Country Idealist Profiles

Ireland – International Development Cooperation: Key Objective

Posted in Ireland, Ireland - International Development Cooperation by hynesbrid on August 21, 2008

Irish Aid’s overarching objective is the reduction of poverty throughout the world. Development programmes are supported in over sixty of the world’s poorest countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Irish Aid works in cooperation with governments in other countries, other donors, NGOs and international organisations as part of the global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. These targets, agreed by the UN at a series of international summit meetings, identify some of the main causes of extreme poverty in today’s world and underpin the poverty reduction policies and activities of Irish Aid.  The Millennium Development Goals require the international community to

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • Achieve universal primary education;
  • Promote gender equality and empower women;
  • Reduce child mortality;
  • Improve maternal health;
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
  • Ensure environmental sustainability;
  • Develop a global partnership for development;

The Millennium Development Goals, and the specific targets set to enable their achievement to be measured, provide the context in which Irish Aid priority sectors are decided. These include education, health, agriculture and food security, water and sanitation, infrastructure and roads, trade, and good governance. Each sector represents a means of addressing a core cause of poverty.  However, as the causes of poverty are interwoven to such a degree that one cannot be tackled in isolation from the others, a comprehensive and cross-sectoral approach is crucial if a real and sustainable reduction in poverty is to be effected. Recognising this, Irish Aid’s programme incorporates cross-sectoral strategies on gender, governance, HIV/AIDS, and the environment into all of its development activities.


Irish Aid works in close partnership with recipient countries, with other donors and multilateral organisations and with non-governmental organisations and missionaries. Partnership with the recipient countries is vital if the beneficiaries of Irish Aid programmes are to have ownership of their own development. Partnership with the Programme Countries is built on a structured framework for co-operation which sets out the responsibilities of both sides and facilitates regular, open dialogue and allows the recipient country to lead in the formulation of development strategies. This allows local capacity to be built or strengthened and sustainable progress to be achieved.

Irish Aid also works closely with the donor community. Donor coordination is an increasingly important part of the international development effort and offers Irish Aid the benefits of shared information, analysis and experience with other donors, and the opportunity to maximise the impact of the programme.

Coordination with international organisations such as the World Bank, IMF and the UN Funds and Programmes is important to Irish Aid as a means of enhancing the value of the programme. The EU is a critical partner for Irish Aid in maximising the effectiveness of its development assistance.

Irish Aid has a constructive partnership with NGOs and missionaries in many areas of development work and in its emergency and recovery work. A more systematic and structured working relationship is evolving with the introduction of the MAPS programme, the Missionary Fund and the establishment of the Development Forum.


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