Seanad Éireann - Volume 95 - 19 November, 1980
Brandt Commission Report: Motion.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: I move:
 That Seanad Éireann notes the significance of the report and recommendations of the Brandt Commission contained in ‘North-South: A Programme For Survival’, and calls on the Government to respond positively both through Ireland's own approach to North-South issues and also by promoting initiatives in the European Community and the United Nations along the lines recommended in that report.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss the Brandt report properly entitled “North-South: A Programme For Survival”. I would like to thank the Leader of the House for arranging that the debate would take place in the Seanad this afternoon and for fixing a definite time for it so that the debate could take place in its entirely this evening between now and 8.30 p.m. I welcome the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs here for the debate. As a former Senator he is familiar with this House and possibly appreciates for that reason the usefulness of debates particularly on reports of this sort being held in the atmosphere of the Seanad, in particular because they are debates on the record. This enables all of us to make the contribution which we feel the report warrants and to examine the implications for Ireland. It also enables the Minister, speaking for the Government, to express a view on the Brandt report and, if he so wishes, to give us the Government view and hopefully a Government commitment on the implications of the report itself and indeed in the whole area of development aid and development co-operation.
I would like to speak first of all to the initial part of the motion. The motion notes the significance of the report and recommendations of the Brandt Commission contained in the report. Then there is a second part which I will deal with in the second part of my contribution which calls on the Government to respond positively both through Ireland's own approach to this area of development and also by promoting initiatives in the European Community and in the United Nations along the lines recommended in that report.
 I suggest to other Senators that these are two distinct aspects of the motion that are before us on which we should each contribute, first, the report itself and its significance and, second, the Irish responsibility, the implications for Ireland and Ireland's whole approach to development policy.
Let me turn to the first part of the motion, the significance of the Brandt report. It was the result of a study by an independent commission established in 1977 under the chairmanship of Willy Brandt to examine and report to the Secretary General of the United Nations and to the world at large on the whole range of issues under the heading of North-South issues. The report was completed in December 1979; it was presented to the Secretary General of the United Nations in February 1980; it was published in March 1980 and became available in this country, after some time lag, around about April or May 1980. It is described by the chairman, Willy Brandt, in his introduction as not intended to be a technical document. This is important to emphasise. The members of the commission were not so much experts who had been involved directly in Third World issues for a number of years and who compiled the report out of that expertise, they were chosen more for their experience and their prestige as politicians. A number of them were former Prime Ministers; a number of them were very significant people in the developing countries who lent their own names and reputations as well as their time and energy to being part of this independent study and part of the ultimate report which now bears the name of its chairman, Willy Brandt.
There have been criticisms of the proposals in the Brandt Report, criticisms that it is not innovatory, that it is not radically new in many of its recommendations, that it resembles the Pearson Report in 1969, and that even its more far-reaching proposals are matters that have already been the subject of discussion either in an agency of the United Nations or in some other forum. Indeed, I took part in a very interesting and stimulating  meeting here in Dublin last night organised by Comhlámh on the Brandt report in which there was a criticism, for example, about the concept of “mutuality of interest” between the developed and developing countries, questioning some of the assumptions, questioning what precisely is meant by that mutuality of interest and is it perhaps more the self-interest of the developed world. I welcome this criticism. I think that criticism is an important part of the response to the Brandt Report. It is not something that needs to be accepted in a blanket and unthinking way.
But some of this criticism can tend to overlook what I believe is the first basic significance of the Brandt Report: that it constitutes on an authoritative document which any of us can purchase and read and, indeed, thanks to the good offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs, we have deposited about 20 copies so we have no excuse for not reading it. We did not even in the end, have to put our hands in our pockets to purchase it! The first essential feature of the Brandt Report is that it is a process for creating awareness among all of us, politicians and people, of the order of magnitude of the problem of the relationship between developed and developing countries, of the issues of the Third World, of the order of magnitude of the steps that need to be taken to avoid the reality of catastrophe, of starvation on a massive scale, perhaps of ultimate war in the world.
The first phase then is the analysis and report contained in this book. It does not worry me that it is not terribly innovative because it is sometimes more possible to get political will to accept a report which is not too surprising and too completely different from what has gone before. That is not to say that the proposals in the Brandt Report are not extremely far-reaching in their thrust, and would not radically change the world as we know it if they were implemented, and do not involve a transfer of resources to the Third World of a kind and on a scale that has not been before. It is extremely far-reaching in its implications. Part of that process, then, is the raising of consciousness. That is phase (1) of the  report. But we have too often seen important reports only reach phase (1) and sit on a shelf, whether they be Irish reports by Irish expert bodies, for example, the Law Reform Commission, or international reports.
What we must address ourselves to here in this debate is stage (2), the phase of implementation, of seeing how it is possible to move to concrete measures, in other words, the crunch. Here it is fair to say that the Brandt Report has not been very helpful in itself. It has not advocated or suggested the steps for implementation. Indeed, the only references in the rather long and very interesting introduction by Willy Brandt to measures of implementation are his recommendations of the need for a summit for survival, a summit of a number of world leaders who would be representative of the developed and developing world, to discuss the issues as a matter of urgency and his personal appeal to a whole range of different audiences, to world leaders of specific, named countries like the United States, Russia, Japan and other European Community countries and also — and I think this is an important element in the report — an appeal to the public generally, to women, to youth, to the trade union movement, to individuals to read and reflect on the issues raised and to respond.
Apart from addressing himself to these different audiences, neither the chairman nor the report itself gave a natural structure of implementation. As a result of that, the response to the Brandt report since it was published last March has been rather unstructured, uneven and unpredictable. Undoubtedly, at the international level, the most important step was the special session of the United Nations in New York in August where the Brandt report and its implications were discussed and where there appears to have been an encouraging measure of agreement on the need for a new international development strategy for the eighties. I do not think there was formal agreement on this but there appears to have been a political concensus on it. Perhaps inevitably the blockage or the problem occured when  it came to discussing the procedures necessary to launch global negotiations between developing and developed countries, and also on the issue of the role of the central body, the United Nations, and of the specialised financial agencies like the World Bank and the IMF. As I understand it, the discussion on these issues has been postponed, possibly until January, when there will be further attempts to launch these vital global negotiations.
What about the reception of and the consideration of the report here in Ireland? I accept that there will be an inevitable time-lag between the publication of an international report of this kind, even in a Pan Paperback which is intended to be more accessible to the general readership. But I also feel that this time-lag can be, and in this case should have been, shortened by Government action and leadership. There should have been more concern by the Government to recognise the importance of this report and to create public awareness and debate on it. I contrast the position of the Irish Government in this regard with the comparable position of the Dutch Government, because in the Netherlands, two months after the report was published, from the 15-18 may 1980, there was an extremely important symposium held in The Hague. It was sponsored and promoted by the Netherlands Government and the Netherlands Minister for Development took part, also the Chairman of the Brandt Commission Willy Brandt himself, and the majority of members of the Brandt Commission participated. So also did leaders of political parties — Joop den Uyl spoke for the socialist group; leaders of the trade union movement, of the employers, leaders of the Churches and 2,000 members of the public out of 8,000 who wanted to come, because they could accommodate only 2,000 people.
I have no doubt that by the 19 May 1980, it would have been difficult for anybody who was following current affairs matters to be unaware that there was a Brandt report, what it dealt with, what the Netherlands Government thought of it — because an official reaction  of the Netherlands Government was given — what sectors of industry thought of it, what the ppolitical parties thought of it, what the Church leaders thought of it.
I have here a summary of that Netherlands symposium and some of the remarks were critical. It is possibly more difficult to be critical to commissioners to their faces, as the Dutch were to Willy Brandt and his team, but they were very constructive and very worthwhile criticisms.
The point I am trying to make is that, in contrast, here in Ireland the information and the lobby, such as it is, drawing attention to this Brandt Report has really been those involved in Third World agencies, those involved in working, whether researching or actively working in the field for developing countries, bodies such as Congood which has produced an excellent summary of the Brandt report which has been circulated to Members of the Oireachtas — indeed it was specially prepared for the information of Members of the Oireachtas — Comhlámh, who organised that meeting last night and who have had others and will be having a public seminar shortly involving representatives of the political parties on the Brandt report, and the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace whose report on Ireland's performance in the Third World, a study of Irish Government aid which I will be referring to later, have been responsible for raising public consciousness. But there has been an absence until now of formal Government response, and that is why I particularly welcome the presence here of the Minister this afternoon.
Before dealing with the substantive issues in the report I turn now to the rather sharper may be and less comfortable subject of Ireland's record on official development aid. I would like to begin by contrasting with the official record the response by individual Irish people and by voluntary groups, and communities, in Ireland to appeals for subscriptions for aid for developing countries whether it be in the aftermath of some particularly  severe famine or drought or flood in a particular country or whether it be, over time, the consistent appeals for voluntary subscriptions from the large number of agencies which deal with these bodies. There is always a generous response. It has been surprising to see the figures that have come in that way from Ireland to be transferred to Third World countries, We also have a record that we can be proud of in voluntary service overseas through various agencies. This is something that Irish people are proud of. But the problem is that this is allowed to blur the harsh fact that our official aid, our politically structured aid, if I can put it that way, has never been adequate and has now begun to be cut back in a manner which has been described elsewhere, and I repeat that description, as shameful.
If we look at the figures — and I am going to look at them now — there is no other word that can be used. There is something very Irish about this. We are generous in a voluntary emotional ad hoc way. We do not think things through. But development aid requires a structured political response; it requires a development policy; it requires a carryover from year to year and it cannot be one of the first things cut during a particularly harsh year. If we do nothing else this afternoon, we should address ourselves to the need for more emphasis on the structured political response by this country in terms of its official aid, whether it is bilateral or multilateral, to developing countries. We must not feel comfortable or complacent about our voluntary contribution. That is no substitute; it is a very important addition and I do not wish in any way either to denigrate or undermine it; it is very important that there should always be this parallel, voluntary response and voluntary commitment and voluntary work done as we would expect from our record down the years and as we will expect into the future. But it is no substitute for what is done in the name of the state by the Government for the time being on behalf of the citizens of the State. In that respect I do not believe that our record is distinguished or even reasonably satisfactory.
