Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s Official Development Assistance 2017-2018

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Message from the Minister

As the minister of international development, I am pleased to present the 2017-2018 Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s Official Development Assistance.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy was launched in June 2017 and has helped position Canada as a global leader in promoting sustainable development through a gender-equality lens. It seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world. Based on overwhelming evidence, Canada recognizes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to achieve this goal. The policy and its goals demonstrate Canada’s strong commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, which jointly aim to eradicate poverty by 2030.

Under the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada is implementing a targeted and crosscutting approach to gender equality. This allows us to focus on initiatives that fight poverty and inequality by supporting gender equality and defending the rights of women and girls, particularly their sexual and reproductive health and rights. In 2017-2018, I was proud to announce several new investments to this end, including $150 million to support local women’s organizations and movements that advance women’s rights in developing countries, and $100 million to support small and medium-sized organizations to deliver international assistance results aligned with the Feminist International Assistance Policy and implement innovative programming in partnership with local organizations. This is in addition to the $650 million over three years in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights that was announced by the Prime Minister in March 2017.

I was also pleased to launch Canada’s Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance – A feminist approach, which will enhance cooperation with civil society partners, reinforce their capacity in key areas, and promote stronger international assistance results with greater impact.

The government took important steps to enhance the implementation of the new Feminist International Assistance Policy and commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through Budget 2018, including the announcement of an additional $2 billion to international assistance over five years, starting in fiscal year 2018-2019.

Budget 2018 made key investments to support innovation in Canada’s international assistance. It allocated $1.5 billion over five years, starting in 2018-2019 for two new programs: the International Assistance Innovation Program and the Sovereign Loans Program. These new programs will expand Canada’s development toolkit and enhance our ability to leverage Canada’s international assistance to help unlock additional funds in support of sustainable development. In February 2018, Canada launched its Development Finance Institute Canada, branded as FinDev Canada, to continue to increase and diversify its range of mechanisms for working with the private sector to support international development priorities.

The Budget also included a commitment to enhance transparency of Canadian international assistance programming. This includes reforming and more clearly communicating the funding structure of Canada’s international assistance, such as the creation of separate dedicated pools of funding for humanitarian assistance and core development assistance. It means enhancing Canada’s international assistance reporting and better communicating with Canadians and other stakeholders. We will continue to work at implementing this commitment over the coming year.

I am also proud of the contributions Canadians and civil society partners made to humanitarian action through the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund, initiated by the Government of Canada. In 2017-2018, Canada provided $38 million to support the hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh and Myanmar affected by the violence in Myanmar. This support includes $12.5 million that matches the generous contributions made by Canadians to registered charities under the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund initiative. I commend Canadians for stepping up to help alleviate the impacts of this crisis. The Government of Canada continues to be seized of this ongoing crisis, and in May 2018 committed an additional $300 million over three years to help address the region’s humanitarian, development and stabilization needs in a coordinated and timely way.

This report focuses on Canada’s official development assistance activities and results from the 2017-2018 fiscal year. I would also like to highlight some of the work we have done more recently, which will be covered in the 2018-2019 report:

This report, the 10th since the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act was adopted, is one of the government’s major platforms to promote the accountability and transparency of Canada’s international assistance programming. I invite all Canadians to explore this summary of the investments Canada is making through our official development assistance, and the positive impact this has made to improve lives. I hope you will be encouraged by the stories of engagement, hope and progress made possible through Canada’s continued contributions to ending poverty and investing in a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, P.C., M.P
Minister of International Development

Canada’s official development assistance at a glance 2017-2018

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  • Global Affairs Canada $4,143.8 million
  • Department of Finance Canada $536.4 million
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada $462.9 million
  • International Development Research Centre $148.7 million
  • Other departments and agencies $75.6 million
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  • Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls $27 million
  • Human dignity $2.220 million
  • Growth that works for everyone $639 million
  • Environment and climate action $425 million
  • Inclusive governance $293 million
  • Peace and security $148 million
  • OtherFootnote 3 $114 million

The amount under the Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls action area does not reflect gender-targeted and gender-integrated programming across other action areas.

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  • 2015-2016: Neither integrated or targeted 25%, Gender integrated 72%, Gender targeted 3%
  • 2017-2018: Neither integrated or targeted 10%, Gender integrated 87%, Gender targeted 3%
  • 2021-2022: Neither integrated or targeted 5%, Gender integrated 80%, Gender targeted 15%


This report explains how the Government of Canada spent its official development assistance (ODA) from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018. During this time, the Government of Canada disbursed $5.37 billion in ODA in over 130 countries, working with many partners. The partners included governments, non-governmental organizations, international bodies and private sector entities.

These ODA activities represent the efforts of 19 Canadian federal departments and agencies. In accordance with the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA), these initiatives:

In June 2017, the Government of Canada launched a new policy to guide Canada’s international assistance. The new policy is the result of an extensive review of international assistance, including consultations pursued in the summer of 2016. Global Affairs Canada reached out both in Canada and overseas to seek the views of its partners and stakeholders. The department benefitted from the contributions of more than 15,000 people and many international organizations in more than 65 countries. Global Affairs published an online summary of What We Heard on December 6, 2017.

The Feminist International Assistance Policy seeks to eradicate poverty; promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and help build a more inclusive, more peaceful and more prosperous world.

This year’s ODAAA Report is structured around the six interrelated action areas from the new policy:

  1. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (core action area)
  2. Human dignity, which includes:
    • health and nutrition
    • education
    • gender-responsive humanitarian action
  3. Growth that works for everyone
  4. Environment and climate action
  5. Inclusive governance
  6. Peace and security

The Feminist International Assistance Policy guides Canada’s international implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This report illustrates some of Canada’s initial contributions toward achieving the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Throughout this report, you will find examples of how the policy was implemented in different countries, and the results achieved. Attention is given to how Canada is improving the effectiveness of its international assistance. This includes Canada’s work on innovation and research, aid transparency, innovative financing to support sustainable development and building new partnerships with diverse stakeholders.

Recognizing the importance of monitoring and reporting in international assistance programming, Global Affairs Canada reiterated its commitment to evidence-based decision making in the policy.

As highlighted in Budget 2018, the government is committed to ensuring that information on Canada’s international assistance funding is open and transparent. The government is continuing to explore how to further enhance its international assistance reporting and how to better communicate the government’s efforts to Canadians, non-governmental organizations and the international community. This report is one example of these efforts, as it seeks to present information in a more engaging and streamlined fashion, with greater reference to related web content. The government will continue to seek to improve its reporting to Canadians. Feedback is welcome.

Highlighting Innovation in Canada’s ODA activities

This year’s report highlights how innovation has been integrated throughout Canada’s ODA activities in various fields. The Innovation Icon can be found next to results that advanced innovation in 2017-2018. A comprehensive overview of Canada’s efforts to drive innovation can be found under the Advancing Development Innovation section in this report.

Official development assistance disbursements by department for 2017-2018

The Government of Canada disbursed $5.37 billion in official development assistance (ODA) in 2017-2018. Nineteen federal departments and agencies helped deliver this assistance. While this report provides preliminary figures, final and more detailed information will be presented in the Statistical Report on International Assistance (Fiscal Year 2017-2018). The statistical report will be published on the Government of Canada website by the end of March 2019, once all final figures have been received and verified.

Table 1 describes the amount disbursed by each of the 19 federal departments and agencies.

Table 1: Official development assistance disbursements by department and agency for 2017-2018
Compiled by Global Affairs Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada
Department/agencyDisbursementsFootnote 5 (Can$ millions)
Global Affairs Canada4,143.79
Department of Finance Canada536.37
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada462.92
International Development Research Centre148.65
Environment and Climate Change Canada20.67
Royal Canadian Mounted Police19.33
Department of National Defence6.14
Canada Revenue Agency2.99
Employment and Social Development Canada1.03
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada1.01
Parks Canada0.73
Natural Resources Canada0.43
Canadian Space Agency0.31
Canada Post0.27
Public Health Agency of Canada0.20
Royal Canadian Mint0.15
Statistics Canada0.11
Canadian Intellectual Property Office0.08
Canadian Museum of Nature0.02
Services supporting Global Affairs Canada’s activities22.22

Official Development Assistance Accountability Act

The Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA) came into force in 2008. Its purpose is to ensure that all Canadian official development assistance (ODA) focuses on poverty reduction and reflects aid effectiveness principles and Canadian values. For details, please refer to the full text of the ODAAA.

To help ensure the accountability and transparency of Canada’s international assistance, the Act requires that an annual report summarizing Canada’s ODA spending and activities be tabled in Parliament. The Minister of International Development tables the annual report in Parliament, on behalf of the Government of Canada.

In order for international assistance to be reported to Parliament as ODA under the Act, three criteria must be met. Assistance must:

  1. contribute to poverty reduction;
  2. take into account the perspectives of the poor; and
  3. be consistent with international human rights standards.

Canadian ODA can also be directed toward humanitarian assistance to help alleviate the effects of a natural or human-caused disaster or other emergencies in developing countries.

When the Government of Canada developed its Feminist International Assistance Policy, it was conscious of the need to ensure that the policy reflected the Act’s goals. Based on overwhelming evidence, Canada recognizes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to poverty eradication.

Canada’s ODA takes into account the perspectives of the poor to ensure that local needs are being met effectively. Canada works closely with partner governments, civil society organizations and project recipients to help ensure Canadian supported initiatives are effectively designed and implemented.

It regularly engages with a wide range of stakeholders, including international experts, academics and local partners, to inform Canada’s international assistance efforts. Stakeholder engagement also plays a critical role in informing Canadian policy and programming approaches in specific country contexts.

For Canada’s programming to be consistent with international human rights standards, initiatives must demonstrate, at a minimum, that they reasonably expect to “do no harm.” This requires exercising due diligence to avoid undermining human rights in the host country or community.

Many projects led or funded by Canada go beyond the principle of “do no harm” by specifically promoting and protecting human rights. Some of these projects are presented in the Inclusive governance section of this report.

Canada’s feminist approach, as outlined in the Feminist International Assistance Policy, is grounded in a human rights-based approach. Canada recognizes that all people should enjoy the same fundamental human rights and be given the same opportunities to succeed. This is regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, migrant or refugee status, or any other aspect of identity.

Adopting a human rights-based approach means that Canada is contributing to advancing human rights through all of its international assistance. Canada’s approach is guided by the key human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, and transparency and accountability.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, launched in June 2017, seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world. Based on overwhelming evidence, Canada recognizes that promoting gender equality and investing in empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to reducing poverty. Women and girls are powerful agents of change. They have the ability to transform their households, communities and the economies of their countries.

This new vision for international assistance supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The policy adopts an integrated approach to development, humanitarian, and peace and security assistance though six action areas:

  1. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (core action area)
  2. Human dignity, which includes:
    • health and nutrition
    • education
    • gender-responsive humanitarian action
  3. Growth that works for everyone
  4. Environment and climate action
  5. Inclusive governance
  6. Peace and security

These action areas take into account Canada’s experience and comparative advantage. They represent interrelated global challenges that, when addressed, can make a significant difference in the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, particularly women and girls.

In the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada has committed to working to maximize the effectiveness of its international assistance. This includes:

Prioritizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls represents a significant evolution in how Canada approaches international assistance. In 2017-2018, Global Affairs Canada took important steps to reorient its programming to align with the policy and its targets. For example, 99% of Canada’s new bilateral international development assistance programming in 2017-2018 targeted or integrated gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Canada expects to achieve meaningful development, humanitarian, stabilization and diplomatic impact through the approaches set out in the policy. Key priority areas for enhancing Canada’s impact and achieving results include:

Canada is already making great strides in these areas, and has established a robust accountability framework to measure results. This new framework will also enhance development effectiveness by expanding the information and evidence available to help assess progress and support continued improvements in implementing the policy.

For more information, see the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

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In May 2017, Canada launched a new initiative of $100 million over 5 years providing funding to Canadian small and medium civil-society organizations

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2.65 billion to support most vulnerable countries to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change by 2020-2021

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Women’s Voice and Leadership – Canada has committed $150 million over 5 years in support of grassroots women’s rights organizations

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Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights – $650 million over 3 years

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Global Affairs Canada bilateral international development assistance by gender targeting

  • 2015-2016: Neither integrated or targeted 25%, Gender integrated 72%, Gender targeted 3%
  • 2017-2018: Neither integrated or targeted 10%, Gender integrated 87%, Gender targeted 3%
  • 2021-2022: Neither integrated or targeted 5%, Gender integrated 80%, Gender targeted 15%

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, world leaders agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—a global action plan to eradicate poverty and build peace around the world. The 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets are integrated and indivisible. They balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. The agenda is universal in nature, meaning that developing and developed countries alike are implementing it.

The SDGs are underpinned not only by the 169 targets but by 232 indicators as well. These indicators were developed by the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), a group established by the UN Statistical Commission. Statistics Canada is a member of the IAEG-SDGs and played a key role in developing the global indicator framework to monitor international SDG implementation.

Internationally, Canada's implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be guided by the Feminist International Assistance Policy which has integrated the SDGs throughout. SDG 5—achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls—is at the heart of Canada’s approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda. It will drive progress toward achieving the other SDGs.

The federal 2018 Budget announced the creation of a dedicated SDG Unit. It will enable better coordination among all levels of government, civil society organizations and the private sector on Canada’s efforts surrounding the 2030 Agenda. The SDG Unit will also support the monitoring and reporting of Canada’s domestic and international efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The SDG Unit falls under the responsibility of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. It will lead efforts to develop a national strategy to advance the implementation of the SDGs, consulting with all levels of government, Indigenous peoples, civil society and the private sector.

Minister Duclos will be supported in this work by seven ministers:

Canada reviewed its initial progress toward implementing the 2030 Agenda and presented its first Voluntary National Review at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2018.

Canada reported on actions and measures taken to advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda over the last three years, including progress made in achieving the SDGs and relevant targets. Canada showcased a whole-of-society approach to the implementation of the SDGs. It did this by drawing on contributions from all levels of government, Indigenous peoples and other Canadian stakeholders. The full report is available on the Government of Canada website.

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Sustainable Development Goals

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being for People
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  10. Reducing Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals
Measuring progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals

Statistics Canada actively participates in several international expert groups focused on measuring progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This participation has helped all countries, including developing countries, to develop robust statistics and indicators for measuring progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda.

In 2017-2018, Statistics Canada also continued to serve on several task forces in support of the SDGs in United Nations bodies such as the United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Through such participation, Statistics Canada contributes significantly to the development of global indicators for measuring progress toward the SDGs, including in developing countries. Find more information at the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Data Hub, hosted by Statistics Canada.

Action areas

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls

Due to pervasive gender inequality, a disproportionate number of women and girls still face violence, discrimination and socio-economic marginalization. Canada aims to advance gender equality in a sustainable manner and accelerate its progress across all other priorities. Canada has been investing in dedicated, coordinated efforts to address fundamental and multi-dimensional challenges to the empowerment of women and girls.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls: The strategic focus of Canada’s international assistance

The Feminist International Assistance Policy committed to ensuring that by 2021-2022, at least 95% of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance investments will either target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The policy also states that 15% of all bilateral international development assistance investments will specifically target gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2021-2022.

Canada is already making important progress toward these commitments. In 2017-2018, 99% of Canada’s new bilateral international development assistance programming targeted or integrated gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. These new investments raised Global Affairs Canada’s overall percentage of gender targeted or integrated bilateral development assistance to 90% ($2.5 billion) in 2017-2018 towards the 2021-2022 target of 95%.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the core action area of the Feminist International Assistance Policy. It is also a strategic focus across all action areas through targeted or integrated investments. These initiatives cover a range of issues, including:

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $27 million in initiatives focused specifically on addressing key cross-sectoral bottleneck issues under the core action area. This amount will continue to increase as initiatives ramp up in future years. Among other things, these contributions under the core action area have resulted in:

By focusing efforts on this core action area, Canada is:

Addressing sexual and gender-based violence

Sexual and gender-based violence includes child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation / cutting. This violence is a violation and abuse of the human rights of women and girls. It is one of the greatest barriers to achieving gender equality worldwide, preventing women and girls from reaching their full potential. Sexual and gender-based violence jeopardizes the health of women and girls, affects their education and limits their ability to contribute to the development of their families, communities and countries.

In 2017-2018, Canada undertook a range of activities to combat sexual and gender-based violence, contributing to both the prevention of, and response, to sexual and gender-based violence. This included:


In 2017-2018, Canada made important investments to address sexual and gender-based violence and child, early and forced marriage. For example, GrOW is a five-year, $17.5-million program to aid women’s economic empowerment. It is funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in partnership with the U.K.’s Department for International Development and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. One GrOW project, led by research and policy non-profit organization Innovations for Poverty Action, tested an approach in Bangladesh that tackles child marriage through financial incentives. These incentives kept girls in school, created income opportunities and boosted women’s empowerment at home and in their communities. The program led to substantial reductions in child marriage and teenage childbearing, and improved the health of girls and women. On average, marriage was delayed by 6.6 years and 3.6 years of additional schooling were completed.


In Ghana, a Government of Canada project helped the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to plan and implement its National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage in Ghana 2017-2026. The project team for the Support to Ghana Child Protection Program worked with education services and sexual and reproductive health units. Together, they ensured that national laws on ending child, early and forced marriage were put in place. The project team worked with community and traditional leaders, and launched an innovative nationwide communication campaign using traditional and new media. As a result, the project prevented 43 cases of child marriage and changed attitudes about child marriage among community leaders, teachers and parents.

In Haiti, 100 inspectors and 72 commissioners were trained at the National Police Academy in 2017-2018 on ways to combat gender-based violence. Canada supported this effort in partnership with l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, CRC Sogema Inc., l’Université de Sherbrooke and le Collège de Maisonneuve. Additional course designers and instructors were trained in combatting gender-based violence to expand the initiative’s reach. In addition, a harassment prevention and resolution policy was developed and implemented within the Haitian National Police.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Canada helped open a safe space for women and girls subjected to gender-based violence in the old city of Hebron. This was accomplished through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The centre plays an important role in the detection of gender-based violence cases. It facilitates psychosocial counselling and referrals for gender-based violence survivors, and helps reduce the stigma around gender-based violence.

In 2017, Canada also helped address gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It did this through a project called Fight Against Impunity and Support to Survivors of Sexual Violence. As a result of Canada’s support, 5,823 victims of sexual and gender-based violence received medical and psychosocial treatment. As well, 2,158 sexual violence cases were referred to the justice system, resulting in 1,027 court decisions.

In Peru, Canada is the current chair of, and a main financial contributor to, the Mesa de Género de la Cooperación Internacional (MESAGEN). This group of 26 embassies and multilateral organizations promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women, girls and adolescents. Through Canada’s leadership and support, MESAGEN launched a nationwide campaign on violence against women and girls: #AsíNoJuegaPerú. The campaign is also supported by Peru’s Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of the Public Defender. The campaign has reached more than 1 million people through social media and was a trending topic on Twitter in Peru. It was also featured on 11 television programs and appeared 20 times in newspapers. A campaign video appeared on-screen during the May 29, 2018, World Cup friendly game, and three Peruvian World Cup team players and other opinion shapers have endorsed the campaign.

The International Development Association is a part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans and grants to reduce poverty. During recent replenishment discussions, donors—including Canada—asked the World Bank to provide more support to prevent or respond to gender-based violence in member countries. To this end, the World Bank is working to increase the number of projects that make preventing and mitigating sexual exploitation and abuse a priority. Preliminary results have been positive.

An example of this is found in East Africa’s Great Lakes region. There, conflict and violence against women remain significant challenges. The International Development Association is supporting integrated health and counselling services, legal aid and economic opportunities for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. From 2014 to 2017, more than 22,000 women in the region have benefited from maternal and reproductive health services and immediate and long-term support for survivors. Another project in the Democratic Republic of Congo provided health services to more than 3,000 survivors of sexual violence. The project also organized sensitization and advocacy activities for 58,627 community members to improve awareness and knowledge of sexual and gender-based violence.

Supporting and strengthening women’s rights organizations and movements

Women’s rights organizations play a critical role. They advocate for changes in laws, attitudes, behaviour, socio-cultural norms and practices to promote gender equality and women’s rights from the grassroots to the international level. However, their ability to exercise their influence is often impeded by lack of funding, capacity and political space.

Canada supports women’s rights organizations in the delivery of their agendas and programs. Canada helps strengthen these organizations’ institutional capacity and sustainability, and seeks to amplify their voices, leadership and ability to innovate. This includes facilitating networks and alliances of women’s rights organizations and other social justice movements. It also includes developing and championing new innovative ways of working with them.

In June 2017, Canada launched its new five-year, $150-million Women’s Voice and Leadership Program as part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy. The program will respond to the needs of local women’s organizations in developing countries that are working to advance the rights of women and girls, and promote gender equality. Canada is now a leading donor behind women’s rights organizations in developing countries.

On June 13, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will host the next Women Deliver Conference, to be held June 3 to 6, 2019, in Vancouver. In addition, Canada is also providing Women Deliver with $20 million over three years to support global advocacy work for the health, rights and well-being of girls and women, with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Women Deliver is a global advocacy group that works to generate political commitment and financial investment to fulfill Goal 5 of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

During 2017-2018, Women Deliver gave advice to, and participated in, 27 key partnerships and initiatives across various issues to drive progress for gender equality. Women Deliver ensured that girls’ and women’s health, rights and well-being, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, are central to the discussions. The group is making sure that concrete action is taken to advance gender equality.

In 2017-2018, Canada continued its valuable support to the Coalition of Collectives of Associations Working for the Advancement of Women in the Great Lakes Region in Africa. This is a network of 11 collectives and 1,861 grassroots women’s organizations in three countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Through the Combatting Violence Against Girls and Young Women in the Great Lakes Region project, 10,273 female victims (both girls and women) have received holistic support since the project’s inception. This has helped them become active players in combatting sexual and gender-based violence in their communities and role models of individual empowerment and socio-economic reintegration.

The Girls’ Club in Tomborontoko, Senegal

Investing in girls is not only the right thing to do. It’s also an effective strategy for turning girls into leaders capable of exercising their rights and participating fully in their community’s development. The Girls’ Club of the municipality of Tomborontoko in Senegal’s Kédougou region gives teenage girls a place to talk. It also guides the girls toward better understanding reproductive health, nutrition, good hygiene and gender-based violence. With the support of influential people such as the village chief, the imam and a den mother, they are today able to speak to a village assembly. Holding such sway was unthinkable even a few years ago. In a short time, the efforts of the Girls’ Club have resulted in an increase in the immunization rate of children and newborns. Prenatal medical check-ups among pregnant women are also on the rise. Canada suggested setting up the Girls’ Club and the idea became part of the Integrated Nutrition Project for the Kolda and Kédougou Regions in 2017. The project is being implemented by Canada’s flagship nutrition organization, Nutrition International and its partners. Thanks to this project, the club was able to step up activities related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Supporting evidence-based policy-making and program delivery for gender equality

Public institutions play an important role in advancing gender equality, as well as promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls. However, many face challenges in fulfilling these mandates, due in part to a lack of gender statistics and analysis.

Canada works with national and sub-national state and non-state actors to enhance accountable, effective and evidence-based policy-making and program delivery that advance gender equality. Canada supports expanding global knowledge and insights about the root causes of gender gaps and inequalities, and enables the identification of innovative and effective solutions.

