Statement from Minister Paradis Regarding the Promotion of Innovation to Address Development Challenges

January 27, 2014

Accountability and transparency form a cornerstone of Canada’s development work. That is why our Government is proud to host a two-day event in Montreal starting today called the “Open Data for Development Challenge.”

This event will bring together Canadians and international computer programmers and development experts. Using development data, like the kind Canada and other donors publish through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), participants will create new computer programs and applications to make development more efficient, more responsive, and more successful in achieving the desired results. The Challenge will be immediately followed by the IATI Technical Advisory Group annual meeting, which is expected to attract participants from around the world. This is the first time this meeting will be held outside of Europe—a reflection of Canada’s important role in promoting transparency.

The important work that will come out of these two events will make Canada’s development work even more accountable and transparent. As the Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, I am committed to ensuring that every taxpayer dollar is doing what it is supposed to do: reducing poverty, saving lives, and empowering people to be self-sufficient. Canadians deserve to know that our development assistance is improving the lives of mothers and children, helping farmers produce more nutritious food, and enabling small entrepreneurs to gain access to loans and financial services so they can open their businesses and provide for their families.

Our Government is committed to publishing this information in formats that make it useful to Canadians and to our partners around the world. Canada has long been a leader in global efforts to achieve aid accountability and to make information about our development efforts widely accessible. We are a global leader in aid transparency and accountability, which has been validated by independent organizations like Publish What You Fund. In addition, Canada achieved the best record among donor countries under the IATI.

Our Government is proud to promote and support Open Data. Innovative ideas that emerge from events like the one today ensure that Canada remains at the forefront of the global Open Data movement. IATI’s work to standardize information about aid spending is helping to make information easier to find, use and compare. That means that everyone involved in international development assistance—from citizens and developing-country partners to civil society, partner organizations and donor countries—is better able to track what aid is being used for and what is being achieved across the board. This, in turn, leads to development assistance dollars being used as effectively as possible to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.

Christian Paradis
Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie