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Ireland’s humanitarian spending increases by 65% since 2019

Ireland invested a record €295 million in humanitarian responses around the world last year, an increase of 65% from 2019.

Ahead of World Humanitarian Day tomorrow (August 19th), Tánaiste Micheál Martin T.D. paid tribute to humanitarian workers who put their lives at risk to help others. The Tánaiste said that Ireland’s increased investment in humanitarian aid was a sign of rising needs but also of Ireland’s commitment to supporting people in urgent need around the world.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin T.D. said:

“This year, a record 339 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. That equates to almost one in every 20 people around the world in need of urgent aid such as food and water. Ireland is committed to doing what we can to support people at their most vulnerable time. Through Irish Aid, Ireland provides life-saving support to people who have lost everything through conflict or disaster. On World Humanitarian Day, the world should pause to reflect on the unacceptable number of people around the world in need of humanitarian aid."

“World Humanitarian Day is also an opportunity to remember those humanitarians who have died while helping others. Over the past 20 years we have seen a significant increase in the number of attacks on humanitarian workers. This year we also remember the 32 GOAL staff who sadly lost their lives in the Turkish and Syrian earthquakes.”

Minister for Overseas Development and Diaspora, Sean Fleming T.D., said:

“Ireland has a strong and proud tradition of providing humanitarian aid to people most in need. Last year we responded with immediate humanitarian aid when Russia launched its illegal invasion of Ukraine. We also stepped up to alleviate famine in Somalia, as well as providing ongoing humanitarian support in countries such as Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic."

“Ireland’s humanitarian aid is an investment in saving lives. We commit to tackling the root causes of the crises that leave people in such desperate need, as we reflect on World Humanitarian Day.”

Humanitarian need around the world is rising due to conflicts, the climate crisis and the economic effects of the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

Ireland’s humanitarian aid in 2022 included 204 metric tonnes of emergency aid, including blankets, tents, water supply and mosquito nets, to help families displaced by conflict and violence in Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Moldova.

Ireland also provided much needed humanitarian expertise to humanitarian crises across the globe. In 2022, 24 Rapid Response Corps members were deployed to UN agencies in 15 countries including the Philippines, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, South Sudan, Madagascar, Slovakia and Poland. The deployees brought critical expertise in water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, logistics, shelter, gender, child protection and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.

This World Humanitarian Day, humanitarians worldwide are campaigning to highlight their continuing commitment to deliver for the communities they serve, no matter who, no matter where and #NoMatterWhat. Ireland will continue to use its voice to promote respect for international humanitarian law and advocate for humanitarians globally to have safe, timely and unhindered access to all those in need.


Press Office

18 August 2023

Additional Notes:

  1. Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for international development, is an integral part of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
  2. Ireland invested €295m in humanitarian aid in 2022. This compares with €228m in 2021, €192m in 2020 and €181m in 2019.
  3. This year’s World Humanitarian Day also marks 20 years since the 2003 suicide bomb attack on the UN headquarters in the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 UN staff. Some 150 more people – local and international aid workers helping to reconstruct Iraq – were also injured on that dark day.
  4. So far this year, 62 humanitarian workers have been killed in crises around the world, 84 have been wounded and 33 kidnapped, according to provisional data from the Aid Worker Security Database research team at Humanitarian Outcomes. Last year’s annual death toll reached 116.
  5. Ireland continues to work with the international community to promote conflict resolution around the world. Our efforts focus on peace-building and sharing our experience of the Northern Ireland peace process. Building on its experience of successful conflict resolution in the Northern Ireland peace process, Ireland works at the UN to promote peacebuilding, mediation and reconciliation around the world.
  6. Ireland is recognised for its quality humanitarian funding. In line with international best practice we provide funding that is flexible, predictable and multi-year. This type of funding supports our partners to plan and programme more effectively and to respond rapidly to urgent needs as they evolve. In 2022, we saw how important this was as the context deteriorated in the Horn of Africa and the sudden onset crises unfolded in Pakistan and Ukraine. Importantly, Ireland’s quality funding also provides a strong basis for respectful partnerships with communities, local authorities and local and national NGOs, actors who are front and centre of the humanitarian response.

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