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Our Guiding Principles

Our aid programme is a cornerstone of Ireland’s foreign policy and at Irish Aid, our objectives are to reduce poverty and vulnerability and increase opportunities for some of the world’s poorest people. In doing so, we are guided by a number of principles.


Our relationship with the developing world will be based on a spirit of partnership and quality.

The governments and peoples of our partner countries are primarily responsible for their own development and will lead the development process. We will offer advice, expertise and assistance but decisions on development planning must, to the greatest extent possible, be locally owned and led.

For their part, our partner countries must work to combat corruption, ensure effective and responsible government, promote democracy and protect human rights.

We will also work in partnership with other donors and with international and non-governmental organisations which share our priorities.

Public ownership and transparency

We will ensure greater public awareness and ownership of Ireland’s aid programme. We will also encourage greater awareness of development issues. The programme will be delivered in an open, accountable and transparent manner. The bases for funding decisions will be transparent. We will consult with partners on major policy initiatives.

Effectiveness and quality assurance

We will use public resources efficiently and effectively, providing value for money for the Irish taxpayer. To maximise effectiveness, we will ensure high quality in the planning and management of our projects and programmes

Our objectives are to reduce poverty and vulnerability and increase opportunities for some of the world’s poorest people.

We will work in close co-ordination with other donors and the international community in order that development assistance is used to best effect at a global level. Ireland’s assistance will not be tied to the use of Irish goods or services.

Rigorous audit and evaluation will inform our work to ensure that resources are used to achieve value for money and that we learn from past experience.


We will work for a coherent approach to development across all Government Departments. Within Irish Aid itself, we will work to ensure coherence across the wide range of development assistance instruments employed and to minimise and eliminate inconsistencies and contradictions.

Long-term sustainability

Our interventions will be durable and will bring real benefits over the long term. We will work towards sustainable improvements in the lives of ordinary people through building systems that address the causes of poverty rather than simply improving the symptoms.

Our development programme will integrate environmental concerns, to protect the interests of future generations.