included promoting the voice of poor communities and facilitating Government institutions to be more responsive to people’s needs, including assistance for the Human Rights Commission and civic education.

In 2006 the aid programme in Ethiopia will continue to focus on the rural poor with the [687]emphasis on the areas of health, education, good governance, HIV-AIDS and the safety nets programme. The aid programmes in all of Ireland’s programme countries, including Ethiopia, are constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure the continuous relevance and quality of the programmes.

Recent negative political developments in Ethiopia have raised questions about Ireland’s development co-operation programme in Ethiopia. In the light of these developments, Ireland along with other donors, has been reviewing our aid activities and plans in Ethiopia. In making any assessment and future decisions about Ireland’s cooperation with Ethiopia, I will be guided by the situation on the ground and by close contact and liaison with Ireland’s EU and like-minded development partners. I will at all times take a careful and measured approach to ensure that any decisions taken will not impact negatively on the poor.

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