 I would like to refer the House to very clear and depressing documentation of Ireland's poor performance contained in this publication prepared by the development research unit of the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace and entitled “Ireland in the Third World: a Study of Government Aid”. A copy of this was sent to Senators and is certainly available in the Library of the Oireachtas. This report documents and details, particularly from pages ten to 12, year by year, the amount of official aid in the budgetary allocations. I should not start, as I was going to do with the present Government's performance, the post-June 1977 Government. I will go back to the Coalition era where clearly the figures show that the Coalition Government reneged on promises to achieve half the United Nations official target of aid.
The official target of the United Nations is .7 per cent of GNP and the Coalition Government committed themselves to reach .35 per cent by the end of 1979. It was clear in the latter part of the term of office of the Coalition Government that they were falling behind on that, that they were cutting the contribution; that it was becoming more difficult for that target to be reached. That has to be faced up to by the parties that were in the Coalition. However, during that period official targets had been properly fixed for the first time. That is something that credit can be given for.
Since 1977, since the present Government took office, the picture becomes even more bleak. It is interesting to tabulate in particular the statements made by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Michael O'Kennedy, during 1978, concerning the United Nations target and the aim to achieve 0.35 per cent by 1979 or 1980, and then to note the gradual forgetting of that target, even though it had been set “regardless of budgetary considerations”. That is very well tabulated. Then there is a heading on page 14 which is under a question: “What remains of the target for Irish official development assistance?” This paragraph summarises the thrust of the very detailed, very particular, very  embarrassing figures of Ireland's promise through its Government for the time and failing to meet that promise in its budgetary allocation. It says that, beginning in the '70's, without any target whatsoever, the financial year 1973-74 saw the initiation of a development co-operation programme paralleled by the enunciation of its specific aid target; that the next six years, 1974-80 were years of making and breaking promises by politicians, of restating and reformulating commitments and because of or in spite of this, official development aid did increase in an erratic, unplanned way by a factor of five when expressed as a percentage of GNP from the very low base of the early 1970s. It says that what has become perfectly clear in the last ten years is the absolute necessity of an unambiguous and clearcut development assistance target formulation combined with appropriate institutional arrangements which would ensure that the target would automatically be complied with from year to year. That is a point I made earlier. It is a vital point in assessing Ireland's approach to development aid. We cannot afford to continue on an ad hoc basis from year to year because of the pressures that are there. The Minister may refer to these pressures. We do have economic recession; we have very high unemployment; we have very high inflation. As is clearly demonstrated elsewhere in this valuable analysis, a great deal of Ireland's aid of an official sort is first of all obligatory — 65 per cent is obligatory through our membership of the EEC, of the United Nations and of the International Development Authority. As far as bilateral aid is concerned a great deal of it is tied aid. It is tied to the purchase of services or the purchase of materials from Ireland. The real cost to Ireland is much less than the apparent statistical cost. So we are meaner than we appear, if one looks at the overall statistics. Yet we have been cutting down in real terms on the allocations and we are further away now from achieving the minimum standard which the United Nations have set as a target for 1990.
I would like to consider briefly the question: why should Ireland, after all,  one of the poorer countries of the European Community and in some ways a developing country, want to set a target to achieve the minimum which the United Nations feels is morally required from developed, industrial countries to developing poor Third World countries? That is worth considering because Ireland likes to exert a moral influence in this area. Irish Ministers when they go to the United Nations like to speak for developing countries and to say that, as a former colony, Ireland seeks justice and fairness and peace in the world. Within the European Community Irish Ministers would like to exert a moral influence. Also the Irish people want their Ministers to exert a moral influence in these areas, want Ireland to play a role, albeit as a small country, but nevertheless a role of setting values. The problem is that we do not have the legitimacy or authority at the moment to play that role. We have not put our own house in order. Our own record of official development aid does not entitle us to lecture others and I do not think lecturing is really what we are talking about. What we are talking about is moral persuasion, persuading the developed world to assume the responsibilities and even the commitment necessary for the survival of the world itself for future generations.
If the Irish people fully understood how inadequate we are in our official development aid they would be critical of successive Governments for not giving leadership in this respect, of not being willing, even in a way that may hurt, to ensure that we reached the minimum target. That target has been exceeded by some of the European Community countries, certainly by the Netherlands and by Denmark.
I have spent a good deal of time talking about the importance of the Brandt Report as a process of creating awareness. I have not dealt at this stage in detail with the recommendations of the report. I hope that the Minister will comment in some detail on them because they include extremely far-reaching recommendations for an emergency programme, an action programme for the poor countries; for financial mechanisms  which could be very significant in ensuring the transfer of resources; for an order of magnitude of response by the developed world which is somewhat equivalent in a rough way to a Marshall plan, following the second world war, that the United States implemented in Europe.
It is different from the Marshall Plan in that it is meant to be a very interdependent approach where the countries of the south would bear a major responsibility, have a major role to play and a major voice in it. They would not be the recipients of some kind of charity but rather work in mutual co-operation on the basis of this mutuality of interest. I hope the Minister will say, first of all, what Ireland's response is to the Brandt report generally, to the detailed recommendations of the Brandt report and, secondly, how is this response to be matched, first of all in putting our own house in order in regard to development aid and, secondly, in trying to further, if we accept them, some of the approaches and recommendations of the Brandt report.
Mr. Harte Mr. Harte
Mr. Harte: Very often when we look at very disturbing sights on television, people who are in a very advanced stage of malnutrition, or read about it in newspapers, we are inclined to get very, very emotional. Unfortunately, once the film is over or we have laid down the paper, emotion dries up and we subconsciously wish the problem would go away or at least not disturb or annoy us too much.
The Brandt Commission has painted a picture, not only of the problems of malnutrition but also of what our own behaviour pattern does to us and to other members of the world, north and south. It paints that picture in a way that demands that we give immediate detailed consideration, not only to the question of malnutrition but to the whole question of social, political and economic inter-dependence. It goes on to suggest courses of action, maybe not always directly, but indirectly, that need to be undertaken in a lot of areas.
We very often hear great criticism of the trade union movement, and a lot of it is justified, but I am proud to say on  this occasion, as a trade unionist, that the trade union movement has taken the Brandt Commission Report very, very seriously. The World Trade Union Movement have a member on the commission, Mr. Joe Morris of the Canadian Trade Union Congress. He is a worker representative on the Council of the ILO. We also had a commitment from the World Trade Union Movement and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions had a seminar on the Brandt Commission Report, which was held in Johnstown Castle not long ago.
The Irish Trade Union Congress has established a working party on third world development. It is a clear indication that they are seriously concerned about this problem. It is particularly encouraging to see organised groups reacting to the needs of countries, north and south. I hope, because of the attitude of the Trade Union Congress, who are often criticised in other areas, that other organised groups who have not yet done so might take the question seriously by getting down to cases on the programme for survival. The report stresses how important it is that we demonstrate our concern, not only by reading the report but by taking effective action. We should try to change our behaviour patterns, having regard to the whole question of the inter-dependence of north and south.
In his introductions to the Commission Report, Mr. Willy Brandt makes a plea for changes in attitudes and behaviour patterns and for peace, justice and jobs. Mr. Brandt's plea has raised hopes of being listened to because, from my reading anyway, the report makes it inevitable for any responsible body or any responsible country to take courses of action that will avoid a disaster that could be worse than Hiroshima, and to draw up short-term objectives which would be designed to realise the long-term goal of living in peace with each other. This is not sufficient in itself, it is also necessary to think about this great inter-dependence between north and south and to realise that there are no soft options and that we have got to face up to an awful lot of things. Everybody in responsible  positions, north and south, and also Governments, organised groups and so on, should commit themselves to their children and grandchildren so that we can avoid the disaster that can come about if we do not combat causes such as malnutrition.
We must develop world-wide moral values. It is not an easy task but the commission urges us in that direction, in the interest of our own survival. Mutual interests are very strongly spoken of in the report and they have been discussed at great length. For example, the Conference on International Economic Co-operation had negotiations for about 18 months in Paris prior to the issue of the Brandt Commission Report and running concurrently with those discussions there were world-wide conferences on food, agriculture, population, environment, industrialisation, and so on.
Subsequent to those negotiations and conferences a brain-storming development and co-operation symposium, jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the OECD, took place in Paris. Speaking at that symposium, the Pakistani Ambassador to France noted that three years after the CIEC negotiations and world-wide discussions, the balance sheet, in terms of concrete action and progress in negotiations, appeared disappointing. He said that CIEC was a failure, all the greater because so much effort went into those negotiations which, furthermore, were conducted at a very high level of technical expertise and political authority. The present position is that negotiations on most issues are deadlocked or marking time. According to the Brandt Commission Report, we cannot afford the luxury of failure any longer. It is not a question of negotiations or conferences where entrenched attitudes or political expediency will predominate which can only result in broken promises. The world, north and south, is in a decline. We have to think seriously what we are going to do about it. There has been a real decline in the transfer of resources to developing countries despite those negotiations. The reform of the international monetory system is not finalised. It is stalemated. Maybe somebody  with more experience in this area might comment on the monetary system.
Despite the promises that emerged from the CIEC negotiations there are no signs of any real change for the better in the general economic situation. Low growth rates are still prevalent and there are high levels of unemployment. The Brandt Commission Report says that if we are serious about the type of world we have a vision of or that we lay claim to have a vision of by the end of this century, we must heed this unique, independent investigation. It stresses the need for major international initiatives. I urge that we listen to the cry for help from the hundreds of millions of people who are starving in a world of plenty and who are living in conditions of absolute poverty and misery. If we listen, we will be motivated to move to the fullest possible extent of our own capacity to do so. It might be argued that it is unrealistic to suggest that the problems might be solved by the end of the century. It can be done. If we can get the political commitment, the political will and if we get it into our minds that we must start now, we will have gone a long way towards achieving those necessary goals.
