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Joe Costello, T.D., says global development must protect the world’s poorest countries

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Ireland, 2012

Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello, T.D., told a public lecture in Trinity College today:

                “Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people and could drive       an additional 90 million people into extreme poverty by 2050,”

Speaking on the theme of sustainable development, Minister Costello warned that gains achieved in the developing world since the turn of the century could be reversed unless the international community strikes a balance between the economic, social and environmental pillars of development.  Minister Costello said:

“Between 2005 and 2010, the number of poor people around the world fell by nearly half a billion. There are now 40 million more children in school than at the turn of the millennium. But while there have been many positives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) approach has also revealed flaws. Global targets and results have hidden inequalities across regions and countries.  Vital issues such as sustainable growth, job creation, and trade were not adequately addressed in the MDGs.

The MDG Framework fails to sufficiently address environmental concerns including climate change.  However, upcoming international processes offer opportunities for the international community to begin to address these issues. Building on the achievements of the Busan agreement, the Rio+20 conference taking place in June 2012 will engage all states on the issue of the green economy.  Ireland will take an active role in these processes.

During our Presidency of the European Union, we will bring our strong focus on hunger and nutrition to bear and highlight the growing impact of climate change on the poorest countries and communities.  Through our engagement with international processes, we will work to ensure that issues of hunger, nutrition and climate justice are reflected in the MDG Review Summit in September 2013 and the post 2015 process.”

Minister Costello said that many people had raised the issues of hunger, nutrition and climate change during the public consultations for the Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid.

“I have launched an inclusive, national, consultative process to ensure the Irish public has an opportunity to fully engage with this review. Two public consultations have been held in Limerick and Cork with two more to follow in Dublin and Sligo.  We are also holding discussions with the Private Sector, NGOs, Diaspora groups living in Ireland, the Oireachtas and our partners in developing countries.

It is clear that bridging the gap between sustainable development and development cooperation is a key challenge.”

Minister Costello paid tribute to the work of the OECD Development Assistance Committee in making international assistance more relevant and more effective and to the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) and UCD’s Human Development Initiative (HDI) for organising the public lecture, ‘Sustainable Development and the Future of Development Cooperation’.