Canada and the Middle East & North Africa

International development and humanitarian assistance

Canadian international development assistance in the Middle East and North Africa tackles a range of issues that are vital to fighting poverty, strengthening good governance and bolstering the resilience of communities affected by the conflicts in the region. Canada’s assistance in the region is an essential component of the response to the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Canada’s international humanitarian assistance in the region aims to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain the dignity of those affected by conflicts and natural disasters. Canada is helping to meet the basic needs of people affected by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and is providing humanitarian-assistance funding in response to other crises in the region.

For more information, see: Development and Humanitarian Assistance in Middle East and North Africa.

Foreign policy and diplomatic relations

Canada’s foreign policy on and diplomatic relations with the Middle East and North Africa are important to Canada. Canada works closely with its network of diplomatic missions across the region to promote and defend Canadian values and interests and strengthen development and trade cooperation with a range of government, priavate sector and civil society partners, as well as regional organizations.

Canada's priorities

Canada’s priorities in the Middle East and North Africa include:

  • supporting international diplomatic efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, encourage peaceful conflict resolution and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction;
  • making effective use of diplomatic, trade and development resources and activities to promote peace, stability and economic opportunity in the region, working with local governments, as well as other global players;
  • promoting prosperity for Canadians and Canadian businesses by advocating for economic reforms, negotiating economic treaties and agreements, providing support to Canadians doing business in the region and facilitating two-way investment;
  • promoting core Canadian values, such as democratic practices and institutions, transparency and accountability, free and fair elections, respect for human rights—including women’s rights and the rights of religious minorities—as well as pluralism, tolerance and the rule of law;
  • saving lives and alleviating suffering by providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable civilians, including refugees and displaced people; and
  • improving development outcomes by giving children and youth hope for a better future (including assistance to the education sector), fostering sustainable economic growth (including support for livelihoods and for empowering women and unemployed youth), increasing food security for the most vulnerable (including programs that improve sustainable agricultural production), advancing democracy (including justice sector reforms) and integrating considerations related to gender equality, environmental sustainability and governance.

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