101. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a major review of the United Nation’s structure and principles can be undertaken with a view to restoring its effectiveness and its ability to intervene in situations such as the Syrian crisis and the development aid programmes to ensure that aid goes directly to its intended targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14200/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Secretary General has proposed reforms in the UN’s peace and security architecture, in the UN’s management system and structures, as well as in the UN development system – all with a view to ensuring that the UN is fit for purpose in carrying out its mandate and advancing the achievement globally of the Sustainable Development Goals. Discussions regarding these reforms are currently ongoing among UN Member States, with Ireland’s central participation. Many parts of the UN system are also contributing to the reform efforts. Central to this work is the concept of sustaining peace, bringing together Governments and all national stakeholders in inclusive partnerships to prevent the outbreak, continuation, escalation and recurrence of violent conflict. In this, prevention is the top priority.

The reforms seek to reduce fragmentation and allow for better delivery, and making the peace and security pillars of the UN more coherent, nimble and effective. Ireland is deeply committed to the multilateral system, and very supportive of the UN reform efforts.

The Government is strongly committed to delivering Ireland’s Official Development Assistance programme in the most effective way, providing humanitarian assistance and contributing to the fight against global poverty and hunger, including through working with multilateral partners.

The ability of these multilateral channels to reach the poorest and most fragile countries and regions in the world, and deliver real results on the ground, is at the forefront of Ireland’s financing and engagement.

Ireland provides core, multi-year funding to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which leads and coordinates the global humanitarian response and recently approved funding of €2.9 million to the organisation for 2018. This funding is intended to support the UN’s ability to respond effectively to global humanitarian need, including in Syria, where UN humanitarian agencies and partners continue to reach millions of people in need. Through our upcoming role as chair of the OCHA Donor Support Group, Ireland will continue to work closely with OCHA to increase the effectiveness of the UN’s humanitarian response.

An end to violence is urgently needed in order to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people. Ireland fully supports the UN-led political negotiations to end the conflict based on the 2012 Geneva Communique and UN Security Council resolution 2254, which call for an end to violence; full humanitarian access; a democratic political transition, and accountability and transitional justice.

Ireland plays an active role in the relevant management structures of our multilateral partners, for example as Board Members of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Population Fund this year. In addition, we use our Embassy network, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, to monitor the work of our multilateral partners on the ground and to ensure that aid reaches the targeted population.

In addition to participating in the ongoing discussions and reviews, Ireland will continue to advocate for reform of the UN’s structures and systems to ensure it is enabled to fulfil its crucial role in the maintenance of international peace and security, prevention, reduction and resolution of conflict and the upholding of fundamental human rights.