Concern urges politicians not to neglect international commitments in Election 2020
Concern is urging the Irish electorate to prioritise issues which impact directly on the world’s most vulnerable people during the current General Election campaign.
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Ireland’s largest aid agency, Concern Worldwide, which is this year marking 50 years of work with the world’s poorest, reached 27 million people in 27 countries last year – according to its 2017 annual report.
The aid agency spent a record €183 million in 2017, a two per cent increase on its total spend of €179.4 million in 2016, with 90.8 per cent (€166 million) of its total expenditure last year going to the provision of life-saving relief and development.
In 2017, Concern also responded to the needs of more people through its emergency relief programmes than ever before – amounting to 12.9 million extremely vulnerable people in 65 emergencies.
Many of those people were caught up in what were considered forgotten crises, such as the East Africa drought in countries including South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Last year also saw Concern’s rapid scale-up in Bangladesh responding to the influx of an estimated 671,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, which included the emergency treatment of over 61,000 children aged under five for malnutrition.
Concern’s Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley, described 2017 as “exceptionally challenging” and an “extremely difficult and violent year around the world.”
“As the year came to a close, new waves of conflict and displacement in countries including Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and Central African Republic, compounded by continuing drought in East Africa, meant that more people than ever were in need of humanitarian assistance around the world,” he said.
Mr MacSorley praised the international community for preventing large-scale famine feared imminent in four countries in the first half of 2017.
“The successful prevention of widespread famine in 2017 was a powerful good news story,” he said.
“Famine was ultimately declared in two regions of South Sudan, but with the support of Irish Aid and the generosity of the public, Concern was able to massively scale up, at one point operating 52 nutrition centres in the worst affected areas.
“Overall, timely intervention from the international humanitarian community was critically effective in helping to stave off large-scale famine in all of the affected regions against very formidable odds.”
Mr MacSorley said that the work Concern does is needed now more than ever, 50 years after the organisation was formed in Dublin in 1968 in response to the Biafran famine, which was caused by civil war in Nigeria.
“Fifty years after the Biafran famine, it is a sobering reality that the work of Concern is needed now more than ever and we remain committed to tackling extreme poverty in the world’s most forgotten and volatile regions,” he said.
Donations from governments and other significant donors to Concern amounted to €135.9 million in 2017, which was 70.9 per cent of Concern’s income, including €30.5 million from the European Union, €27.6 million from the British government and €26.9 million from the Irish government.
For more information or interview requests with Concern’s CEO, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at 086 358 2886 or email [email protected]