Global Affairs Canada has provided core funding to many multilateral organizations that monitor and report on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Among them is the World Bank. Recently, the World Bank published Women, Business and the Law 2018. This is the fifth in a series of biennial reports measuring gender discrimination in legal treatment, and examining its economic consequences. Another example is the UNFPA and its State of the World Population 2017 Report. It shone the spotlight on the ways unchecked inequality and failure to protect the rights of the poorest women, including their sexual and reproductive rights, could undermine peace and progress toward global development goals.

Global Affairs Canada has provided a $15-million grant to IDRC’s Centre of Excellence for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems. This grant has enabled the centre to become a key player and leader in the global CRVS community. In 2017-2018, the centre convened leading international experts, policy makers, members of academia and country representatives for two pioneering events. One event was a meeting on gender and CRVS, and the second was a conference on innovations in CRVS. Both took place in February 2018. The centre also:

In 2017-2018, the Government of Canada worked with the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund to reach its goal of becoming a leader in gender-lens investing in Africa. (Gender-lens investing is the practice of investing for financial return while also considering the benefits to women.) That year, the fund undertook a number of activities to help realize this goal. This included hiring a gender advisor for business and launching a women’s economic empowerment funding window, a section of a fund. It also drafted a gender equality strategy, and trained staff and board members on the topic of gender equality. Canada’s support has been transformative and its leadership applauded by the fund’s board and staff.

In Colombia, Canada steers the Gender Working Group, a Colombian national initiative that brings together international donors, UN agencies, and the government of Colombia to focus on domestic gender related issues within Colombia. In 2017, Canada led a policy dialogue with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and government authorities to advocate for a national policy for rural women. Canada also worked with the Congress of Colombia and political parties to promote increased participation of women in elections. Together, they also trained over 200 journalists in five regions to improve reporting on gender-based violence and reduce re-victimization of women survivors of sexual violence in the media.

Between 2017 and 2020, Global Affairs Canada is partnering with the Overseas Development Institute, a U.K. think tank on international development and humanitarian issues, to support research on the ways that gender discrimination marginalizes women in developing countries. The research focuses on women’s economic empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health. It seeks to identify harmful or discriminatory social norms and examine how they constrain women’s and girls’ potential by increasing social exclusion, poverty and vulnerability. The research findings will be shared with local communities, governments, research organizations and civil society organizations. The findings will identify effective measures in policies and programs that would mitigate or remove discriminatory social norms and strengthen women’s and girls’ empowerment and gender equality.

Human dignity

Across all contexts, the poorest and most marginalized face obstacles in getting resources, support and services for vital elements of life such as health, nutrition and education. In times of crisis, these people are more vulnerable still. Even when they get the services they need, these vulnerable populations may yet experience violence and discrimination due to deeply rooted unequal power relations. As a result, these individuals are unable to reach their highest potential and break through the cycle of poverty.

Canada’s feminist approach to human dignity focuses on three core areas:

In 2017-2018, Canada invested a total of $2.22 billion in initiatives in the action area of human dignity, of which $1.04 billion went to health and nutrition, $274 million to education, and $852 million to gender-responsive humanitarian action. The remaining $56 million cuts across the 3 core areas of human dignity.

Good health and nutrition save lives, and are essential to the well-being and empowerment of the poorest and most marginalized, particularly women and girls. Education is equally essential to empowerment, as it develops the knowledge, skills and training that people need to succeed in today’s world. Gender-responsive humanitarian action is called for in situations of crisis, when vulnerabilities increase and life-threatening risks rapidly intensify. Such assistance helps save lives, alleviate suffering, and support the dignity and empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Human dignity: Health and nutrition

Investments in the health and nutrition of the poor create ripple effects that yield multiple benefits. The world has made much progress in increasing life expectancy, decreasing infant and child mortality rates, and lowering the number of malnourished children in developing countries. Many infectious diseases have receded, thanks to improved sanitation, nutrition, drugs and vaccines.

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $1.04 billion in initiatives in the health and nutrition componentsFootnote 6 of the human dignity action area. Among other things, these contributions have resulted in:

Through the human dignity action area, Canada focuses its health and nutrition efforts on:

Improving the quality and accessibility of health services for the most marginalized

In many developing countries, some people do not get the same health services that others enjoy. Women and girls in particular face gender, socio-cultural and structural barriers in accessing services. The Government of Canada has supported expanded and better health services through strengthened health systems that reach and respond to the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable. Preventing, managing and treating key diseases are central to this effort.

In 2017-2018, Canada made important investments to help improve the quality and accessibility of health services. For example, Canada’s support for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has led to new innovative approaches, such as the use of community-based vaccinators—local residents who administer vaccine shots. This is to ensure that every last child is vaccinated against polio, including those living in geographically inaccessible regions, densely populated centres and areas affected by insecurity. Canada’s investments in the eradication of polio are helping to strengthen countries’ immunization and health systems and leverage the role of women in health. Lessons learned from the progress made in polio eradication are being applied to other diseases, including measles and Ebola. Polio eradication efforts have also helped reduce child mortality due to other interventions that take place at the same time. These include measles vaccines being given and soaps, bed nets and de-worming tablets being handed out.

In 2017-2018, Canada also supported Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance with a contribution of $120 million. Canada has committed $520 million over five years (2016-2020) to support the organization’s core mandate. The funds will also help Gavi scale up innovative programming initiatives that improve vaccine delivery. Gavi is a key partner in improving the coverage of and equal access to vaccinations. It does so by strengthening aspects of health systems such as:

Gavi estimates that in 2016 (the first year of the 2016-2020 strategy), 62 million children were immunized globally and more than 1.2 million lives were saved. This is thanks to support from Canada and other donors.


In partnership with UNICEF, Canada has helped reduce infant mortality in Mali through its contribution to the Expanded Programme on Immunization. Since the project began, funding has equipped 704 community health centres with solar refrigerators to improve the storage of vaccines as part of the Innovative Health Solutions in Mali (SOLAR) project. A bonus was that the project made use of renewable energy. In 2017, the project resulted in some 900,000 children being immunized against tuberculosis and some 500,000 children being vaccinated against polio.

Zulaihatu—a volunteer community mobilizer

Global Affairs Canada is funding the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in its fight against polio. In Nigeria, UNICEF sets up programs for the initiative and trains female mobilizers, who play a critical role in the community.

Zulaihatu Abdullahi is a volunteer community mobilizer in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria who goes door to door to counsel parents about the importance of polio vaccination.

Although immunization programs are sometimes treated with suspicion in this area, the royal blue UNICEF hijab that Zulaihatu wears is recognized and trusted. During a door-to-door outreach session, an 18-year-old mother with a baby and three small children welcomed Zulaihatu into her home.

“Sister Zulaihatu was one of the first women I met when we moved here. Before I came here I was rejecting all vaccines,” the young mother says, “but because of this woman, Zulaihatu, I decided to accept. She came here every day. She told me how she takes care of her own children. She told me the usefulness and I was convinced to do it. Little by little I started to change my thinking.” Zulaihatu’s patience and her work to build trust with the younger woman through regular visits have paid off. Four more children are now protected against polio that might otherwise still be at risk. The mother has also been encouraged to seek antenatal care, and her youngest child has just received his routine immunization shots.

In Nigeria, Canada partnered with the Clinton Health Access Initiative on a $14-million project entitled Shaping Markets for Diarrhea Treatment. The partnership put in place a large-scale program to reduce diarrheal deaths of children under the age of five. The project targeted states that were highly affected by diarrhea-related illnesses. It used an innovative strategy focused on driving improvements in both the public and private sectors to supply zinc and oral rehydration salts. The project succeeded in achieving a six-fold increase in coverage, and is estimated to have averted over 12,000 diarrheal deaths.

In Haiti, Canada—through UNICEF—is helping to reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases such as cholera. Since 2016, 370 general community health workers have been trained in cholera prevention. The project is prompting people and communities to change their behaviour when it comes to toileting and hygiene practices, both in outdoor defecation practices and in hygiene practices in schools, families and health centres.

In Latin America, Canada is helping to support the access of Indigenous communities to maternal and newborn health services. For instance, Canada is collaborating with NGO Horizons of Friendship to facilitate trainings, discussions and learning exchanges among health care providers and community leaders. By doing this, Canada is working to reduce maternal and child mortality and improve maternal, newborn and child health in Guatemala’s predominantly Indigenous department of Totonicapán. This project contributes directly to the improved health of approximately 240,000 people in Totonicapán, including 140,000 Indigenous women, 37,000 boys and 39,000 girls. Canada is also working in collaboration with another NGO, CAUSE Canada, to deliver health services to pregnant and lactating mothers in over 100 hard-to-reach Indigenous communities in Guatemala and Honduras. This project is expected to contribute to the improved health of 68,400 women and children, including 13,800 girls and 13,300 boys.

In Pakistan, Canada’s IDRC has contributed to developing a financing model to provide health care and service to those unable to afford treatment. The Heartfile Health Financing model relies on a mobile phone-driven process that assesses patients’ poverty status and verifies requests for assistance through a national database. The fund has reached more than 2,500 patients since its inception, and research-driven upgrades to the Heartfile Health Financing’s technological systems have reduced response times from 72 to 24 hours. The fund has broadened its scope to cover long-term chronic diseases, and has also expanded coverage to three of Pakistan’s four provinces.

Bibi credits Heartfile for saving her life

Bano Bibi is 73 and is raising her young granddaughters alone. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet, and she resorts to begging along the roadsides of Islamabad to bring food or money home for the girls. One day, a car struck Bibi and sped off. She was brought to the hospital with a leg fractured at the hip, and lay there in agony for 15 days because she couldn’t afford surgery. Her situation seemed hopeless, until doctors alerted her to Heartfile. Heartfile is a health financing model developed in Pakistan through support from Canada’s IDRC. The model enrols public sector health facilities to provide catastrophic health coverage to the poorest. It does this using a mobile phone-driven process that assesses patients’ poverty status and verifies requests for assistance through a national database. Bibi credits the model for her ability to walk, and even for saving her life.


In South Sudan and northern Uganda, ongoing and past conflicts have devastated the health-care infrastructure, leading to a chronic shortage of trained medical personnel. A team of researchers seeks to educate and enable communities to identify high-risk cases and refer them to health facilities. The researchers hail from St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Uganda, Torit State Hospital in South Sudan and the Université de Montréal in Canada. The team is also working to remove barriers between hospitals and communities through training and close collaboration with community health workers. Their work is funded under the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa initiative. This seven-year, $36-million program is jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Global Affairs Canada and Canada’s IDRC.

Increasing access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and rights

Sexual and reproductive health and rights have an enormous impact on the trajectory of women’s and girls’ lives, their health and their economic opportunities. Yet gaps continue to exist. This is why in March 2017, Canada announced that it would dedicate $650 million over three years to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Canada has been working to address the full range of issues that limit women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. Among these topics are family planning, comprehensive sexuality education, basic reproductive health care and safe abortion and post-abortion care. Sexual and gender-based violence is also being addressed, including child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation / cutting.

In 2017, Canada joined Family Planning 2020, a global partnership. This organization has helped to ensure access to modern contraceptives for 38.8 million women and girls across 69 countries since 2012. Canada also joined the Ouagadougou Partnership in 2017. It aims to strengthen policy and advocacy to accelerate the use of family planning in francophone West Africa. Canada has engaged actively in the SheDecides movement to promote gender equality and empower all women and girls to make informed sexual and reproductive health choices. The Minister of International Development is a SheDecides Champion. Canada’s involvement in SheDecides has been backed by a contribution of $20 million to global organizations working on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Recipients include Marie Stopes International, Population Services International, Ipas, International Planned Parenthood Federation and UNFPA Supplies. Canada’s support has achieved important results. For example, through the efforts of UNFPA Supplies, an additional 1.8 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo were able to use contraceptives in 2017.

Partnerships for Her Voice, Her Choice

The Government of Canada’s Partnerships for Her Voice, Her Choice initiative supports sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls. It is part of a $650-million commitment over three years announced in March 2017 by the Minister of International Development. The five-year, $40-million initiative will fund up to 10 projects implemented by Canadian organizations. Sixty percent of the projects will be carried out in Africa. In line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, the initiative is a means of reducing poverty and empowering women and girls. It focuses on four areas:

  • comprehensive sexual education;
  • reproductive health services and investments in family planning and contraceptives;
  • the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence (including child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation and cutting); and
  • initiatives that support the right to choose safe and legal abortion, as well as access to post-abortion care (including in fragile and conflict-affected settings).

In South Sudan, Canada is supporting the UNFPA to address the urgent need for quality reproductive health services. More than 400 new midwives and nurses (of whom 56% are female) are being trained through the Strengthening Midwifery Services project. The training emphasizes client-focused care that respects the rights and dignity of vulnerable women and girls. Under the initiative, 42 trained professionals have been sent to health facilities in the Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions of the country. There, they provide services and act as peer educators. In 2017-2018, these health facilities provided quality antenatal care and/or skilled birth attendance to 95,902 clients. A total of 1,131 women and girls have received care and counselling for gender-based violence as a result of the project.

Maternal and newborn health in Totonicapán, Guatemala

“I live in a remote village in Totonicapán and I recently had my baby. While I was pregnant, a counsellor from Pies de Occidente came to my house and talked to me about the signs that would help me identify a risk of miscarriage. (Pies de Occidente is a local partner of the implementing agency, Horizons of Friendship, in an $11.4-million project. Funded by Global Affairs Canada, this project is geared to reducing gaps in maternal, newborn and child health in Totnicapán.)

Three weeks later, I felt an unbearable stomach pain. I remembered the counsellor had taught that this was one of the danger signs. I asked my grandmother to take me to the hospital right away. We had to walk for a long time, I was crying and I could barely make it. When we finally arrived, I had an emergency caesarian but my baby was safe. If I hadn’t known about the danger signs, my baby and I would not have made it. I am thankful to Canada for supporting Pies de Occidente. They saved our lives.”

— Patricia Oxlaj from Totonicapán, Guatemala

Global Affairs Canada has partnered with Plan International Canada to reduce maternal and child mortality among vulnerable women and children, including adolescent girls. The $55-million project is being implemented in Haiti, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. Since 2016, more men—including husbands and community leaders—have been persuaded to support the decisions that women and adolescent girls make about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Close to 200,000 social and behavioural change communication sessions were held for adolescent girls and boys, fathers, and religious and community leaders. Early results show more engagement and commitment by men to support women and girls in their communities, and leaders voluntarily working to enhance engagement.

Mercy’s journey from life on the streets to being a community leader in Ghana

After Mercy lost her parents as a teenager, she was unable to continue her education. She ended up homeless and was forced to do menial jobs to survive. She became pregnant and did not know what to do or to whom to turn.

“I was very bitter and sad with my life because my dream was shattered.”

During her pregnancy, Mercy worked on a farm, lifting heavy loads and selling produce on the streets, and did not have any time to go see a health care professional. She ended up suffering through a very difficult home delivery without the presence of a skilled birth attendant.

After having her baby, Mercy received support from the Canadian-sponsored Strengthening Health Outcomes for Women and Children project, run by Plan International Canada. Mercy enrolled in skills development training in sewing, and also received family planning services to prevent another unexpected pregnancy. Mercy is now an adolescent leader as well as a member of the Village Savings and Loans Association in her community.

“I am no longer afraid of voicing my opinion and no longer have to do all of the household chores. Thanks to the Adolescent Club, I am now a changed adolescent and enjoying my life,” says Mercy.

Edem, the father of Mercy’s baby, has also joined a Daddies’ Club to learn more about reproductive health, and help break down gender stereotypes in his community. “I have seen a positive change in Edem since we motivated him to join the Daddies’ Club,” says Mawuli, friend and fellow Daddies’ Club member. “He has now started to support his partner with household chores.”

Improving gender-sensitive nutrition for the poorest and most marginalized

Women persistently face barriers to getting adequate nutrition for themselves and their children. These barriers increase their chance of acquiring nutritional deficiencies. This jeopardizes not only their lives and livelihoods, but also those of their children. Through its nutrition interventions, Global Affairs Canada is helping to increase the capacity of health system and health workers to provide nutrition services. The department is also ensuring that women, adolescents, children and newborns in particular can obtain nutritious foods and micronutrients.

Canada plays a leadership role in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, an intergovernmental platform steered by government leaders and development partners. This movement advances priorities such as gender-responsive nutrition policies and works to end all forms of malnutrition throughout the life cycle, from birth onward. The Minister of International Development is a member of the SUN Lead Group. Through this group, Canada is committed to working with the movement’s stakeholders on the empowerment of women and girls. This includes:

Canada is a lead donor to global nutrition. It has partnered with Nutrition International—a non-profit organization—to support micronutrient supplementation programs. In 2017, Canada helped make the following interventions possible:

In Ethiopia, malnutrition remains a serious problem, and many women and children do not regularly have enough nutritious food to keep them healthy. Canada’s Integrated Approach to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Rural Ethiopia project is helping, though. Through Save the Children Canada, which ran this project, Canada sought to improve the nutritional status of children under the age of five, and pregnant and lactating women. In 2017-2018, nearly 35,000 pregnant and lactating women and caregivers received nutrition education, and over 900 children received help for acute malnutrition. In the area of food security and livelihoods interventions, the project provided more than 3,000 people with vegetable seeds. Additionally, 28 gender-sensitive small-scale water supply schemes are being built and the rehabilitation and upgrading of existing water supply facilities are underway. This aids more than 64,000 people. This project undertakes both nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions, promoting an innovative, multi-sectoral approach to tackling malnutrition.

Early learning workshops in Kédougou

“If the children of Kédougou do well, so will the rest of Senegal,” says Souley Ngom, head nurse of the health unit in the municipality of Dalaba, in Kédougou Region.

To that end, Canada provided $20 million in financial support to the Integrated Nutrition Project for the Kolda and Kédougou Regions. That support led to early learning workshops. These workshops were a chance for young mothers to stimulate their children’s cognitive development and have discussions with community workers about problems affecting their children’s health. The mothers also took part in demonstrations on cooking nutritious meals. A number of mothers participating in this activity have severely or moderately malnourished children who have been identified and treated by the health unit.

In Cuba, in 2017-2018, the Government of Canada partnered with the World Food Programme to increase food security, especially for women, men and children in vulnerable groups. This work resulted in an increase in bean production of 79% in participating cooperatives and an increase in yield per hectare of 52%. It also led to a decrease in production costs of 10% and a reduction in post-harvest losses of 23%.

Beans are also an important source of protein in Kenya and Uganda, especially for low- and medium-income households. Yet long cooking times and the accompanying high energy and water costs limit their consumption. Research supported by Canada’s IDRC has developed precooked beans that require only 15 minutes to bring to the table. Researchers developed three products from 10 indigenous bean varieties that are now available to consumers: a precooked bean snack, bean flour and a precooked bean product. The project also developed a new value chain for precooked beans, investing in seed and grain production models with more than 25,000 smallholders. This project was funded under Cultivate Africa’s Future, a four-year, $15-million research partnership between IDRC and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

With assistance from Canada and its valued partners, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes high in vitamin A have been introduced in the municipality of Bignarde (Kolda Region) in Senegal. The sweet potatoes counter micronutrient deficiencies, a condition that is particularly common among women and girls. Today, thanks to the Integrated Nutrition Project for the Kolda and Kédougou Regions, people are growing and eating this variety of potato, which meets children’s daily vitamin A requirements.

Probiotic yogurt businesses are also springing up in East Africa. This is the result of a project jointly funded by Canada’s IDRC and Global Affairs Canada through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund. The project has helped set up 58 production units in Tanzania and 37 in Kenya, producing some 14,000 litres of yogurt each week. In Uganda, more than 100 producers of probiotic yogurt are reaching at least 60,000 consumers. This success relies on an inclusive, pro-poor business model. In Tanzania and Uganda, close to 60% of the yogurt production units are owned by women. Participating businesses are also using freeze-dried bacteria sachets. These sachets cost less than 50 cents per gram, are shelf-stable for up to two years and can produce 100 litres of yogurt in 24 hours.

Human dignity: Education

Education is a powerful tool for empowerment and a portal through which economic, political and social progress takes place. Canada’s international assistance helped pupils gain access to gender-responsive quality education and skills development that provides the foundation for lifelong learning.

Canada’s approach to education contributes to a vision where every girl and boy, regardless of circumstance, is able to enrol in and complete primary and secondary education in a safe, secure and respectful environment. In this vision, youth and adults can develop the skills they need to succeed in life.

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $274 million in initiatives in education. Among other things, these contributions have resulted in:

In all areas, Canada placed particular priority on improving outcomes for women and girls.

Canada’s approach to education focuses on:

Improving gender-responsive quality education from pre-primary to end of secondary, particularly for girls

Canada is working to improve the provision of accessible, gender-responsive quality education and learning for all. This is the case especially for young and adolescent girls, women and marginalized groups in developing countries, including those in conflict and crisis situations and humanitarian settings. This education and learning would be available from early childhood to the end of secondary education.

Canada has contributed to building the capacity of education ministries, education actors and key education stakeholders. It strategically focuses on increasing access to quality, inclusive education for young and adolescent girls, women and marginalized groups. Education must be provided in safe, secure, welcoming spaces that meet these individuals’ specific needs and address the unique barriers they face.

The Global Partnership for Education is a multi-stakeholder partnership that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Between 2014 and 2018, Canada provided $120 million to the Global Partnership for Education. This helped 18.5 million children (of whom 8.8 million were girls) to attend school. As well, 76% of children in partner countries completed primary school and 50% completed lower secondary school. In January 2018, the Government of Canada announced that it would double its annual investment in the Global Partnership for Education by providing a further $180 million between 2018 and 2020.

In 2017-2018, Global Affairs Canada concluded a two-and-a-half-year, $18-million project with Right To Play International, entitled Play for the Advancement of Quality Education. The project used a play-based learning and teaching approach. It helped to improve the quality of education for girls and boys in eight countries: Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda and Tanzania. Canada’s support has contributed to the improvement of educational attainment in terms of retention, completion and improved grades. Canada’s support also improved participation. Roughly half of the 478,428 children in formal school environments were girls; the students (girls and boys alike) ranged from two to 15 years of age. As well, there were 92,069 children and youth in community environments.

In Burkina Faso, through its Basic Education Strategic Development Program, the Government of Canada is expanding access to quality basic education, particularly for girls. In 2017, girls’ access to quality basic education improved markedly. In addition, girls had a higher gross primary enrolment ratio and a higher completion rate than boys. Also in 2017, the number of girls who were enrolled in and completed post-primary school increased 20% to the same level as boys.


In 2017-2018, the Government of Canada continued its partnership with non-profit organization CODE through the Reading Kenya project to improve literacy in 70 schools in Kajiado County, Kenya. The project has significantly improved literacy score—on average, by more than 20% per year compared to schools not supported by this program. This project directly benefited 8,022 boys and 7,830 girls with improved literacy skills. It also strengthened professional development for 128 male teachers and 226 female teachers. In addition, the project distributed 17,185 books, including books in the local language Maa, to school libraries in Kenya to support literacy and education for girls and boys. The use of mother tongue languages is a new and innovative approach in Kenya that has helped to boost literacy.

