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Big role for a small nation

Concern has welcomed the public endorsement by the UN Secretary General of Ireland’s past leadership on overseas development, humanitarian assistance, peace-building and peace-making.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, made a clear call that Ireland hold its promise of reaching 0.7% gross national product for overseas aid by 2012. 

Commenting on Ban Ki-moon's address to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Concern CEO Tom Arnold pointed to “the undoubted significance of recognition at the highest possible level of the UN of the role which Ireland has played in the eradication of poverty across the developing world.” 

Significant leadership

“The words of Ban Ki-moon today reflect very clearly the high regard in which Ireland is held. This reputation is rooted in our past contributions to international peace and poverty alleviation. This role can and should continue. Ireland has a clear opportunity to show significant leadership by sticking to our promises and not turning our backs on the poor when times get tough,” Tom Arnold continued.

Punching above its weight

Echoing the words of John F Kennedy in 1957, Mr Ban spoke of the big role which the small nation of Ireland plays. Ireland he said “punches above its weight.”

Special message

In speaking of the economic crisis, the Secretary General said he came to Ireland with a very special message: “We cannot abandon the poor and vulnerable at a time such as this…around the world, millions [of] families are being pushed into poverty [and] the crisis disproportionately impacts the poorest and most vulnerable.”

2012 deadline

The Secretary General  said Ireland is “showing the value of global solidarity during these troubled times.” His call for Ireland to maintain its 2012 deadline echoes the recent plea by NGOs and developing countries. Both are witnessing the catastrophic impact aid cuts are having on the people across the developing world.