Development Priorities

Aid Effectiveness Agenda: The heart of Canada's international assistance

In 2007, the Government of Canada committed to making Canada's international assistance more efficient, focused, and accountable, and established its Aid Effectiveness Agenda.

Since then, Canada has taken important steps to reform its aid program in accordance with this agenda, and in line with international agreements and recognized best practices. For example, it untied all food aid in 2008 and all aid in 2012. It established five thematic priorities to guide its international assistance, and committed to targeting bilateral resources towards countries of focus. It launched an Open Data portal, joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative, and made information about its development assistance more transparent.

In 2014, the Government of Canada reaffirmed its commitment to aid effectiveness at the first High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation in Mexico. In doing so, Canada underscored the importance of working in partnership with the private sector, civil society, and other actors to maximize the impact of development investments.

Canada is striving to make its international assistance even more effective, while ensuring that it is also consistent with Canadian values and priorities. Canada will further promote multistakeholder dialogue and develop stronger partnerships that form the foundation for effective development cooperation. As a result, Canada's assistance will go further in helping those most in need, building stronger and more resilient communities, and stimulating sustainable economies in which the poor will also prosper.

Building effective partnerships

  • Civil society contributes to development in innovative ways that complement the roles and functions of governments and the private sector, especially in its efforts to address the issues of the most marginalized in society. Canada values this contribution and is committed to enhancing partnerships with civil society organizations in Canada and abroad.
  • Canada works with multilateral and global partners to leverage Canadian resources for greater impact and maximize value for money. Working with these partners also allows Canada to help shape the international development agenda.
  • The private sector is the driving force behind economic growth, and sustainable economic growth is the engine for poverty reduction. The Government of Canada will increase its engagement with the private sector in order to leverage its resources and expertise to help alleviate poverty and increase prosperity.
  • With direct experience in countries where Canada works, diaspora communities in Canada have great insight into what works and what doesn’t, and can provide a unique contribution to the Government of Canada’s development efforts.
  • The Canadian science and technology community is one of Canada’s strongest assets to meet development challenges. The Government of Canada is committed to collaborating with this community to identify, test, and scale up innovative ideas to address pressing development needs.

Focusing efforts geographically and thematically

  • The Government of Canada now focuses 90 percent of its bilateral development assistance in 25 countries of focus where it can have the greatest impact. These have been chosen on the basis of alignment with Canadian priorities, need, and their ability to use aid effectively. As always, Canada will continue to align its assistance with local country priorities for alleviating poverty and growing sustainable economies. In addition, Canada runs smaller programs in thirteen development partner countries.
  • Canada focuses its international assistance on five thematic priorities: increasing food security; securing the future of children and youth; stimulating sustainable economic growth; advancing democracy; and ensuring security and stability. These are areas in which Canada has proven its leadership. In support of the thematic priority of securing the future of children and youth, Canada is redoubling its efforts to improve the health and rights of women and children. Canada also has three crosscutting themes to guide its development assistance.
  • Canada responds quickly and effectively to calls for assistance from countries facing disasters, crises, or conflicts. Canada will continue to provide humanitarian assistance according to internationally accepted humanitarian principles, when needed.

Delivering and sustaining results

  • The effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance is measured by the progress made in reducing poverty. To ensure that its assistance is making a difference, the Government of Canada supports work that has set clear objectives, benchmarks, and expected outcomes.
  • Delivering results is important, but sustaining these results—making sure they have a lasting impact—is equally important. One effective way to do this is to foster local country ownership of development results. To that end, Canada’s country development strategies for its bilateral development assistance align with local country priorities.

Increasing transparency and accountability

  • Transparency allows citizens to hold their governments and other organizations to account. The Government of Canada is committed to increasing aid transparency. As a member of the International Aid Transparency Initiative, as well as the Open Government Partnership, the Government of Canada is providing more information to Canadians and the world about its development assistance.
  • The Government of Canada will establish mutual accountability frameworks with its country partner governments. These frameworks will articulate jointly developed development goals and respective commitments to achieve them.
  • The Government of Canada prepares two annual reports that summarize activities undertaken under the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act.