Address by Minister Cannon on Occasion of Release of Muskoka Accountability Report

No. 2010/44 - Ottawa, Ontario - June 20, 2010

Check Against Delivery

Accountability will be a key area of discussion among leaders at Muskoka. Today we are releasing a report on previous commitments made by G‑8 countries, and on the status of those commitments.

We are very proud to report that Canada has a good story to tell with respect to delivering on its G-8 commitments.

The G-8 is a powerful forum for positive change with respect to peace, security and international development.

Leaders have taken bold, definitive action to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The world needs the G-8, and the G-8 needs Canada.

Leadership requires demonstrating that you are following through on your promises.

The same is true for the G-20. The G-20 has agreed to various financial-sector reforms at past summits. We need to follow through on those commitments to help ensure economic recovery.

As G-8 president for 2010, Canada has led a group of senior G-8 officials to produce the Muskoka Accountability Report. The report takes stock of recent G‑8 commitments, assesses the results of G-8 actions, and identifies lessons for future reporting.

This report is an important step forward for the G-8. It goes beyond previous G‑8 reports by focusing on results and by examining the role the G-8 plays in shaping and influencing global policy.

Like Canada, the G-8 overall has a good story to tell.

The G-8 has been a catalyst for positive change. By working with like-minded partners, the G-8 has made a substantial contribution to progress on the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development objectives—all of which has made a significant difference in the lives of millions of people.

But it’s not enough to make commitments—you have to follow through. And this report demonstrates the G-8’s effort to do its part and be accountable.

From delivering on development assistance to other priorities such as debt relief, economic development, education, fighting disease, improving access to water and sanitation, and African peacekeeping capacity, the G-8 can point to considerable successes.

In other areas, such as maternal and child health care, progress toward global goals has been slow.

That is why Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s initiative for Muskoka is to do more to improve the health of mothers, newborns and young children in developing countries, an area of urgent need.

The G-8 is a leading forum to address pressing security challenges such as nuclear proliferation, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and the threats of terrorism and of transnational crime.

Our government has worked with the international community to take Iran and North Korea to task, and we will continue to apply pressure to these dangerous regimes that threaten our stability, and to use our G‑8 presidency to do so.

Looking ahead, the G-8 has now established an ongoing accountability process that will enable the group to continue to make improvements on implementing, monitoring and reporting on commitments.

Let me turn now to what the Muskoka Accountability Report says about Canada.

I am proud to tell you that it shows we have delivered on our commitments.

Canada is on track to deliver on its Gleneagles commitment to double total annual development assistance to reach $5 billion in 2010-2011.

The report also demonstrates that Canada has fulfilled its commitment to double aid to Africa, with that aid reaching $2.16 billion in 2008-2009.

Consider debt relief: G-8 members have cancelled significant levels of debt, freeing billions of dollars for developing countries to use more productively.

Canada’s own debt relief program continues to support nations that have demonstrated a commitment to invest in the current needs of their citizens. For example, last month the Minister of Finance announced that Canada will forgive nearly $24 million owed by the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) through the Canadian Debt Initiative.

With this relief, Canada has now cancelled close to $1 billion of debt owed by the world’s poorest and most heavily indebted countries.

The G-8 has surpassed its commitment to train 75,000 troops for peace operations by 2010, and has helped build expert civilian and police capacity for peace operations. The Canadian government has trained troops in African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.

One direct outcome of G-8 support is the development of increasingly effective African Union–led peace operations, such as in Darfur, where Canada provided helicopters, fuel and armoured vehicles for the mission, and in Somalia. Africa today contributes over 35,000 personnel to United Nations and African Union peace operations.

These are just some of the significant achievements noted in the report.

I am very proud of Canada’s leadership in producing this report and, more important still, of our record of delivering on our commitments.

It is our government’s firm intention to continue to deliver on important commitments to peace, security and development.

Thank you.