Sabs Dayspring Community School, in Ahodwo, Ghana

Sabrina Matina Brempong is the proud owner of Sabs Dayspring Community School, located in the town of Ahodwo, Kumasi, Ghana. She opened the school in 2015 with two children enrolled. In 2017, thanks to the Financial Inclusion for Enterprise Development project, Sabrina took out her first loan of 50,000 Ghanaian cedis (Can$14,000). In 2018, 117 children are enrolled in Sabrina’s school. As a result, not only do 117 children have access to quality, affordable education, but valuable jobs have also been created for the school’s teachers and other employees. By helping to provide online and at home services, Canada is playing a leadership role. It is increasing the access of Ghanaian women entrepreneurs such as Sabrina to financial products tailored to their needs.

In Latin America, 48% of school graduates cannot understand a basic text and 62% are unable to do simple calculations. With support from Canada’s IDRC, a project was launched in 2016 by EAFIT University in Medellín, Colombia, to tackle these challenges. The project identified good practices that integrate information and communication technologies (ICTs) into classrooms. With support from the Colombian Ministry of Education and Secretariat of Education in Bogotá, the project’s findings were successfully scaled to 300 schools across the country. In June 2017, Bogotá’s Education Secretariat presented Plan Saber Digital. It draws on the project’s findings and represents the first outline of a public policy on ICT integration and innovation for improved teaching and learning.

In Honduras, the Government of Canada has supported the decentralization and strengthening of basic education management in seven of 18 regions (departments). It has paid particular attention to gender equality issues. As a result, 90% of targeted education managers have started using a community participation approach in managing local education. In 2017-2018, 562 members of community organizations, half of whom were women, participated in processes to prioritize educational needs in municipal budgets. New gender-sensitive approaches to community engagement have helped promote women's equal participation.

In Peru, the Government of Canada’s support to the FORGE project with the National Ministry of Education and regional governments has resulted in the development of a new basic education curriculum that meets international quality standards. The project is benefitting the more than 8.7 million students who were enrolled in 2017 and all the students who will come after. Canada’s technical assistance was instrumental to the incorporation of human rights, inclusion, comprehensive sexual education and gender equality into the curriculum. The new curriculum has gender equality at the centre of Peru's social and political agenda. The project also contributed to the creation of the Education and Equality Platform, bringing together civil society organizations to support ongoing efforts to maintain gender focus in the curriculum.

Increasing access to quality skills development for youth and adults, particularly for adolescent girls and women

Canada aims to improve access to gender-responsive, quality, demand-driven technical and vocational education and training (TVET), life skills, higher education and decent work opportunities. It particularly targets youth, adolescent girls, women and marginalized groups in non-traditional and better-paying fields. That includes those in conflict and crisis situations and humanitarian settings. This goal entails building the capacity of governments, training institutions, the private sector and other stakeholders. With greater capacity, these groups can provide the skills and training youth and adults need to find meaningful and sustainable employment. Canada’s efforts include a strategic focus on gender-responsive skills development and training, especially for those who have missed out on a quality education.

In 2017-2018, Canada continued its partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization on a $19.5-million project to strengthen the quality, market relevance and effectiveness of Bangladesh’s TVET system, especially for women and disadvantaged groups. In 2017, 15,178 people (of whom 5,294 were women) were trained. Training also included non-traditional occupations such as carpentry, lacquer polishing, upholstery, woodwork machine operation, refrigeration and air conditioning, and food and beverage services. Most trainees found jobs within six months of completing their training. As a part of flexible financing, public-private partnership development pilots that began in 2015 continued in 2017. Four public-private partnerships were established in 2015 and 2016; a fifth was introduced in Rangpur Technical School and College in June 2017. These pilots resulted in developing a few innovative approaches to skills funding by unlocking resources from private industries. As of 2017, five public-private partnership pilots are operational in the:

These innovative approaches helped to bring about different models of flexibility in skills funding and develop industry-institute links. 

In Bolivia, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with Colleges and Institutes Canada, has been supporting efforts to improve the quality of TVET and bolster students’ opportunities to land jobs. The project has increased the quality and relevance of TVET, and enhanced the ability of Bolivia’s Ministry of Education and TVET institutes to interact with the private sector. As a result, 100% of supported programs now have gender-sensitive curricula, 86% of teachers earned positive performance assessments and TVET partnerships have been sealed with 154 private sector firms.

Empowering women in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala

“When I finished secondary school, my parents told me I couldn’t continue my studies. We didn’t have enough money and my brothers were the priority. One day, I heard about Tula’s training program for nursing assistants on the radio. I showed up, passed the exam and got a scholarship financed by the Canadian government.”

“On my last year, I learned that one of my brothers was being pulled out of school because my family was going through financial difficulties. I took him to live with me, talked to the school principal and promised to pay for my brother’s expenses once I graduated and found a job, which I did later that year. Now my brother is a teacher and I am working with Tula and Canada to improve maternal, newborn and child health services in remote communities. Those who made this possible are always in my prayers.”

— Heidi Agustina from Alta Verapaz, Guatemala

In Senegal, Canada supported women’s empowerment through vocational training with the Private Sector Growth through Education for Employment project, run by Colleges and Institutes Canada. An innovative partnership model was developed involving 14 Senegalese training institutions and Canadian CEGEPs, institutes and colleges. As a result, 1,278 young women received training in 2017-2018 in areas that satisfy labour market needs and provide access to well-paid jobs.

Every year in Morocco, 350,000 teenagers leave school early for an uncertain future. They have no professional qualifications and limited education. Quickly, many of these youngsters find themselves cast aside and surviving on the margins of society. The Canadian-led project Forsa, in collaboration with UNICEF, seeks to reinstate these teenagers at the heart of public policy. It helps them acquire life skills crucial for their success, including second chance schooling and training. This project is an opportunity for some of them to escape an uncertain future and find success with dignity.

Globally, fewer women than men have access to telecommunications and information and communications technology (ICT), such as access to the Internet. This gender divide is more apparent in developing countries. International Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by all International Telecommunication Union Member States—including Canada—aims to raise awareness. It wants to create a global environment that encourages girls and young women and gives them the means to pursue studies and careers in ICT. On April 27, 2017, over 70,000 girls from 134 countries participated in 2,100 Girls in ICT Day events. These events were held in:

Statistics Canada brings Canadian statistical expertise to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Technical Cooperation Group on thematic indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Technical Cooperation Group includes representatives from both developed and developing countries. Canada’s strong technical expertise relates to Goal 4 on Education. Canada has helped to develop indicators and robust statistical methodologies, enabling countries, including developing countries, to better measure progress toward this vital goal.

Improving access to quality education and skills development for all, particularly for girls and women, in crisis, fragile and conflict-affected situations

Canada’s aim is to improve access to gender-responsive quality education and skills development for all, especially for young and adolescent girls, women and marginalized groups. Canada supports a mix of temporary schooling, including community-based education, in conflict and crisis situations. It also supports building the capacity of education ministries, host governments and education stakeholders to coordinate and deliver education and skills development services in such situations. This entails a strategic focus on reducing barriers to obtaining quality education and skills development for crisis-affected and displaced persons and the hardest to reach.

With Canada’s support, the Education Cannot Wait initiative—a global fund for education in emergencies—has begun netting results in its partner countries. As of March 2018, Education Cannot Wait had invested $81 million in 14 countries affected by conflict, population displacement and natural disasters. These investments help more than 650,000 children and youth, who are among the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach on the globe to get quality education.

In Colombia, in 2017-2018, the Government of Canada supported work to improve access to quality education for over 25,000 children and youth living in some of Colombia’s most conflict-affected rural areas. Girls and women comprise 53% of this group. Canada’s support also enabled over 1,000 teachers to be trained in gender-sensitive curriculum, school improvement planning and flexible learning models. Such models make education available to young mothers and other vulnerable populations that traditional schooling does not reach. As a result, at-risk children and youth have better skills and networks to build their futures. They can avoid the cycle of crime and violence that has afflicted many of Colombia’s remote regions.

In Lebanon, Canada is partnering with UNICEF on Education, Access and Learning in Lebanon. This $15-million project intends to improve the learning environment for Syrian refugees and Lebanese children, and ensure they receive a better quality education. In 2017-2018, a pilot Child Protection Policy trained 900 counsellors, teachers and school directors. Twenty schools now have mechanisms to prevent and respond to cases of child protection and gender-based violence. Teachers and education personnel can help identify, manage and refer cases of abuse and violence against girls and boys.

Grown-up school in Jordan

Hadeel, a bright and thoughtful 11-year-old refugee, remembers her life before arriving in Jordan: “I was in kindergarten in Syria. I was so excited to start grown-up school. But then the war happened, and I had to come here.” At first, Hadeel, with her mother and sisters, settled in the Zaatari refugee camp, close to Jordan’s northern border with Syria. Unfortunately, she couldn’t join the “grown-up school” as she once dreamt. Today, Hadeel lives outside the camp, and is able to attend a Jordanian school thanks to support from Canada and other donors. Her time at school has helped her catch up on four years of missed learning. “The first time I entered my class, I was so nervous and quiet,” Hadeel remembers. “But then, slowly, I started to take part in classroom discussions.” Not only does learning prepare children for their futures—schools also offer a safe space and critical child protection, especially for girls.

Human dignity: Gender-responsive humanitarian action

Gender-responsive humanitarian action is critical to protecting and assisting the most vulnerable people in crisis situations, and in ensuring they can safely get appropriate help in a timely way. To effectively protect and address the different needs of crisis-affected people, humanitarian action must help those affected to take part in the decision-making processes that affect their lives. Doing so also means taking into account the impact of systemic discrimination based on gender, age, disability and other factors.

In 2017-2018, Canada provided an estimated $852 million in humanitarian assistance. Canada continued to focus its gender-responsive humanitarian action on saving lives, alleviating suffering and maintaining the dignity of those affected by conflicts or natural disasters.

In 2017-2018, 95% of Canada’s humanitarian assistance projects fully integrated gender equality principles. Canada’s work in gender-responsive humanitarian action included a strong focus on support to sexual and reproductive health services in crisis. In 2017-2018, Canada provided $68.7 million in support of sexual and reproductive health services in its humanitarian assistance programming. This aid is in line with Canada’s three-year, $650-million commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Through the human dignity action area, Canada focuses its gender-responsive humanitarian action efforts on:

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Top 15 country recipients of Canada’s bilateral humanitarian assistance in 2017-2018
 $ millions
Democratic Republic of the Congo32.1
South Sudan28.8
West Bank and Gaza22.6
Meeting the gender-differentiated needs of crisis-affected populations

Worldwide, over 141 million people needed immediate humanitarian assistance in 2017 as a result of conflicts, acute food insecurity and natural disasters. Canada supports principled, timely and needs-based humanitarian assistance. This saves lives, alleviates suffering and supports the dignity of those affected.

Canada also understands that humanitarian action must see people in need of humanitarian assistance as powerful agents of change. They must be empowered to participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives. This is the only way to effectively protect and address the differentiated needs of people affected by crisis, including women and girls, and to maintain their human dignity.

In addition, in October 2017, Global Affairs Canada launched the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund to help the Rohingya affected by violence in Myanmar. This fund got Canadians involved and reinforced Canadian civil society’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Between August 25 and November 28, 2017, Canadians generously donated more than $12.5 million via the fund to registered charities.

In Syria, eight years into the conflict, over 13.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance—and 5.6 million of them need it critically. Neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon continue to host many Syrian refugees. These refugees still face numerous challenges, including limited job opportunities, depleted savings and negative coping mechanisms that they’ve been forced to adopt to survive. In 2017-18, as part of its three-year (2016-2019) Middle East strategy, Canada provided $280 million in humanitarian assistance to experienced partners. These funds help partners respond to humanitarian needs in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. This includes meeting basic needs for such things as:

With support from Canada and other donors, the UNFPA reached over 4.8 million people in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. This allowed family planning and safe births to take place, even when people had been displaced. Canada’s direct support in Syria and the region assisted over 80 women’s and girls’ safe spaces. Aid in the form of prevention and response services reached nearly 270,000 survivors of gender-based violence, and those at risk of such violence.

Canada made critical contributions to support humanitarian action in 2017-2018. In 2017, over 55 million people in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and surrounding countries faced unprecedented famine, food insecurity and forced evacuations due to conflict. Canada gave more than $295 million to help those devastated by these crises. The contribution included $21.4 million from the Government of Canada Famine Relief Fund launched in May 2017. These funds backed the efforts of multilateral partners such as the World Food Programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF, as well as NGOs, to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to affected people.

Canada is providing $72 million in ongoing, multi-year humanitarian assistance in the West Bank and Gaza. The funds help answer the need for food security, health services, protection, shelter and livelihoods support. The money also helps meet the needs of survivors of gender-based violence.

By supporting vulnerable Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in 2017-2018, Canada helped to:

Canada’s support of the World Food Programme saw the distribution of nutritious food or electronic food vouchers to poor households in the West Bank and Gaza. This helped more than 200,000 of the most vulnerable Palestinians. Having food vouchers in hand allowed the Palestinian refugees to buy locally produced nutritious foods from local shops, in turn creating secondary economic benefits. Delivered alongside food vouchers were awareness sessions on the value of nutrition. This gave women a hand up, since they are traditionally the main ones to prepare meals and make decisions about food.

People with disabilities are a particularly marginalized group in Gaza. Through the charity Humanity & Inclusion Canada, Canada supported the inclusion ad meaningful participation of people with disabilities by providing:

Canada is also supporting AISHA, a Palestinian women’s organization that works to advance the rights of women with disabilities, who are refugees, forcibly internally displaced or survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Canada’s support will help AISHA to provide vital services to help individuals and communities. These include:

Through Save the Children Canada, a non-governmental organization, Canada also provided health services to more than 950 children with disabilities and chronic diseases. The children received periodic medical check-ups, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychosocial support.

In September 2017, hurricanes ravaged parts of the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma, a Category 5+ hurricane, and Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane, caused widespread devastation, including in Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica. Damage to homes and infrastructure was severe, which led to dire humanitarian challenges. Canada deployed the Canadian Disaster Assessment Team twice: to Antigua and Barbuda, and to Dominica. (The team is operated by Global Affairs Canada with the Canadian Armed Forces.) Canada also sent many personnel and military assets to assist with the humanitarian assistance response. This included a Joint Task Force sent to Barbados to coordinate Canadian Armed Forces personnel and assets. HMCS St. John’s was also deployed to the Turks and Caicos and to Dominica. The ship and its crew was charged with delivering humanitarian supplies, purifying water and providing an ideal location to support whole-of-government operations. A helicopter detachment provided transportation to and from the ship, across affected areas. Canada also deployed other aircraft and specialized personnel during this event.

Canada also supports humanitarian action in other important ways. The Canadian Space Agency, for example, is a member of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters. Member space agencies of this international charter, founded in 2000, donate space satellite data to organizations to aid response efforts in emergencies caused by major disasters. Together, their actions lessen impacts on human life and property. The Canadian Space Agency contributes valuable satellite data from RADARSAT-2 at no cost to the end user. The charter has been activated for more than 520 disasters in over 120 countries. In 2017, Canada contributed to 24 of 44 activations, providing 108 processed scenes (images taken by satellites).

Canada works with international partners, including the UNHCR, to aid and protect refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. Refugees flee across borders because of serious threats to their life, threats of grave physical harm or threats to freedom in their home country. They require protection, emergency assistance and other forms of support.

In the Syria crisis, for example, child protection is a crucial need. In 2017, with the assistance of Canada and other donors, the UNHCR provided support to more than 694,000 girls and boys in the region. Among services provided are psychosocial support and access to social services, including for children separated from their families and for those who have suffered violence, abuse or exploitation. Canada also works to protect crisis-affected populations through its multilateral engagement. An example is the work Canada does to strengthen UN resolutions about the protection of civilians and international human rights law.

The world recognizes Canada for its leadership in offering safe haven to people who need refugee protection. Canada protects refugees and vulnerable persons by resettling them to Canada as part of a managed immigration plan. Canada is a member of the international community and a signatory to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol. The UNHCR safeguards these legal documents. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) works closely with international partners—most notably the UNHCR—to offer protection to those most in need. The IRCC accounted for $462.9 million of official development assistance (ODA) spending in 2017-2018. This figure amounts to the federal support provided to refugees, successful asylum seekers and asylum seekers awaiting a decision from the Immigration Refugee Board of Canada in 2017-2018. It also includes grants administered through IRCC’s Migration Policy Development Program for migration and refugee-related capacity-building projects in developing countries during that period.

Asylum claimants can make an asylum claim in Canada at a port of entry or at an inland office with the Canada Border Services Agency, or IRCC. These claims are governed in part by international treaties that Canada has promised to uphold. In fiscal year 2017-2018, Canada received almost 54,000 claims for asylum.

In 2017-2018, Canada resettled 24,456 refugees from all over the world. This included the resettlement of 1,200 highly vulnerable Yazidi survivors of persecution by Daesh in 2017. A total of 1,322 survivors of Daesh have arrived in Canada, including 1,234 government-supported survivors and 88 privately sponsored survivors. The IRCC is continuing to move forward with multi-year commitments to resettle government-assisted refugees. Canada’s new multi-year commitments are to resettle 10,000 refugees from Africa and 10,000 refugees from the Middle East from 2018 to 2020.

Canada’s whole-of-government approach to refugees

The IRCC’s Resettlement Assistance Program supports government-assisted refugees and persons in refugee-like situations admitted to Canada. These people are admitted under public policy considerations or on humanitarian and compassionate grounds when they first arrive in Canada. The IRCC’s Settlement Program helps new Canadians—including refugees—overcome barriers to newcomers.

In 2017-2018, 78,945 refugees received at least one settlement service and 17,804 unique clients received a Resettlement Assistance Program service (in both cases, figures refer to recipients living outside Quebec). All protected persons are eligible for settlement services such as language training, employment-related services and information sessions.

The Interim Federal Health Program funded by the IRCC provides limited, temporary health coverage for asylum claimants. Coverage is available until claimants become eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance and certain pre-departure medical services. In 2017-2018, 56,250 resettled refugees had program coverage and 31,015 used the services. As well, 87,077 asylum seekers were covered by the program while waiting for the IRCC’s decision on their asylum claim. Of those, 63,228 asylum seekers used the services.

Leading global efforts to build a gender-responsive humanitarian system

Building a gender-responsive humanitarian system improves the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of humanitarian responses. The humanitarian system can be made more gender-responsive by:

These actions ensure that the specific and differentiated needs of crisis-affected women, men, girls and boys are met. These actions also ensure that voices of women and girls in particular are meaningfully included in humanitarian responses. This means making sure that women and girls participate in decision-making processes and that their potential as agents of change is recognized.

During crises, it is critical that women and girls be able to get sexual and reproductive health services in time. This could prevent death, disease and disability related to unwanted pregnancies, obstetric complications and reproductive disorders, and gender-based violence. In 2017-2018, Global Affairs Canada directed $68.7 million to sexual and reproductive health services in its humanitarian assistance programming. This includes assistance to experienced humanitarian partners like UNFPA, the lead UN agency on sexual and reproductive health.

Canada has also been vocal in seeking to ensure that the Global Compact on Refugees is gender-responsive. The compact will seek to better protect and empower vulnerable refugees, affirm international legal obligations and boost international cooperation to make more comprehensive refugee responses possible. In 2017-2018, Canada actively championed measures in the compact to advance gender equality and address needs and risks faced by women and girl refugees. Canada’s actions included co-hosting an expert-level meeting on gender in the Refugee Compact. Canada also worked with like-minded states to ensure that the compact reflects best practices for gender equality in refugee responses.

Canada also worked to promote a gender responsive Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Migration Compact will be a valuable cooperative framework to strengthen international responses to address the challenges and harness the benefits of migration. The Migration Compact uses language that is evidence-based, human rights-based, gender-responsive and child-sensitive. Canada’s engagement was key in sharing best practices and helping to build broad and cross-regional support for the Migration Compact.

Canada is supporting multi-year humanitarian programming in line with the Grand Bargain commitments made at the May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. For example, in the Middle East, this multi-year funding is providing a degree of assurance for planning purposes and flexibility for funding partners to respond to changing conditions on the ground. NGO partners have also noted that the multi-year funding approach has enabled better connection with vulnerable communities. This includes, for example, better understanding of gender inequalities in times of crisis.

IRCC’s Migration Policy Development Program is a grant program used mainly to fund Canada’s contribution to various projects under key international forums. Key forums include:

In 2017-2018, Canada provided grants to 13 technical and capacity-building projects that aligned with IRCC and Government of Canada priorities. These include:

Women and girls as drivers of change in humanitarian settings

Canada is working to address the vulnerabilities women and girls face in crisis situations. Women and girls in crisis situations can be drivers of change—and this possibility should be promoted. Achieving this is done by supporting the voices and influence of women and girls in humanitarian action at all levels. That means resolving barriers to accessing services and protection, and resolving barriers to system-level weaknesses.

It also means supporting and promoting humanitarian action that both integrates the needs and strategic interests of women and girls in crisis situations, and targets programming gaps. Canada incorporates capacity strengthening and advocacy efforts into humanitarian assistance programsto support transformative and sustainable change for women and girls.

Canada has actively advocated for the increased and meaningful participation of women and girls in humanitarian action. Canada has done so through work with key humanitarian partners, including the World Food Programme, UNHCR, International Committee of the Red Cross and UNICEF.

In particular, Canada has championed the rights of women and girls in its statements delivered at executive boards. It has encouraged partners to ensure that women and girls participate in decision making for more effective humanitarian responses. To further increase accountability to women and girls affected by crisis, Canada supported greater monitoring of humanitarian assistance at the field level.

Canada is a top donor to the UNFPA’s gender-responsive humanitarian action in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, providing $70.5 million over three years (2016-2019) in the region. In 2017, Canadian funding directly supported clinics and women’s and girls’ safe spaces to help over half a million women and girls obtain reproductive health services in Syria and Iraq. Feedback gathered from women and girls who received services helped to identify accessibility barriers to health facilities. These barriers will be addressed. In 2017, with support from Canada and other donors, the UNFPA ensured that sexual and reproductive health services reached over 3.8 million people in Syria and over 720,000 in Iraq.

Emergency medical services in Syria

In Syria, through Canadian funding, volunteers have been trained and equipped to provide emergency medical services to their local communities through community emergency response teams (CERTs). Rabab, a team lead, explains what inspired her to volunteer:

“As a group of young people, we started thinking of what we could and should do to help our community. This motivated me to volunteer. The CERTs are responsible for rescuing injured people in a mass casualty event. We secure the perimeter, we provide first aid and transfer the injured to health facilities, and raise community awareness. We feel that our presence makes the people feel more secure in the aftermath of a mass casualty event. When we are on the scene, people recognize us; they respect and work with us. This allows us to conduct our work more effectively.”

Growth that works for everyone

For Canada, growth that works for everyone is a priority. Growth is central to poverty reduction and to achieving broad-based prosperity, peace and security. Inclusive growth is the basis for progress across all dimensions of development. It enables countries to reduce and even eliminate extreme poverty and should enable all segments of the population to benefit. It is the surest way for countries to generate the domestic resources and capacity needed to address their development challenges, including health, education and environmental protection.

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $639 million in initiatives in the action area of growth that works for everyone. Among other things, these contributions have resulted in:

More broadly, they have contributed to women’s socio-economic empowerment—seeing their positions rise to equal status within their families and communities—and they have contributed to their financial security.