There are considerably more people living in poverty today than there were 20 years ago. It is a sad thing to say in a world of plenty. It might be different if it was done on a percentage basis but more people are suffering from malnutrition. For example, in 1975, 15.5 million children of four years or less died. Of the 15 million who died in the developing countries, half died from causes linked to hunger and malnutrition. That is a serious indictment of our general behaviour north and south in the world. If we command the moral strength, as the report urges, it will be possible to overcome the worst aspects, not all the poverty but certainly the worst aspects of it, by the end of this century.
We must first of all realise that global inder-dependence is a reality. We must recognise its implications and we must act upon this inter-dependence, not only from the north but from the south as well. We must act on the international scene  and also on the question of domestic policies. A speaker — I cannot recall the name — in that symposium in Paris in 1978 urged some measures that would help or start work in the direction of the long-term goals. He suggested that there would have to be a serious look at the question of an increase in the gross national contribution. I cannot recall the way he put it but he urged the conclusion of international agreements on commodities, ensuring stable and remunerative prices. He also spoke about a transfer of technology and urged that the developing countries would be encouraged to come into all international discussions on international negotiations.
The urgency of the report demands that as Christmas and as responsible politicians we must quickly take initiatives and encourage all organised groups in the country. I am prepared to make those suggestions, not only here, but in the trade union forum.
Mr. E. Ryan Mr. E. Ryan
Mr. E. Ryan: The attitude of the western world, or the north, as the term is used in the Brandt report, towards the Third World was initially one of exploitation and colonisation. In recent years it has tended to be a more humanitarian approach. Ireland, which never attempted to exploit the Third World, hopefully because it did not desire to do so, but in any event because it did not have the ability to do so, has always had a humanitarian and a missionary approach to the Third World. This has been expressed and implemented by individuals, by religious orders and by various organisations and institutions for well over a century. We can say that during that time we, as individuals, organisations and so on, did play a meritorious part in attempting to help those in need in the Third World.
The Brandt report is of particular importance and use in emphasising the fact that, even if we have no humanitarian interest, no humanitarian instincts, in regard to the Third World, that from the purely selfish and materialistic point of view, it is essential that there should be help given to the Third World. We should ensure that there are acceptable trading  arrangements between the north and south. It points out that this is essential from the economic point of view, the point of view of preserving world trade. It points out also that unless we accept that point of view and act to ensure that there is an acceptable trade between the two parts of the world the consequences from the political point of view could be catastrophic and would lead to war and global disintegration.
The report points out that a very high proportion of western exports go to the Third World. Unless a certain level of economic prosperity, although prosperity is an extreme word for many countries in the Third World, unless a certain minimum stability of the economic system in these worlds is maintained exports will suffer and in the end the north would suffer and follow the south to economic disintegration. The north cannot ignore this message. We, in Ireland, cannot ignore it; we are more dependent on exports, on international trade, than any other country in the north because we export almost half our GNP. We must be concerned with this conclusion of the report and by the implications of a failure to look to the connection between north and south. If we do not do so, we, as well as the south, will suffer very seriously indeed.
We cannot ignore the ultimate result which is mentioned in the report. We would be affected by the probability of international disorder more than most countries. We would be vulnerable and unable to deal with it. The message of the Brandt report is that no country, whether small like ourselves, or even the very biggest country, is now in complete control of its economic survival. All the countries in the north are dependent on the south and other parts of the world for raw materials, energy and for trade in general. It is only if there is an acceptable pattern of trade between the north and the south, and an acceptable two-way trade between the north and south, that the trade of the world can continue in an orderly, successful and prosperous way. This must not be merely a question of taking raw materials from the Third  World but taking their manufactured goods as well when these are available.
Frequently complaints have been made about the unfair competition from Third World countries. This refers in particular to textiles and the allegation is made that these are the products of cheap labour and cheap overheads. It is suggested that there should be some kind of embargo or tariff on manufactured goods from the Third World because they are affecting the manufacturing industries in the north. There have been a number of reports on this point. Recent statistics show that Third World manufactured goods account for less than 2 per cent of goods consumed in the industrial countries as a whole. The Economist Intelligence Unit recently reported on this allegation and said that the success, so far as there was success within a very limited sphere, of manufactured goods from the Third World countries was due to stronger labour discipline, higher productivity and more up-to-date plants. Many of these countries that have begun to manufacture goods have very up-to-date plants usually supplied by the north and have greater adaptability to new products.
Another report by the United Kingdom Foreign Office surveyed 24 industries which were alleged to have been affected by imports from Third World countries between the years 1970 and 1975. This report concluded that imports from these countries were responsible for displacing approximately only 2 per cent of the jobs in that area. It pointed out that 75 per cent of United Kingdom textile imports came from non-Third World countries. It pointed out that 10 per cent of manufactured goods imported by the UK came from Third World countries but that 28 per cent of the United Kingdom exports were to Third World countries, showing a trade surplus of £6.1 billion.
It proves that this complaint about the danger of imports from the Third World countries is completely exaggerated, certainly to be considered, but not to be taken too seriously having regard to the fact that it is essential that there be a two-way trade in manufactured goods as well  as in raw materials and in other goods.
The report that I referred to showed that of the decrease in 428,000 jobs, 52,000 were due to a fall in home demand, 214,000 were due to rising productivity at home, 20,000 were due to falling exports to non-Third World countries, 92,000 were due to rising imports from non-Third World countries, 800 were due to falling exports to Third World countries and 47,000 were due to rising imports from Third World countries. These figures put into perspective the threat in so far as there is a threat, from the imported goods from Third World countries. It emphasises the necessity of encouraging imports from these countries because it is essential to their economy to be allowed to export not only raw materials but manufactured goods of all kinds.
Senator Robinson is right in saying that the facts and recommendations in the report are not startling in the sense of being very original or new but that they are none the worse for that. The facts are conclusive. The conclusions are coercive. They show that the north must reconsider its whole attitude to the south. There must be a new arrangement and a new order in respect of trade and general relations between the two parts of the world. There must be increased trade, increased aid at all times and a massive increase in the help and understanding of the problems of the south. This must be done very soon.
The only startling things are the conclusions that are reached as to what will happen, both to the north and the south, if the recommendations are not accepted. We must try in this country, and in the north in general, to implement these recommendations. We can play a part using such influence as we have in the EEC and in the United Nations but that is, perhaps, the least important thing we can do. If we are convinced that the Brandt report is correct and that it must be acted upon, we must start by implementing at home, as far as possible, the recommendations of the report. If we do that we will certainly follow on by playing our part in the EEC and in the United  Nations in so far as we can in those areas. But nobody who reads this report can be unaffected by it or fail to realise that unless it is implemented very soon the consequences spelled out in the report will take place.
Mr. McDonald Mr. McDonald
Mr. McDonald: I should very sincerely like to compliment Senator Robinson and Senator Harte on tabling this motion and thereby focussing attention on a very pressing problem worldwide and one that people must surely take note of. At the same time, when we talk about the North-South, people seeing this paperback report on the bookshelves could be pardoned for thinking at first glance that it had something to do with the North and South in an Irish context. We have the problem also of enthusing the Irish population. While we are discussing this North-South dialogue which is, in effect, the interaction between the rich and poor countries in the world, there are several thousand young farmers outside the gates of this House drawing attention to a crisis in their agricultural industry. That should not take from the problem we are discussing. We will have an opportunity of discussing problems on the home front at another appropriate time.
We, as a small Christian country — I do not say we are developed but let us hope we are developing — have a great role to play in ensuring a more equitable distribution of wealth and perhaps a more acceptable standard for people throughout the world. I have had the great experience over a seven-year period of working on the executive committee of the Lomé Convention, before that on the Yaoundé Agreement of visiting many of the underdeveloped and developing countries in Africa, in the Middle East and America. One has to see at first-hand the problems of the two-tier society to be moved by them. One cannot but appreciate the tremendous work carried out over a long number of years by the people who have served on the missions and indeed by the volunteer corps nowadays.
It might be useful very briefly to give the background to the setting up of the Brandt Commission. Following the adjournment in April 1975 of the preparatory  meeting of the International Energy Conference the President of the French Republic invited Ministers, in September 1975, or those people who had participated in the earlier meetings, with a view to reaching agreement on holding a conference on international and economic co-operation. Officially they commenced this work at ministerial level in December 1975, which meeting was attended by 27 countries, including nine developing countries.
The objective of the Conference on International Economic Co-operation was to organise international economic relations on a more equitable basis by reducing imbalances between developing countries and industrialised countries, between producer countries and consumer countries. This is a huge task. When we listen to some of the figures that Senator Harte mentioned we realise the problems there are. Those participants included 19 developing countries and eight industrialised countries. The House might be interested to know that they were: Australia, Canada — the EEC was represented by a single delegation comprising the President of the Council and the Commission of the European Communities, speaking with a single voice — Spain, the United States, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland. At that meeting we were well represented. Therefore it is appropriate that we discuss this report seeing that we were represented there very strongly from the beginning. Discussion took place within four commissions — a Raw Materials Commission, an Energy Commission, a Development Commission and a Finance Commission. This was the organisation which Willy Brandt was asked to Chair and which, I think we all agree, carried out its task admirably. This commission at least have focused the attention of the world on a great problem nobody dare sweep under the carpet.
On the Raw Materials Commission it is true to say that agreements were reached on the principle of establishing a common raw materials stabilisation fund, measures for international co-operation in the field of marketing and distribution  of raw materials, measures to develop and diversify the natural resources of developing countries. As regards trade, there was determination on the part of the participating countries to make substantial progress in the key areas of the Tokyo Round, the improvement by the industrialised countries of the generalised system of preferences, the promotion of exchanges of views with a view to enabling developing countries to enjoy better tariff preferences and the finding of a rapid solution to the problem of the multi-fibre agreement. We come across these objections at international conferences. There are so many abbreviations and so many conferences going on it is hard to keep track of them all. Nevertheless, in that area alone considerable progress was made, despite the fact that they were unable to reach agreement on protection of the purchasing power of the developing countries, export earnings, the measures related to compensatory financing, various measures relating to world trade production control for synthetics — the competitive problems affecting us all — and investment in the field of raw materials. Tremendous work was done by this commission. The very high-powered people who devoted their time and energy to it and their back-up teams have certainly recognised and isolated many of the problems. I suppose it is not possible to hope that the solutions will be found in the short term for all of these problems. However at least we should be aware of them and endeavour to work towards their solution.
