BY BRENDAN MEEHAN
The coming months will be pivotal in terms of global poverty and how Europe collectively handles the problem, says Dóchas, the umbrella organisation for Irish NGOs.
It stressed the point at its 18th AGM held in Dublin City Council’s Civic Offices on May 5 and if you want a quick (2 min) and light-hearted insight into the issues, check out this video:
The “Guaranteed Irish?” conferance focused heavily on Irish leadership in International development cooperation. The end result was that the member agencies of Dóchas reaffirmed their commitment to professional standards for overseas aid, and highlighted the benefits of continued investment in international development cooperation.
“If we are serious about ending extreme poverty, we must get European countries to work together and the decisions to be taken in the next few months will determine whether Europe is ready and able to take on that task,” Hans Zomer, director of Dóchas told the press.
Dóchas capitalised on yesterday’s Europe day festivities to urge the EU to act decisively to combat extreme poverty.
“The EU’s budget for foreign policy and the fight against extreme poverty is likely to come under pressure as negotiations start in earnest this summer,” said Mr Zomer.
Jan O’Sullivan, Minister of State for the Department of Foreign Affairs was among the speakers, and she discussed in detail the evolving relationship between Irish Aid and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
“I know that CSOs at an international level have drawn up a set of principles on development effectiveness and that Irish NGOs fully endorse these principles.”
“As Minister of State for Trade and Development, it is part of my job to defend our aid programme. The Irish public has always been a strong supporter of our work.”
The T.D was quick to acknowledge the changing economic landscape: “However, times have changed and at the household level in Ireland people are examining every area of expenditure. As we all know, government is also making very difficult expenditure choices.”