By Staff Reporter
The coalition of Irish NGOs has highlighted the impact that Brexit would have on the international development and humanitarian aid sector.
“We are now facing a period of significant political uncertainty [that] will not spare the international development sector,” said Dóchas chief executive Suzanne Keatinge after a recent session of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Keatinge cited a recent Dóchas survey of its member NGOs, which saw more than three-quarters (76%) report an expectation that Brexit would have a negative impact on their work – while more than two-fifths (42%) say they are experiencing that impact already.
“These implications must be considered as the negotiations on Brexit continue,” she added.
The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union by March 2019 is expected to lead to a substantial reduction in the EU development budget.
Britain’s contribution to this budget was £1.3bn in 2015, around 15% of the overall budget. The UK has also contributed approximately one-fifth of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (Echo), which provides assistance in emergency situations and has been responding to the current refugee crisis.
“At this moment, there are more questions than answers in relation to the impact of Brexit, but the development perspective has to be kept in mind during the negotiations,” said Keatinge.
“Brexit must be about more than internal issues of trade, security, border controls and the movement of people. We need to continue to insist on breaking down barriers, not rebuilding them in order to support and protect the poorest of the poor.”