Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy
On Friday June 9th, 2017, after a year of extensive consultation with over 15,000 people in Canada and in 65 countries around the globe, Global Affairs Canada launched the Feminist International Assistance Policy. “Canada is adopting a feminist international assistance policy to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. This is the most effective approach for Canada to reduce poverty and to build more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world.”
The new policy includes 6 action areas:
- Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls
- Human Dignity (health and nutrition, education, humanitarian action)
- Growth that Works for Everyone
- Environment and Climate Action
- Inclusive Governance
- Peace and Security
The Inter-Council Network Reacts to New Feminist International Assistance Policy
June 12, 2017 – The Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation (ICN) commends Global Affairs Canada on the launch of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy (IAP), launched on 9 June 2017 by the Minister of International Cooperation and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau. A network of eight councils, representing nearly 400 civil society organizations (CSOs) from coast to coast to coast, the ICN appreciates the many elements of the IAP that reflect the voice and recommendations of CSOs and are encouraged by the commitment to a whole of Government approach to key global challenges.
The IAP echoes key recommendation made by the ICN National Submission to the International Assistance Review (IAR) including:
- Linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals,
- A human-rights based approach,
- A focus on the poorest and most vulnerable communities and moving towards a more flexible and responsive definition of geographic engagement,
- A commitment to take into account the perspective of those who receive assistance, consistent with the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) Accountability Act
What does it mean to have a feminist approach? Read full FAQ’s
- Canada’s feminist approach means that we will place gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at the centre of all our efforts. Based on the conviction that all people should enjoy the same fundamental human rights and be given the same opportunities to succeed, Canada will prioritize the investments, partnerships and advocacy efforts that have the greatest potential to close gender gaps, eliminate barriers to gender equality, and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Concentrating Canada’s international assistance on the full empowerment of women and girls is the most effective way for our international assistance to achieve greater impact. Inclusive growth, development, and sustainable peace are not possible unless women and girls are valued and empowered. This means having control over their own lives and bodies, participating fully as decision-makers in their homes and societies, and equally contributing to and benefitting from economic opportunities.
- Agenda 2030 challenges the global community to once and for all put an end to pervasive gender inequalities, and Canada will rise to this challenge.
What is Canada’s financial contribution?
Canada’s international assistance envelope totals over $5 billion dollars a year. On a global scale, official development assistance (ODA) accounts for $140 billion dollars annually. When the needs for achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030 is between $5-7 trillion dollars. According to numbers presented in a OECD report in April 2017, Canada’s official development assistance shrunk by 4.4% in 2016, and represents only 0.26% of Canada’s GNI. Read more here.
As stated by Minister Bibeau, “It is essential that we increase government contributions, but is also especially important to stop up our efforts seek out new partners and new investors. We need to be more innovative, and even take a few calculated risks with very stringent monitoring.”
One way this will be achieved is through Canada’s new Development Finance Institution (DFI), announced in Montreal in 2016. The DFI will work to leverage commercial investment with the goal of generating inclusive growth. The DFI is expected to begin entering into deals in January, 2018. The DFI was a key recommendation by Engineers Without Borders. Read more about the DFI.
Famine Relief Fund – May 29, 2017
More than 20 million people in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk of starvation as a result of severe drought conditions or intensifying conflict.
In order to address this unprecedented humanitarian situation, Canada launched the Famine Relief Fund on May 29, 2017. For every eligible donation made by individuals to registered Canadian charities between March 17 and June 30, 2017, the Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the Famine Relief Fund.
Canadians Are Back(ed)! Government Announces Renewed Partnership with Canadians on Global Cooperation
On May 10, 2017, Minister of International Cooperation and La Francophonie Marie Claude Bibeau announced a new $100 million fund for small and medium-sized organizations at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation’s Global Impact Soirée on 9 May 2017. This comes after almost three years of discussions with the Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation (ICN), and CCIC. The Councils, who represent close to 400 civil society organizations from coast to coast to coast, wholeheartedly welcome the announcement, which expresses and bolsters support for Canadians working on issues of poverty, sustainability, and human rights in a global context.
“Canada made a strong statement about our role in the world today,” remarked Michèle Asselin, Executive Director of l’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération international. ”From a feminist perspective we have a lot to offer internationally, to help transform the lives of women and girls.”
“This funding will empower Canadians from all regions of our country to deepen partnerships and scale up innovative efforts to help women and girls realize their rights, and to help communities address the most significant issues of our generation, like climate change,” concurs Kimberly Gibbons, Executive Director of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation.
The five-year, $100 million fund will be made available to small and medium-sized organizations using a two-pillared approach, one for responsive programming, and one for innovation to test ideas that resolve specific development challenges, particularly for initiatives that would support women and girls. According to Heather McPherson, the Executive Director of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, “Supporting the efforts of smaller organizations is an important step in leveraging the knowledge, passion, and commitment of everyday Canadians towards our collective responsibility of reducing inequality and ending poverty for the worlds’ most vulnerable populations.”
Dr. Zephania Matanga, Executive Director of the Canadian Multicultural Disability Center, a small-sized organization, and member of the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC), offers his congratulations to Minister Bibeau on providing a wonderful opportunity for small organizations to access resources to participate in the development of marginalized communities. “In Zimbabwe we could provide additional resources for education and healthcare for people with disabilities in rural areas,” states Dr. Matanga. “This will also enable the diaspora to participate in international cooperation.” According to the MCIC’s Executive Director, Janice Hamilton, “We know from research and experience that Canadians, through small and medium-sized organizations, have strong ties to their local partners overseas, as well as their own communities in Canada. They not only support the local communities to have access to water and sanitation in Cambodia, to improve maternal health in Afghanistan, and to assist farmers in Peru adapt to climate change, among others, but also share these stories and successes with their fellow Canadians.”
“It is a proud moment,” affirmed Janice, “and proof that government is taking a thoughtful, proactive yet timely approach to change. It is concrete proof behind the claim that Canada is back,” she concluded.
For more information on this initiative and the work of the Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils (ICN) please contact:
Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils
(604) 260 0424
(778) 866 8805
|Michael Simpson, Executive Director
British Columbia Council for International Cooperation
|Tracey Wallace, Executive Director
Northern Council for Global Cooperation
|Heather McPherson, Executive Director
Alberta Council for Global Cooperation
|Jacqui Wasacase, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation
|Janice Hamilton, Executive Director
Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
|Kimberly Gibbons, Executive Director
Ontario Council for International Cooperation
|Michèle Asselin, Directrice générale
l’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale
|Jennifer Sloot, Executive Director
Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
Global Affairs Canada Announces New Funding and Support for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
On March 8, marking International Women’s Day, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie—along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—announced an investment of $650 million over three years in funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
As part of its strong commitment to gender equality and a feminist lens, Canada is taking a leadership role
by championing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls globally.
Read more about this exciting news here.