International Development Week events to highlight need for federal government to make meaningful investments towards Sustainable Development Goals.
OTTAWA, Feb. 8. — As Canadians celebrate the impact of those working to help people in developing countries this International Development Week (IDW), Cooperation Canada is urging Justin Trudeau’s government to significantly increase assistance to developing countries devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a global recovery.
Cooperation Canada — the national association of international development and humanitarian organizations participating in virtual events this week — says the federal government must live up to commitments on additional funding for historically disadvantaged countries, which are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 effects. COVID-19 is not a crisis of a season – it has already left a lasting impact on all aspects of our societies – disrupting 25 years of progress in a matter of months. To help us build safer, healthier, more sustainable societies for us all, Canada should invest at least one per cent of its domestic COVID-19 response in additional international assistance funds in its upcoming 2021 federal budget and years to come.
“Support for developing nations is more important than ever in the current global health and economic emergency,” said Cooperation Canada CEO Nicolas Moyer. “It is only through a unified approach that we will overcome these global challenges. Canada relies on the well-being of our international partners and no one will recover sustainably if half the world is left to navigate the devastating effects of this crisis alone.”
Living up to mandate and international commitments
Cooperation Canada’s recent report, In This Together: A Case for Canada’s Global Engagement, details the crushing impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable communities and people across the globe. With an estimated US$8.5 trillion in economic losses and 71 million people facing extreme poverty, the report warned the world is in danger of forfeiting the humanitarian and socio-economic gains made in developing countries with the help of collaborative international efforts over many decades.
Canada’s investment in international assistance of $6.2 billion in 2018-19 is equivalent to just 0.27 percent of the gross national income (GNI), well below international commitments and the contributions of peer countries.
Cooperation Canada welcomes the government’s recent pledges to do more. Last year, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $865 million for vaccine purchases and COVID-19 treatments in low- and middle-income countries. He also gave International Development Minister Karina Gould a renewed mandate to do more to support developing countries “on their economic recoveries and resilience.” This builds on a similar commitment in the Throne Speech to strive to ensure people around the world have equitable access to a vaccine and better therapeutic treatments.
“We look forward to a robust discussion this week on how we can build on this momentum to support a just global recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will enable Canada’s own recovery,” Moyer said.
Weeklong program challenges Canada to do more
Cooperation Canada will emphasize the need for increased aid spending as it takes part in online events for #IDW2021, Feb. 7-13, a weeklong program acknowledging Canadian contributions to fighting poverty and promoting humanitarian assistance in the developing world.
This year’s theme, “Go for the Goals,” focuses on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals of gender equality, health and climate change.
Cooperation Canada’s virtual events will include meetings with members of Parliament to push for more ambitious policy and financing for international development, an award ceremony to honour women’s leadership and innovation, and the second unDebate — a respectful policy dialogue on overseas development assistance with politicians sharing very different views.
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