Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 30 March, 1999
Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
 94. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of countries with which Ireland has a bilateral aid programme; the extent to which this aid exists and is proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9173/99]
Mr. Andrews Mr. Andrews
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): There are six priority countries for bilateral development assistance under the Irish Aid programme: Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. There are, in addition, bilateral agreements in respect of more limited programmes of assistance to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Expenditure on these programmes amounted to £46 million in 1998 and is planned to reach £48 million this year. The future development of the programmes is currently being discussed with the Governments concerned.
The bilateral development programmes are a central element of Ireland's overall programme of official development assistance (ODA). Bilateral assistance enables Ireland to engage in direct development partnerships with individual developing countries. A recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the Irish Aid priority country programmes represent a highly effective model of development co-operation.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
95. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of locations in respect of which Ireland has contributed by way of multi-lateral aid programmes; the extent to which it is proposed to extend or expand this assistance in the future; the plans, if any, he has to increase the level of assistance to UN desired levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9174/99]
Mr. Andrews Mr. Andrews
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): In addition to our mandatory assessed contributions to multilateral development and finance organisations, notably the World Bank Group and EU bodies, Ireland, in common with other donor countries, contributes to a range of UN development agencies and programmes as an expression of our commitment to multilateral aid to developing countries and of the importance which the Government attaches to the work of the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies in the field of development co-operation.
In the European Union, Ireland's mandatory contribution this year to the European Development Fund will amount to approximately £12.41 million. The European Development Fund has a range of development programmes in the 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries party to the Lóme Convention.
The bulk of our voluntary contributions to UN agencies are made in the form of unearmarked core contributions to their general budgets and are not designated for specific locations or programmes. A significant exception to that practice involves our voluntary contribution to the World  Health Organisation (WHO), which is allocated to specific WHO programmes under a Framework Irish Aid/WHO Programme of Co-operation for Africa, with the objective of concentrating Irish Aid funds on health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. An element of earmarking for specific programmes and locations has also applied in respect of our voluntary contributions to the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). In 1998 contributions were made in support of UNV projects in Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda; in support of human rights activities in Colombia, Bosnia, Burundi, Malawi and Uganda; and in support of UNDCP projects in Peru and Tanzania.
Our voluntary contributions to UN development agencies and funds have increased significantly in recent years, in line with the expansion of our ODA programme, from £2.5 million in 1993 to £8.43 million in 1998. That has contrasted with the general trend over the same period with regard to donor contributions to UN agencies. Ireland is now among the top 20 donors to UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR, the three main UN agencies involved in development and relief work. In 1997 we were 15th in terms of per capita contributions to UNDP and eighth in terms of per capita contributions to UNICEF, while in 1996, the most recent year for which statistics are available, we were the eighth largest contributor to UNHCR in per capita terms.
In addition to our voluntary contributions to UN agencies and other multilateral institutions, Ireland provides specific humanitarian and other contributions to these institutions. For information on this area I refer the Deputy to the annexes to the 1997 Irish Aid Annual Report – the most recent year for which statistics are available.
While there is no UN target for contributions to international development organisations, agencies or bodies, Ireland remains among the most active of donor governments in this area.
Dáil Éireann 502 Written Answers. Overseas Development Aid.