Canadian foreign aid can be truly transformational when used in a smart way – it can save lives, help put children through school, and create the opportunities needed for millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty.
Consider, for example, the impact of Canada’s leadership at the 2010 G8 Summit. By drawing the attention of world leaders and shining a spotlight on the critical and under-served issue of maternal, newborn and child health, over $7 billion in new funding has been secured for these programs, resulting in a healthier, more productive future for millions of people. To help ensure international donors follow through on their commitments to developing countries and maximize value for money, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper serves as co-chair of the UN Commission on Accountability and Transparency.
In recent years, Canada’s premier development agency CIDA has committed to important measures to make Canada’s foreign aid more efficient, focused and accountable. Most recently, the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Bev Oda, announced that Canada has joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a commendable move that will strengthen the transparency of information on Canadian aid.
While these concrete steps have resulted in Canada accomplishing more with its existing aid, it’s currently unclear what effect the global economic uncertainty will have on future aid spending. In view of the Government of Canada’s commitment to reigning in their deficit, the 2012-2013 foreign aid budget runs the risk of being sharply reduced.
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