There is no single Irish Aid policy document on sexual and reproductive health or Family Planning (SRH/FP) in the context of development. However, the Irish government consistently makes statements of support for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in intergovernmental and in national policy forums, including in parliament. Irish Aid’s international development policy ‘One World, One Future’ (2013) includes a strong commitment to ICPD. The policy commits Ireland to supporting efforts that reduce maternal and infant mortality, and promote universal access to reproductive healthcare, including ante-natal care and family planning (FP) services. Addressing the High Level Political Forum in July 2018, the Minister with responsibility for SDG implementation identified sexual and reproductive health (SRH) as a priority area for intervention under the new upcoming international development policy.
Policies & funding
Over the past three years (2015-2017), Ireland has provided annual core funding of €2.8 million to UNFPA. There have also been significant increases in contributions to UNFPA projects (2015) and specific SRH/FP organisations and initiatives (2016). At the end of 2017, Ireland returned to funding UNFPA Supplies for the first time in many years, contributing €500,000. In total, Ireland disbursed nearly €5 million in SRH/FP funding in 2017, a 9% increase compared to 2016.
No roll-back on policy commitments to SRHR are anticipated under the current government and the environment is generally positive. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Overseas Development have both reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to SRH/FP and for the work of UNFPA in particular, recognising that improved maternal and reproductive health, including access to contraception, is an important focus of Ireland’s aid programme and is critical to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ireland has committed €816.9 million to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) for 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year that ODA funding has been increased and the largest year-on-year increase since 2006. There is no specific commitment to SRH/FP in the budget: the spend for SRH/FP is included within the overall budget for health.
Health priorities include strengthening national health systems and improving health services for women and children, including reproductive health services. Most of Ireland’s health funding goes through either general budget support or for specific HIV/AIDS initiatives, and the SRH/FP aspect is not made explicit.
Successive ministers for development and foreign affairs have made political commitments to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda in parliamentary speeches and debates. This commitment has been reaffirmed at the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the UN Commission on Population and Development. Ireland also played a strong role in the negotiations around the Sustainable Development Goals, pushing for the inclusion of SRH/FP. In September 2018, Ireland endorsed a resolution on maternal mortality in humanitarian settings at the UN Human Rights Council which recognised that SRHR are integral to the realisation of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and that comprehensive SRH services must have the interrelated and essential elements of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality.
- One World, One Future: Ireland’s Policy for International Development
- Framework for Action for One World, One Future
- Ireland’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2015-2018
- Ireland: Voluntary National Review 2018
Updated January 2019
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