Oxfam calls on Brian to drive down poverty
MORE than €120bn promised to the world's poor by the richest countries will not be given this year because of row-backs on development aid, according to a new report.
Ireland is one of the countries that have broken their promise to spend 0.7pc of gross national income on overseas aid, instead deferring a 2007 deadline until 2015.
"These missing billions mean more poor people falling ill and dying needlessly, more children missing an education and more millions losing the chance to be part of a productive economy," Jim Clarken, chief executive of Oxfam Ireland, said yesterday.
"It's vital that countries like Ireland, even in these difficult times, continue to invest in tackling global poverty."
In the major new report, published today, Oxfam argued that although aid may have its faults, it had transformed the lives of millions.
It found that development aid had reduced the number of children who die before their fifth birthday by four million since 1990 and put 33 million more children in the classroom.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern promised in 2000 that Ireland would achieve the UN target of spending 0.7pc of national income on overseas aid by 2007. The Government then changed the date to 2012 and, last year, to 2015.
In 2009, the aid budget was cut by €225m.