Canada focuses its efforts relating to growth that works for everyone on:

The following examples highlight some of the diverse and innovative ways that Canada and its partners are pursuing these priorities. Canada is also working more closely with the private sector to see that innovative financing approaches are used for sustainable development objectives. Examples of these efforts are included in the Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development section of this report.

Advancing women’s economic rights and leadership

Women’s economic empowerment is essential to inclusive economic growth. However, barriers to women’s voice, influence and leadership undermine women’s access to economic opportunities. Roadblocks that prevent them from owning assets or accessing financial services, or that restrict them socially, are examples.

Canada has been working to address some of these barriers to help unlock women’s rights and their potential to contribute to social and economic development. These efforts endeavour to drive inclusive economic growth, reduce the gender gap and lessen inequality.

In 2017-2018, Canada supported several multilateral initiatives aimed at advancing women’s economic empowerment and leadership. For example, in the West Bank and Gaza, Canada has supported the International Finance Corporation’s Banking on Women Program with the Bank of Palestine. The corporation has piloted an innovative training program for women entrepreneurs in the region. The Felestineya Mini-MBA program combined access to financial products with non-financial services such as financial management lessons and mentoring. This was done to boost the growth of women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises. As a result of the Mini-MBA program, women have doubled their revenues and profits, registered their businesses and created new jobs.

Similarly, Canada's contributions have supported the International Development Association's efforts to address women’s economic rights. The association has tackled issues that prevent women from contributing equally to economic growth, such as financial inclusion. For example, the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend project has worked with the governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to empower adolescents and women. This US$205-million regional project permitted access to conditional cash transfers in order to prevent early marriages and school dropouts. Between 2015 and 2017, the association’s operations allowed 130,000 women to get direct access to their own financial products and services.

Financial regulation and supervision has been a largely male-led industry and profession. However, Canada is promoting the professional development of female supervisors and regulators from developing countries via the Toronto Centre’s Core Curriculum Certificate Course. This course welcomed female sector supervisors from banking, insurance, pensions, securities, deposit insurance, microfinance and cooperatives. In 2017, 18 of 19 tuition scholarships for international programs were awarded to female participants.


In 2017-2018, Canada continued its support to Développement international Desjardins’ Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) project. It provides credit and financial services to underserviced populations in four countries: Tunisia, Zambia, Tanzania and Panama. Since the project’s inception, 25,922 client entrepreneurs—9,181 women and 16,741 men—have received financial services in EFCs supported by the project. Through those EFCs, 23,331 local jobs were created or maintained. One example is that of EFC Tunisia, which introduced small and medium-sized business loans, vehicle loans and loans for women entrepreneurs to more effectively meet the needs of its clients. In 2017, EFC Tunisia tripled its female clientele and nearly doubled the size of its workforce (128, or almost half the staff, were women). A range of innovative technology was developed that improved support for business decision-making, increased the EFC’s efficiency and improved access to financial services and payment solutions. A credit process automation solution went live in 2017 at EFC Tunisia, supported by a business intelligence software package from software manufacturer Stratego. In addition, preliminary work has begun to define the operational and technological feasibility of a mobile payment service that allows users to easily pay with money in their account and make payments to the EFC on a cell phone.

In 2017-2018, Global Affairs Canada continued its important support to the Kashf Foundation, a micro-finance institution in Pakistan, for women's economic empowerment. Since the program’s inception, more than 1 million women have been trained in basic financial literacy and about half a million women have been trained in business finance. More than 25,000 women have received business development training; they later reported an average increase in sales of their products of 50%. On average, women supported by the project have increased their incomes by about 30% and increased their savings by 60%. Advocacy campaigns highlighted constraints that women face in social and economic spheres. Campaigns also raised awareness about a woman's right to participate in economic activities, and the detrimental effects of early marriage and child sexual abuse. 

Youth entrepreneurship and job creation in Ethiopia

After graduating from university, Meaza started her own business producing and selling detergent in Bahir Dar, a beautiful city located in northern Ethiopia, on Lake Tana. Her family gave her 10,000 birr (Can$600) in start-up capital and her brother trained her in detergent production. Under the Government of Ethiopia’s Micro and Small Enterprises Development Strategy, the Bahir Dar City Administration set her up in a small shop by the city bus station. Meaza realized very quickly that she lacked key skills for sustaining and growing her business. She needed training on business planning, financial management, marketing and customer relations. With the help of the Government of Canada and Canadian organization Digital Opportunity Trust, a social enterprise based in Ottawa, Meaza gained these skills. She expanded her customer base and increased her profits. She now sells an average of 80 to100 litres of detergent each day and has 10 employees.

In 2017-2018, the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada’s project entitled Increasing Wealth and Improving Food Security through the Integrated Cooperative Business Model produced notable results in Peru and Malawi. In Las Lomas, Peru, a successful pilot project helped a micro-enterprise—completely owned and managed by 18 women co-op members—to sell 23.5 tonnes of organic fertilizer. The women, who will invest their profits into expanding their business, have become a symbol of empowerment in their households and community. In Malawi, 44,762 people (16,413 women and 28,349 men) in three districts were trained in financial literacy. This was a game changer. Equipped with the right knowledge, the farmers could meet with credit unions on equal footing, as clients and service providers respectively. Results included new, customized loan products and services tailored to the needs of smallholder farmers.

Electrical and solar systems in Syria

Nibal is a 32-year-old internally displaced person, wife and mother of two. The Syrian woman was one of the first women to graduate from an electrical repair and solar photovoltaic system installation and maintenance program at a vocational school in Syria. “I was praised for being one of the first women to be employed in the electrical and solar energy sector. Though I face challenges in being treated as an equal to the men in my field, I have the full support of my husband and family to pursue this career. As my husband’s income is limited, my work has helped my family survive. I am really happy to be working with electrical and solar systems and I believe that there is opportunity to continue working in this field in the future.” In providing this and similar support to vulnerable Syrians and their communities, a high degree of care is taken to ensure the current Syrian regime does not benefit from Canadian assistance.

In Egypt, the GET Ahead for Women in Enterprise project aims to advance economic rights for women living in poor and low literate communities. There, only 15% of businesses are owned by women. The Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project helped adapt the GET Ahead training package to local circumstances. (This project is an International Labour Organization project that receives funds from Canada.) The GET Ahead package trained the trainers, who then trained 2,000 potential women entrepreneurs in marginalized regions of rural Egypt. Half of the women went on to launch their own business. The institutionalization of a public-private partnership by the National Council for Women, in conjunction with local NGOs, will ensure sustainability and scaling up throughout the country.

Promoting inclusive markets and entrepreneurship

Individuals and enterprises in developing countries, particularly those led by women, often need help to become more competitive and innovative, and to crack market opportunities. What they need are targeted efforts to promote inclusive markets and support entrepreneurship.

This requires expanding access to capital, including for vulnerable people, smallholder cooperatives and associations. It also requires rural transformation, renewable technologies, value addition in the natural resource sector and investments in quality infrastructure. In 2017-2018, Canada pursued a range of initiatives in line with these objectives, such as support for:

One such initiative was the Skills, Employability and Entrepreneurship Programme of the African Development Bank. It helped carry out the Rwandan government’s policy to train young people and create jobs, promote economic growth and reduce poverty. The program focused on training and work placements for young women, recognizing that in Africa, women are twice as likely to start a business as they are elsewhere. The percentage of those enrolled in training who had not completed secondary school rose from 42% to 56% in 2017. The share of young women participants increased from 42% to 46%.

In Egypt, the Government of Canada partnered with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada on a $10.9‑million project to improve the livelihoods of women, men and youth. In 2017-2018, 1,169 students benefited from technical and soft skills training such as management, computer skills, and English language courses. High-potential enterprises that adopted a gender-sensitive mentoring program received business development services and coaching. As a result, a number of Egypt’s women, men and youth have improved their employability and entrepreneurship skills and opportunities.

The Government of Canada continues to join forces with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada on the Aswan Skills Development Program. This $10-million initiative aims to improve the employment and employability ‎of young women and men in the Aswan Governorate, one of the three poorest regions in Egypt. With support from Canada’s Seneca College and an international institution, Aga Khan University, the project was able to change mindsets. It developed market-driven courses to meet the demands of four key sectors: electrical, solar energy, nursing and agribusiness. Employment opportunities improved for 3,000 youth, thanks to this program.

Making a livelihood through cassava production and processing: Ojo’s story

“My name is Ojo Amos, from Cross River State (in Nigeria). Last year in November, I participated in entrepreneurship development training organized by the YouLead project being implemented by Cuso International in Nigeria, and funded by Global Affairs Canada. During the entrepreneurship training organized by YouLead project, I experienced a mindset change and reorientation. I realized that I do not need huge amounts of money to start up a business. I learned how to think outside the box, how to think big and start small. I learned how to develop a business plan, and how to add value to a product in order to make it competitive. I realized that knowledge is the first thing an aspiring entrepreneur needs, not necessarily finance. Looking at the big picture, I am confident that in the next few years, I will be able to compete with the big cassava companies in my community.”

Cuso’s Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project in Nigeria has helped establish youth resource centres to support the economic empowerment of youth. Youth learn about financial institutions and services, grants, employment opportunities, career options and opportunities, and communications technology training. The project has benefitted 18,964 people (9,544 women and 9,420 men) since its inception.


In Ukraine, Canada partnered with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates in 2017-2018 to help small and medium-sized farmers increase their revenues. The association is an international economic development organization. The almost $20-million project focused on improving product quality and facilitating access to larger markets. In 2017-2018, Canada also partnered with SOCODEVI on a roughly $20-million project to combat pervasive rural poverty, particularly among rural women. The project tried to achieve this by strengthening small-scale dairy family farms. It also availed of cooperative management to improve access to quality inputs and larger markets. As a result, 1,200 cooperative members benefited ‎from lower input costs, better access to equipment and technology, and better prices for their milk. More than 700 of the cooperative members were women. This greater empowerment of women has translated into real-life consequences in Ukraine’s cooperative management. For instance, six out of 12 cooperatives targeted have women presidents and 34% of cooperatives have women represented in governance proportional to their membership. This is increasing women’s skills and capacity in management and decision-making. Furthermore, the improved level of equal and flexible work between women and men has decreased women's farm workload by 9% since the beginning of the project, allowing women to increasingly participate in educational and networking activities. Women supported by the project are also the first in Ukraine to start management accounting in small dairy farms. 

In Nicaragua, through support to the World Food Programme, the Government of Canada helped small-scale farmers boost productivity and market access in 2017-2018. Their success came from incorporating new seed varieties, pest management and minimum tillage techniques, and managing bio-enriched seeds and demonstration plots. Small-scale farmers participating in the project achieved productivity levels 12% higher than the national average.

In Honduras, Canada has begun a project with partner organization Swisscontact to support economic and social inclusion. The project, in the Gulf of Fonseca region, provides entrepreneurial training and access to credit. In particular, it targets women and youth and members of LGBTQ2I communities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit and intersex persons). The project team also works with local government and the business community to remove barriers to access to economic opportunities for these populations.

In Burkina Faso, Canada helped improve the socio-economic living conditions of women in rural areas in 2017-2018—specifically, women who toil as rice parboilers. The Support Project for Women Rice Parboilers transformed groups of women into profitable professional businesses recognized in the rice industry and in their communities. The Centre for International Studies and Cooperation carried out this project. It built or renovated five parboiling centres, made getting credit easier and strengthened women parboiler organizations. Over the last three years, the volume of rice marketed by the unions of women parboilers grew by an average of more than 20% a year.

With support from Canada’s IDRC, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur have found that inefficient legal systems in India and Bangladesh are forcing entrepreneurs into difficult situations. They now seek contracts through informal networks shaped by family, ethnicity, gender and caste. When business is carried out through these male-dominated networks, women are often excluded. The research team is building a national index on quality in the legal systems over time and across Indian states. The index also examines the impact of qualitative elements such as the speed of justice and the cost of accessing justice on entrepreneurship. It accounts for the number of businesses owned by women and people from marginalized castes. The index seeks to inform policy reforms being developed, with the end goal being to improve the business climate for vulnerable populations.

Canada works with African partners to promote Africa’s trade integration agenda. This includes efforts to boost intra-African trade. One example is Canada’s contributions to the African Trade Policy Centre, with the support of Canada’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law. These efforts helped Phase One negotiations of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to wrap up in March 2018. The AfCFTA aims to create a common market to greatly increase intra-African trade. The objective is to create a customs union and a single currency for Africa. Forty-four of 55 African Union member states signed this agreement. Canada provided the African Trade Policy Centre with technical assistance. This helped the negotiating team to write in objectives concerning the promotion and attainment of gender equality within the AfCFTA. If all 55 African Union member states signed on, the AfCFTA would cover a market of 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product of US$2.5 trillion. It would be able to boost intra-African trade by over 50% through tariff elimination.


The Government of Canada partnered with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to bolster trade in East Africa and, in particular, to aid women traders through the Integrated Border Management project. TMEA is the world’s largest Aid For Trade project, with an annual budget over US$100 million. (The World Trade Organization’s Aid For Trade program helps developing countries build the trade capacity and infrastructure they need to benefit from trade.) In 2017-2018, TMEA recruited women in joint border committees. These committees offer a forum in which women traders can strengthen their role in decision making at the borders. TMEA also improved infrastructure at the borders. They took into account the needs of women traders, such as women’s sanitation facilities and adequate lighting for security reasons. TMEA also supported the development and implementation of a cross-border charter that details the rights and responsibilities of traders. Finally, TMEA developed resource centres that provide information to cross-border traders on trading processes, rights and responsibilities. These resource centres also offer women arbitration services in the event of the unlawful confiscation of goods or intimidation by border officials. About 150 traders visit each centre monthly. This is Canada’s only development project that directly supports the aid and trade connection at a regional level. In East Africa, joint border management committees and integrated border management—with the inclusion of gender equality—are new. They are an innovative way to improve trade in general while incorporating inclusive trade.

Building a highway to prosperity in Ukraine, one clove of garlic at a time

“In the beginning, all we had was a dream of creating a successful agricultural business: we didn’t have any financial support, knowledge or experience. But we were ambitious. We had a desire to succeed and we believed in this business. This helped us in turning the loss-making company into a sustainable and profitable farm! With the support of the Canada-funded agricultural development project, we were able to purchase equipment for the cultivation of high-quality garlic, and build a mini garlic processing plant and a 1,000-ton storage warehouse. Micro-producers, including those with kitchen gardens, are able to use our facilities and sell their garlic in bulk to large-scale buyers at competitive prices. Our business is also able to produce high-quality garlic and reach international markets. Today, we are exporting to Canada and Belarus, and are in discussions with a Canadian pharmaceutical company interested in buying our dried garlic. Thanks to the project, the future has never been so bright!”

— Yan Mishkevych and Nataliia Sudarkina, garlic producers

Promoting financial security and resilience

In many countries, for each person that emerges from poverty, another falls back into it. Rural populations are particularly vulnerable. With fewer economic opportunities than their urban counterparts, crises can quickly push rural households into destitution. Many of these households may live at or below the poverty line.

Canada is working to reduce the economic uncertainty for poor and vulnerable communities by promoting new opportunities and supporting initiatives to mitigate social and economic risks. This includes efforts to:

For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, about 60% of adults living in the poorest households don’t have a bank account. This rate is higher among women and rural communities. Canada’s IDRC is supporting a regional initiative called Proyecto Capital. This initiative is led by social sciences research centre Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and international development organization Fundación Capital. By working with governments and the private sector, the program helps the poorest access and use financial services. It has established relationships with key stakeholders, signing 16 technical assistance agreements with government social protection programs and 14 with banks and credit unions across Latin America and the Caribbean. With support from IDRC and New York-based Ford Foundation, Proyecto Capital is scaling up in countries where it has seen success and expanding to new countries. Proyecto Capital aims to ensure that at least 15 million people living in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean have access to financial services.

In Bolivia, the Government of Canada, in partnership with SOCODEVI, helped establish a new value chain in the spice industry. This permitted families to earn three times as much and rely on a much more stable year-round income—winning factors that helped slow the rural exodus. The project also urged families to use special plant varieties that offer greater resilience against climate change. The project helped improve the financial security of 13,626 people from rural Indigenous communities in 2017-2018. More than half of these people (7,075) were women.

In Colombia, the Government of Canada’s investments in rural development supported the economic empowerment of more than 7,000 rural women in 2017-2018. This allowed them to participate equally with men as decision makers in agricultural cooperatives and associations. As well, they gained control over resources such as income, credit, infrastructure and land. The Government of Canada also supported women's groups from three conflict-affected regions to strengthen their leadership roles in mining communities. It achieved this in tandem with Agriteam Canada. The project trained 60 public officers and 111 community members; more than half in both groups were women. They learned to monitor water quality and advocate for the safety of communities where artisanal gold operations are prevalent.

Empowering rural women through agriculture in Colombia

Deifilia lives in Meta, Colombia, and is one of 6,000 people to benefit from a project that promotes sustainable economic growth in Colombia’s rural areas. The Government of Canada supported this project. Deifilia noticed a difference in the way that she sees society, her role in her home and her agricultural labour after taking the project’s gender workshops. “I was brought up to believe that the man was the one who ruled. When my father or my brother gave an order, it had to be done.” Francisco, her husband, has specific responsibilities at home while Deifilia focuses on improving the health of their crops. “This helps a lot because she gives me ideas that are very good, which I believe in,” Francisco says. Through Canada’s programming, women in Colombia are leading the development of their farms and improving crop quality in an environment that welcomes women and men equally.

In 2017-2018, Statistics Canada helped developing country partners boost their capacity to measure sustainable tourism. The sustainable tourism sector - if well managed - can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusiveness and the protection of cultural and natural assets. In this regard, tourism has not only been a driver for the economic recovery in many countries in the past years but has also been a vital contributor to job creation, environmental consideration and protection, poverty alleviation and multicultural understanding and appreciation. Statistics Canada took part in a United Nations Statistics Division regional workshop in the Philippines. The workshop focused on the compilation of the Tourism Satellite Account, the internationally recognized framework for measuring tourism activity in an economy. Such framework can help the developing country partners to develop national policies that can promote the growth of the sustainable tourism sector.

Environment and climate action

The state of the environment around the world is deteriorating at an alarming pace. Many communities, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, are experiencing the destabilizing effects of climate change in dramatic and costly ways. Climate change and environmental degradation threaten long-term development gains. They also disproportionately affect women and girls, making existing gender inequalities worse.

In 2017-2018, Canada made important progress in delivering on its commitment to help developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, to move to low-carbon, sustainable and resilient economies. Canada has pledged to provide $2.65 billion to this goal by 2020. Funding is being delivered through a range of partners. It is being invested in areas such as clean technology, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forestry, watershed management and climate resilience. As of 2018, Canada has announced over $1.2 billion toward this commitment.

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $425 million in initiatives in the environment and climate action area. Among other things, these contributions have resulted in:

Canada focuses its environment and climate action area efforts on:

Strengthening environmental governance and enhancing women’s participation in decision making

Canada’s international assistance has helped developing countries to improve the policies they make about environmental protection. It has also helped with planning and financing initiatives that safeguard the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Canada has supported the efforts of government institutions and international organizations to develop, finance, implement and enforce strong environment-related and environmentally sensitive diplomacy, laws, policies, plans, frameworks and services.

Canada has also endeavoured to involve representatives of the private sector and civil society as active leaders and participants—particularly women and vulnerable people. This approach bolsters evidence-based decision making that is grounded in reliable environmental data and analysis.

The Global Environment Facility, which received $233 million from Canada between 2014 and 2018, is a key multilateral fund. It finances activities in developing countries related to climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, and chemicals and waste. The facility supports environmental governance through projects like the Improve Access and Benefit Sharing initiative in Mexico. This initiative preserves biodiversity while building sustainable livelihoods. It is bringing together multiple stakeholders to establish a legal framework for ensuring rights to protect biodiversity. The project also helps women in urban and rural communities to secure sustainable income through better management of natural resources.

Canada has been supporting African countries’ efforts to move to energy systems that are more efficient, less expensive and cleaner. For example, in 2017-2018, Canada signed a funding arrangement for $150 million with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) as part of its commitment to support the G7 Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). AREI is an African-led effort to achieve at least 10 gigawatts of new and additional renewable energy generation capacity by 2020. Canada’s investment would contribute to AREI’s goals by financing the construction and operation of renewable energy infrastructure projects such as solar, wind, biomass and smaller-scale hydropower. Ultimately, Canada’s partnership with IFC aims to:

Canada has also assisted IFC with a complementary project that will provide advisory services to help reach underserved populations. It will work to close gender gaps in the renewable energy sector. This project’s tasks include identifying bankable off-grid projects in rural areas, where there is greater potential for poverty reduction.


Canada’s support to AREI is Global Affairs Canada’s first unconditionally repayable contribution to the IFC. Its innovation is in blending concessional and commercial funds as a means to catalyze private sector investment in Africa. (Concessional loans have terms that are much more generous than market loans. Interest rates may be lower than market rates and/or the loan may have a long grace period.) The IFC is lending Canadian funds on a concessional basis to eligible renewable energy projects, alongside IFC’s own commercial resources. Concessional funds should leverage additional public and private sector investments. That unlocks private capital that would normally not be available to these projects as they are often seen as too risky. Borrowers are typically private sector companies seeking funding to support the construction and operation of renewable energy infrastructure projects. By providing financial support, Canada can also work to ensure that gender equality is built into this blended finance project. Another innovative element, this will help close gender gaps in the renewable energy sector.

In Ecuador, the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute is studying, with Canada’s support, gender dynamics in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Portovelo / Zaruma and Camilo Ponce Enríquez. Its project, Education for Transformation of Artisanal to Small-Scale Mining, completed an extensive socio-economic stakeholder analysis in 2017-2018. It identified scavenger miners (almost all of whom are women) as a vulnerable group. This is because these scavenger miners have little education, are exposed to high levels of mercury, and are not recognized by Ecuador mining law. The findings from the stakeholder analysis are being discussed with government counterparts. Upcoming course curricula will reduce identified gender gaps.

Canada is collaborating with the Léger Foundation on the $17.25-million IMSA project to promote the nexus of sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and economic growth in Burkina Faso, Bolivia and Peru. To this end, the project builds the capacity and participation of women in six local organizations to more effectively carry out their interventions. For example, in Bolivia, the project supports the implementation of agroecological production units with drip irrigation systems. In Peru, the project has promoted the use of native seeds and organic fertilizers, and increased potato, quinoa and cañahua yields from 23% to 100%.

With Canada’s support to the African Minerals Development Centre, 10 African countries have improved policies and legal frameworks for the mineral sector. The countries are Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These policies and frameworks integrate social and environmental provisions. Meanwhile, 10 countries have established inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder platforms .Those countries are Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The platforms led to increased transparency in minerals policy and legislative review processes.

In Ethiopia, Canada helped public and private institutions better design, build and manage irrigation infrastructure. This helps farmers cope with unpredictable rains and droughts. Through the Capacity Building for Sustainable Irrigation and Agriculture project, Canada funded in 2017-2018:

In Burkina Faso, Canada is collaborating with Cowater International on a $17.2-million project to promote sustainable energy and economic growth. It focuses on the particularly vulnerable region of Boucle du Mouhoun. This project will work with local partners on targeted interventions, including rural electrification, promotion of solar energy and community economic development. As part of its start-up phase, the project has organized various workshops and consultations with communities, local women’s groups, civil society and private sector organizations. This has helped to establish baselines, criteria for the selection of target communities and results-based funding approaches.

