TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has pledged to contribute more money to the United Nations development aid fund for poor countries at a landmark summit of world leaders in New York.
Speaking in the UN Assembly after a historic address by Pope Francis, the Taoiseach said Ireland will strive to meet funding targets set out by the UN.
The UN’s official development assistance fund asks for members states to contribute 0.7pc of their national income which can be used to help struggling nations.
This year Ireland contributed around €600m to the fund.
“Our development aid programme will remain central to our foreign policy,” Mr Kenny said.
“We will work to achieve the UN 0.7pc target for development assistance,” he added.
Mr Kenny said he will send Ireland’s aid to the world’s poorest countries, with a particular focus on African nations.
“We will work relentlessly with our partners for the elimination of extreme hunger and malnutrition by 2030,” he added.
He said “on our small Atlantic island”, Irish people carry the “generational-memory of occupation, hunger, conflict, mass emigration”.
“As a result of our history, we have a deep commitment to addressing suffering and hardship wherever they are found.
Our past has taught us that no one country can stand alone in an interconnected world,” he added.
He said the current refugee crisis is the most challenging humanitarian issue faced by Europe since World War II.
Mr Kenny said Ireland will work closely with our European Union counterparts to provide refuge to migrants fleeing war zones in the Middle East.
“We must have an equal focus on tackling the causes which motivate people to flee their homes, and to risk their lives for an uncertain future,” Mr Kenny said.
“That is why the agreement we are adopting at this Summit is so vital to guarantee not just hope but sustainable lives and futures,” he added.
Mr Kenny joined more than 150 world leaders for the UN Sustainable Development Summit.
Member states are meeting to agree on ambitious objectives aimed at reducing poverty and reaching global warming targets.
The Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development consists of a declaration, 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets dealing with a range of issues around poverty and climate changes.
Mr Kenny also called for the action to make ���better faster progress on gender equality” and fight for the further “empowerment of women and girls”.