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Three steps the new government can take to help restore Canada’s position in the world

On eve of announcement of new cabinet, ONE lays out ideas for Canadian foreign policy

OTTAWA – On the eve of prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a new cabinet, the ONE Campaign — a global advocacy organization of 7 million members, including 150,000 in Canada — offered recommendations for three steps the new government could take to quickly restore Canada’s reputation for leadership on the world stage.

1.  Reverse the cuts to foreign aid and get Canada back on track to reach 0.35 percent of GNI in the new Parliament.
Traditionally Canada has been one of the most important donor nations in the world, and yet deep aid cuts in every successive year since 2011 have undermined its leadership on the world stage, as well as the reach and impact of its development assistance. Between 2010 and 2014, there was a 19 percent real-terms cut to aid, bringing Canada’s ODA/GNI down from 0.34 percent to 0.24 percent — its lowest level since 2003.  The new government should promise to immediately reverse these cuts and set out a path of increases towards 0.35 percent ODA/GN in the next Parliament.  

2. Prioritize the poorest by targeting 50 percent of foreign aid to the least developed countries.
A smart aid program is targeted to where the needs are greatest and where ability to mobilize significant other types of resources, such as government revenues or private investment, is the weakest — where foreign aid can have the greatest added value. The share of Canada’s aid to the world’s poorest countries (countries with the highest rates of people living on less than US$1.90 per day) has been declining and currently, just 35 percent of Canada’s assistance is allocated to the world’s least-developed countries, down from 44 percent in 2010. Roughly two-thirds of Canada’s foreign aid goes to countries that aren’t in the greatest need! The new government should reverse this trend and commit to targeting 50 percent of its development assistance to the least-developed countries by 2020.

3. Make an ambitious, increased pledge to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — a powerful public-private partnership channeling vital resources in the fight against these three killer diseases — will announce its new target replenishment number before the end of the year. Canada has always been a generous supporter of the Global Fund, with a current pledge of $650 million for 2014-16. In line with its world leadership on maternal, newborn and child health, plus the great opportunity the Global Fund has to begin ending these killer diseases, the new government should expand its support with an ambitious, increased pledge to the Global Fund early next year.