In Jordan, Canada continued its strong partnership with the United Nations Development Programme in 2017-2018. It created livelihood opportunities for women in a crucial area for green technology and growth. Farms in Mafraq, northern Jordan, generate 60% of the livestock manure in Jordan. This environmental challenge was turned into an economic opportunity, however. A 10,000-square-metre composting plant was built with state-of-the-art technology for production and quality control. This new plant, which is operated and managed entirely by women, is producing 40 tonnes of compost per day. And with the new plant comes new jobs. So far, more than 60 families, many of which are female-headed households, have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result of this initiative.

First female engineer in Ola’s community in Jordan

Ola is a young woman from rural Jordan. She defied established traditions in her community by completing her studies in renewable energy engineering, which was offered in a university far from her home. “My family stood by me though, and thanks to them I finished my studies and became the first female engineer in my village.” Ola is passionate about renewable energy. After graduating, she launched her own initiative to promote solar energy in her community. She also participated in three training courses offered through a Canadian-funded project. “These courses helped me improve my skills and gain capacities I had never anticipated. I learnt a lot about working effectively at the local level, and that brought me closer to my community. Today, I am an accredited trainer in the energy sector.”

In 2017-2018, Statistics Canada supported capacity building in environmental statistics for developing countries. It did this by taking part in regional training workshops in China and Jordan on the UN’s System of Environmental Economic Accounting. This framework pulls together economic and environmental data to produce a more comprehensive view of the relationships between the two areas. The Jordan workshop focused on integrated systems for such accounts to support SDGs in the Arab Region. People from fragile states such as Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Iraq attended. Statistics Canada’s participation in these workshops brought Canadian expertise in measuring clean technologies to the United Nations Environment Programme’s SDG Indicator 17.7.1 Expert Group. Tapping into such expertise helps countries, including developing countries, to better measure progress of Goal 17.

Through Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canada is a long-time major contributor to international organizations working on strengthening environmental governance. In 2017-2018, ECCC provided $20.67 million in ODA, mainly through support for multilateral environmental organizations. These organizations provide technical cooperation and capacity building to developing countries. This includes efforts to improve environmental conditions and support climate change adaptation and mitigation. These steps improve the livelihoods of vulnerable populations in developing countries.

ECCC also helps multilateral organizations to advance environmental research with developing country partners. One way this occurs is via Canada’s annual contribution to the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research to fund research and training in the Americas. Canada also enabled developing country engagement in climate discussions. For example, Canada’s contribution to the Trust Fund of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided travel support so that developing countries could take part in Panel meetings. By enabling their participation in meetings, Canada has helped to build capacity within developing countries. This way, they can make informed decisions about climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In 2017-2018, Canada provided $3 million for the World Bank’s Transformative Carbon Asset Facility. This facility works with developing countries to create and purchase new classes of carbon assets associated with greenhouse gas emission reductions. Canada directed another $2 million to the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s National Adaptation Plan Global Network. These funds helped developing countries boost their capacity to plan, develop and implement climate change adaptation actions. Canada also sought to strengthen climate measurement, reporting and verification through its contributions to the International Emissions Trading Association. As well, Canada worked to advance gender-responsive climate action through its contribution to the Women’s Environment & Development Organization.

Canada also backed climate change mitigation consistent with the needs of developing countries, as identified in their Nationally Determined Contributions (part of the Paris Agreement). Such mitigation measures would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and help developing countries move to low-carbon economies. For example, Canada is providing $7 million over four years to help Mexico put its contributions in place by addressing emissions from Mexico’s oil and gas sector. The Canada-Mexico bilateral initiative aims to advance opportunities to reduce emissions, including short-lived climate pollutants methane and black carbon, and deliver environmental, economic and health co-benefits.

Investing in low-carbon and climate-resilient economies

Given the scope and scale of global climate change challenges, it is essential to engage private sector players through innovative approaches to climate finance. One way to do this is by leveraging private investment in mitigation and adaptation activities.

To this end, Canada has been working with a full range of financial partners as well as think tanks, universities and civil society. The goal is to increase investment and business opportunities and to enhance livelihoods, including for women and vulnerable people, in low-carbon, clean-growth sectors.

Canada has worked to improve access to, and the availability of, gender-responsive financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives. For instance, Canada’s funding is focused on enhancing women’s skills and job opportunities in clean growth, science and environment-related fields, which can help ensure that social and economic benefits of development are equally shared. This can be achieved through better access to climate finance for women-led initiatives and enterprises, and greater awareness among partners of the need for gender-responsive initiatives such as training programs that address the specific needs and interests of women. Canada has also worked to make innovative environmentally sustainable technologies more widely available, prioritizing technologies that respond to the needs and priorities of women.

Canada has taken an innovative approach to mobilizing private sector financing and partnering with multilateral development banks to help remove barriers to private investment. This includes using concessional finance (with more flexible terms than commercial counterparts) to demonstrate the commercial viability of projects and unlock future private investments in similar initiatives.

For example, in 2017, Canada announced that it would provide $200 million for the second phase of the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia, managed by the Asian Development Bank. The fund is building on the success of its first phase. It will now spur private investments in climate change in low and lower-middle income countries and small island developing states in Asia and the Pacific. In November 2017, the fund provided US$8.1 million to the first phase of the Eastern Indonesia Renewable Energy Project. This supported the construction and operation of a 72-megawatt wind power plant in South Sulawesi. The renewable energy generated by the project will avoid 159,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. That’s the equivalent of 34,000 cars taken off the road each year.

In Nepal, Canada’s support to the Asian Development Bank helped finance Nepal’s largest wind-solar hybrid power system, in Sindhuli District. The project, which came onstream in 2018, includes wind turbines and solar-voltaic panels. It has ensured electricity services for 85 rural households. Access to clean, reliable and affordable energy will help the village connect to the world through Internet and mobile phones, and will create opportunities to boost local income.

Canada has also provided $300 million to the Green Climate Fund. This fund has committed US$3.7 billion to 76 projects that will enhance the climate resilience of over 217 million people. The projects will also mean 1.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be averted. Forty percent of the Green Climate Fund’s portfolio is being carried out in partnership with the private sector and 50% of funding targets adaptation efforts.

Through the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas (C2F), Canada has been able to support the piloting of innovative ways of incorporating gender in private sector projects. This has supported broader integration of gender equality considerations across the Inter-American Development Bank Group. As part of this effort, the C2F is focusing on promoting women’s economic empowerment by closing gender gaps in non-traditional sectors such as construction and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. For example, in Mexico, the C2F embedded financial incentives in a contract with its client to promote gender equality. This included incentives to ensure that its internship program would include at least 50% women, that its CEO would sign a commitment to the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles and that it would complete a Mexican certification on labour equality, which includes gender.

The Latin American Energy Organization (known as OLADE) has been implementing the Sustainable Energy Access for the Latin American and the Caribbean Region project, with Government of Canada support. In 2017-2018, the project helped several countries develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions studies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Describing mitigation actions is a pledge that stems from the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar.) The studies identified ways to use solar water heating more widely in Belize. The project also supported climate change studies in the Dominican Republic, where it developed a roadmap for the Dominican Republic’s national climate change strategy in the tourism sector. Through the project, training courses were designed and delivered, including modules in sustainable energy development and climate change adaptation and mitigation. In addition, 18 new courses were developed and delivered. In 2017-2018, 3,364 people (of whom 1,096 were women) were trained. As well, 473 professionals (of whom 150 were women) from 32 countries completed OLADE’s Executive Development Program on Energy Planning.

In Haiti, thanks to Canada’s support, a national action plan for more efficient, clean-energy stoves was developed in 2017. Being reliant on solid fuels for cooking results in particularly hard economic and environmental consequences for women. The action plan focuses on business development, product innovation, financing schemes and support to change behaviour. The plan built in participation by women at the design stage to ensure that products would meet their needs.

Canada’s regional programming in Africa is helping to improve African countries' resilience to climate change with the Strengthening Climate Resilience in Africa project. Canada supports the African Risk Capacity agency. It uses innovative tools to improve the ability of countries to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters caused by climate change. These tools include climate risk insurance, early warning systems and disaster-risk planning. In 2017-2018, five countries bought insurance through the agency and 11 benefited from the agency’s capacity-building program.


The African Risk Capacity agency is forward-thinking in other ways, too. It provides an African-owned solution to climate change-related natural disasters that affect Africa more frequently. Moreover, the agency helps African countries to buy sovereign-level insurance to protect themselves from a natural disaster. Previously, the agency worked with African countries to develop disaster plans detailing how a potential insurance payout would be used. This ensured African countries had the tools and resources needed to respond immediately to vulnerable populations hit most severely by natural disasters. Through the African Risk Capacity agency’s model, African countries have collectively combined their resources to develop a disaster-risk pool that is financially effective and African owned.

In December 2017, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank approved the Beijing Air Quality Improvement and Coal Replacement Project. The project improves air quality and reduces pollution by replacing coal with natural gas in rural villages in Beijing’s outskirts. Upon completion, the project will provide gas service connections to roughly 200,000 rural households, and reduce coal consumption by 650,000 tons annually in Beijing. Canada became a full member of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank in March 2017 and is now on the bank’s board of directors. Canada will continue to support policies and projects like this that promote sustainable infrastructure development in Asia.

Adopting environmental practices that support healthy, resilient, adaptive communities

Canada has long championed the adoption of environmentally sound practices to build resilience, strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigation, reduce pollution, and improve sustainable natural resource management.

These goals are being achieved by supporting the leadership and ownership of women, youth and vulnerable groups. Support helps them to develop local practices and technologies, such as climate-smart agriculture, and equips them to plan, prepare and respond to sustainability challenges. This approach has harnessed traditional ecological knowledge and practices. It has also incorporated disaster-risk reduction, including strategies to improve climate resilience.

The UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 has guided Canada’s efforts. Canada is making sure that its international assistance reduces disaster risk and builds disaster resilience while increasing preparedness to respond to disaster impacts. Canada hosted the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas (Montréal, March 2017). It was a successful, ministerial, high-level event, and it adopted the first regional action plan for disaster risk reduction in the Americas.

Canada, through ECCC, has been contributing annually to the World Meteorological Organization. This includes voluntary contributions to World Meteorological Organization-managed trust funds that help developing countries fortify their national meteorological and hydrological services. This ensures that their citizens receive important information about climate.

Through ECCC, Canada has contributed to the international Group on Earth Observations. This group helps developing countries build national capacity by investing in human, technical and institutional capacity. Canada also supports the global Climate Risk Early Warning Systems Initiative. This initiative aims to reduce human and economic losses associated with meteorological and climate-related hazards.

Canada pledged $85 million for the 10th replenishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development from 2016 to 2018. Canada also provided a $100-million grant to the Climate Investment Funds’ Pilot Program for Climate Resilience. This program supports climate adaptation and resilience pilot projects. The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development has relayed sizable support to poor farmers, thanks to contributions from Canada and other donors. These funds reached over 97 million people in rural areas—half of whom were women. The fund’s work on inclusive rural finance allowed over 23.8 million people to more easily obtain rural financial services. In addition, the fund provided training to 2.5 million people in crop and livestock production practices and technologies to ramp up their agricultural productivity.

Canada is channelling $30 million to the Global Environment Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund between 2017 and 2020. The fund supports the world’s most vulnerable countries in their efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change. As an example, the fund has improved climate information in the Gambia by helping nine meteorological stations to be built. It has also trained staff from media outlets on sharing weather information.

With support from Canada, USC Canada’s Seeds of Survival project (2015-2020) has benefited 26,046 small-scale farm households in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Mali. In those countries, it has enhanced the availability of diverse and quality food, and strengthened smallholder farmer capacity to adapt to climate change risks. Better local open-pollinated seed varieties are now being used. Farmers have also taken part in research to set up community seed and field gene banks to preserve the biodiversity of local crop material. This will create community seed self-sufficiency, too. Since 2015, household fruit production has grown by 20% and vegetable production by 28%. Fruit and vegetable varieties have also risen by 31% and 42%, respectively. More than 3,400 women and 1,200 youth farmers received help in acquiring community land. Meanwhile, more than 4,800 women and approximately 2,000 youth received agricultural inputs such as seeds, micro-loans and equipment. These results underscore the fact that promoting the participation of women and youth in agro-ecological practices and market-related initiatives contributes to sustainable economic growth.

Canada's Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund is an important initiative that helps local communities adapt to climate change and prepare for disasters to lessen the impact once they strike. For example, in 2017, the fund supported a partnership in Wowetta, Guyana, with the Wowetta Women’s Group and the Kanuku Mountain Community Representative Group. Together, they erected facilities that will allow vulnerable communities to process and stockpile cassava flour for occasions when they are cut off during floods or when drought harms cassava production. Since 2017, over 3,000 pounds of cassava flour have been stockpiled.

Canada also provides longer-term support to help crisis-affected populations and communities recover and rebound. For example, in October 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which destroyed nearly all of Dominica’s crops, the Government of Canada funded the creation of a Dominica Emergency Agricultural Recovery Program. High-quality potato seeds, along with equipment and tools, were provided to Dominica in December. Planting started in February 2018, helping Dominican potato farmers (mostly women) to re-establish their crops in time for the growing season.


The rainy season in Senegal tends to be irregular. Given this, Canada put forward an innovative approach that combined weather monitoring and agricultural insurance to help small farmers mitigate risks from climatic hazards. In 2017-2018, Canada provided support to the Deployment of Agricultural Insurance Index project in Senegal’s Casamance region. Thanks to this, 25 rain gauges—meteorological instruments that measure precipitation—arrived so that the impact of reduced rainfall on harvests could be predicted. From there, it was possible to determine financial compensation to farmers in case production dropped due to lack of rain.

The Government of Canada’s contribution to the Central America and Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Multi-Donor Trust Fund, implemented by the World Bank, helped Central American and Caribbean countries build resilience. This was achieved through insurance and other tools to provide more cost-effective, rapid and reliable financing for emergencies. Examples of the fund’s work include:

Supporting local small entrepreneurs and improving lives in Kenya

“Through the Canada-funded Mennonite Economic Development Associates’ Equitable Prosperity Through Private Sector (Development in Kenya) project in partnership with Kwale Coconut Processors Limited, a certified fair trade organic producer of coconut oil, I am among the many farmers who have benefited from agronomic training. In the past six months, I learned organic farming practices, mulching and crop management techniques. I have also learned how to effectively manage agricultural waste. With my increased knowledge, I have seen my average yield increase significantly. Since my partnership with Kwale Coconuts, I sell my coconuts at a 27% increase! And I earn a premium for being a certified fair trade organic farmer. With more than 80 coconut trees on my land, each producing 15 to 45 nuts four times a year, I can maintain a stable income to support my family and send my son, Mwangi Jr., to school.”

— John Mwangi Sr.

Increasing climate resilience, productivity and women’s empowerment in Guatemala’s dry corridor

“Before Canada and the World Food Programme came to our community, women could not be leaders or have an opinion. Now, we have trained and worked hard to do something for our community and we are respected. Their help has brought us great satisfaction.” Doris Fajardo lives in El Progreso, Guatemala’s “dry corridor”, an area affected by drought and food scarcity. As a widow, she is the sole provider for her four children. Doris and other women in her community received support to implement techniques such as irrigation ditches, terracing, erosion barriers and composting. Doris now produces enough crops to feed her family and has some surplus to sell. She also guides other mothers in her community, helping them to learn about and implement new practices.


In Morocco, more than 200 mines have been closed over several decades, often abandoned without proper decommissioning. These mines can pose significant environmental and health risks. With support from Canada’s IDRC, researchers from two universities did something no one else had done—they mapped mines that had leached harmful chemicals. Researchers from the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Morocco, and Canada’s Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue also developed a targeted, cost-effective technique to contain acid mine drainage. With help from a Moroccan phosphate mining company, their innovation was scaled up to create a store-and-release cover over an entire mine site, a first in North and West Africa. (A store-and-release cover can contain acid mine drainage, releasing it later at a desired time.)This success has earned them the prestigious Hassan II Prize for the Environment, awarded by Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development.

In Africa, a dearth of climate change leaders hinders the development and implementation of science-informed policy and strategies for building resilience. A fellowship program between the University of Nairobi and the Institute of Resource Assessment at the University of Dar es Salaam seeks to fill this gap. The program launched in January 2018 with support from Canada’s IDRC. It will support 30 mid to senior-career researchers, policy advisers and practitioners with climate change ideas that can be applied at scale. Building leadership among women is also a central program objective. The program builds on IDRC’s past investments in climate fellowships: 63% of the current fellows participated in earlier IDRC programs. Some earlier fellows are also returning as resource persons to train the new generation.

Inclusive governance

Canada considers inclusive governance to be fundamental to long-term sustainable development. Governance is inclusive when it effectively serves and engages all people and takes into account gender and other facets of personal identity.

Canada supports innovative delivery models for its inclusive governance programs. These models would help shift the incentives of decision makers toward policies and services that benefit the poorest (e.g. outcome-based funding approaches). Canada will continue to support multi-stakeholder approaches to promote governance processes that include all relevant stakeholders—particularly those not traditionally included.

For example, this year, Canada joined the Global Action on Disability Network. This multi-stakeholder network tries to boost the inclusion of persons with disabilities in international development and humanitarian action. Canada also endorsed the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $293 million in initiatives on the action area of inclusive governance. Among other things, these contributions have resulted in:

Canada focuses its inclusive governance efforts on:

Promoting and protecting human rights

The realization of human rights empowers people and propels economies, and is the basis of inclusive development.

Canada’s objective is to promote and protect human rights, including online rights, by strengthening the capacity of all actors in society to claim their rights and seek redress. Canada is also helping individuals and entities to uphold their obligations or responsibilities to respect, protect, fulfill or promote human rights. This includes supporting individuals, civil society, governments and the private sector to promote and protect human rights for the poorest and most marginalized groups, particularly women and girls.

With support from the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is promoting justice for women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2017-2018, it helped to train 93 people (including 73 women) on regional and universal legal standards related to discrimination, inequality and violence against women and girls. Of these people, 63 were officials from various levels of government responsible for women’s and girls’ rights. Thirty were representatives of civil society organizations, including Indigenous, LGBTQ2I, children’s, women’s and Afro-descendant organizations. In addition, the commission garnered support for 26 resolutions that it issued. These resolutions granted precautionary measures in matters of serious, imminent and irreparable harm to women and girls.

Canada is partnering with the Royal Commonwealth Society to promote the human, social and economic rights of LGBTQ2I persons in Commonwealth countries. The project is designed to identify the types of legal tools that could be used to assist interested Commonwealth governments with reforms to improve the legal standing and lives of LGBTQ2I persons. This will be achieved through research, expert consultations and stakeholder engagement. The project will also include dialogue events with representatives from Commonwealth member countries to share best practices and discuss possible areas for reform.

Oxfam Canada’s Creating Spaces to Take Action on Violence Against Women and Girls project completed its second year in 2017-2018. To date, it has reached over 119,187 people (69,875 females, 49,312 males) in five countries: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Philippines. More than 276 community groups have been formed, comprising women’s groups and youth clubs, which provide space spaces in which people can discuss topics. Subjects range from women’s rights, child marriage and healthy relationships to strong families, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The project team is also working with “influencers” to advance policies and ensure that laws and regulations are being implemented. This shows communities what accountability can look like. In 2017-2018, the project organized 22 media campaigns to raise awareness about child marriage and violence against women.


A collective of Latin American women and developers at Coding Rights, a Brazil-based “think and do tank” supported by Canada’s IDRC, is addressing challenges to gender rights for women and LGBTQ2I minorities on the Internet. The collective has helped local women activists protect themselves online. It has also launched Radar Legislativo, a platform that helps civil society monitor all digital rights-related bills being drafted or discussed in Brazil’s legislature. In recognition of their contribution to understanding digital human rights issues, Coding Rights was awarded the 2017 Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean Award to Women in Technology.

The Nigerian Ekiti State Social Security Scheme is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. Implemented between 2012 and 2014, the non-contributory pension scheme targets the elderly in poor households in Ekiti State. There, the majority live in rural areas and work in the informal sector—in other words, in a grey economy where income is neither monitored nor taxed. A team of researchers supported by Canada’s IDRC conducted an extensive study of the scheme’s outcomes. The study informed the development of a National Priority Agenda for the Vulnerable. Drawing on the study’s findings, the Nigerian government also pledged to expand such schemes. It announced a plan to provide social security to 50% of vulnerable population groups, starting with unemployed youth.

Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Program negotiates and implements labour provisions of Canadian free trade agreements with other countries. These labour provisions include commitments to protect internationally recognized labour rights and principles. Other commitments vow to enforce domestic labour laws with mechanisms to receive and investigate complaints and impose penalties or trade sanctions, where warranted. The department’s Labour Program also provides technical assistance to partner countries by funding capacity-building projects that:

In 2017-2018, the Labour Program funded projects in Peru ($328,000), Costa Rica ($200,000), Honduras ($200,000), Mexico ($5,000) and Ukraine ($100,000). It also gave $200,000 to the Organization of American States to help ministries of labour better implement labour legislation, policies and programs that promote and respect fundamental labour rights. For example, in Honduras, the Fundación del Servicio Exterior para la Paz y la Democracia (FUNPADEM) is implementing a project as a result of last year’s amendments to its Labour Code. The new labour inspection legislation has created the Directorate General for Labour Inspections. Legislation will also introduce an operational framework to address issues of non-compliance with labour rights by sanctioning anti-union practices. Communication materials will be created to raise awareness of, and increase compliance with, the new inspection process.

Through the Employment and Social Development Canada Labour Program, Canada also provided support to the International Labour Organization’s Better Work Programme in 2017-2018. In Vietnam, for example, this program has developed initiatives designed to raise awareness and reduce the prevalence of sexual harassment in the garment sector. The investment helped strengthen national policy frameworks and boosted enterprise level compliance in this area. It also improved worker awareness, understanding and behaviour regarding the issues.

Increasing equitable access to a functioning justice system

Equitable access to justice is a means to overcome poverty, as it provides people and communities with a legal basis to claim their rights and see justice served. Access to justice can also help transform legal guarantees of gender equality into real improvements in the daily lives of women.

Canada’s objective is to foster equitable access to fair justice and law enforcement services that advance the human rights of the poorest and most marginalized people—particularly women, children and youth. This involves improving the gender-responsiveness of justice and law enforcement institutions. It also means making sure that justice services reach people in their communities, and that people become more aware of legal issues.

With support from the Government of Canada, the Justice Studies Center of the Americas carried out a project to bolster access to equitable and efficient civil justice. Such justice respects the rights of those involved in legal proceedings. In 2017-2018, 770 government and civil society representatives—412 of whom were women—were trained on issues related to accessible, efficient and equitable civil justice system reform.

In Nepal, Canada’s contribution to the Asian Development Bank in 2017-2018, through the Gender and Development Cooperation Fund, helped tackle violence against women in Kathmandu and outlying districts. In cooperation with the National Police, special service centres were opened to address crimes against women and children. The project also constructed two centres in rural districts to serve as 24-hour victim survivor centres. The project team developed and delivered training manuals and standard operating procedures for police, showing how to treat survivors of gender-based violence and related crimes. The project also backed campaigns to raise public awareness on violence against women and children, and how to prevent it.

