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Minister Flanagan welcomes World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, to Dublin for Iveagh House Lecture

Minister Charles Flanagan, Irish Aid, Speech, Ireland, 2015



Opening remarks by Minister Flanagan, at the 

Iveagh House lecture “Building the new global agenda for shared prosperity”

Delivered by Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank


Check Against Delivery


President Kim, fellow Ministers, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,


It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this afternoon’s Iveagh House lecture by Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, on the occasion of his first official visit to Ireland.  At this time of change and challenge in the international system, it is a great honour for me, as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, to welcome one of the most influential proponents of the concept of shared prosperity and shared global citizenship to address us here in Iveagh House.  In doing so, I want to emphasise clearly the centrality of global issues and international development in Ireland’s foreign policy.


This is not the first time Dr Kim has visited Ireland. He was here in 2008 to speak at Trinity College on “Bridging the Implementation Gap” in Global Health.


Before taking up his position at the World Bank, Dr Kim has had a distinguished career in academia and international development. As a physician and anthropologist, Dr. Kim has dedicated himself to international development for more than two decades, helping to improve the lives of disadvantaged communities worldwide.  He has also served as President of Dartmouth College and was a co-founder of the impressive NGO, “Partners In Health” and a former director of the HIV/AIDS Department at the World Health Organization. 


Dr. Kim joins us in this lecture series just weeks after UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.  Ireland is celebrating 60 years of membership of the United Nations.  Two years after joining the UN, Ireland joined the “International Bank for Reconstruction and Development”, as the World Bank was then known, in 1957. 


Ireland attaches great importance to the work of the World Bank and has been a steadfast ally of the Bank since those early days in the 1950s. Today, we are a strong supporter of the Bank’s International Development Association and its work in the world’s poorest countries.  

Irish Aid, the Government’s development programme is the Irish people’s aid programme.  It is managed in this Department.  It cooperates closely with the World Bank guided by the Government’s policy for international development “One World, One Future”.  Our particular focus, with the Bank, is on Africa, a continent of contrasts, opportunities and challenges. 


We work with the World Bank in Ethiopia and Malawi in the agricultural sector. We work closely with the private sector arm of the Bank, the International Finance Corporation, supporting the private sector development of fragile states in Africa.  The World Bank, together with the UN and the EU, is one of our strongest multilateral partners.  I hope we can use this important visit to identify ways to deepen and expand our collaboration.

I am particularly pleased that we have the opportunity to welcome President Kim to Ireland in 2015 – the most critical year in global development for generations. 


Over the coming months – in Addis, in New York and in Paris – we have the opportunity to redefine the concept of international development.  To build a new understanding of our shared responsibility for shared prosperity.


Ireland is playing its part, at the UN and through our aid programme, helping to craft the new agenda for sustainable development.  The Summit in September will adopt new, universal sustainable development goals, to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.  The challenge for all of us now is seize the opportunity of these major development processes and begin to implement a truly transformative agenda that can:


  • eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in a single generation,
  • end inequality
  • and ensure that nobody is left behind.


Over the past seven years, the Irish people have gained a clearer, hard-won understanding of the interconnectedness of the global economy.  We have learned the hard way about interdependence.  We have taken on our responsibilities at home and abroad. 

We are rebuilding our economy and society, recognising our responsibilities to our fellow global citizens, and to our children.  We have protected our aid programme, even in the bleakest of times for people at home, as we focused on economic recovery. 


In taking on our responsibilities as active global citizens, we recognise the World Bank is a natural key partner.  The Bank is already positioning itself for the task ahead.  Under President Kim’s leadership, it has adopted the twin goals of boosting shared prosperity and eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.  And it has undergone a complete restructuring in order to respond effectively.


I would now ask you to give a warm welcome to President Kim, and I invite him now to share with us his perspectives on the theme: Building the new global agenda for shared prosperity.