Thursday, 29 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
28. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which international aid commitments made by various donor countries throughout the world in the wake of various natural disasters over the past ten years have been honoured in part or in full; the main reason for failure to deliver in such circumstances; if he can take any steps to reactivate such issues with particular reference to Haiti and similar situations; his views on whether by agreement all such locations should be reviewed to reactivate interest and restore creditability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17234/12]
49. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is satisfied that commitments entered into in the wake of numerous worldwide natural disasters have been fully honoured by the various prospective donors, whether on-going encouragement is offered to meet the commitments entered into; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17527/12]
51. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if international aid promised to Haiti and other similar disaster locations worldwide has been met fully or in part to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17529/12]
Significant progress has been made in recent years to improve the scale and effectiveness of the response of the international community to major disasters and humanitarian crises. This has included the provision by Ireland and other donors of predictable emergency response funding. However, disasters on the scale of the earthquake in Haiti continue to challenge the humanitarian system. For such crises, international pledging conferences are often considered necessary in order to generate additional donor funding.
Two months after the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, an international donor conference was held in New York, at which US $4.5 billion worth of assistance was pledged by the international community in response to the crisis. UN figures indicate that just $2.38 billion of this has actually been disbursed to date. Ireland has continued to use all available opportunities at international meetings, in Brussels, New York, Geneva and elsewhere, to urge donors to keep their promises and to provide the kind of long-term, coordinated and predictable funding which is required in order to move Haiti from crisis to recovery.
For our part, Irish Aid has worked hard to meet the Government’s commitments to the people of Haiti. Some €11.5 million of the €13 million pledged by Ireland at the Haiti Donor Conference in New York in March 2010 has now been committed. We intend to meet our entire pledge in the coming months. In addition to financial support, Irish Aid has carried out 18 deployments to Haiti from the Rapid Response Corps and these experts have been able to assist UN and other agencies in vital areas such as logistics, engineering and water and sanitation.
More generally, the issue of implementation of donor aid pledges has been the focus of attention in the media and among civil society organisations in recent times. A recent OECD report highlighted a gap in international aid flows against pledges amounting to some $21 billion over a five year period. The shortfall is partly due to the difficult budgetary situation in developed countries over the past three years.
In order to promote the importance of ensuring that donor aid pledges are credible, achievable, and properly monitored, the OECD has published a ‘Recommendation on Good Pledging Practice’. This comprises a set of principles relating to pledging practice for financial undertakings to developing countries. The Recommendation is designed to serve as a benchmark to help OECD member States frame future aid pledges in terms that are clear, practical, realistic, and capable of being monitored. Ireland strongly supports this OECD initiative.
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