In Guatemala, the Government of Canada continued to advocate for the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity. This commission, in partnership with the Attorney General’s office, has taken important strides to fight against impunity. This work has included investigations, arrests and judicial processes related to the high level of corruption in Guatemala. That encompasses cases of corruption by state officials that saw millions of dollars of state revenue vanish. As a result, citizens are demanding greater accountability from authorities at all levels of government. They insist on structural changes to increase government transparency and effectiveness.

In Honduras, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with UNICEF, has supported the creation of a national rights-based child protection and juvenile justice system. Honduras remains one of Latin America’s poorest countries. Youth, along with women and Indigenous peoples, are the ones most likely to suffer human rights violations and violence. At the local level, 109 municipal tables on child protection have been established in one third of the country’s municipalities. (Municipal tables are harmonized protocols for municipal child protection coordination bodies.) The project has also helped 300 children develop leadership capacities—empowering girls at the same time—and made sure that municipal political leaders became involved on child protection issues.

Serving those who have served Ukraine

One day in summer 2014, as war broke out in eastern Ukraine, Lesia Vasylenko, a young lawyer, headed off to a military hospital in Kyiv. ‎She was carrying an envelope filled with money that she had helped raise, at a friend’s request, for a young soldier. He had lost a limb in combat and required a costly operation. It was a visit that would change Vasylenko’s life. “I started looking into the laws protecting soldiers and I explained to this boy’s family how to claim the benefits he was entitled to,” she says. “Then his family asked me to help the boy’s hospital roommate, and that roommate asked me to help someone else. It was a chain reaction.”

Vasylenko is now the head of Legal Hundred, an influential non-governmental organization with more than 200 volunteer lawyers and representatives in 12 regions of Ukraine. The young lawyer continues to help veterans and their families.

Canada initially supported Legal Hundred through the European Endowment for Democracy. Canada continues to provide funding for the organization’s important work. It drafted a proposal to remove amendments that effectively allowed the army to indefinitely prolong the contracts of soldiers who had enrolled in the military on a temporary basis. These amendments were introduced when the war began.

Legal Hundred was also highly influential in trying to tackle endemic gender discrimination in the Ukrainian army. Their vocal efforts helped convince the parliament to pass a law guaranteeing equal rights for women in Ukraine’s army.

The war shows no sign of easing, but Vasylenko has no intention of giving up her advocacy work. “The people we defend represent a relatively small percentage of the population, but they are the ones protecting our country right now,” she says. “I can’t fight on the front line, so this is my way of helping Ukraine.”

In Peru, the Programa Laboral de Desarrollo has been carrying out a three-year project to enhance the protection of workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The project has also tried to improve the balance of bargaining powers among labour stakeholders. Canada’s support will also help Peru’s Ministry of Labour and Promotion of Employment attempt to surmount two challenges. The first is to help the ministry strengthen its ability to enforce domestic labour laws. The second is to ensure the ministry can make changes required to modernize the trade union certification process. Judicial authorities are also getting special training to reduce redundancies in labour court processes.

In Costa Rica, the International Labour Organization has been implementing a project as a result of Costa Rica’s amendments to its Labour Code, and Canada has contributed to these efforts. The project addresses fallout from discriminatory practices in the pineapple agricultural sector that are based on union membership and gender. Costa Rica’s recently approved Labor Procedure Reform law has modernized the country’s labour legislation. The new administrative and judicial schemes are strengthening individual and collective conflict resolution.

As Kenya is becoming increasingly urban, more than half of Nairobi’s residents live in informal settlements, such as Mukuru and Kiandutu. The pace of urban development has not kept up with the rapid pace of migration flooding into urban areas. Residents of settlements like Mukuru and Kiandutu often suffer a poverty penalty as they pay three to four times more for services than is paid in wealthier neighbourhoods. A project supported by Canada’s IDRC has developed legal, financial and planning models for unlocking the poverty penalty. As a direct result of the project, the Nairobi City County government declared the Mukuru settlement a special planning area in March 2017. This declaration paves the way for redeveloping the settlement. The government of Kiambu County subsequently declared its intention to create a development plan for Kiandutu settlement, using a participatory process.

Enhancing participation in public life

When people from vulnerable and marginalized groups take part in their country’s public life—as voters, elected officials and public sector employees and managers—pluralist societies that embrace inclusion emerge.

Canada is working to increase the participation of people from traditionally marginalized groups, particularly women, children and youth. The goal is to see them involved in public leadership, decision making and democratic processes in their societies. Getting to that point involves supporting local and national governance processes, political participation, civic education and public sector reforms that increase diversity.


In 2017-2018, the Government of Canada partnered with the International Republican Institute on a $2.9-million project in Mongolia to improve women’s representation in the national and local legislatures. Key to achieving this was creating an inclusive and representative electoral environment where women are active, visible and viable candidates. This project did not only increase capacity and hike up the number of elected women, though. It:

In efforts to boost women's participation in elections, the project team worked directly with political parties (rather than individual candidates), along with other stakeholders. The team identified an unmet need: the deaf community lacked accessible voter education. As a result, a new partnership was struck with the Mongolian Association of Sign Language Interpreters and all voter education videos and documentaries were translated in sign language.

With support from the Government of Canada, ParlAmericas—an independent network of national legislatures—has been strengthening democratic governance in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has done so by increasing the ability of elected officials to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. In 2017-2018, ParlAmericas offered training to 73 parliamentarians and 21 civil society representatives. More than half the parliamentarians were female while all but one of the civil society representatives were female. The training improved the attendees’ ability to integrate gender equality into parliamentary work effectively. In addition, 48 parliamentarians, four legislative staff and five civil society representatives participated in a hemispheric conference on women’s empowerment. All legislative staff and civil society representatives were female while 38 parliamentarians were female.

Sabah, a role model in Deir Alla, Jordan

Sabah is a young woman from Deir Alla, Jordan, who was determined to do something to help her mother after her father passed away. Sabah heard about a Canadian-funded training program on renewable energy, and she decided to sign up. “The training unleashed abilities I didn’t know I had,” said a beaming Sabah. “It gave me the confidence and drive to pursue my ambitions.” After the training, Sabah was inspired to run in her community’s local election, and she won her seat with almost 60% of the vote. Sabah now serves as a role model for other women who previously felt disempowered by strong local customs and traditional thinking toward women. Thanks to Sabah’s grit and determination, young women in Deir Alla now know the sky is the limit for them!

India’s Gujarat state is home to a strategy that mobilizes rural women and men to address sexual violence and safety. This strategy is based on the kNOw Fear model, which was developed with support from Canada’s IDRC and is being tested in 16 villages. The kNOw Fear strategy builds on constitutional reforms introduced by the Indian government in 1992. These reforms reserve up to one third of seats on local elected bodies for women; however, they have largely neglected sexual violence and safety issues. A first of its kind in India, kNOw Fear teaches women and girls about their rights. It provides them with tools for conducting village safety audits. They use technology to gather evidence, frame their demands and monitor results. Men also play a role in the strategy, creating awareness within the wider community.

Through the Support for Civic and Electoral Education project with international development organization Development and Peace, Canada has pushed for progress in the Democratic Republic of Congo on issues such as peaceful pluralism. This project supports civic and electoral education campaigns that seek to ramp up political participation and raise awareness of democratic values. In 2017-2018, the project’s campaign reached more than 4.4 million people in educational sessions across the country. Campaign messages were also broadcast on 77 local language radio stations, reaching an overall audience of more than 10 million people.

Ensuring public services work for everyone

Public services that work for everyone can help resolve issues related to urbanization and rural poverty, and build overall resilience. Canada supports public services that respond to the clearly different needs of people, and helps improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of public services in local communities.

Canada helped its government partners provide and/or monitor high-quality public services that respond to the needs of marginalized people—particularly women, children and youth. Achieving this meant working with governments at all levels and public service providers to:

Canada has been supporting the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Development Initiative to address corruption and incorporate gender equality into public services. To learn how to fight corruption, 136 auditors from supreme audit institutions in English-, French- and Arabic-speaking regions were trained on auditing institutional frameworks. Courses focused on the gender dimension of corruption and its impact on the SDGs. In addition, inclusiveness considerations, including gender equality, were added to the Performance Audit Handbook, a valued public commodity used by public sector auditors around the world.

In Cuba, the Government of Canada supported a project in 2017-2018 to build the capacity of auditors through training, technical assistance and technological support. As a result, participants’ knowledge about audit control, methodology and supervision grew by two thirds. Their confidence in their ability to blend in gender and environmental approaches when carrying out audits, meanwhile, shot up by 58%.

In Myanmar, the Government of Canada partnered with the Forum of Federations in 2016 for a three-year project to promote improved knowledge and understanding of federalism. Since the project began, 11,194 community leaders have learned more about federalism in 236 workshops led by local trainers across the country. Participants also learned about the mechanisms that can help strengthen women’s participation in federalism and in public decision making. This was particularly the case for workshops focused on gender equality and federalism. There, over half of participants reported that their understanding of issues related to gender equality and federalism had risen by more than 75%. Issues examined included human rights, unity and diversity, peacebuilding, distribution of powers, local government, and fiscal federalism and gender budgeting.

In South Africa, the Government of Canada continued its partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2017-2018 through the Building Inclusive Green Municipalities project. This project helps municipal governments boost their ability to support effective service delivery, inclusive green economic growth and enhanced climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. During its first year in 2017, the project sensitized municipalities to gender equality issues. This laid the groundwork for gender-based budgeting and other best practices in municipal planning, to be rolled out as the project unfolds.

Canada emphasizes bilateral and multilateral engagement and collaboration when channelling support to partner countries on matters related to international tax and domestic resource mobilization. It delivers such assistance, in part, via the Canada Revenue Agency. As an example, the agency co-sponsored the OECD Forum on Tax Administration’s Capacity Building Network. This forum aims to advance work and priorities in supporting international tax capacity-building efforts. The network established a capacity-building framework to:

To help strengthen capacity in tax administration, the Canada Revenue Agency has continued to leverage a global online prototype called the Knowledge Sharing Platform for Tax Administrations. This platform fosters the practical sharing of tax knowledge and expertise in a cost-effective and sustainable way. Many tax administrations and tax organizations leverage the tool to complement their current programs.

In Haiti, through the DataTorque and C2D Services consortium, Canada has been strengthening the talents of the customs and income tax collection institutions, the customs branch and the income tax branch. With greater capacity, these entities will be able to improve the generation of domestic revenue needed to deliver inclusive public services. With Canadian support in 2017-2018, a computerized tax management system was installed at three income tax branch sites, allowing key personnel to improve their skills. Canada’s support also helped push up domestic revenue by 126% between 2010 and 2016, from 19.5 billion Haitian gourdes to 44.2 billion. Over the same period, domestic revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product rose from 7.3% to 9.12%.

The Government of Canada prepared women members of the national legislature to better fulfill their roles and responsibilities via the Support to Democracy in Burkina Faso project, run by Canadian not-for-profit organization Parliamentary Centre. In 2017, through various workshops, the women members of legislature improved their skills in budget and program development, public policy evaluation, internal audits and other areas. In addition, a workshop specifically for 15 women members of Burkina Faso’s legislature helped them hone their leadership skills.

In Peru, the Government of Canada has helped the Office of the Public Defender to promote good governance. As a result of this project, 133,656 complaints from citizens regarding the delivery and quality of public services were heard and addressed by the Defensoría del Pueblo. (Of the citizen complaints filed, 43% came from women.) Furthermore, the project supported the creation of a high-level commission to address violence against women, the first organization of its kind in Peru. As a result of this project’s work, the Institutional Strategic Plan of the Defensoría now applies the principles of gender equality, human rights and interculturality (basically, interaction between different cultures).

With support from the Government of Canada, the International Monetary Fund is implementing a project to promote effective public financial management and inclusive economic growth in Central America. In 2017-2018, the Central America-Panama-Dominican Republic Regional Technical Assistance Center trained 21 officials from ministries of finance in the region on best practices in Gender Budgeting in Public Finance Management. The training covered international best practices, as well as the analytical framework to be applied throughout the budget cycle. The acquired skills will help countries to integrate gender considerations into national budget processes.


In Tanzania, the Government of Canada partnered with UNICEF in 2017-2018 on the Scaling-Up Birth Registration Using Innovative Technology project. This project aims to remove the main barriers mothers face on birth registration so that newborns can be registered and receive birth certificates. This has resulted in an innovative and simplified registration process that uses mobile technology, and a deeper understanding that birth registration is the “first right” upon which access to other rights is dependent. The innovative project centres upon a partnership with a private sector mobile service provider, Tigo. It is also providing smart phones to upload data instantly, facilitating birth registrations in the most marginalized and remote communities, and tracking progress in real time. Ensuring that birth certificates are registered establishes accurate age—essential in efforts to combat child, early and forced marriage. In 2017 alone, these efforts resulted in 1.1 million more children under five being registered in Tanzania.

In Mozambique, Canada’s efforts helped increase the registration of vital events, such as births and deaths, in 2017-2018. This ultimately reduced the gap in registration and helped Mozambicans gain their right to identity. This was done through the Strengthening Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems project. This project helped implement a new electronic civil registration system that has registered over 20,000 births, and built the capacity of 312 employees to manage this system. In addition, 76 health workers from 35 hospitals were trained to use the new electronic death certification module. It provides data on causes of death based on the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases.

In Guinea, the Public Health Agency of Canada and partners delivered French-language emergency management training sessions in 2017-2018 to employees of Guinea’s Centre des operations d’urgence en santé publique and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s in-country team lead. Canada’s partners included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Organization for Migration and Guinea’s Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire. The four-week intermediate-level learning program builds on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s work in Guinea during the Ebola epidemic of 2014 to 2016. The program is designed to help attendees understand and apply public health emergency management principles and practices in their own context. The primary focus is on the core functions and critical infrastructure needed to set up and operate an emergency operations centre for public health. Such a centre must meet the basic requirements of the World Health Organization Framework for a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre. The training supports Global Health Security Agenda goals to:

In June 2016, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank approved the National Slum Upgrading Project in Indonesia. This project runs until 2022 and is co-financed with the World Bank. The project is improving access to urban infrastructure and services in targeted slums in Indonesia. The project aims to raise the bar in five areas:

The project is expected to improve living conditions directly and indirectly for 9.7 million people living in 154 cities, through improvements in access to, and quality of, urban infrastructure.

Peace and security

The SDGs underscored that “there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.” The SDGs include SDG 16, which aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy recognizes the centrality of Goal 16 to the achievement of Agenda 2030. To achieve the SDG 16 targets, Canada has been collaborating with its many partners. It has operated in fragile and conflict-affected states to advance the rule of law, access to justice, and more transparent and accountable public institutions that support peace and effective security systems. In 2017-2018, Canada worked to advance SDG 16 in many parts of the world. This includes Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali and the Sahel region, Myanmar, Syria and Ukraine.


Canada also continued to demonstrate policy leadership on peace and security issues in 2017-2018. In November 2017, Canada launched its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2017-2022). It builds on the 2011-2016 plan and puts women and girls at the centre of efforts to prevent and resolve conflict. Canada also spearheaded the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations. This innovative pilot project was launched in November 2017 and aims to spur transformational change. It will achieve this by increasing women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations in uniformed military and police roles.

In 2017-2018, Canada invested $148 million in official development assistance initiatives in the peace and security action area. Among other things, these contributions have resulted in:

As it works to implement the Feminist International Assistance Policy and support the achievement of SDG 16, Canada is focusing on:

Improving multilateral management of peace and security challenges

Canada is committed to a rules-based international order that lies at the centre of peace and security action. Collective action on peace and security is necessary because problems often cross borders, engagement sectors and institutional mandates.

In 2017-2018, Canada continued its contributions to strengthening the capacity of the multilateral system to prevent, and respond to, violent conflicts and security threats in an inclusive and gender-responsive manner. This included assistance in training peacekeepers and deploying military, police and civilian experts to enhance the capacity of international organizations and peacekeeping missions. It also encompassed the rapid deployment of experts in support of mediation efforts and the investigation of alleged human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual and gender-based violence.

Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) has been supporting the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). It has worked to:

Canada has also been supporting MINUSMA’s implementation of the peace agreement in Mali. In 2017-2018, this included activities to:

Through the Canadian Police Arrangement, a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP, the Government of Canada authorizes deployments of civilian police officers to international peace and stabilization operations. Under the arrangement, the RCMP is responsible for all logistical activities. In 2017-2018, 66 Canadian police officers were deployed to Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, the Philippines, Ukraine, and the West Bank and Gaza.

Canadian police continued to work with the UN and other countries to help increase the number of female police deployed to peace operations worldwide. For example, to assist the UN in its goal of increasing female police participation in UN missions, in 2017-2018, Canadian police officers and UN counterparts travelled to Senegal. There, they delivered the UN’s pre-Assessment for Mission Service Selection Assistance and Assessment Team training. This training prepares female police officers for a variety of skills, including communication, firearms and driving. Training is given in advance of testing by the UN candidate selection team to qualify to participate in UN peacekeeping operations. Canada helped train 47 team candidates during 2017-2018.

The Department of National Defence also contributes to Canada’s ODA. In 2017-2018, the department continued deployments of Canadian Armed Forces members to the West Bank and Gaza for Operation PROTEUS. Operation PROTEUS promotes peace in the region and provides capacity-building support to the Palestinian Authority. Canadian Armed Forces members have also been filling a variety of key roles within the Office of the United States Security Coordinator. The deployed personnel comprise Task Force Jerusalem. This task force works closely with other Government of Canada personnel in the West Bank and Gaza region. Their goal is to develop the Palestinian Authority’s ability to provide a safe and secure environment for its citizens and promote peace in the region. In 2017-2018, Task Force Jerusalem provided the Palestinian Authority Security Forces with training support, helped the security forces develop logistics capabilities and supported the construction of security infrastructure for the Palestinian Authority. Even on issues that are not usually of military interest such as borders and crossings, and movement and access, the Task Force Jerusalem has played a key role in facilitating cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Canada.

Supporting inclusive and gender-responsive violent-conflict prevention, crisis response and sustainable peace

Achieving sustainable economic growth and supporting poverty alleviation are necessary but insufficient on their own to build peace. Peace and security efforts, including an emphasis on political inclusion and access to justice, must be pursued directly, aligned with other international assistance efforts and tailored to the country context. This is because many factors contribute to effectively managing conflict and building sustainable peace.

In 2017-2018, Canada supported important programming on the ground in fragile and conflict-affected states. The programming helped build the capacity of affected populations and local institutions to prevent and stabilize conflict situations, and build sustainable peace. A particular focus has been placed on the inclusion of marginalized groups and persons at risk. Inclusion is based on identity factors such as gender, age, race, sexual orientations or physical and mental capacity.

Through the United Nations Development Programme’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, in 2017-2018, Canada’s PSOPs supported small-scale projects in areas of Iraq liberated from Daesh. The projects have helped to resolve property disputes among the Iraqi returnees before the disputes escalate into conflict. The projects have aimed to re-establish systems for identity and property registration, and facilitate the complex work of reconciliation and dispute mediation, focusing particularly on empowering affected women.

Theatre therapy

Diana, 17, is a Palestinian refugee from Syria with a passion for theatre. In 2013, Diana and her family fled the war in Syria and found safety in South Lebanon. The Canada-funded Youth for Tomorrow program has reached out to hundreds of youth like Diana who have suffered the effects of conflict and displacement. It works with youth to help them find dignity amid crisis. Program staff encouraged Diana to register in a theatre class. “When I stepped on stage, I forgot my depression, I forgot death and all the sadness. I remembered the old days when I loved to act,” said Diana. Through theatre therapy, Diana is beginning to see possibilities in her future again: to go to school and help her community. “The Bussma Center has helped me become more positive and believe in myself… You have abilities and talents, and can do something better with your life.”

In 2017-2018, PSOPs also supported a project in liberated areas of Iraq to increase women’s engagement in decision-making processes relating to national reconciliation. The project has sought to build the capacity of female activists to identify and transform conflict dynamics, and solicit women’s priorities on how best to achieve reconciliation. It has also attempted to build cross-community alliances aimed at convincing key decision makers of the importance of strengthening the role of women in reconciliation processes. To date, 42 women leaders have received training and capacity building. Of these women leaders, four were engaged as candidates and 13 as organizers in the May 2018 parliamentary elections.

Canadian programming through PSOPs in 2017-2018 also supported women’s engagement as drivers of peace. For example, in Mali, in collaboration with existing locally led networks and initiatives, PSOPs helped to empower youth, women and other key community stakeholders to become active peace ambassadors. These individuals were also empowered to build avenues for constructive engagement between authorities, institutions and citizens for durable peace in the country. As well, PSOPs provided support to 240 women and female youth leaders to drive peaceful change in the conflict-affected regions of Mali, engaging 3,600 local women in peace campaigns. PSOPs’ efforts also secured the support of local and national leaders for local community development initiatives that enhance the development and rights of women and girls.

The Canadian Police Arrangement continued efforts in 2017-2018 to support implementation of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security using a feminist approach that advances gender responsive and conflict sensitive approaches to policing. For example, deployed police officers have supported the Haitian National Police to enhance their capacity to investigate and prevent crimes involving sexual and gender-based violence. Through deployments to the bilateral policing mission and the European Union Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine, Canada provided strategic advice and training for the development of effective, sustainable and accountable security services that help strengthen the rule of law.

In Haiti, Canada continued its funding for the International Organization for Migration’s project that helps vulnerable women and children in areas bordering the Dominican Republic. To date, 2,073 people in border areas have received assistance and now have identification documents, such as birth certificates. As well, 79 family reunifications have been completed, 702 people have benefited from income-generating activities and 203 children went back to school in September 2017. In addition, 314 protection actors (governmental and non-governmental) were trained in basic human rights, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and family planning.

With Canadian support, the HALO Trust, a charity, is clearing landmines and other explosive remnants of war in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts of Sri Lanka. Mine action is an important element of peacebuilding and reconciliation in post-conflict situations. Once cleared, people and communities can rebuild their lives and livelihoods. In 2017-2018, Canadian support for the HALO Trust resulted in:

Among HALO Trust’s female staff, 62% are the primary breadwinners in their families.

Peace and women’s empowerment through demining in Colombia

Following years of conflict, Colombia is still littered with landmines. In 2017-2018, 1,216 people (46% women) living in mine-affected zones participated in mine risk education. Demining teams (36% female staff) cleared 29,000 square metres, and destroyed 42 explosive devices, benefiting almost 2,000 people in five of Colombia’s most mine-contaminated departments (regions).

Eliana, a single mother with two daughters, works as a demining team leader in Cauca, Colombia, where the Government of Canada supports demining work through the HALO Trust, a charity. In just 13 months on the project, she completed demining training and further training to become a paramedic deminer. She was then promoted to the leadership position that she now holds.Working for HALO has been a very positive experience. This work has enabled me to better provide for my daughters, both materially and emotionally. I have been able to pay for my daughters’ education, and to ensure that they have enough home comforts to feel cared for and loved. I feel I am making a contribution to the community, and, as such, to my country. In my own small way, I am helping the peace process in Colombia.”

