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Decision Making in DFA

Decision making for major policy proposals

The mission of the Department of Foreign Affairs is to serve the Irish people, promote their values and advance their prosperity abroad, and to provide the Government with the capabilities, analysis and influence to ensure that Ireland derives the maximum benefit from all areas of its external engagement. In this section you will find information on decision making on a number of major policy initiatives which help us achieve fulfil that mission and how we assess how well we are meeting our objectives.

Ireland’s Second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

A Consultative Document was prepared by the Consultative Group inviting written submissions from relevant stakeholders on how Ireland could renew the National Action Plan. The document is available here. In all, 37 written submissions were received from stakeholders and these are available at this link. The Consultative Group also organised a consultative workshop in Iveagh House, Dublin, which featured an expert panel discussion and roundtable discussions on the themes of empowerment, prevention, protection and relief, monitoring and accountability and international developments. This workshop provided an opportunity for participants to listen to the voices of policy experts and women affected by conflict, as well as network and share experiences. Details of attendees and reports of the themes discussed are also available online.

Irish Aid

Irish Aid: A Better World

A Better World is a whole of government policy for Ireland’s official development assistance (ODA) programme, which incorporates our humanitarian response and approach. Focusing on delivering our overarching foreign policy objectives, A Better World updates Ireland’s traditional focus on ‘the poorest of the poor’ to realise the central pledge of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reach ‘the furthest behind first’.

A Better World signals a deepening and intensification of Ireland’s efforts to achieving a world that is equal, peaceful and sustainable for all, utilising our diplomacy alongside our development cooperation investments for optimal impact. It commits Ireland to scaling up resources and capacity across the following four policy priorities: Gender Equality; Reducing Humanitarian Need; Climate Action & Strengthening Governance. These are the four priorities through which Ireland’s development cooperation will be directed to reach the furthest behind first. They constitute the essential building blocks of sustainable development. Our areas for intervention will reinforce traditional Irish areas of strength and influence in the past: food (including agriculture and nutrition), people (including health, education and social protection), and protection (addressing issues in fragile contexts, effective humanitarian and peacebuilding interventions, and upholding human rights).

Delivering on them will define Ireland’s leadership and influence, inform our strategic choices around partnerships and interventions, and guide how we implement our international development policy in the decade ahead.

A Better World can be accessed here


Evaluation gives an impartial assessment of how well we are meeting our objectives. It offers useful lessons to guide Irish Aid in its future planning. As part of our commitment to accountability and transparency, we make the findings available and publish the results of our evaluations. Learn more about our evaluation reports.

Irish Abroad Unit

Ireland has an enormous Diaspora, estimated by some as totalling some 70 million people worldwide who can claim some Irish descent. The scale and reach of that Diaspora is a result of successive waves of large-scale emigration, over a period of more than 150 years. Engagement with the Diaspora has long been of enormous importance for Ireland. It has been a distinctive feature of efforts to bring a lasting peace to the island. It has built economic links resulting in trade, investment and tourism. The achievements of the Diaspora, both Irish born and those of Irish descent, have enhanced Ireland’s profile and reputation internationally, and are a source of pride to people in Ireland.

Our diaspora engagement is guided by “Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy”. This was the first clear Irish Government policy on the diaspora which recognises that Ireland has a unique and important relationship with its Diaspora that must be nurtured and developed. The implementation of this policy is led by Ciaran Cannon T.D. who was appointed Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development in June 2017. The Irish Abroad Unit support’s the Minister in his work and manages the day to day operations of the Diaspora Policy implementation.

A primary mechanism of engagement with our Diaspora is the Emigrant Support Programme. Since its establishment, €160 million has been disbursed through the Fund to hundreds of Irish organisations worldwide.  The emphasis of the Emigrant Support Programme is on supporting culturally sensitive, frontline welfare services, targeted at the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities. For more information on the Fund or on the work of the Minister or the Irish Abroad Unit please visit the dedicated Global Irish website.