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Message from the Minister
As the minister of international development, I am pleased to present the 2017-2018 Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s Official Development Assistance.
Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy was launched in June 2017 and has helped position Canada as a global leader in promoting sustainable development through a gender-equality lens. It seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world. Based on overwhelming evidence, Canada recognizes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to achieve this goal. The policy and its goals demonstrate Canada’s strong commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, which jointly aim to eradicate poverty by 2030.
Under the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada is implementing a targeted and crosscutting approach to gender equality. This allows us to focus on initiatives that fight poverty and inequality by supporting gender equality and defending the rights of women and girls, particularly their sexual and reproductive health and rights. In 2017-2018, I was proud to announce several new investments to this end, including $150 million to support local women’s organizations and movements that advance women’s rights in developing countries, and $100 million to support small and medium-sized organizations to deliver international assistance results aligned with the Feminist International Assistance Policy and implement innovative programming in partnership with local organizations. This is in addition to the $650 million over three years in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights that was announced by the Prime Minister in March 2017.
I was also pleased to launch Canada’s Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance – A feminist approach, which will enhance cooperation with civil society partners, reinforce their capacity in key areas, and promote stronger international assistance results with greater impact.
The government took important steps to enhance the implementation of the new Feminist International Assistance Policy and commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through Budget 2018, including the announcement of an additional $2 billion to international assistance over five years, starting in fiscal year 2018-2019.
Budget 2018 made key investments to support innovation in Canada’s international assistance. It allocated $1.5 billion over five years, starting in 2018-2019 for two new programs: the International Assistance Innovation Program and the Sovereign Loans Program. These new programs will expand Canada’s development toolkit and enhance our ability to leverage Canada’s international assistance to help unlock additional funds in support of sustainable development. In February 2018, Canada launched its Development Finance Institute Canada, branded as FinDev Canada, to continue to increase and diversify its range of mechanisms for working with the private sector to support international development priorities.
The Budget also included a commitment to enhance transparency of Canadian international assistance programming. This includes reforming and more clearly communicating the funding structure of Canada’s international assistance, such as the creation of separate dedicated pools of funding for humanitarian assistance and core development assistance. It means enhancing Canada’s international assistance reporting and better communicating with Canadians and other stakeholders. We will continue to work at implementing this commitment over the coming year.
I am also proud of the contributions Canadians and civil society partners made to humanitarian action through the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund, initiated by the Government of Canada. In 2017-2018, Canada provided $38 million to support the hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh and Myanmar affected by the violence in Myanmar. This support includes $12.5 million that matches the generous contributions made by Canadians to registered charities under the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund initiative. I commend Canadians for stepping up to help alleviate the impacts of this crisis. The Government of Canada continues to be seized of this ongoing crisis, and in May 2018 committed an additional $300 million over three years to help address the region’s humanitarian, development and stabilization needs in a coordinated and timely way.
This report focuses on Canada’s official development assistance activities and results from the 2017-2018 fiscal year. I would also like to highlight some of the work we have done more recently, which will be covered in the 2018-2019 report:
- From May 31 to June 2, 2018, I hosted my fellow G7 development ministers to advance key priorities for gender equality. These priorities included the empowerment of adolescent girls, the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse, and the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in humanitarian action. Accelerating innovation for development impact is a priority as well. This meeting marked the first time that young women leaders sat side by side with ministers at a G7 table.
- I also co-hosted, with the Honourable Bill Morneau, Finance Minister of Canada, the first G7 meeting of development and finance ministers. Together, participants drew on individual expertise and sought innovative approaches to financing international sustainable development. These G7 Ministerial meetings helped lay the groundwork for the G7 Leaders’ Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, which raised $3.8 billion in investments for women’s and girls’ education in conflict and crisis situations. The meetings also helped lay the groundwork for the Charlevoix Commitment on Innovative Financing for Development.
- In May 2018, the government issued a call to action to philanthropists and the private sector to collaborate in setting up a new partnership for gender equality. This new funding initiative, to which Canada has committed up to $300 million, aims to mobilize unprecedented levels of resources to deliver and finance development assistance differently. For instance, it aims to help close the funding gap faced by change agents, such as women’s rights defenders and gender equality advocates, in developing countries.
- Canada is also looking forward to hosting the Women Deliver Conference in June 2019 in Vancouver. This important event will bring together world leaders, activists, government officials, parliamentarians, NGO representatives and business people to discuss gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Canada is a strong supporter of Women Deliver in its global advocacy efforts, andis proud to be hosting this conference to bring further high-level attention to these critical issues.
This report, the 10th since the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act was adopted, is one of the government’s major platforms to promote the accountability and transparency of Canada’s international assistance programming. I invite all Canadians to explore this summary of the investments Canada is making through our official development assistance, and the positive impact this has made to improve lives. I hope you will be encouraged by the stories of engagement, hope and progress made possible through Canada’s continued contributions to ending poverty and investing in a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, P.C., M.P
Minister of International Development