Women’s committee in Iraq

Samira is a Kurdish woman living in a mainly Kurdish area of Chamchamal, Iraq. She joined a women’s committee, established through Canadian programming, which aimed to develop women’s skills and ensure their voices were heard. It included Arab women who had fled to Chamchamal to escape Daesh. Samira participated in a project to teach Kurdish and Arabic courses. Designed to bridge the language gap between the Arab internally displaced persons and the Kurdish host community, women developed relationships while practising each other’s languages. Samira eventually enrolled in a course to learn Arabic. She soon realized that the Arab women in her classes were nothing like she had imagined and she developed friendships with her Arab classmates. “Previously, I looked at Arabs with fear. Now, this fear is gone.”

In 2017-2018, Canada contributed to the UN Post-Conflict Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Colombia. Canada also supported the establishment of an Integrated System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, a key element of Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement. As a result of this support:

Supporting gender-responsive security threat reduction and security system reform

Reducing security threats requires immediate and long-term efforts, such as security system reform. The immediate dangers of security threats, such as terrorism and organized crime, must be addressed. Doing so calls for effective state security institutions that meet people’s essential needs and provide a stable and secure environment. Canada supports security threat reduction and security system reform through both programming and expert deployments. While not all programming in this area is considered ODA as per the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, it still has implications for international development. This includes addressing gender issues and advancing gender equality and human rights. See box on Canada’s non-ODA international assistance programming below.

In 2017-2018, Canada’s support to the United Nations Development Programme in Haiti helped strengthen policing, judicial and corrections institutions to ensure human rights, safety, security and access to justice for all Haitians. This PSOPs project has focused on longer-term institution and capacity-building development support, and incorporated numerous gender-focused activities. These include supporting the implementation of the national gender equality action plan and offering training to police to help them better investigate and document sexual and gender-based violence cases. It also includes increasing access to justice with a focus on women and vulnerable, marginalized communities.

PSOPs also continued its efforts improve stability and support security sector reform in Ukraine through a police training assistance project. The project has been instrumental in the establishment of the Patrol Police as a specialized and highly professional unit within the National Police of Ukraine (NPU), the opening of the NPU’s first national-level police academy and the establishment of the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement. These results, as well as on-going engagement with the NPU’s strategic reform unit, are embedding a strong reform culture and transforming the country’s police services into an effective, accountable and community-focused institution.

Canadian police officers were deployed to several countries in 2017-2018 to support capacity building. For example, in Iraq, through the Ministerial Liaison Team operated by the Global Coalition against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, high-level Canadian police engagement supported policing model development. They also encouraged developing security sector reform strategies and strengthening key leadership. Ministerial Liaison Team members mentored senior policing leaders within/at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. They also actively promoted the use of community policing concepts, contributing to the Government of Canada's goal of promoting stabilization, recovery and development in Iraq. Deployments to promote stability and police development in the West Bank also continued throughout the reporting period.

Non-ODA international assistance programming

In 2017-2018, Canada continued its efforts to reduce security threats and improve security systems as part of its non-ODA international assistance programming. It did this by taking a gender-responsive approach to addressing such issues as:

  • organized crime;
  • human trafficking and smuggling;
  • weapons proliferation;
  • explosive remnants of war and unexploded ordnance;
  • terrorism;
  • corruption;
  • illegal exploitation of natural resources;
  • illicit financial flows; and
  • cyber-violence.

Canada’s efforts included increased support for initiatives focused on the gender dimensions of security systems, and support for women’s organizations to contribute to improved security.

For example, through the Counter-terrorism Capacity Building Program, Canada provided funding to a project in Tunisia entitled 1001 Nights: Building Children’s Resilience to Violence. Partner organizations Search for Common Ground and Big Bad Boo Productions ran this program. It has strengthened Tunisian youth’s resilience to violent narratives by integrating more tolerant and inclusive behaviour through greater educational engagement. Since it began, the project has benefited over 871 children and 40 teachers in 20 schools. To date, most parents (88%) reported noticeable improvements in their children’s attitude with almost half of students (44%) displaying more acceptance of gender equality between men and women. Teachers also noticed more acts of kindness, such as sharing among children, with fewer unacceptable acts, such as insults and physical confrontation. Intolerance of different religions, races and social status has dropped from 34% to 22% among student participants.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat Reduction Program continued its work to mitigate biological threats in Southeast Asia by building capacity and providing equipment. In 2017-2018, it gave the Manila-based Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) funding to strengthen the organization's response capability for biological threats, whether naturally occurring or deliberate. While programming in this area does not fall under the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, it relates to international development in the form of improved global resilience to health threats. To date, the project has led to the creation of a RITM Task Force ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) 2017 to prepare responses to a possible biological terrorist event. The project has also supported the Biological Emergency Response Group. It was deployed to the 31st ASEAN Summit held in 2017 in the Philippines to mitigate potential biological threats.

Innovation and effectiveness

Canada is taking important steps to improve the effectiveness of its international assistance. Significant efforts are underway to make it more flexible and integrated. Canada is investing in innovation and research, and improving the communication of expenditures, activities and results. Canada is also working to use its assistance to leverage additional resources for sustainable development, such as by building new partnerships with diverse stakeholders and engaging private capital. The following sections discuss Canada’s ongoing efforts in this regard.

Aid effectiveness and efficiency

Increased effectiveness is a top priority for Canada’s international assistance. The Feminist International Assistance Policy, launched in June 2017, is driving a significant shift in how Canada delivers its international assistance. The policy outlines seven ways in which Canada will improve the effectiveness of its international assistance. It will do this through:

The Busan principles are four principles of effective development co-operation. They emerged following the creation of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Busan, South Korea, in 2011. Canada’s approach respects the internationally agreed development effectiveness principles of:

In 2017, Canada took an important step in helping increase global development effectiveness by becoming a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC). This inclusive multilateral partnership acts as a global platform for mutual learning among development policy makers and practitioners. It promotes and monitors country-level implementation of the Busan effective development principles. Importantly, the GPEDC advances the effectiveness of all actors’ development efforts to deliver long-lasting results that help to attain the SDGs.

As part of its efforts to ensure more accountable, evidence-based decision making, Global Affairs Canada has been investing in better data collection and evaluation methods for gender equality. This includes the promotion of gender- and age-disaggregated data. In order to frame this approach, Global Affairs Canada has developed a robust set of key performance indicators. These indicators will represent a broad snapshot of the department’s international assistance portfolio, in line with the SDGs.

By collecting, analyzing and aggregating the results data on these indicators, the department will be able to produce a comprehensive source of performance information. This knowledge will be used to better inform evidence-based decision making and to communicate results to Canadians. It will also be used to demonstrate alignment between the programming portfolio and the objectives of the new Feminist International Assistance Policy.

These efforts will form part of Global Affairs Canada’s comprehensive Departmental Data Strategy, which is currently under development. The strategy will maximize the value of collected data by using it to:

Global Affairs Canada is also adjusting how it administers and delivers international assistance to improve efficiency. To this end, efforts are underway on various fronts to streamline the way the department works with implementing partners and reduce administrative burdens, both for partners and for the government.

In 2017-2018, the time required in the department to initiate a project was significantly reduced. Another important change that has helped the department streamline work processes relates to how Global Affairs Canada receives funding applications. A new two-phased call for preliminary proposals approach has been put in place and it significantly lessens the initial application burden on partners. Partners also get an indication much sooner as to whether their proposal aligns with departmental objectives and whether it is likely to move ahead for funding consideration.

To increase effectiveness and efficiency, Global Affairs Canada has increased its engagement with civil society and other partners to identify and prioritize areas where operational policies and processes can be improved. Joint solution teams have reviewed and made recommendations to streamline processes and simplify requirements related to reporting, the funding application process, funding agreement templates and the agreement negotiation process. These efforts contribute to stronger partnerships with civil society and reduced administrative burden. This greatly improves Canada’s ability to achieve transformative results.

Aid transparency

Aid transparency is essential to development effectiveness. It facilitates aid coordination at the country level and helps citizens hold their governments to account. Consistent with the mandate letter of the Minister of International Development and the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Global Affairs Canada leads efforts to strengthen the transparency of Canada’s international assistance. These efforts include ensuring access to high-quality open data on activities funded through the International Assistance Envelope and enabling citizens to see how Canada’s funding flows through partners to deliver development activities and results on the ground.

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative. It promotes aid transparency and manages the IATI standard, a set of technical rules to make aid data comparable across all publishers. Canada chaired IATI’s governing board between 2016 and 2018. Global Affairs Canada, the Department of Finance Canada and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which together account for nearly 90% of Canadian aid, publish data in accordance with the IATI standard.

Canada is an influential member of IATI, having been heavily involved in IATI’s governance, financing and technical discussions. While chair of its governing board, Canada helped steer IATI toward long-term sustainable institutional arrangements. It also promoted greater use of open aid data in support of development effectiveness, and encouraged stronger francophone participation.

The quality of Canada’s aid data has been recognized, notably through the independent Aid Transparency Index. Global Affairs Canada ranked third among bilateral donors in 2018 with a score of 79.6%. This was a marked improvement over 2016 (score of 76.3%) and 2014 (score of 71.7%).

Canada is also one of only six donors to be rated as “excellent” in the Creditor Reporting System of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This system tracks international assistance expenditures of OECD-Development Assistance Committee donors. Canada consistently receives top scores in timeliness, completeness and accuracy.

Canada is working to improve even more. As noted in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing its international assistance reporting, and ensuring that information on Canada’s international assistance funding is open and transparent. As part of this effort, the government brought forward a reform to the International Assistance Envelope funding structure, which created a dedicated pool of funding for humanitarian assistance and a separate dedicated pool of funding for core development assistance. This will help ensure predictable funding for both core development assistance and humanitarian assistance priorities.

Text version

International Assistance Envelope Structure Pre-Budget 2018

  • Core Development and Humanitarian Assistance
  • International Financial Institutions
  • Peace & Security
  • Holdback
  • Crisis pool
Text version

International Assistance Envelope Structure Post-Budget 2018

  • Core Development
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • International Financial Institutions
  • Peace & Security
  • Strategic Priorities Fund
  • Crisis pool
  • New funds (from the announced $2B over five years)

Advancing development innovation


Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy commits to building innovation into Canada’s international assistance initiatives. This includes encouraging experimentation and scaling-up of sustainable solutions for systemic change. Canada’s focus on development innovation reflects the international consensus that new and innovative approaches will be critical to ignite changes needed to achieve the SDGs.

To this end, Global Affairs Canada is exploring how to adopt or foster new business models, policy practices, behavioural insights, technologies and ways of delivering products and services. For example, the department is taking steps to systematically identify and learn from innovative solutions in Canada’s international assistance programming. It is also engaging with Canadian civil society organizations to share knowledge, lessons and tools on innovative solutions for delivering international assistance.

Global Affairs Canada is working to support and promote innovation with its implementing partners. For example, in May 2017, the government announced the Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation Initiative. This initiative seeks to establish new partnerships. It also includes an innovation window that will allocate funds specifically to test new and innovative development solutions, support evidence and learning, and connect innovations to pathways to scale.

Other initiatives promote innovation in different ways. For example, the Stop TB Partnership, with Canada’s financial support, launched the TB REACH initiative to improve the fight against tuberculosis in the most vulnerable and hard-to reach populations by piloting and scaling up innovative strategies for tuberculosis detection and care in countries with a high burden of the disease. Initiatives include testing innovations such as the use of drones to deliver lab results and medicines in remote communities in Madagascar; utilization of video directly observed treatments in Vietnam and Russia; creation of mobile apps to assist individuals with the disease with treatment adherence in Pakistan; and training schoolgirls as Community Workers for household screening in Afghanistan, empowering them by providing a technical skill and supporting their self-worth and esteem.

Some of Canada’s programming partners bring their own particular contributions to innovation. For instance, Canada supports the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), an Ottawa-based youth-led movement of social innovators. DOT aims to reduce the gender digital divide by addressing women’s access to and use of digital tools and technology for their own economic and social development. For example, DOT supports Pwani Teknowgalz, a social enterprise that empowers young Kenyan women to innovate in the STEM fields. DOT’s training methodology sharpens women participants’ skills in public speaking and innovation. Since its founding in 2015, Pwani Teknowgalz has reached over 400 girls in coastal Kenya to encourage and educate them in STEM.  

Canada contributes to innovation through research by working with Canada’s research organizations, universities and other civil society organizations to address gender-equitable, nutrition-sensitive and climate-smart agriculture. Creative partnerships with their international and developing country networks have resulted in the leveraging of additional funds and expertise. They have also resulted in the scaling-up of promising new technologies, processes and models.

For example, researchers in Canada, India and Sri Lanka have developed nine breakthrough innovations for preventing spoilage of mangoes and other soft fruits. This enables farmers to demand a premium price for their goods and avoid losses. The $4.2-million project was jointly funded between 2014 and 2018 by IDRC and Global Affairs Canada through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund. The research team, located in the Tamil Nadu region of India, tested applications of a natural plant extract called hexanal. Spraying mango orchards with hexanal was shown to slow fruit ripening by three weeks and increase fruit shelf life by up to 17 days. The technology has resulted in increased employment opportunities for women and the production of new food products for market, which has increased household savings by between $4.70 and $5.40 per month. The commercial production of the hexanal nanotechnology is expected to be made available to soft fruit farmers across the globe.

In India, the University of Toronto has worked with JVS Foods Pvt Ltd, which has invested its own funds to set up a state-of-the-art, $1.2-million commercial scale pre-mix plant in India. The company’s investment complements the $1.4-million funding provided by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund to test and validate innovative technologies aimed at the double fortification of salt with iodine and iron. With its ability to combat iodine and iron deficiencies, this salt product would be a strong contender in the health products market. It’s estimated that the plant will have a capacity of 1,500 tons per year. Other partners include:

The technology has been validated and the evidence base for impact on iron deficiency and anemia reduction is underway. Now, this innovation has potential application in other developing countries. There is already interest from Bangladesh, Nigeria and Tanzania to scale up double fortification of salt in those countries.

The Global Health Institute (GHI) at the American University of Beirut is finding solutions for challenges such as conflict medicine, refugee health and nutrition. The first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa Region, the institute was launched in July 2017 with support from Canada’s IDRC. The institute also launched its GHI Academy in November 2017. The academy delivers locally relevant and cutting-edge global health knowledge to researchers and practitioners. As of May 2018, the academy has supported 675 students, of whom 75% were women. It has emphasized improving health practices in fragile and humanitarian settings.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank, supported by Canadian farmers who are monetizing grain production on behalf of the project, and Global Affairs Canada have implemented a conservation agriculture project in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. It has demonstrated increased productivity, better soil health and better climate resilience on smallholder farms. Conservation agriculture is a farming system that favours using a permanent soil cover, doing minimum soil disturbance and diversifying plant species. As a result, 24,718 farmers are practicing two of three conservation agriculture principles on their smallholder farms, with 12,945 of these farmers being female. At the same time, conservation agriculture is to be introduced into the curriculum of agricultural universities in Ethiopia.

In addition to its policy and programming initiatives, Canada has also made significant new commitments to help support innovation in Canada’s international assistance. For instance, Budget 2018 allocated $1.5 billion over five years starting in 2018-2019 for two new programs. They are the International Assistance Innovation Program and the Sovereign Loans Program. These new programs will expand Canada’s development toolkit and enhance its ability to leverage Canada’s international assistance to support sustainable development, allowing the department to more effectively mobilize private sector investment in ways that support gender equality and the empowerment of women. These new measures are expected to double Canada’s international assistance available through innovative tools over the next five years.

One of Canada’s key international engagements on innovation is with the International Development Innovation Alliance. This is a multi-stakeholder group of funders working to advance donor practice on development innovation. Since July 2017, Canada has chaired the alliance’s gender equality and innovation working group. The group works to identify and implement path-breaking solutions to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Canada also hosted the first roundtable on development innovation of the OECD-Development Assistance Committee in Paris in November 2017. As well, Canada has proposed establishing a statistical policy marker to track innovative solutions to address poverty reduction. Several Development Assistance Committee members have agreed to pilot this policy marker.

Innovative financing for sustainable development

Due to a significant SDG financing gap, the international community must mobilize all sources of financing for sustainable development, including ODA and private sector investment. While ODA will remain a key source of development financing, particularly in fragile contexts and for the most vulnerable, Canada recognizes that ODA alone is insufficient to achieve the SDGs. As such, Canada supports the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda to mobilize all sources of development financing.

Recognizing the important role that ODA can play in catalyzing private investments in support of sustainable development, Canada is expanding its development financing toolkit to more effectively support private sector engagement and resource mobilization. The idea at its core is to secure more funds globally for sustainable development.

In 2017-2018, Canada continued to demonstrate international leadership on engaging the private sector on sustainable development and establishing new innovative partnerships for the SDGs. For example, Canada and Jamaica are co-leading the UN Group of Friends of SDG Financing. This group convenes financial system stakeholders and UN ambassadors to discuss ways to align private capital in support of the SDGs. Canada is also engaging with Canadian pension funds. It wants to examine how the pension funds can join together to support the SDGs, including in emerging markets such as in sub-Saharan Africa.

Canada is committed to finding new ways to ensure that every dollar invested by Global Affairs Canada unlocks significantly more impact from new and current development partners like civil society and institutional investors. This is particularly essential in areas of importance to women and girls. In future, Canada plans to work with institutional investors to support innovative financing for international development and reinforce gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

Budget 2018 further underscored Canada’s commitment to innovative financing with the announcement of $1.5 billion in new funding to support innovation and mobilize additional finance in support of the SDGs through new measures. These new measures include innovation and sovereign loans programs. In particular, the new International Assistance Innovation Program announced in Budget 2018 will give the government greater flexibility for pursuing innovative financing arrangements and partnerships.

In 2017-2018, Global Affairs Canada obtained new programming authorities to provide conditionally repayable contributions. These can be used to incentivize investments by private sector actors, such as by providing long-term “patient” capital or assuming first-loss positions in investment deals. Canada is working to further expand its toolkit to include authorities for the provision of guarantees, equity and unconditionally repayable contributions. 

Already, Canada is increasingly using its ODA to facilitate private sector investment aligned with achieving the SDGs. One example is Canada’s work through Convergence, an online platform that supports greater use of blended financing by public, private and philanthropic partners. Promoting the design of innovative finance vehicles, connecting investors and deals, and sharing experience and knowledge are ways to encourage the uptake of blended finance. Another example is the Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth Program, an Asia-Pacific regional development assistance program designed to engage the private sector in support of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. The program is engaging in private sector partnerships that can attract co-financing and investment, and leverage knowledge and expertise. These partnerships can also help identify and test innovative solutions to address development challenges and reduce poverty.

In 2017-2018, Canada continued its investment in the Global Financing Facility in support of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH). The facility employs various innovative financing tools such as development impact bonds, performance-based loan buy-downs, and co-financing grants to mobilize domestic and private sector capital and drive country-level progress toward SDG 3 (health) and achieving universal health coverage. In 2018, the World Bank launched a series of Sustainable Development Bonds specifically for RMNCAH, which raised $1.2 billion in private capital, primarily from Canadian investors. Through these bonds, the facility will use its grants to support countries in accessing this financing for their RMNCAH projects.

Canada also participates in the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership, which contributes to financing the SDGs. It aims to mobilize $100 billion in private financing by improving and enhancing risk mitigation tools to reduce political, regulatory, credit, currency and liquidity threats.

Canada is also supporting innovative approaches to promoting financial inclusion. For example, in 2017-2018, the Government of Canada partnered with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates on a $16-million project to support women in Myanmar’s Shan and Kayin States. The goal was to increase their income and status as economic actors and leaders in their communities. So far, over 8,500 women small producers, farmers, savings group members and village leaders have increased their capacity. They have also benefited from market linkages with the private sector and access to credit, inputs, markets and new technologies through an innovative matching grants program.

FinDev Canada’s contributions to sustainable development

In February 2018, Canada launched its Development Finance Institute Canada, branded as FinDev Canada. It aims to fill the gap between development assistance and commercial financial support. Established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada, FinDev received $50 million in 2017-2018. This is the first injection of a planned total capitalization of $300 million over five years. FinDev Canada will support sustainable development, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, and climate change mitigation and adaptation through its financial services to the private sector in developing countries. This is consistent with the Feminist International Assistance Policy. Women’s economic empowerment is an overarching priority for FinDev Canada.

In March 2018, FinDev Canada made its first transaction. It was an investment in M-KOPA, a Kenya-based company providing clean energy to off-grid homes with important positive impacts for women. In partnership with the U.K.’s development finance institution, CDC, FinDev Canada provided a $10-million equity investment that will allow M-KOPA to expand its market and bring power to another 1 million households over the next five years. Access to power is a major issue across Africa and women stand to gain the most from this investment. Reliable electricity can have a transformative impact on their daily lives. In 2015, due in part to its use of mobile payment services for all of its transactions, M-KOPA was featured as one of the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in Africa. It also offers quality jobs to women. Women account for 52% of M-KOPA's 800-plus East African work force of permanent employees and 44% of its commissioned sales agents. This, combined with its innovative approach to data and consumer mapping, makes M-KOPA a leader in development innovation.

While FinDev Canada’s Development Impact Framework aligns with the objectives of the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, Canada is still examining how to include FinDev in financial reporting for the Act. As such, the investments described here are not reflected in the financial tables included in the present report.


The official development assistance (ODA) that Canada provides to developing countries is a valuable source of support to people and communities in need. Canada uses a variety of mechanisms and partnerships in a given context, taking smart risks to deliver greater impact.

Canada has a strong reputation for being able to work constructively with a broad range of multilateral partners. Canada draws on its membership in key multilateral groups—including the United Nations (UN), the G7, the G20, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie and others—to champion gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The government also benefits from a robust ecosystem of civil society partners. These partners deliver international assistance programming, contribute to ongoing policy dialogue on global issues and engage Canadians in support of international development, the 2030 Agenda and Canada’s international assistance priorities.

Canada is adapting its international assistance approaches and partnerships to better respond to local needs and opportunities in the diverse range of countries where it works.

Engaging with international organizations

Canada recognizes the importance of a strong multilateral system to help address shared challenges and advance common objectives, such as a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. Canada supports a number of multilateral development institutions, global initiatives and international organizations to help alleviate poverty and address pressing global challenges.

Canada’s partnerships with these organizations leverage their expertise, networks and economies of scale to amplify the reach and impact of Canada’s assistance. Canada works to ensure that these institutions and the multilateral system (the overall network of international organizations) function effectively, deliver strong results and build consensus on important global issues.

In the context of its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada has also worked actively to reform and renew the multilateral rules-based system, so it is best positioned to address 21st century realities. This includes firmly advocating for gender equality in the management and operations of these organizations and in their outcomes, to address systemic disparities and foster transformational change.

Canada is a shareholder and board member of international organizations such as World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and regional development banks. A significant portion of Canada’s international assistance is delivered through these banks. This allows Canada to benefit from the banks’ strong technical and financial expertise, interventions at scale, and experience of working in disparate global contexts closely aligned to Canada’s priority themes. In efforts to improve their effectiveness, Canada continues to promote greater capital efficiency and strengthening their work together as a system.

