A Better World: Ireland launches a new policy for International Development.
A Better World, Ireland’s new policy for International Development was published on February 28th2019. It provides the framework for Ireland’s expanding development cooperation programme, in line with the Government’s commitment to reaching the UN target of allocating 0.7% of GNI to official development assistance by 2030. The policy highlights Ireland’s commitment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and names gender equality, along with reducing humanitarian need, climate action and strengthening governance, as the priority areas for “step changes” to reach those furthest behind.
Reflecting the recent constitutional change, the policy strongly signals that Ireland will take a proactive, rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health and work towards the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive rights. This indeed represents a step change, and a very appropriate one in the context of ICPD25. The policy states that “access to health services, including access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, is fundamental for realising SRHR and transforming women’s health outcomes.” The need to focus on SRHR in emergencies is highlighted and the policy commits Ireland to a new initiative on sexual and reproductive health and rights. As there is now no legal or constitutional impediment to funding abortion services, this opens the way for a comprehensive policy and funding approach to SRHR, consistent with developments in national policy. The policy also commits Ireland to work with global partners in support of the Universal Health Coverage movement.
The challenge now is implementation and the allocation of funding to fulfil the commitments made. This policy is a very good start.