Canada Supporting Humanitarian Efforts in Asia

Canada’s contribution to OCHA is strengthening the capacity of the humanitarian system in the region

August 11, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, joined by the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced that Canada is supporting the  United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) efforts to increase the humanitarian system’s response capacity to meet emergency needs in Asia.

“Asia is home to approximately 9.6 million refugees, internally displaced people, recent returnees and people without citizenship, who live in conditions of deep deprivation and physical peril,” said PS Brown. “Armed conflict, internal displacement, food insecurity, natural disasters and state-sponsored repression have all contributed to a number of complex emergencies in Asia. Canada is committed to supporting a strong humanitarian system. Partners, such as OCHA, are crucial to ensure there is a robust capacity to respond to emergencies so that the immediate needs of affected communities are met quickly and appropriately.”

The new funding announced today is ensuring that humanitarian action is based on strong evidence, well-defined strategies and clear priorities. It is helping to improve decision-making, and make standardized needs assessments in all emergency settings. Through Canada’s support, OCHA is working with national and international partners to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the right people when they need it most. It is also helping the humanitarian community prepare for the 2014 typhoon season.

“Our Government is taking action in partnering with excellent organizations like the OCHA,” said Minister Wong. “We believe that partnerships like this can go a long way to alleviate suffering and provide support for those who need it most. ”

“This generous donation from Canada will allow to support national governments and humanitarian partners in laying the ground work that will ensure efficient and effective responses to emergencies in the region,” said Olivier Lacey-Hall, Head of OCHA's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “Given that there are several countries in the region which could potentially suffer the next mega-disaster, this support from Canada is both timely and necessary.”

PS Brown made the announcement at a roundtable discussion held in Vancouver with Minister Wong and Asian diaspora communities to discuss the current development challenges in Asia.

“The growing Asia region is a key priority for Canada,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada helps several developing Asian nations build their capacity to address the continent’s most pressing challenges: reducing poverty; consolidating economic gains; and strengthening governance, political inclusion, social development and environmental protection.”

When natural disasters, conflicts and situations of food insecurity requiring a humanitarian response occur, Canada provides appropriate, timely and effective responses to save lives and alleviate human suffering. Canada’s response is the result of close cooperation with the United Nations humanitarian agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and non-governmental organizations.

Quick Facts

  • There are more natural disasters in Asia than in any other part of the world, and more people in this region are killed or affected by natural disasters than anywhere else.
  • Prior to when Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on November 8, 2013, Canada had already put in place the pieces that made possible a rapid, life-saving, whole-of-government response in the Philippines.
  • The goal of Canada's international development assistance Southeast Asia Regional Program is to reduce poverty in the region by supporting the ASEAN agenda on economic growth and improving human rights.

Related Products

Associated Links


Sandrine Périon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @DFATD_DEV
Like us on Facebook: Canada is Dedicated to International Development - DFATD