On the Sub-Committee on Energy agreement was reached on the supply, conservation and exploration, the utilisation of traditional energy resources and the need to develop new energy resources in the developing countries. On the Development Commission there was agreement on the launching of a special one billion action programme to meet the immediate needs of the low income developing countries, with the EEC agreeing to a contribution of 385 million units of account and commitment to greater official development assistance, assistance to infrastructural development,  particularly in Africa, and measures relating to agricultural development and food.
In that respect it is useful to note that the common fund has not been set up but the special action will be implemented when negotiations on the renewal of the Multifibre Agreement have been concluded. Another point that is worth noting — and I should like the Minister to indicate to the House the view of the Irish Government on the subject — is that Germany, Canada, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland have cancelled debts of the 29 poorest developing countries to the tune of 6,200 million dollars. In the present international economic climate that is something that would be of great assistance to the poorer countries who surely must be experiencing great difficulty in balancing their books. Given a chance, Irish people as a whole, who traditionally have been great supporters of the work of those who dedicate their lives to improving the living and working conditions of people in the developing countries would make an extra sacrifice, if the problems of many of those unfortunate countries were explained to them.
We do not know what poverty is until we see the conditions in which people live in cities like Kinshasa, or in any of the towns or cities in Chad or Niger, in countries where people have absolutely nothing in the line of wordly goods, where even inexpensive medication would prove beneficial and helpful. Here we should be looking to our people for a Christian response to the problems of those people. Their position can be improved dramatically.
It is unfortunate that Ireland's development aid to overseas this year has been reduced somewhat. Nevertheless, I hope the target of half of .7 per cent will be reached. In the non-governmental aid section it would be a tremendous help to many of our people, whether they be actively engaged on the missions or in the volunteer corps, of the Department of Foreign Affairs — who have a section dealing with this and who have made such a tremendous contribution in countries like Lesotho and Swaziland, in places  where they have concentrated some of their aid — continued to enlist Irish people on the spot to ensure that the meagre resources we have provided are spent to the very best advantage. Where co-operative projects have been established they have proved successful and beneficial to the local population. We should double our efforts in this area.
ILO estimate that there are over 700 million people who are destitute in the world, that is, people with absolutely nothing, hardly having clothes to wear. The World Bank puts the figure a little higher, at almost 800 million people. These kinds of figures, coupled with the figures Senator Harte gave the House, will perhaps make us realise that we need to make greater efforts in this country where, despite the ups and downs of the economy, in the main we are sheltered, have food and clothing. We should, as a Christian society, make a greater contribution. At the same time we would expect that the Government, led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, would blaze a trail and perhaps redress the cutback made by the Minister for Finance in our contribution to the Third World this year.
Mr. Mulcahy Mr. Mulcahy
Mr. Mulcahy: I welcome the opportunity to make a short contribution on this motion, clearly a most important one. In effect we are talking about the management of the world. Some figures have already been given to the House which do not do credit to the more powerful nations, particularly those that have been categorised as north or south. My interest in this derives from a number of sources but particularly my chairmanship of the Sub-Committee on Economic and Industrial Affairs of the Joint Committee on the Secondary Legislation of the European Communities. Periodically we have looked at subjects which perhaps overlapped those of the Brandt report. I am thinking of areas like energy, the European approach to energy, monetary policy. That is one of my sources of interest. The other source arises in my capacity as a Lecturer in Business Administration. I visit some of the south or developing countries, the less developed countries, periodically. I will be spending next week  in Tanzania on a training programme for the heads of the semi-State bodies there. Therefore I have an involvement which allows me to see things at ground level.
Because of that I intend to deal with one or two specific points. One of the dangers in looking for a new socio-economic order — it is not just an economic order; it is a socio-economic order — is that one tries to tackle too much. Most of the progress made and action taken on these matters is done not on an international basis but on a bilateral basis. There are countries who for their self-interest will make arrangements with other countries. In my view, the EEC is the only place where some attempt is made to find a community of interest which transcends the bilateral principle and where there is a tendency to have something which is a bit more international. A few strains will appear on it. For instance, strains can be observed in terms of the enlargement of the EEC, with Greece, Spain and possibly Portugal joining. Arrangements made with Arab countries like Algeria, Tunisia and what are known as the Magreb countries for the export of their agricultural products, citrus products and so on will come under strain because once Spain and Greece join the EEC they will be entitled to the special privileges of membership. At a conference I attended recently on this subject some representatives of those countries feared a drop of as much as 30 or 40 per cent in their exports to the EEC. These are the kinds of problems that the future holds.
The question is: do we have the decision-making machinery internationally that is capable of dealing with it? This is really what the Brandt report is about, amongst other things. It speaks in very high-flown language about moral values, about economic order; it deals with a notion of equality, it deals with self-determination, all the good things. But it is interesting, when you get down to a simple matter like the one example I have just given, that those Arab countries are going to be in a position in which they would lose 30 to 40 per cent of their exports, and most of their exports are agricultural. How is that going to be dealt  with while we talk about settling all the problems of the world? The only place where this will be sorted out is in the countries that have clout, and the countries that have clout are the countries that have oil.
If one looks at the figures one finds that countries like Saudi Arabia have bilateral agreements with Belgium for the delivery of 400,000 barrels of oil a day, with France for 240,000 and West Germany, 186,000. They will not have much difficulty. But, as that goes on and as these countries develop, particularly the Arab countries, we are going to have a situation in which they will start to process their own feed-stock. Instead of the petro-chemical industries operating in Europe and in the EEC on feedstock emanating from the Arab countries they will start to make bilateral deals. They will say: we will give you 400,000 barrels of oil a day if you establish a petro-chemical complex of X size in our place and, when they do then the EEC industrial base begins to get a thump. Without wanting to be too pessimistic, there are a lot of problems ahead. It seems to me that it will be essential to start with a very clear-cut EEC policy on these matters. Obviously one solution is to get the energy policy right and I do not think it is right yet. At present we are considering the energy policy in the Joint EEC Committee. I hope that we will put forward a report which will allow us to debate this aspect of it later when perhaps the Minister might be able to take it as well. That is just a specific example of a problem.
I am sorry that I was not here to hear Senator Robinson's opening speech on the motion. It could be that we would concentrate a lot on the amount of money spent on overseas development aid and say that a country should spend more. It is not just really a matter of the amount that is spent but rather of the approach that is going to be taken. It is the decision-making structure, the institutional structure, the structure for co-operation and for consultation that are going to emerge that matter. I think the money will flow then because the need will be clear. For instance, the fact that the overseas development aid from the USA has been cut  back is a manifestation of a lack of understanding of the issues. When one thinks that a jet fighter costs $20 million and that would supply 40,000 village pharmacies; when one thinks that in 1978 more than 12 million children under the age of five died of hunger; when one thinks that between 500 million and 1,000 million people are under-nourished, one realises that these problems are so immense that it is not just a question of the amount of money. It is a question of the approach.
The Brandt report has challenged our values and the approach of the main power groups. The proof of that is that Willy Brandt himself was the Leader of the German nation and Edward Heath was the Leader of the UK. When they were leaders what were they able to do about it? Brandt admits in his report that his attitudes have changed, that he sees fundamental matters in a different light as a result of this report. This is one of the main lessons to be learned, that the great leaders, when they had the power, did not know the problems and that they realised them when they examined them in this context.
It is too big a subject in a short time to undertake the type of analysis I would normally like to undertake. However, I thought I would throw up those few points as a contribution.
Professor Murphy Professor Murphy
Professor Murphy: Senator Mulcahy is right, of course: it is so big a topic that one feels very inadequate sitting in this House and presuming to make any real contribution to it. Nevertheless, I want to add my voice and support this very praiseworthy motion. Whether or not Senator Mulcahy is right, that the Brandt report is a real contribution, or whether in the rather startling interpretation last night, it is a great diversion from what should be done, according to Mr. Richard Gott, is debatable. I want simply to confine my remarks to one point. It is taking up what Senator Mulcahy touched on briefly, that is, that the whole question of disarmament is linked integrally with the question of a new economic order. It is rather surprising that the Brandt report itself pays relatively little attention to this. On page 8 of the report there is a  brief reference to the amount of money being devoted annually to military arms expenditure, pointing out, for example, that half a day's military expenditure could finance the entire malaria eradication programme of the World Health Organisation. There are other equivalents attempted there and Senator Mulcahy mentioned another one. Indeed in the bulletin of the Department of Foreign Affairs, “Ireland Today” of October 1980 in a long and very useful article on disarmament it is mentioned that over 1,000 million people lack adequate housing, 25,000 people a day die from waterborne diseases and in some countries the average family pays more in taxes to maintain the arms race than to educate their children. In The Irish Times today there is a syndicated article somewhat along the same lines citing a source called “Third World media” and mentioning that while there are astronomical sums being spent on military power 660 million people cannot afford the basic necessities of life.
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: There is a division in the other House. The Senator may continue in the Minister's absence if he wishes.
Mr. E. Ryan Mr. E. Ryan
Mr. E. Ryan: There is no reason why the debate cannot continue.
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: The Senator may continue if he wishes.
Professor Murphy Professor Murphy
Professor Murphy: I would prefer not to address Banquo's ghost, so to speak.
Mr. McDonald Mr. McDonald
Mr. McDonald: Could we not have some system of pairing in a situation like this so that the debate could continue?
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: That is not a matter for the Chair. It is a matter for the Whips.
Mr. E. Ryan Mr. E. Ryan
Mr. E. Ryan: I propose that we adjourn.
Business suspended at 7 p.m. and resumed at 7.10 p.m.
Professor Murphy Professor Murphy
Professor Murphy: The central point I  was making is that the armaments race, apart from its intrinsic obscenity, prevents in a very real way progress towards a proper world economic order. I am not just talking about the incredible sums which the superpowers spend on armaments; I am talking about the way in which the developed countries cynically exploit the armaments markets and themselves shore up armaments by creating patron-client relationships with countries in the developing world. Our European partners are pre-eminently guilty in this respect. I am talking most of all about the way in which developing countries spend increasingly enormous sums on military pursuits in the face of the continued poverty of their own people. The Iran-Iraq war is an obvious example of this, two countries who could spend their time more appropriately in building up their economies than in this drain of military energies and lives and resources in this regrettable war.
Since 1960 military expenditure of developing nations has risen four-fold. There seems to be no halting this process. The point is, what can we do in terms of the motion to play our part? The motion calls on the Government to respond positively both through Ireland's own approach to north-south issues and by promoting issues within the European Community and the United Nations along the lines recommended in that report.
I suggest, first of all, that in pursuing our increasingly firm policy on disarmanent we are already making a contribution to building a new world economic order. The Minister has made clear his own personal commitment in recent times and our ambassador at the United Nations has also done so. Another thing we could do is to help to discourage our EEC partners from pursuing the insanity of the arms race themselves — the United Kingdom and France are two obvious examples here — and if the Reagan directive is going to be observed there is going to be further waste of money on armaments. We could also attempt to use European meetings and assemblies in the broad sense to try to dissuade our partners from  exporting warlike material to developing countries. Admittedly this is a crime which can be laid at the door of superpowers on both sides of the ideological divide. The United States is No. 1 in the arms export market, the Soviet Union is No. 2, and Britain and France take up the next places. At an Ireland-U.S.S.R. Society meeting at Liberty Hall about a week ago, I was glad to make this precise point, that the Soviet Union is equally guilty in the arms race and in its exploitation of the developing countries.
This is something which comprises a very positive initiative. It involves no more on our part than the integrity of our own commitment to disarmament and of course it goes without saying that since all this hangs together of a piece there can never be any question of this country committing itself or making its own contribution to the armaments race.
Dr. Whitaker Dr. Whitaker
Dr. Whitaker: The Brandt report shows us clearly how badly divided the world is. “North” in the title of the report is synonymous with rich, “South” with poor. The “North”, which includes all the highly industrialised countries, manufacturing over 90 per cent of the world's products, has a quarter of the world's population, but four-fifths of its income. The “South”, which covers all the less developed countries ranging from giant entities of great potential, like China and Brazil, to the smallest and poorest countries, contains three-quarters of the world's population, some three billion people, and only one-fifth of its income. Half the vast population of the “South” is illiterate. There is a difference of at least 20 years on average between life expectancy in “North” and “South”.
The first and probably the most important and abiding purpose of the Brandt report is to carry forward the educative, evangelical work of the Pearson Commission, Robert McNamara's addresses and the reports of the World Bank, UNCTAD and many other agencies, in bringing forcefully to the notice of open-minded and reasonable people, particularly decision makers, that both justice and peace in this shrinking interdependent world require that we recognise and take urgent  action to ease the grave problems posed by the poverty, ill-health, squalor and hopelessness in which the lives of hundreds of millions of mankind are cast.
In relation to health alone the report reminds us of some horrifying facts which I mentioned here before. Amongst them are these. There are still countries in Africa where one child in four does not survive to its first birthday. Of the 20 million to 25 million children under five who die every year in developing countries one-third die from diarrhoea caught from polluted water. Millions of children, through protein deficiency, fairly easily remediable, suffer an irreversible and permanent stunting of their mental as well as their physical development. Others have mentioned the vast numbers who are undernourished and hungry.
If these facts were more widely known I believe the response of the Irish public would be such that the Government would be strongly pressed to go steadily forward towards the present United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official aid. We are less than half way there yet. What is more important, the Government would be helped to do so by public acquiesence in the taxation necessary to make these transfers. This year's cut back in official aid was very greatly regretted and the generous public response to voluntary appeals such as those by Trócaire should, I think, encourage the Government to renew and press forward with their commitments. I may say, incidentally, that the Minister's decision to ease the severe restriction on APSO's funds this year by releasing an extra £100,000 was very welcome.
I am sure that nobody in Ireland will be misled by the eccentric and extreme views presented in Dublin yesterday by Mr. Richard Gott of The Guardian and already referred to here tonight. He was for destroying the whole international economic system, for letting the poorer countries hoist themselves by their own bootstraps inside their own frontiers, on the basis that aid from the richer countries was another form of imperialism and that we were imposing our own questionable patterns of development on them  when indigenous autarchy would be a saner and better solution.
In my view this is nonsense. Imagine the cruelty of leaving Bangladesh or Lesotho or Tanzania to fend for themselves forever forward. It is a completely invalid argument as far as Ireland's motivation and operations in relation to overseas development co-operation are concerned. Imperalism is no part of our motivation nor do we impose on any government in the Third World our views as to the pattern of development policy they should follow. In our bilateral operations we are in those countries at their invitation and with their goodwill, to help through personal service or through specific projects. We are cooperating with them, not imposing spurious recipes upon them. The great merit of the bilateral programme is that we can make a contribution of lasting value, through education, through training in skills, improvement of irrigation, increase of food output, disease elimination and so on, a contribution compatible with the country's own assessment of its development needs and not confined to any élite but the fruits of which will be widely shared amongst the inhabitants.
The Brandt report also put particular emphasis on the mutuality or interest between developed and developing countries. They have a close common interest in the expansion of trade between them. We need the Third World at least as much as it needs us. Senator Eoin Ryan a while ago stressed this point. Already one-third of the manufactured exports of the EEC, the United States and Japan are going to the Third World and the proportion is rising. I have spoken previously in this House and written in the press on this topic and all I need say now is that adjustment to the implications of a liberal and expansionist trading policy will not be easy, To maintain progress in living standards and job numbers here, or in other more developed countries, we cannot cling to out-moded and non-competitive forms of production. We must keep moving up the scale in terms of quality, design and the amount of value added in the production process if we are to maintain or improve living standards  and provide sufficient jobs. This will mean constant improvements in technology, retraining, up-grading of skills, adaptation, re-equipment.
The Brandt report also deals with the need for the conservation of energy and for a global energy strategy which would substitute predictable for abrupt changes in the price of oil and also would provide for an orderly reduction in dependence on non-renewable sources of energy. On out last sitting day I was making the case that it would be in our best interests and indeed of the world generally, if the major oil users and OPEC were to agree on a policy of maintaining the real price of oil in relation to other commodities.
Everyone will pick out special points of interest from this wide-ranging report which deals also with disarmament, on which Senator Murphy spoke, on commodity price supports, as mentioned by Senator McDonald, on the international monetary system and various institutional matters, but all the discussion leads up to the report's unanimous recommendations for immediate action to achieve a substantial increase in the transfer of resources to developing countries and at the same time to make this transfer less discretionary, better underpinned financially, more automatic than at present.
Differences of view or reservations about the specific merit or practicability of various proposals in the report must not be allowed to cloud its main message about the urgent need for action to ease the problems of the Third World. The report rests on a strong intertwined foundation of humanitarianism and self-interest. At the same time it stresses the essential responsibility of Third World countries to help themselves. It encourages self-reliance. It stresses the need for these countries to make social and economic reforms at the national level so that the poor will gain directly from growth and participate fully in the development process. I think it is evident to us all that in many of these countries basic political and social reforms, including rearrangement of land ownership, for example, are needed and that radical improvements in administrative and  educational systems are at least as urgent and necessary as the receipt of aid or technical advice.
The report is not entirely starry-eyed, evangelical or altruistic. In his introduction Brandt says:
Waste and corruption, oppression and violence, are unfortunately to be found in many parts of the world. The work for a new international order cannot wait until these and other evils have been overcome. We in the South and the North should frankly discuss abuses of power by élites, the outburst of fanaticism, the misery of millions of refugees, or other violations of human rights which harm the cause of justice and solidarity at home and abroad.
There is one thought which this report should leave with us in Ireland — a determination steadily to strengthen the selective, well-planned co-operative contributions we make to the development of less fortunate peoples. I would hope that his work would not be regarded as being done for charity or for self-interest as much as for our own moral development as a community.
Mr. Staunton Mr. Staunton
Mr. Staunton: I wish briefly to add my voice to the comments that have already been made in this debate on the motion submitted by Senators Robinson and Harte vis-à-vis the Brandt report. I am glad to see the Minister spending all of his time with us in this House. I will start by congratulating him on his successful lobbying for the present Irish place on the Security Council of the United Nations and I suggest to him that his next mission might relate to the activity or lack of activity which we are discussing in this debate this evening.
There are very many reasons why this is a very important matter for our country. We are a small country, an independent country with a colonial background. We are a country that has been relatively poor and which is much wealthier today than it has been. We are a country that claims to have had a missionary spirit since the early centuries and an interest, perhaps sometimes hypocritical, in matters of the spirit, and for all  of these reasons any topic that relates to humanity, peace, an attack on poverty injustice or inequity in this world should be of paramount interest to this country and specifically to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In a spiritual sense it must be of interest if we are to be consistent with the history of this country and even in self-interest terms because we are a nation which carries the begging bowl occasionally to the EEC or to other world agencies and in the European context like to paint the picture of relative poverty. We are a country that is based totally on an open economy and the notion of free trade. For all of these reasons it even makes economic sense, apart altogether from the moral issue, to be in the forefront of these nations in the western world seeking equity in world affairs in this particular area.
Unfortunately when the chips are down the commitment here is not as it should be and, despite the moralising speeches of all of us in this debate this evening, the record of Governments in this country is poor and this year has been described as shameful. I might be tempted to score political points from the benches of which I am speaking, but I will resist the temptation and follow in the apolitical tone of Senator Robinson by being critical of successive Governments.
Against a United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GNP and a commitment within this country of two successive Governments to 0.35, we are talking this evening, against the background of moralising speeches, of a present position in which the Irish commitment is under 0.2 per cent, about £16.25 million, which is not satisfactory. I know there are political realities. I know it is said that there are no votes in foreign aid to the Third World. I know that cynicism may be abroad to a degree in areas such as this. I take up the statement made by Senator Ryan that if we are convinced then this sincerity and conviction should start at home. In the very simplest of terms, of course, bilateral aid, bilateral education facilities and training of management people in the Third World are important. Assistance in irrigation and in the agricultural world is immensely important, as  are lobbying in the EEC and the UN. Fundamentally, the extent to which an Irish Government are committed in this particular area will be measured in the first instance by the extent of their monetary commitment. In this country of relative wealth — total wealth in comparison to the Third World — the commitment is not sufficient and we are in the middle of a recession. It is probably the worst recession which has hit this country since the thirties and there are immense problems in business, in the agricultural community, and affecting the trade unions.
However, I must advert to the commitment of Deputy O'Kennedy about two years ago when, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, he spoke of the commitment by this country irrespective of financial pressures or trading pressures. This commitment is in a totally different area; it has to be. The commitment is not sufficient and I call on the Minister to lobby the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance for a much stronger commitment which I believe will have the support of the people. We witness the excellent work being done by the voluntary agencies and the money which they collect in voluntary contributions. Their interest is obvious from the significant presence of a number of these people at this debate here this evening. I am glad to see them here and welcome them.
Brandt, in his introduction to this report, says very simply that the report is based on what appears to be the simplest common interest, that mankind wants to survive and has the moral obligation to survive. He says that if reduced to a single denominator this report deals with peace. I agree completely with this synopsis. It is too easy and too facile in the narrowest of terms to talk of the problems which may result to this country from an open policy. It is too easy to point to the problems in the textile industry, the footwear industry, to look to the problems hitting specific industries. Of course that is part of it and one has to be concerned. On the other hand, as previous speakers have pointed out, immense benefits flow to the western world through a strong southern hemisphere in terms of trade, the extent  of exports to the western world and the spin-off in other more modern industries and technology such as in the microchip, electronics and other fields.
Getting away completely from issues relating to trade, the central issue, as Brandt points out, is peace. I am one who distrusts totally the Russian aims in the world. I believe in a strong policy in the west against Soviet imperialism. Having said that, I was in Beirut last January as guest of the Palestine Liberation Organisation——
Professor Murphy Professor Murphy
Professor Murphy: The inconsistency.
Mr. Staunton Mr. Staunton
Mr. Staunton: Without apology, Senator. I was the leader of a delegation which met Mr. Arafat and we spoke about issues that affect Palestine and Palestinians. We went as the devil's advocates and tackled him about issues which would disturb the western world and a country such as this and we spoke to him specifically about apparent rapport between the Palestinians and Russia. He quoted Churchill back to us. In one phrase he said “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. The single rationale for Palestinian rapport with Russia was on the basis that their perception of the world today was that their enemy number one, for very good reason, was the United States of America because of the American pandering to successive governments and the obsene pandering to the same Zionist elements in the recent United States Presidential campaign by all three candidates. This obsenity put them into the opposite camp so that the enemy of their enemy was their friend.
That is the rationale: if you are being victimised, if you are under the boot, if you are in poverty, if you are under an imperialist yoke, you are going to react very viciously. If there is to be exploitation of the impoverishment of the southern hemisphere, if there is to be exploitatation of the inequity going back to colonial rule and if there is to be a continuing inequitable policy, then the southern hemisphere is ripe for exploitation by those in the eastern bloc.
For these reasons what we are coming back to is not an issue of whether there  are going to be textile jobs in Ballyfermot or in Cork in a narrow economic context. What we are simply talking about is whether there is going to be a spill-over through this inequity into global conflict. There is a necessity for a sense of a mission today which is a parallel with the political missions within nations in the past. There were substantial inequities within nations in the past, many of which have been removed, and there was a sense of political mission. It took different forms; in some political parties it took the form of nationalism and in others it took the form of socialism or social democracy. In other countries enlightened conservatism seemed to work. I am not concerned about the labels but there was significant political progress within nation states to abolish inequity.
The parallel today is that we have gone past the age of the nation state; the world is now very small. It is a world where balance has certainly reached the point of there no longer being massive American dominance which could assure continuity along such lines. The military position is absolutely perilous. The world is becoming smaller and must be run on the basis of interdependence. Interdependence in the world transfers the social conflict from issues within member states to issues with which Brandt deals. The report is an extremely important document. If nations do not respond to it revolutionary situations could result and one would not wish to contemplate the possible holocaust.
I congratulate the Minister on his recent success, but I stress to him that the report is taken extremely seriously in this House and this nation as we see it has a role to play. The commitment of this country will be judged in monetary terms and I will applaud the Minister if he manages to get from the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance a significantly increased commitment in the budget which we will be discussing in January and February of the coming year. Of course, there must be a continuation of the bilateral arrangements and influence through moral leadership. We cannot begin to adopt a moral stance in the European Economic Community or in  the United Nations unless we behave morally at home. In that sense I would urge him to get into the forefront of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs at the EEC sources and initially in the United Nations. That will reflect to the benefit of this country and we will be seen to play the very significant and enlightened part which we should be playing in this area.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Lenihan) Brian (Snr.) Lenihan
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Lenihan): I welcome the opportunity of speaking in Seanad Éireann on this very important report. Indeed, the description of it as a programme for survival is not in my view inappropriate. It is probably the most important report that has come to hand in our time as far as every country in the world is concerned. In my view it should be compulsory reading for every intelligent citizen in every state in the world. It touches on the basics and the fundamental fact that in the modern world we are all interdependent and, apart from the moral aspect, the mutuality of interest involved makes it imperative that all parts of the globe grow apace in terms of standard of living and prosperity. There is a sharing which ensures that this growth takes place throughout the world in a balanced manner.
I would like to pay tribute to the authors of the report, not just Herr Brandt but a number of other prominent statesmen, politicians and public figures from both the developed and the developing countries who came together independently, not under government instructions, and devoted their time to producing this non-technical report setting out in layman's language what exactly should be done in the whole area of the development of the world at the present time. A tribute is due to the chairman, Willy Brandt, but I want to emphasise that there were gathered together on this commission a number of very enlightened people in various areas of public service who thought out, in my view, a very valuable and basic work which must be taken heed of. For that reason I am very grateful to the Seanad and to the proposer and to the seconder of the motion for an opportunity to have an enlightened debate on the matter.
 A great array of developmental problems for the next two decades are tackled in the report, including the whole question of interdependence and mutuality of interest, food and hunger, economic co-operation in the south, energy, industrialisation, world trade and the world monetary order. Highlighting current problems to be tackled urgently, it recommends an emergency programme for the next five years which would be an interlocking programme requiring undertakings by all parties and which would bring benefits to all.
There are four principal elements envisaged in this. One, a large scale transfer of resources to developing countries, secondly, an international energy strategy, thirdly, a global food programme and, finally, the start of some major reforms in the international economic and financial system. The report provides a fresh global perspective of developing problems and underlines the interdependence between the developed and the developing countries and, of course, the relationship between development and world peace. This has been referred to by Senator Staunton.
Unless this whole area is tackled along the lines of the Brandt report one is laying the seeds for serious tensions, conflicts and disruptions, the sort of scene that can cause serious disruption of world peace and something more cataclysmic and horrific. It is a very useful catalyst in my view in the important discussions to come in the north-south dialogue, and in particular in the view of global negotiations on economic co-operation for development which are expected to begin next year. The Brandt report fits into a situation where now within the UN there is a realisation of the importance of coming to grips with the global approach to this whole problem of economic and social development throughout the world.
I would like to deal at this stage with the proposed global negotiations. We had discussions at the 34th session of the United Nations General Assembly and a resolution was adopted which decided that a round of global negotiations for development should be launched at a special session which just recently has been  held. The inclusion of energy which is of paramount importance in the economies of both developed and developing countries is now recognised as part of the overall discussions. The resolution adopted provided that the proposed negotiations should not only contribute to the solution of international economic problems and to steady global economic development but should reflect the mutual benefit, the common interest and the responsibilities of the parties concerned, taking into account the general economic capability of each country. We had an initial discussion on this whole aspect at the UN special session from 25 August to 15 September 1980. A number of north-south matters were discussed including the global negotiations. It was not possible to reach agreement, but at the current session, having got over some procedural difficulties, it looks as if a wide measure of agreement is now about to be reached.
It is a difficult area involving the status and competence of various specialised bodies in the international economic and financial spheres. Here again there is some disagreement on how these bodies should be worked into the overall strategy so as to ensure that there is the required financial back-up for what is proposed. However, it is hoped that by the end of this year we will, through the United Nations, have reached some finality on how to proceed on the whole aspect on a global basis. It is all important to ensure that the UN and world financial institutions are brought in on whatever is proposed. That is the important element at the moment which is to be settled.
However, whatever the difficulties— and there are institutional and financial difficulties—the significant thing at this stage is that the international community has now decided to continue the north-south dialogue, to raise it on to a new level and settle the institutional and financial aspects that are outstanding. The principle that the whole matter must be treated on the basis of a global economy has been acknowledged. The whole emphasis will be on the special problems in developing countries but also on the  aspect which has been referred to here by a number of speakers, that is, the aspect of mutuality involved.
