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From personal experience over the past 25 years of elections and consultancy projects in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa, I recognise the aspirations, hopes and disappointments of the people and organisations that attempt to provide aid to the distressed communities.
However, to date the most significant omission from Irish Aid’s recent publication of its policy for international development entitled One World One Future was any commitment on population planning. At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Ireland endorsed the principle that: “All couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so.” Since 1994, Ireland has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to the principle at international conferences on population and development, but has done nothing to translate it into practice. In 2000, Ireland signed up to the Millennium Development Goal (MGD) adopted by 189 world leaders: “To make family planning universally available by 2015 as part of a broadened approach to reproductive health and rights”.
Despite Ireland’s commitments however, there has been a conspicuous absence of any tangible support for population planning policy, or any reference to the worrying implications of population forecasts, in the policy documents of Irish Aid or of the NGOs that are funded by it.
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