Minister Oda announces initiatives to increase the benefits of natural resource management for people in Africa and South America

September 29, 2011

In a keynote address at the Devonshire Initiative CEO Summit, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced four new projects that will help developing countries in Africa and South America manage their natural resources to ensure they are the source of long-term sustainable benefits to their people.

"The Canadian extractive industries — particularly mining industries — are the largest in the world, working in many developing countries that have an abundance of natural resources. Working in partnership with the private sector, these resources can contribute to poverty reduction in many of these countries and improve the standard of living for their populations," said Minister Oda. "CIDA is supporting Canada's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector with initiatives that will contribute to sustainable economic growth, create jobs and long-term poverty reduction."

Today's announcement included three pilot projects, in partnership with Canadian partners to reduce poverty in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.

In Ghana, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is supporting the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), to provide direct skills training to 400 young people to help diversify the local economy within mining communities. This investment will also strengthen the local government's ability to provide quality education and access to clean, safe, water for 134,000 residents. WUSC's partner for this project is Rio Tinto Alcan.

"Canada should be commended for their support to this pilot initiative which will strengthen the relationship between the local government and mining firms," stated Chris Eaton, Executive Director of World University Service of Canada (WUSC). "This will ensure that communities secure sustainable benefits from the presence of mining operations in their district."

In Burkina Faso, CIDA is supporting Plan Canada, and its partner IAMGOLD, in implementing a job skills training project in 13 communities to meet labour market demands in a variety of sectors, including the mining sector and its sub-sectors.

"We welcome the Canadian Government's commitment to sustaining the economic growth of developing countries, like Burkina Faso, and to strengthening the practice of corporate social responsibility," said Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada. "Plan's first commitment is to the best interests of children and the communities in which we work and CIDA's contribution to this project will help to create smart, appropriate, and safe training and employment opportunities for local youth."

In Peru, CIDA is supporting World Vision Canada, in a program that will increase the income and standard of living of 1,000 families affected by mining operations. For this project World Vision is working with Barrick Gold.

"World Vision is grateful for the generous support of the Government of Canada is offering for this project," said Dave Toycen, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. "It will help residents of Quirulvilca, Peru, especially women, youth, and people with disabilities, become more involved and influential in their own community planning. In addition to providing loans for people to start small businesses, there will be capacity-building for local leaders to ensure Quirulvilca follows a path of sustainable development in the long-term."

CIDA's announcement also included the implementation of the Andean Regional Initiative (ARI) for Promoting Effective Corporate Social Responsibility. This initiative in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia will strengthen local governments' and communities' capacity to implement sustainable development projects for the well-being of people living near extractive operations, and will improve dialogue between communities and the private sector.

"In developing countries, sustainable economic growth and long-term development strategies are key components for ensuring that men and women have opportunities for a future out of poverty," Minister Oda said. "As more and more developing countries see foreign investment as the means to economic growth and our Canadian extractive sector represents a major part in that growth, CIDA can play an important role to help countries achieve their aspirations. Encouraging partnership with the private sector and civil society organizations provides an opportunity for our government to help companies fulfill their corporate social responsibilities and benefit those in need."

The announcement today represents a total contribution of $26.7 million by CIDA.

The pilot projects and the ARI are implemented as part of its sustainable economic growth priority, and as part of Canada's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector, launched in March 2009. The CSR Strategy aims to support initiatives that enhance the capacities of developing countries to manage the development of their natural resources to reduce poverty.

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Information:
Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Tel. 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
E-mail: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

September 29, 2011

CIDA's natural resource projects in Africa and South America

CIDA has announced three pilot projects, as well as one regional initiative in the Andean region to be implemented within CIDA's sustainable economic growth strategy and as part of Canada's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy.

  • Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai District Assembly development project in Ghana: This project, co-implemented by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and co-financed by Rio Tinto Alcan, will reach 134,000 beneficiaries within the mining communities of Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai district. It will strengthen the capacity of the local government to implement development plans and diversify the local economy, with a focus on improving education quality and access to clean, safe, water and increasing the employment skills of nearly 400 young people.

    Total budget: $928,000 over 3 years
    CIDA: $500,000—WUSC/Rio Tinto Alcan: $428,000

  • Plan Canada/IAMGOLD—Capacity building of youth to grow the economy — private-public partnership for corporate social responsibility in Burkina Faso: This project, implemented by Plan Canada and co-financed by IAMGOLD, will help develop Burkina Faso's human capital. Girls and boys of Burkina Faso, aged from 13 to 18, will receive job skills training linked to labour market needs in the mining sector and its sub-sectors. Residents from 13 communities will benefit from this project.

    Total budget: $7.6 million over 5.5 years
    CIDA: $5.7 million—Plan Canada: $0.9 million— IAMGOLD: $1 million

  • Building collaboration for sustainable economic growth in Peru: This project, implemented by World Vision Canada and co-financed by Barrick Gold, aims to leverage the economic impact of mining operations in Peru by increasing income and standard of living for nearly 1,000 families. Beneficiaries will receive funding for small income-generating projects in agriculture. Local authorities will also be able to diversify economic development and access funding from mineral operations revenues from national government.

    Total budget: $1.0 million over 3.5 years
    CIDA: $500,000—World Vision/Barrick Gold: $500,000

  • The Andean Regional Initiative for Promoting Effective Corporate Social Responsibility: This project in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia will strengthen the capacity of local governments and communities to implement sustainable development projects for the well-being of people living near extractive operations and will improve dialogue between communities and the private sector.

    Total budget: $20 million over 5 years
    CIDA: $20 million

CIDA's role in implementing Canada's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy

  • In 2007, Prime Minister Harper stated that the Government expects Canadian companies to meet high standards of corporate social responsibility.
  • In 2009, the government noted that a number of developing countries were endowed with natural resources, providing an important path to their sustainable economic growth, job creation and long-term poverty reduction. Canadian companies are making substantial contributions to economic development in their host countries.
  • In 2009, the government adopted a CSR strategy for the Canadian international extractive sector, with the objective of improving the competitive advantage of Canadian international extractive sector companies by enhancing their ability to manage social and environmental risks. The CSR Strategy is based on four pillars:

    1. Support initiatives to enhance the capacities of developing countries to manage the development of minerals and oil and gas, and to benefit from these resources to reduce poverty
    2. Promote the widely-recognized international CSR performance guidelines
    3. Set up the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor
    4. Support the development of a CSR Centre of Excellence
  • CIDA and Natural Resources Canada are responsible for implementing the first pillar;, CIDA collaborates with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and Natural Resources Canada on implementing the other three.
  • In addition, CIDA has observer status in the CSR Centre of Excellence, a forum that allows sector stakeholders to provide timely access to high-quality CSR tools and information for clients in industry, civil society organizations (CSOs) and government, at home and abroad.
  • CIDA's Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy provides a key policy frame for the Agency's work on CSR and extractive sector management. In addition to coordinating with local communities and local NGOs, work on CSR includes supporting governments to build the necessary legislative and regulatory business, industrial and financial framework upon which sustainable growth can take place.
  • In 2009 and 2010, CIDA hosted four roundtables with Canadian extractive sector firms and Canadian CSOs to discuss ways in which CIDA, firms, and CSOs can collaborate in the implementation of the CSR strategy and partner to achieve sustainable development to reduce poverty.
  • CIDA has created a CSR strategy focal point to interact with other government departments on implementing the strategy and to liaise with Canadian firms and CSOs.
  • CIDA manages the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development Secretariat on behalf of the Government of Canada.
  • On September 29, 2011, CIDA announced pilot projects implemented in partnership with NGOs and the mining industries.