It is not just a matter of aid for developing countries, it is a matter of survival as far as the developed world is concerned. This is the real aspect that is of tremendous importance and I was very glad to hear in the Seanad that emphasis was placed by Senator Robinson and a number of other speakers on this mutuality of involvement as far as the developed and developing countries are concerned. This is one of the key aspects in the Brandt report, this emphasis on the mutuality of interest and the interdependence of north and south. Both sides in the dialogue stand to gain from a policy of co-operation. The importance of economic growth in the north to economic development in the south is now fully recognised and it helps to provide expanding markets for the products of the south. But now there is a further recognition, as far as the north is concerned, that the expanding markets in Third World countries are particularly important as far as the north and south are concerned. The mutuality is quite clear as between north and south, each needs the other as far as markets and investments are concerned. Indeed, the Foreign Ministers of the member states of OECD at a meeting in Paris last June, at which I was present, stressed the importance of constructive co-operation with the developing countries in the forthcoming international negotiations, to which I have just referred, with the aim of restructuring international economic relations in order to improve the functioning of the interdependent world economy and to help developing countries to achieve rapid economic and social development.
There are a few aspects I would like to refer to which add a certain gloss to what I have said and what has been said in the debate. It is not a simplistic matter between north and south, between developed and developing countries. It is impossible to regard the developing countries as a homogeneous group and I need hardly point out that there are real distinctions and differences between the  problems of semi-industrialised medium level income countries like Brazil, Singapore and Korea, and their problems are vastly different from those facing countries like Lesotho, Tanzania, Bangladesh and the Sudan.
This is a cautionary note that I would like to sound in regard to the south itself. The Brandt report does point out that it is the governments and people of the south who have the primary responsibility for solving many of their own problems. Ample opportunity exists, and it should be encouraged by the international community, for more co-operation at many levels between the countries of the south itself or within the southern area. We have certain examples of that in ASEAN, for instance, where the southeast Asian nations have come together and the north and south American nations have come together in the Andean Pact. There is a situation where in many countries of the south, the really least developed countries, no matter what is done in the way of development assistance, which is mainly coming from the north, from developed countries, it is of very little value unless there is a certain recognition and consideration adopted by some Third World southern countries towards their own neighbours.
For this very reason Ireland has in its bilateral aid programme taken a very proper stand. We have concentrated our programme on the very least developed countries. Out bilateral programme is entirely concentrated on Lesotho, Tanzania and the Sudan, to mention three examples. There are also further programmes envisaged in Rwanda and Burundi, the least developed of the south Third World countries, which are suffering themselves by reason of the behaviour and the attitudes of other Third World countries. These are countries that do not have the energy and the oil resources that other Third World southern countries have. I intend to continue this policy of concentrating, as far as our bilateral aid is concerned, on countries of this kind that really need help, particularly in the technical, advisory and professional areas.
The United Nations itself has recognised  the point that I am making. We are not talking about a Third World so much as a Fourth World. We are talking about the part of the Third World that is lagging further and further behind its neighbours in the Third World who happen to be lucky in having basic resources such as energy and other commodity resources. The United Nations has recognised this and proposes to have next year in 1981 a major conference on the problem of the least developed countries. This will afford the international community an opportunity of focussing on the problems of these countries and developing a particular strategy for them. The Brandt report rightly highlights this problem of what one might call the poorest countries, and there is a special chapter devoted to them, and it advocates a particular action programme in their respect.
I do not want to dwell over much on energy problems but the fact is that soaring oil prices, caused to some extent by Third World countries in the southern part of the world, have caused more serious problems for their own neighbouring poor countries who do not have the resources than they have caused for the industrialised countries. They have posed problems for the industrialised countries and for the developed countries, but the problems they pose for their own neighbours who do not have these resources are infinitely more serious. However, as I have mentioned, energy is included on the agenda for the forthcoming global negotiations and it is very important that whatever arrangements are worked out, oil producers, many of them in the south, must have regard for the oil importing developing countries, their poor neighbours who obtain about two-thirds of their commercial energy from oil, an even higher proportion than the OECD countries themselves in the developed world. These countries will remain particularly vulnerable to oil price increases from their neighbours. For them the benefits of much growth in their economies can be wiped out by oil import costs.
Some developing countries, indeed some of our Third World countries— again part of the cautionary aspect of  what I propose to say—have now got substantial surplus accounts by reason of oil revenues. The recycling of these surpluses is an issue which must be tackled if conditions for stable growth are to be restored and maintained. At the special session of the UN in August at which I spoke I mentioned that in my view a solution to this question of the recycling of oil revenues is an essential requirement and to be effective it must take an account of the interests of all parties. The Brandt report points in this direction when it says that for the future:
an accommodation must be sought between oil producers and consumers which will inevitably have to go beyond the question of oil prices alone.
The report has been published at a most opportune time, in my view, when people are generally conscious of the essential nature of interdependence between nations, regions, peoples. The fact that we are one global village certainly has been brought home to mankind as a whole arising out of the problems and the difficulties of the seventies. To that extent some good has been done in that there is a greater awareness now that growth is not just something automatic, that expectations cannot be automatically raised or continued, that we are all depending on each other. The whole debate here has been very much on those lines.
I would like to refer to one or two aspects that arose out of the debate. There was the emphasis on the mutuality of interest. In that respect I feel that we in Ireland, coming back to our own particular contribution in this respect, can best help in the whole area of enhancement of skills, for want of a better phrase; in so far as we can help, it is in promoting skills. We are acceptable to people in the Third World; we are liked. We have had problems ourselves as a growing nation; we have skills to pass on; we have engineers, teachers, doctors. We can organise peat works; we can organise electricity stations and distribution applied to electricity. We can advise on management in  setting up co-operatives. We can give an impulse in many of these areas. That is where we can contribute best and maximise what limited resources we have in making our contribution. I feel very strongly that that is Ireland's particular role in our own small way, in how we can help. I hope to spell that out in greater degree and get the necessary funds to emphasise that aspect of our contribution in relation to what financial help we can give, be it under APSO or bilateral aid or through the multilateral areas.
Another aspect which is important and was referred to during the debate is the aspect of trade. Trade is more important to these countries than aid. Let us examine our conscience fully in this respect. I agree fully with what Senator Whitaker said in this respect. Because of our educational and training systems we must be going upwards in regard to our approach to industrialisation. There are other primary areas of industrialisation that inevitably are being done and will be done by Third World countries, whether they be countries who are signatories to the Lomé Convention, countries who are part of the overall GATT operation, countries who are allowed trading concessions by us through our membership of the EEC and our membership of GATT. Let us remember that if we embark on any campaign of protectionism vis-á-vis these countries we are doing them serious harm.
Let us have no ambivalence about this. It is far more important to these countries that they trade rather than that we spend some money on them in some charitable guise or charitable way. If they want, through their own self-reliance and their own self-help, to trade, then the very least we can do is allow them to trade freely. It is nothing short of hypocrisy to talk about granting them extra money in the way of bilateral or other aid and at the same time seeking in any way to deny them the trade outlets for their reasonable industrial developments. I say that because sometimes people can be ambivalent in that area. As far as the Third World is concerned, trade is much more important than aid, and freedom in regard to trade. We should not retreat  into any sort of woolly obscurantist protectionism and think that that is a way for helping ourselves temporarily. That is all it is. It is not a real way to help ourselves. The real way to help ourselves is to make use of and develop the more advanced specialised industries and technologies for which our education and training systems have been geared.
There were a number of very good points made in regard to armaments. It is horrific to think of the amount of money that is being spent at present on armaments. The excellent summary that is being prepared by Congood on the Brandt report, which is being circulated to every Member of the Oireachtas emphasises this. It says that money spent on development is extremely cheap compared to that expanded on, for instance, armaments. It says that as Brandt points out the world's annual military bill now approaches 450 billion US dollars while official development aid accounts for less than 5 per cent of this figure and that half a day's military expenditure would finance the entire malaria eradication programme of the World Health Organisation, while the cost of one modern tank would finance storage facilities for rice which would save 4,000 tons each year and that the same amount of money would provide 1,000 classrooms for 13,000 children.
We are talking in terms of a society in which a tank can be blown up in the desert in Iran at a cost of £1 million or a jet can crash into the desert in Iran or Iraq at a cost of £10 million. This is the sort of counter-distinction and conflict of values that we have at present. This must be tackled because it leads me to the conclusion that I would like to make. Unfortunately this report, while excellent, came at a difficult time as far as the world's economic and financial situations are concerned and there are budgetary restrictions and restraints placed on every economy in the world, particularly in the developing world. Those are facts. Things have levelled out or down according to how one looks at it. So where is the money to come from, where is the transfer of resources to come from as  envisaged in this report? The only area from which it can come is the one obvious area of growth over expenditure existing in western societies as a whole. It is only through there that one is going to get the transfer of resources required really to implement this report. I do not see the substantial transfer of resources that is required to implement this report coming about unless there is something seriously done about the armaments race and the advancing cost investment in regard to armaments as far as the developed world is concerned. That is the big area of over-expenditure, the big area of over-cost and the big area where a real transfer of resources should take place.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: What about Irish official development aid?
Mr. Lenihan Mr. Lenihan
Mr. Lenihan: I will come to that. That is a matter for the Estimate and the budget and I have to argue out my particular case. This year there was an increase of 22 per cent on the previous year, compared to the figure allocated for the previous year in development aid. I agree that we need to do better, that we have committed ourselves within the UN to the UN target of 7 per cent of GNP to be achieved by the end of the eighties. All of the developed countries and the developing countries came together and the reached agreement. That was part of the negotiations that I was talking about which took place in September and that agreement has been reached. At the moment we stand at 2 per cent and we hope to achieve 7 per cent of GNP by the end of this decade. At that we are playing our part.
There are some countries who play no part at all in this. Some countries within the United Nations say that development aid is a matter for the ex-colonial countries and that they have no particular responsibility, or conscience to salve, or contributions to make in this respect at all, good, bad or indifferent. Let us be frank about it, these are the countries in the eastern European world; Soviet Russia and some other countries take that view. It is salutary and necessary to say from time to time that this particular can  is being carried almost to a total extent by the democratic countries of the free world. That is a very sad and a hard thing to say but let us say it and let us have it out here. Frankly, that is what any debate is about. The Soviet Union and a number of other countries choose not to participate in this area of activity at all. It is a salutary point.
