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Ireland’s ODA Programme

The Irish Government’s official development aid (ODA) programme works on behalf of Irish people to address poverty, hunger, and inequality in some of the world’s poorest countries and is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy.

UNICEF-Herwig

‌Mariam and her sister Malak - Syrian refugees living in an informal tented settlement in Jordan. Photo: UNICEF/Herwig

What We Do

Ireland’s development cooperation programme aims to reduce poverty, hunger and humanitarian need, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. By supporting long term development and providing humanitarian assistance in over eighty countries, on behalf of the Irish people, we are helping to build better futures for some of the world’s poorest communities.

A Better World, Ireland’s policy for international development, provides the framework for Ireland’s expanding development cooperation programme in the decade ahead. It charts a clear way forward to achieve our ambition of a more equal, peaceful and sustainable world, shaping and protecting our stability, our prosperity, our shared interests and our common future.

Ireland’s international development priorities, as outlined in A Better World, are: Reducing Humanitarian Need, Climate Action, Gender Equality and Strengthening Governance. We focus on areas where Ireland has proven expertise and can make a real difference, including in conflict prevention and resolution, food systems and nutrition, private sector engagement, health, social protection and education.

Ireland is playing its part in addressing poverty, injustice and damage to our planet, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while at all times, trying to focus our efforts on reaching those furthest behind first.

What we spend

Ireland’s ODA funds are spent using a mix of funding approaches to support development programmes in our partner countries. We support the work of international organisations such as the United Nations agencies or World Bank, and the work of Irish, national and international non-governmental organisations. Irish Aid funding is also used to support emergency and humanitarian crises. 

In 2021, the Government of Ireland invested more than €976 million in Official Development Assistance. The majority of this funding (€569 million) was overseen and managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs through the government’s international development programme. Funds are spent using a mix of funding approaches to support development programmes in our partner countries, the work of international organisations such as the UN or World Bank, and the work of Irish national and international non-governmental organisations. Irish Aid funding is also used to support emergency and humanitarian crises. 

  • Ireland has pledged €60 million to the Global Partnership for Education over five years, with €10 million earmarked to the Girls’ Acceleration Mechanism.
  • Between 2021 and 2026, Ireland will invest €42 million in feminist and women’s rights organisations and women peacebuilders.
  • In 2021, Ireland pledged 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as part of EU vaccine sharing initiative. By December 2021, more than 1.3 million doses of Irish donated vaccines were delivered to Nigeria, Ghana and Indonesia.
  • Ireland contributed over €9 million through dedicated multilateral funds to support developing countries building climate resilience.
  • Ireland recognises that humanitarian need does not end when the initial emergency phase is over. In 2021, through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), Ireland provided over €19 million to fund support to refugees and those fleeing conflict.
  • In 2021, 82% of Ireland’s bilateral aid contributed to gender equality. Ireland also provided €4.7 million in core and bilateral funding to UN Women as a key partner in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment globally.
  • Our Humanitarian Programme Plan provided €15.8 million in funding to support Irish NGOS to respond to humanitarian crises.
  • In 2021, Ireland contributed over €92 million in climate finance. Ireland has committed to more than doubling its climate finance to reach €225 million annually by the year 2025.
  • Ireland will provide at least €250 million to global education by 2024.
  • In 2021, Ireland spent €97 million in climate finance.

You can find a detailed breakdown of Irish Aid’s spending in our Annual Report.

How we are accountable

Firstly, we are accountable to the Irish people for how we manage and oversee Ireland’s official aid programme. The programme is also subject to the scrutiny of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.  To ensure that funds are well managed and targeted, we have stringent audit and evaluation systems in place both in Ireland and in our key partner countries. Regular audits and evaluations of all programmes are carried out by the Evaluation and Audit Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

For more Information

Visit the Irish Aid website for more information on Ireland’s official development assistance programme.