Questions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mr. Charles Flanagan, TD)
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans and objectives for the United Nations Financing for Development, Third International Conference to be held in Ethiopia on 13 to 16 July 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his position on a new development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals, which is set to be launched at the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWERS on 9, June, 2015.
2015 is a crucial year for international development. We are preparing for three interlinked international conferences: in Addis in July on financing for development, in New York in September on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals and in Paris in December on a new climate treaty. The outcome of Addis will be essential for success in the subsequent conferences. Ireland is playing a strong international role in the overall process to agree a new framework for global development to follow on from the Millennium Development Goals, post-2015.
The contours of a successful agreement at Addis will need to be broad if they are to support the new set of Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted at the major Summit at the UN in New York. Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be a vitally important element of the package, but agreement will also be needed on a much wider range of resources for development. It will be important to ensure that all countries contribute on an equitable basis and that the Conference can agree on measures to unlock all available sources of financing for development. These will need to include domestic resource mobilisation, the most rapidly growing component of development finance over the last decade, as well as ways of involving the private sector as inclusive partners in development and recognising the importance of science and technology.
While ODA will not be sole focus of negotiations at Addis, it remains particularly important for the fight to end poverty in the Least Developed Countries, including many African countries and fragile states, countries which are the focus of Ireland’s aid programme. The Government remains firmly committed to reaching the 0.7% target and to making further progress towards it as our economic recovery consolidates. At the meeting of EU Development Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council which I attended in Brussels on 26 May, agreement was reached to reconfirm the EU’s collective commitment to reaching the 0.7% target within the timeframe of the post 2015 agenda. We also agreed on the need to direct more aid to the Least Developed Countries, and especially to the poorest African countries. Ireland is a world leader in the proportion of our aid which we provide to the poorest countries.
I look forward to attending the Conference in Addis Ababa and to working with our EU and UN partners to secure an inclusive agreement that will support the new, transformative Sustainable Development Goals.
This year, Ireland is playing a strong role in the work for global agreement in three major international conferences on sustainable development. The Conferences are interlinked. They are on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa in July, on a new framework for global development at the UN in New York in September and on a new climate change agreement in Paris in December. The aim is to deliver a new and transformative sustainable development agenda for the period up to 2030, with Sustainable Development Goals to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.
Ireland is co-facilitating intergovernmental negotiations at the United Nations to agree the new SDGs which will complete the work of the MDGs on the eradication of extreme poverty and will also place sustainable development at the core. The SDGs will be universal in nature and address development challenges through social, environmental and economic actions in low, middle and high-income countries alike. They will address a wide range of areas including MDG priorities such as food and nutrition, but also broader challenges, including on climate, sustainable production and consumption, trade and global governance structures, and peace and governance.
Ireland’s key priorities for the post-2015 Development Agenda have been the fight to end hunger and under-nutrition, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and good governance and rule of law. These priorities are drawn from Ireland’s Policy for International Development ‘One World, One Future’ and the priorities set out following the Foreign Policy Review in ‘The Global Island’. Ireland’s positions in the UN negotiations and in the relevant EU coordination are agreed through a whole-of-Government coordination process involving all relevant Government Departments. We have advocated for strong goals and targets in each of these key areas, and we have emphasised the need to incorporate human rights in the new development framework, reduce global inequality and protect the role of civil society.
I am confident that the inter-governmental negotiations on the SDGs which are being co-facilitated by Ireland and Kenya will agree an ambitious outcome which will be adopted by a Summit of world leaders in September in New York. Ireland is committed to playing an active and constructive role with our EU and UN partners in reaching agreement on these new, transformative goals.