One other way in which funds could be increased would be in the recycling of funds. I referred to this earlier on. If we can get the finance institutions of the United Nations working in such a way that oil revenues can be re-cycled to a greater and more efficient degree to the countries that require them, that would be one area of potential financial investment to implement the Brandt report. The other area which I have mentioned is substantial multilateral agreement on the reduction of expenditure on armaments. Those are the two areas from which funds can be obtained. Other than that, due to the financial constraints of the moment, I do not see any other areas where one can obtain the necessary finance to effect the transfer of resources required to implement what is a monumental, constructive, responsible report, one of the great reports of our time. Unless we implement it, however we must do it, there we are into serious trouble as a world. I have just advanced two areas in which we can secure the funds to implement the report. One is the recycling of oil revenues and the other is the reduction in the armaments race. Unless those two areas are tackled I do not see any other way, in the embattled state of the free world's economies at the present time, in which the transfer of resources to implement the excellent recommendations there can be effected.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Senator Robinson has 15 minutes to reply to the debate.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: I would like to thank the Senators who participated and the Minister who sat throughout the debate and also participated. However, I would like to tell the Minister, as politely as possible, at the end of the debate that I  am very disappointed with his contribution. I feel we were entitled to have some expectation of what the Government were going to do as a consequence of appreciating the magnitude of the problem outlined in the Brandt report. Indeed, if I were Minister for Foreign Affairs and had listened to this debate I could only be encouraged by the response. On all sides of the House there was a shared appreciation of the depth of the problem, of the human misery and suffering which occur throughout the world and of the need for urgent action. The Minister could know that we would welcome any proposals that he was prepared to make, and support any initiatives that he himself would like to take, whether these would ultimately get through the Government and bureaucratic machine. But we have not heard that at all. I wonder would the Minister like to come back on that? He said that Irish aid had been increased by 22 per cent over the figure for 1979 and he waved the Congood analysis of the Brandt report liberally at us. Let me refer to a paragraph in page 9 of that analysis where under the heading “Implications for Ireland of the Financing and Costings of the Brandt Report”, this Congood summary puts the matter very clearly. It says that the Brandt report was published in the spring of 1980; that almost simultaneously with its publication Irish bilateral aid was cut by almost 40 per cent by the Government, thus reversing what had been a growing programme for development assistance to the Third World based on, it had appeared, a predictable annual increase towards the UN 0.7 per cent of GNP target. On this subject I have already referred to the more detailed breakdown of the figures in the study produced by the Irish Commission on Justice and Peace.
Mr. Lenihan Mr. Lenihan
Mr. Lenihan: There was a Supplementary Estimate last week.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: That only transferred, as I understand it, some of the un-taken up amount in the multinational aid.
Mr. Lenihan Mr. Lenihan
 Mr. Lenihan: To the bank. That is the point I am making.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: But this is not an increase of any kind in real terms. This is not changing the picture.
Mr. Lenihan Mr. Lenihan
Mr. Lenihan: I am taking the Senator on her own figure. That figure was out of date.
Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson: I am glad the Minister is at least addressing himself to the figures because this is a very essential part of what we are discussing. The Brandt report will lose a great deal of impact in Ireland if the Government do not use it to promote the need for greater official support from Ireland to match what has been well tabulated as a willingness, even in times of economic recession and hardship, for voluntary contributions to increase when an appeal is put out and when the urgency of the needs is seen.
I had hoped that the Minister would contribute to the debate by giving this kind of leadership here in the House and by showing that the Government intend to use the Brandt report and other resources to bring home the importance of Ireland's contribution being increased both in the bilaterial and multilateral aid programmes. Indeed, the bilateral aid must also be more visibly based on developmental principles and not as tied as some aspects of the bilateral aid are at the moment. Our bilateral programme is rightly concentrating on the so-called Fourth World, on the least advantaged countries. But I think we can do more on basic development lines in our bilateral aid. A lot of our multinational aid is obligatory. We have to contribute because of our membership of the EEC, the United Nations and the International Development Authority. There is not the time now, nor an adequate opportunity to develop more fully the reasons for my disappointment at the lack of more specific commitment — or even willingness to work for that commitment — by the Minister speaking on behalf of the Government. I hope that he will be influenced by this debate and by further debates in  the next few weeks on the Brandt report and on the critical analysis of Ireland's attitude towards the Third World.
I would find it impossible to try to summarise the contributions by individual Senators. They covered a wide range. A number of important areas were discussed and a number of important points were made on those areas. Many Senators felt a constraint that I felt myself, that it is very difficult in the course of a three-hour debate to cover adequately the large number of issues and problems and challenges in this whole area that are covered by the Brandt report. This leads me to suggest that there is a need — I know that I am not the only one who feels it; it is increasingly recognised by individuals in the political parties, by Members of this House and the other House—for an Oireachtas committee, preferably a formal joint committee, on development aid and co-operation. There is a need to establish through motions in both Houses a committee of Members representative of the political parties and independent Members who could, over a longer period, both acquire expertise themselves and have a back-up and continuity of information. Apart from the need for this from the point of view of educating individual Members and giving us a better opportunity in a more structured way to deal with these problems. I would very much agree with the argument put forward both in the report of the Irish Commission on Justice and Peace, “Ireland in the Third World; A Study of Government Aid” and in this Congood report, that unless we move, at least to some extent, in all-party way it is going to be difficult to finance the kind of moral commitment and goodwill which we would like, or indeed to take the tough decisions in relation to trade with developing countries; allowing access to our markets; not using our position in the EEC to try to close off the access to those markets of Third World countries and to be able to have a more structured approach to our development aid so that we do achieve the official UN target. It was the one commitment the Minister did make; he referred to the fact that it was “hoped” to reach the target of  .7 per cent of GNP by the end of this decade. But we are not beginning to take steps to do that and the longer we wait the more difficult it is going to be actually the move towards achieving it, to get halfway there, and then to get all the way there.
Senator Mulcahy, and one or two other Senators, tried to place the emphasis less on the money or the transfer of resources from Ireland to developing countries, and more on other approaches, and the Minister mentioned the importance of the transfer of skilled people and skills as part of the contribution we can make. I do not think we can evade the issue like that. The Minister talked about some countries, particularly eastern bloc countries which have not made any contribution at all, who are outside this. But the United Nations have set down a minimum target for official aid. Other western European countries, for example, the Netherlands and Denmark, have already reached that target. It is not a very high target, it is not pitched at a level that the developed countries could not possibly reach. It is a minimum set down by the United Nations if we are to begin to meet the responsibility on us. Therefore, I was disappointed on that score that the Minister was not more specific.
This is not something that we can adequately discuss and debate in a three hour session in this House, and I would hope that the Minister would support the idea of the establishment of a joint committee on development co-operation so that that committee would have the possibility of availing of the resources of voluntary organisations and having meeting with members of voluntary organisations, using the resources of his Department and of other Departments involved in specific issues, for example, the Department of Energy on energy problems and the Department of Industry Commerce and Tourism on trade problems and in this way we could build up a much more structured response.
Another issue which surfaced a number of times in the debate, and which cannot be emphasised enough, is the need for a structured policy carrying over  from year to year in relation to our approach to development. Again I had hoped the Minister might give us some indication of present Government thinking on this. He spoke about financial constraints and financial difficulties and he said that Irish aid would be a matter that he would have to fight for in terms of the Irish budget. But it is precisely to prevent that being a vulnerable question every year that one would look to the Minister for the kind of initiative which will give us a genuine policy and strategy so that the matter will roll over from year to year on the basis of a planned approach and that we can then go on from there.
There is just one final matter because this has been a long debate and a number of Senators have sat here throughout it and I do not want to delay the House. A number of Senators mentioned the importance of education to promote an understanding of the interdependence of the world, of the acuteness of the problem, which is perhaps particularly necessary for those of us who have not had the first-hand experience of the sort that Senator McDonald and Senator Mulcachy described, of visiting and seeing the completely different world in which so many families and children grow up—or sadly do not grow up — who die or live in malnutrition and such situations of unacceptable deprivation. I believe that education about development issues is extremely important and that we can do far more along those lines, where Government money would be very well spent.
We are doing a little at the moment and we can extend that. I would like to see it extended right down to the primary schools. I would like to see children in primary schools getting a perception of development issues and seeing the world as a small interdependent world, so that as they grow older it will be much easier for them to relate the needs and accept the hard issues about increased taxation because of an understanding of their own relationship with peoples and with communities in other countries. I would like to see some evidence of strong Government support for education on development issues and for the research and initiatives that are going on in this area. I  know there are very important initiatives being taken. I do not think the overall budgetary expenditure would be all that great; we would not be talking about very large amounts but the money would be extremely important and very well spent. Indeed, I would view the proposed Oireachtas joint committee on development issues as being part of our education as Members of the Oireachtas.
Finally, I felt that the Minister in addressing himself to the issues raised in the Brandt report spoke too much about the responsibility on the world and on world leaders of the developed countries, and did not discuss the issues from the perspective of looking at what we can do in Ireland: what we are doing and what we can do radiating out from there. I had hoped, for example, that as a member now of the Security Council he might have been able to tell us whether this will improve the possibility of furthering initiatives and of drawing attention to the urgency of even, for example, disarmament, the issue which the Minister supported strongly and that Senator Murphy raised. Are there ways in which Ireland can raise this more directly in the Security Council now that we are a member? However, these are now matters that we will have to leave for another day.
I will end by once again thanking the Leader of the House for arranging a fixed time for this debate. That has been very helpful to all of us who wanted to participate. I thank the Minister for attending throughout the debate and speaking during  it and the other Members of the House for what I think was a very thought provoking debate. We certainly have not solved or resolved any of these issues in the course of the last three hours, but I think we have improved our own understanding and hopefully strengthened our commitment to play a part both individually and as a country in trying to meet what I believe, and what the Minister made clear, is the most fundamental issue of our time. I would agree with the Minister that this is one of the most important reports or our time and we must all reflect on it further and seek to implement its recommendations.
Question put and agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 95 Brandt Commission Report: Motion.