A new report calls on the government to increase spending on official development assistance to support the global recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic


OTTAWA, ON, 8 December 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has displayed how deeply interconnected our global community is, including the unbreakable connections in public health, economics, and peace and security. Without proper investment in official development assistance, the ripples of this pandemic will not only impact the growth of historically disadvantaged countries around the world but also the lives of Canadians at home for decades to come.


Cooperation Canada’s In this Together: A Case for Canada’s Global Engagement argues the only path to a just global recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic must include a substantial and sustained increase of spending on official development assistance. The report includes a series of Together for Impact reports which highlight the value of investing in issue-specific solutions to global challenges like health, education, food security, climate change and gender equality.


“In the face of the greatest international crisis in a generation, a strong global response by Canada is not a matter of charity; it’s about progress that is of mutual benefit for Canada and our global partners,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO, Cooperation Canada.


The case of Vietnam illustrates this well. The Government of Canada reports that, since 1990, it has contributed over $1.5 billion in development assistance to Vietnam. Within those 30 years, Vietnam has grown from one of the world’s poorest countries into a lower-middle-income status, with an international trade portfolio that includes Canada. Every two years, Canada makes as much in sales to Vietnam as it provided in 25 years of official development assistance.


This is just one of the many issue-specific cases from many countries highlighted in In this Together: A Case for Canada’s Global Engagement.


“Canada has historically prioritized international assistance, but today, as a proportion of the economy, the current government’s record on ODA is the lowest it has been in 50 years. We have the opportunity to change this as we navigate the COVID-19 recovery. Without a global focus, the pandemic will cut deeper and last longer” continued Nicolas.


A recent study found 79 per cent of Canadians agreed, that unless COVID-19 is controlled in all parts of the world, Canadian’s cannot return to normal life (Abacus Data, CanWaCH). Another recent study further found, by a two to one margin, Canadians agree that Canada needs to do its part to help poorer countries in their recovery from the pandemic (Abacus Data, Cooperation Canada).


Canada has the opportunity to chart a new path forward with investments across the humanitarian and development spheres to enable a global recovery while supporting its own. When Canada invests in its partners abroad, there are returns for Canada.


“The pandemic has shed light on the gross inequities that exist at home and around the world,” said April Ingham, Executive Director, Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, Co-Chair, Cooperation Canada Board. “What COVID-19 has shown us, is that when we prioritize the needs of the most marginalized, we all benefit.  When we prioritize vaccinating the most at risk, the rest of the population is safer; when we invest in the poorest, economies are strengthened”


“During this period of global crisis, Canadians have come together to support their neighbours at home and on the other side of the world,” said Richard Veenstra, Executive Director, Mission Inclusion, Co-Chair, Cooperation Canada Board. “It is through a unified approach that we will overcome these global challenges. Canada relies on the wellbeing of our international partners, just as our health and wellbeing has an impact internationally. No one will recover sustainably if half the world is left to navigate the pervasive effects of this crisis alone.”


A global solution requires Canada. We are in this together. To discuss the launch of the report, Cooperation Canada will bring together champions of international development to join the virtual event In this Together: A conversation on Canada’s global engagement on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 12 p.m. ET (French) and 2 p.m. ET (English).


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About Cooperation Canada: Since 1968, Cooperation Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Council for International Cooperation) has brought together more than 90 organizations working in the international development and humanitarian sector. Cooperation Canada is an advocate for these groups by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, Cooperation Canada works with partners inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe, and sustainable for all.  To learn more, visit cooperation.ca