Aleo Tong (1), who suffers severe malnutrition, rests on a bed at the MSF Nutrition centre in Aweil Hospital, on 2 August, 2016. UN agencies warn that almost 5 million people in South Sudan urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

Aleo Tong (1), who suffers severe malnutrition, rests on a bed at the MSF Nutrition centre in Aweil Hospital, on 2 August, 2016. UN agencies warn that almost 5 million people in South Sudan urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.
Photo Credit: ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

Canada’s official development assistance shrinks: OECD report

While international development aid reached a new peak of $142.6 billion US in 2016, Canada’s contribution to international development assistance has actually shrunk under the Trudeau government, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Canada’s official development assistance, which stood at $3.9 billion US in 2016, was down by 4.4 per cent compared to the previous year and accounted for about 0.26 per cent of the country’s gross national income (GNI), according to official data collected by the OECD.

Falling behind

That’s well below the 0.32 average for the 29 Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries and the 0.7 per cent target that was established by a 1970 resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, said Fraser Reilly-King, senior analyst at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC).

(click to listen to the full interview with Fraser Reilly-King)

Listen

In fact only six OECD countries – Denmark, Germany, Luxemburg, Norway, Sweden and UK – met or exceeded the 0.7 target last year. Canada is one of seven DAC countries that has seen a decline in its development assistance, he said.

Good news, bad news

Canada’s official development assistance funds a number of projects ranging from emergency aid to victims of humanitarian disasters around the world, to supporting countries like Jordan and Lebanon that are dealing with huge refugee influxes, to key programs on nutrition, health, education, water sanitation and hygiene, Reilly-King said.

“The new numbers have both a good news story and a bad news story,” said Reilly-King.

Syrian refugee children walk to the school during rainy weather at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria December 18, 2016.
Syrian refugee children walk to the school during rainy weather at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria December 18, 2016. © Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

On the one hand, official development assistance from the 29 DAC member countries – the most prosperous OECD member countries – increased from $131 billion US in 2015 to nearly $142 billion in 2016, an increase of 8.9 per cent after adjusting for exchange rates and inflation.

Measured in real terms international development assistance has doubled since 2000, according to OECD numbers.

On the other hand, despite their rhetoric of increasing foreign aid, the Liberals are on track to spend less on international development aid than the previous Conservative government, said Reilly-King.

Important contribution

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said part of the decrease in Canada’s official development assistance reported by the OECD could be explained by changes in exchange rates and differences between the fiscal year and calendar years.

(click to listen to the interview with Marie-Claude Bibeau)

Listen

“But I think what is important to remember is that Canada is contributing more than $5 billion dollars in humanitarian assistance and international development,” Bibeau said. “This is very significant.”

Syrian refugee children walk to the school during rainy weather at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria December 18, 2016.
Syrian refugee children walk to the school during rainy weather at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria December 18, 2016. © Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

The international community would need to raise between $5 and $7 trillion to meet the sustainable development goals by 2030, she said.

“We really need to think about innovative financing and not only thinking about traditional ODA,” Bibeau said. “We are working on it and you’ll in the coming year that we will be putting a lot of emphasis on new ways to finance and new partners.”

Canada has also been speaking loud and clear about human rights, women’s rights, sexual and reproductive rights, Bibeau said.

“We will launch our new international assistance policy very shortly and you will see that women and girls are at the heart of this new policy,” she said, “that women empowerment is very important because we know that if we invest in women, each and every dollar goes much further and it has a bigger impact on development and also on peace.”

No new money tied to policy review

However, the Liberal government will not have the promised funding framework to accompany their new development policy, said Reilly-King said.

“In the mandate letter for the minister of international development they agreed to do a review of international assistance policy, which they’ve done, but they also said this would be accompanied by a funding framework,” Reilly-King said. “That international assistance policy is about to come out in the next few weeks but we see no funding framework accompanying it.”

Bibeau confirmed that so far there is no funding tied to the Liberals’ new international development policy.

Syrian refugee children watch Canada’s Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon Johnston during their visit to the Syrian refugee camp Al Zaatari near the border with Syria, in Mafraq, Jordan October 30, 2016.
Syrian refugee children watch Canada’s Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon Johnston during their visit to the Syrian refugee camp Al Zaatari near the border with Syria, in Mafraq, Jordan October 30, 2016. © Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

“We have seen in the recent budget that there was no additional money for international development except if we talk about the $300 million for the Development Fund Initiative and also a contribution to the Asian Development Bank,” Bibeau said. “These are also new types of funding that will allow our Canadian money to leverage and to bring more impact in the field.”

She was still optimistic that she will get more money in the coming year, Bibeau said.

Last November, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development put out a report recommending the government increase its official development assistance to 0.35 per cent of GNI by 2020.

The government should aspire to a plan that would see Canada spending 0.70 per cent of its gross national income on official development assistance by 2030, the report said.

“Unless and potentially even if this government commits substantial resources to official development assistance, unfortunately this government is in a position of probably having by the end of its mandate the worst track record in the Canadian history,” Reilly-King said.

Aid groups hope the fact that Canada will be hosting the G7 meeting in 2018 will loosen the government’s purse strings on development assistance, Reilly-King said.

“We recognize where Canada sits in terms of its commitment to the ODA is just one metric that will signal to the world that Canada is back,” Reilly-King said. “But we feel that it’s a really important metric and we feel that unfortunately as it currently stands Canada is back but it’s way back.”

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in International, Politics

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*