Canada’s contribution to the United Nations system

Canada has been active at the UN since it was founded in 1945. Today, Canada continues to uphold and support the bodies and organizations of the UN system by:

Canada provides long-term institutional support to UN organizations such as:

In 2017-2018, Canada’s long-term institutional support to UN system organizations totalled $293.8 million. These contributions support the organizations’ core operations, including efforts to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and foster inclusion, gender equality and women’s empowerment. More specifically, Canada’s support helps these organizations to advance key shared priorities in line with the Feminist International Assistance Policy, including the goal to accelerate global progress in gender equality and the empowerment of women. Among key shared priorities are activities focused on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, including maternal health, and efforts to diminish child, early and forced marriage. Canada’s contributions also help to advance children’s rights in areas such as:

Canada’s long-term support of UN development entities has contributed to many important results that advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. For example, thanks to the support of Canada and other countries:

Canada also partners with UN organizations in country on shared priorities. For example, Canada's funding to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras is supporting linkages between women and LGBTQ2I organizations to champion causes affecting straight, lesbian and trans women, such as violence prevention and impunity of perpetrators for crimes committed against them. Additionally, with Canada's support, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is also following emblematic cases of severe violence committed against LGBTQ2I human rights defenders.

In 2017-2018, Canada also provided $447.5 million in bilateral ODA to support humanitarian action through UN organizations. Canada’s humanitarian assistance contributions to UN organizations enables the provision of critical emergency assistance, food assistance, water access, sanitation and livelihoods support during humanitarian crises to those affected. This includes vulnerable women, children and internally displaced persons. Canada also supports the World Food Programme’s school feeding programs as well as a wide range of programs and activities to strengthen the protection of internally displaced persons, and advance accountability to affected people, especially women and girls.

Canadian government departments also engage actively with UN system partners to support their international mandates. For example, in 2017-2018, Canada, through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, contributed $4.8 million to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This is the lead UN agency for telecommunications and information and communications technologies. Of that amount, approximately $1.3 million is allocated to the work of the Development Sector of the ITU. The organization is an important source of information, education and training in this field for developing nations. To facilitate coordination of its capacity-building support to the membership, ITU has established the ITU Academy, an online platform that integrates all ITU capacity-building activities. Sixty-four training activities were implemented worldwide in 2017-2018, reaching a total of 1,551 participants from 116 countries.

In 2018, Canada, through Parks Canada, contributed $117,335 to the World Heritage Fund of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This contribution was allocated to conservation and environmental sustainability efforts that focused on cultural and natural heritage. This work aligns with the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNESCO’s World Heritage Fund seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Parks Canada’s contribution to UNESCO’s World Heritage Fund supplements the efforts of developing countries to conserve and manage World Heritage sites when adequate resources cannot be secured at the national level.

Through Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canada has long been a major contributor to UN agencies working to strengthen environmental governance. In 2017-2018, ECCC contributed to two United Nations Environment Programme endeavours: the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. The coalition supports developing countries through initiatives put in place that reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants in various sectors. ECCC also provides annual support to the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This fund strives to ensure that the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances does not adversely affect the economies of developing countries.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Trust Fund for Supplementary Activities is another notable UN agency on climate action that ECCC funded. The fund contributes to its Secretariat’s capacity-building activities. This includes supporting developing countries in undertaking mitigation and adaptation actions, and mainstreaming gender issues into climate change activities.

Additional Canadian funding went to the Global Environment Facility for the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency. This helps developing countries enhance their institutional capacity and strengthen national institutions for transparency-related activities. This is in line with national priorities to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and address climate change.

In 2017-2018, Statistics Canada worked with UN bodies such as United Nations Statistics Division and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia to deliver regional training workshops. This increased statistical knowledge, which in turn helps strengthen statistical capacity. Statistics Canada also continued to serve on several UN-related task forces in support of the SDGs. These included the United Nations Statistics Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme. Through these efforts, Statistics Canada contributed significantly to the development of global indicators that measure progress toward the SDGs, including in developing countries.

Canada’s contribution to international financial institutions

Canada’s contributions to international financial institutions go toward financial and technical assistance to developing countries that promote poverty reduction and long-term economic development.

Loans and grants from international financial institutions back investments in support of the SDGs. These investments cover a wide array of sectors: education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Some international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, also support developing countries via policy advice, research and analysis, and technical assistance.

Canada upholds its commitments to provide ongoing funds to international financial institutions to support their operations and activities. In 2017-2018, for example, this included over $492.81 million to the World Bank’s International Development Association and over $110 million to the African Development Bank. Final confirmed funding amounts to all international financial institutions will be included in the 2017-2018 Statistical Report on International Assistance, to be published in March 2019.

Canada has been working in collaboration with international financial institutions and other shareholders to ensure that international financial institutions’ resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible. That includes cases where resources are used through the mobilization of private sector investments for development. As part of its engagement with international financial institutions, Canada has also tried to ensure that multilateral development banks can work together as a system. This can be done by increasing coordination as well as by aligning governance processes and priorities.

Canada’s contribution to the Commonwealth

Canada funds the Commonwealth and its institutions through assessed and voluntary contributions as a member state of the Commonwealth, in order to advance development priorities. Canada’s support helps improve the lives of the more than 2 billion citizens of Commonwealth countries. It goes toward areas such as the empowerment of women, governance and the rule of law. Canada’s support helps to address the unique needs of small states, amplifying their voices in multilateral forums.

In 2017-2018, Canada contributed $7.9 million in assessed contributions to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation. Earlier, in 2015-2016, Canada renewed its institutional support to the Commonwealth of Learning for $7.8 million over three years. Canada contributed $2.6 million in 2017-2018 as part of that broader commitment.

By the end of 2017-2018, the Commonwealth of Learning’s education resources and models had reached 580,380 learners (more than half were women and girls). As well, 120 institutions had taken up and implemented open, distance and technology-based learning models. Fifty governments and institutions had developed and adopted such learning policies for quality learning in Commonwealth countries.

Canada’s contribution to La Francophonie

Canada’s commitment within La Francophonie enables it to promote its values and advance its development priorities. In 2017-2018, Canada contributed $8.6 million in voluntary contributions to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and $3.6 million to the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie for the implementation of programming related to ODA.

Canada’s support to La Francophonie contributes to numerous development outcomes. For example, between July 2016 and June 2017, Canada’s contributions helped to strengthen the capacity of more than 18,400 teachers and tutors through the Francophone Initiative for Teacher Distance Training. This is a joint initiative of the OIF and the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie. The initiative is being carried out in 11 countries: Haiti, the Comoros, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Mali, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Chad, Togo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Canada has been the largest contributor to the OIF program in support of entrepreneurship for women and young people in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. Canada contributed $10 million to this program from 2015 to 2018. This investment supported collaborations with more than 37 business incubators in 13 countries in francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2015, the program has strengthened the entrepreneurial capacities of 11,500 women and young people.

Canada has also contributed to OIF efforts to support the integration and enhancement of women and youth in policy and development processes. In November 2017, these efforts led to the launch of the Francophone Network of Women Entrepreneurs. This network aims to create a space for exchange, interaction and information for women entrepreneurs. Canada also actively participated in the development of La Francophonie Strategy for the Promotion of Equality Between Women and Men, Rights and the Empowerment of Women and Girls. This strategy will be adopted at the Francophonie Summit in Yerevan, Armenia, in October 2018.

Canada’s contribution to the Pan American Health Organization

The Government of Canada, in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization, is supporting efforts to strengthen health systems and improve the health of children, young girls and women—including mothers—in vulnerable situations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

As a result, in 2017-2018, 13 health policies and strategies to strengthen health systems were developed in eight countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname. In addition, 11,025 people (of whom 7,812 were women) were trained on gender-sensitive health and nutrition services. A further 11,000 women were sensitized to issues related to empowerment. These issues included entrepreneurship, leadership, participation, and right to paid work.

The joint efforts of Canada and the Pan American Health Organization also yielded these results in 2017-2018:

The Public Health Agency of Canada is funding the Pan American Health Organization for a four-year project to assess and strengthen capacity on non-communicable diseases and risk factor surveillance in eastern Caribbean countries. The project is using a social-determinants-of-health lens, which focuses on factors such as income, education and employment. It is also focusing on the World Health Organization’s Global Monitoring Framework indicators. The project’s ultimate goal is to build institutional capacity on non-communicable diseases and risk factor surveillance. This would increase the effectiveness of national non-communicable disease and risk factor surveillance programs. It would also reduce premature mortality stemming from non-communicable diseases in eastern Caribbean countries.

Canada’s contribution to the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Canada supports the Inter-Parliamentary Union Gender Equality Program. The program helps increase the political empowerment of women parliamentarians by facilitating their access to parliaments and strengthening their capacity to participate in decision making. The program also enhances the ability of parliaments to address women’s rights and implement gender-sensitive reforms and legislation. In 2017, Canada contributed approximately $750,000 to the union. Among other activities, the union conducted gender capacity-building workshops in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya and supported the Tanzania Women Parliamentary Group in its effort to develop a mentorship program. It also engaged with the Mauritania women’s parliamentary caucus to empower its members to intervene on gender-based violence and draft reproductive health laws.

Engaging with Canadian partners

Canadian partners play a critical role in Canada’s international development efforts.

In 2017-2018, Global Affairs Canada leveraged expertise, networks and resources by funding over 270 Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) in the six action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. Partners include:

These diverse partners participate in a range of development and public engagement activities. They also lend their expertise to Global Affairs Canada when engaging on policy and programming issues. In cooperation with their local counterparts, these partners help drive change and results on the ground through the innovative approaches they bring to international assistance.

In September 2017, Global Affairs Canada published Canada’s Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance Policy – A Feminist Approach(Civil Society Organizations [CSO] Policy). It reaffirms Canada’s commitment to working collaboratively with the civil society sector. The CSO Policy ensures that Global Affairs Canada’s approach to partnerships with civil society aligns with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, under the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The CSO Policy supports the empowerment of women and girls and gender equality. Its other objectives include fostering innovation among CSO leadership to maximize the impact of Canada’s international assistance.

Representatives from Global Affairs Canada and Canadian partner organizations are working together in an advisory group to support the effective implementation of the CSO Policy. Global Affairs Canada will also engage with the civil society sector annually to:

The novel approach to a CSO Policy Advisory Group has met with positive feedback. Members welcome the opportunity to discuss CSO Policy implementation in an open and collaborative environment. This further demonstrates the department’s commitment to fostering meaningful and effective partnerships with the civil society sector.

International Development Week is an annual public engagement platform for Global Affairs Canada, the provincial and regional councils for international cooperation, and other partners. The week allows them to celebrate Canadian contributions to and involvement in, poverty reduction.

Partners for a Better World was the week’s theme in February 2018. In 2018, the councils reached more than 4.3 million Canadians, including many youth, through nation-wide activities.

Canadian youth both attended and co-moderated an innovative International Development Week signature event discussion. They joined leaders from CSOs and the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development, engaging in meaningful dialogue on gender equality and the importance of empowering women and girls in the context of the #MeToo movement.

During International Development Week, the Minister of International Development announced the organizations that will implement the International Youth Internship Program (2018-2021) and the International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative (2018-2022). These programs offer Canadian youth opportunities to gain valuable international development experience and promote Canada’s international development efforts upon their return to Canada.

In 2017-2018, through the Volunteer Cooperation Program, 15 Canadian organizations sent 1,707 Canadian volunteers in professional fields to work with local partners in 41 developing countries. (Volunteers consisted of 1,040 women and 667 men.) Four partners—Oxfam-Québec, Canada World Youth, Youth Challenge International and Cuso International—have included “innovation funds” in their projects. These funds allow local partners to develop and implement new business and development models for local communities, particularly for the benefit of women and youth.

Education for transformation in Ecuador

The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute is implementing the Education for Transformation of Artisanal to Small-Scale Mining in Ecuador project.

“The communities of Zaruma and Portovelo in Ecuador have been lacking reliable information for the small-scale and artisanal gold mining sector. The pilot project for data sampling collection has filled this gap. Furthermore, the collaboration with the institute allowed the team working in Ecuador to provide training to students who live in the community. This training will help the students to foster the professionalization of the mining sector and transform their communities.”

— Dr. Colon Velazquez, local academic project lead (informal interview, May 2018).

Volunteer Cooperation Program

Through the Volunteer Cooperation Program, Canada supports Canadian organizations in sending highly skilled and qualified volunteers to developing countries to work with local partners. The following are testimonials from volunteers who benefited from the program in 2017-2018.

"My Story is a compilation of stories from all the rural women leaders with whom I have worked closely with to defend their rights and make their voices heard in a historic moment for this country: the peace agreement between the Government and The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia after more than 50 years of war. This experience has changed my life and my career significantly, reminding me that one cannot turn a blind eye to all the mountains of inequality that women in developing countries seek to overcome with great courage."

— Ailin Torrado Florez / Oxfam-Québec

 “The support of the Canadian government and local community groups in Honduras is allowing us to go to different parts of the country, set up more dispensaries and train local health care workers, women’s groups and other volunteers to use and dispense low-cost remedies. The goal of this program is to develop efficiently run clinics in as many communities as possible.”

— Connie Tyrrel / Terre Sans Frontières

Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada

“A lot of youth dream about leaving to go to other cities in Peru or abroad and don't see the opportunities that cooperatives like INPROCAFE can offer small farmers here in Jaén. Even though I grew up farming coffee, since my parents gave me a hectare of land to farm myself and I joined the INPROCAFE, I have learned so much through the training offered by the organization about how to manage my plot using organic techniques, harvesting of rainwater, preserving the soil through agro-forestry and incorporating small animals into the farm for natural fertilizer. The cooperative brings the community together to work for a more prosperous future and can provide good economic opportunities for youth, even if many people don't see it like this. Through the income I have made in the cooperative, I have been able to pay my university tuition. Even though I want to work as a lawyer when I finish my degree, my goal is to find a job in Jaén so that I can keep farming and invest money in my farm. Farming will provide me with an additional income and a place to be in nature, grow my own produce, raise animals for meat free of chemicals and hormones and allow me to be close to my family as my parents get older. I want to pass on the values that my parents have taught me as small farmers, like being a good steward of the land, preserving it for future generations and growing fruits and vegetables on my own plot so that we can be more self-sufficient.”

— Marly, 23-year-old university law student and second-generation organic coffee farmer, Peru

The head of the family

Nohemí Padilla Puertas is living in Panama and is the head of a family. As a result, her business is particularly important to her. “I am the mother, father, grandmother and so on, all at the same time,” says the woman, who spares no effort to ensure her family’s well-being. After starting her small ceviche production business on her own, she now has two sales kiosks, which provide work for her daughter and another employee. With the loan she received from the Centro Financiero Empresarial [Développement international Desjardins’ Entrepreneur Financial Centre] she was also able to buy a vehicle so that she can deliver her ceviche to her customers more easily. “The rapid service provided by the EFC was a valuable asset for me,” she explains, noting that doing business with the EFC also helped her acquire a better understanding of financial matters. How does the future look to this businesswoman? “I’m ambitious, and I’m not afraid to think outside the box,” she concludes with a smile, already considering opening another sales outlet.\

— Nohemí Padilla Puertas

Action to promote local initiatives

“Thanks to Action pour la promotion des initiatives locales [action to promote local initiatives, or APIL] and its partner, the Léger Foundation, I have at my disposal a hectare of land plus five sheep. In 2015, before the implementation of the Food Security Innovation and Mobilization project, I didn’t even have a single chicken of my own or the tiniest plot of land, because when we were repatriated from Côte d’Ivoire, my husband, my children and I had difficulty integrating socially and economically into our own village. Thanks to APIL and the LÉGER FOUNDATION, the best part of the impacts is yet to come.”

— Ouédraogo Halima, age 34, in Burkina Faso

Engaging with local partners

Canada is working to provide its international assistance in ways that are more rapid and more effective in reaching local populations. These days, Canada is directing more assistance to local organizations in developing countries.

Canada is also enhancing its support to, and partnership with, women’s rights organizations and women’s local movements in developing countries. They are key agents of change that help strengthen the rights of women and girls, and help societies achieve gender equality. Many of the initiatives profiled in this report rely on the capacities, access and dynamism of local partners to achieve their desired results.

In 2017, Canada launched the Women’s Voice and Leadership Program. Canada is committed to allocating $150 million over five years to respond to the needs of local women’s organizations in developing countries that work to advance the rights of women and girls and promote gender equality. Canada’s allocation makes it a leading donor in supporting women’s rights organizations in developing countries.

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives is one of the mechanisms for working directly with local organizations, academic institutions and governments to deliver small-scale, high-impact projects that respond to local priorities and needs. In 2017-2018, this fund supported nearly 600 projects in 125 countries and in the West Bank and Gaza. A total of $14.7 million was disbursed to implementing partners through Canadian embassies and high commissions.

For instance, in Cambodia, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives funded a project for $19,500 to enhance accountability and inclusion in the country’s 2018 national election. Citizen observers from marginalized populations, including women and youth, were trained and deployed to 150 communities to provide independent civilian oversight of voter registration stations. These observers recommended changes to the management of the voter list to provide greater transparency and inclusion. These recommendations were later adopted by the National Election Commission.

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives also funded a project for $45,000 to support the promotion of peace and security in Niger. Two hundred children and youth were trained as peace ambassadors in four regions of the country. In addition, 30 journalists were trained on ways in which the media can contribute to creating a culture of peace. The project enabled young peace ambassadors to share their messages of responsible citizenship, peace and non-violence via community outreach activities, as well as on radio, television and social media platforms.

In Sri Lanka, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives funded a $30,000 project to help current and prospective women politicians use information and communication technologies to give them an edge. The project created a database of politically active women across the country, and launched a social media campaign to promote women’s political participation. In addition, 50 elected female officials were trained on how to prevent corruption and increase cooperation among political parties.

In Syria, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives provided $33,800 to enhance human rights reporting in the country through a training and mentorship project for Syrian journalists. This resulted in the publication of nearly 100 news items focused on human rights, governance and gender equality, which reached an estimated audience of 100,000.

Results around the world


Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) includes long-term development as well as peace and security and humanitarian assistance. It aims to respond to areas of particular need where Canadian experience, expertise and skills can add value.

In line with the aid effectiveness principles, Canada provides assistance in collaboration with host country governments and in support of national poverty reduction strategies.

In 2017-2018, Canada provided ODA to over 130 countries, both through multilateral and bilateral mechanisms, and by working with Canadian, international and local partners.

This map illustrates countries where Canada has delivered the bulk of its ODA. The majority of the countries featured on the map consist of those with which Canada has established country programs. The map also includes major recipients of Canadian humanitarian and peace and security assistance.

To learn more about results around the world in 2017–2018, please consult Results around the world.

More extensive information about Global Affairs Canada’s development and humanitarian assistance projects can be found in the department’s online Project Browser. The Project Browser is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitments to transparency and accountability of Canada’s international assistance programs, as outlined in Budget 2018 and the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Official development assistance by department

Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada is the lead department responsible for coordinating Canada’s international assistance policy to deliver development, peace and security-related programming, and to provide humanitarian assistance. The department works with country partners, key multilateral partners, Canadian organizations, private sector partners and other government departments to implement innovative and sustainable development programs around the world. Under the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Global Affairs Canada champions gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in Canadian official development assistance (ODA) programs, while taking into account the perspectives of the poor, international human rights standards and poverty reduction objectives.

Department of Finance Canada

The Department of Finance Canada provides funding to the World Bank Group to achieve results across the full range of Canada’s international assistance priorities. This includes core funding to the International Development Association, the part of the World Bank Group focused on offering grants and concessional loans to low-income countries, and grants to fragile and conflict-affected states and other countries at risk of debt distress. The department also provides support to the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative to help decrease debt-service payments in developing countries. The department also purchases shares for Canada’s membership at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This supports economic development by addressing the significant infrastructure gap in Asia.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada plays a significant role in upholding Canada’s international obligations and humanitarian tradition. The department engages both domestic and international stakeholders to develop and implement timely, efficient and effective refugee protection policies and programs. Promoting human rights and protecting refugees has been a cornerstone of Canada’s humanitarian tradition since the Second World War. The department is also a global leader on the internationally recognized migration model and promotion of orderly managed migration pathways.

International Development Research Centre

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) invests in knowledge, innovation and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world. Bringing together the right partners around opportunities for impact, IDRC supports emerging leaders and helps drive change for those who need it most. IDRC’s work focuses on agriculture and the environment, inclusive economies, and technology and innovation.

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada works to advance international cooperation on environmental issues and environmental sustainability, which are an essential element for global economic and social well-being. The department leads on efforts to preserve and improve the environment in developing countries to better fulfill basic needs, improve living standards, and create safer, more resilient and prosperous communities.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police deploys Canadian police officers in peace operations around the world. Canadian police assist in building and strengthening law enforcement capacity in countries at risk. By building the capacity of foreign police to maintain law and order, Canadian police, in cooperation with international partners, help create a safer and more stable global environment.

Department of National Defence

The Department of National Defence provides certain ODA-eligible support to developing countries, including to assist with capacity building and responses to humanitarian emergencies. This included responding to hurricanes Irma and Maria, which caused widespread damage across the Caribbean in September 2017. Further, the Canadian Armed Forces maintained Operation PROTEUS, supporting efforts to develop the security conditions for an eventual negotiated two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Canada Revenue Agency

The Canada Revenue Agency provides knowledge and technical support to tax administrations in developing countries, both bilaterally and multilaterally, as a key member of international and regional tax organizations. In 2017-2018, this included helping developing countries strengthen their tax capacity to better mobilize domestic resources, and to participate, on an equal footing, in the global tax dialogue to benefit from the implementation of international tax standards.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is Canada’s official representative at the International Telecommunication Union. The International Telecommunication Union, as the lead UN agency for telecommunications and information and communication technologies, is an important source of information, education and training in this field. The organization provides opportunities, especially to developing countries, to acquire the specialized knowledge and skills they need to engage in, and benefit from, telecommunications technologies.

Employment and Social Development Canada

Employment and Social Development Canada, through its Labour Program, helps partner countries build their capacity to implement existing labour legislation and modernize labour policy and administration. Assistance provided by the department’s Labour Program fosters better enforcement of national labour laws and greater respect for internationally recognized labour rights and principles. To achieve these goals, financial resources are provided to international organizations and regional non-governmental organizations to implement projects on behalf of Canada.

Parks Canada

In 2017-2018, Parks Canada contributed to four international organizations dedicated to cultural and natural heritage conservation and environmental sustainability. These included the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property and the Instituto de Fomento Pesquero (in support of the International Marine Protected Areas Conference hosted in Chile in 2017). Parks Canada’s multilateral work with these organizations honours Canada’s commitment to international conventions. It also marks Canada’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through productive partnerships with international organizations to conserve natural and cultural heritage.

Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada supports the International Energy Agency, which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and beyond. In 2017, on the margins of the International Energy Agency Ministerial, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources announced a $1 million contribution over four years to the International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Transitions Programme. With the support of numerous other member countries, the Programme provides cutting-edge technical support to the governments of emerging economies, whose energy policies will significantly impact the speed of the global transition towards more sustainable energy production and use.

Canadian Space Agency

The Canadian Space Agency is a member of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters. This charter is a worldwide collaboration among space agencies to provide unified access to space-based data to support disaster relief operations at no cost to the end user. Canada contributes valuable satellite data from RADARSAT-2 and a 24/7 emergency on-call officer service to disaster cases throughout the world, to collectively help mitigate the impacts on human life and property.

Canada Post

Canada Post transmits Canada's assessed contributions to the Universal Postal Union, which are partially ODA-eligible. A portion of these contributions is used to provide technical assistance to developing countries to reduce the postal divide between industrialized and developing countries and enable the transfer of know-how.

Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada represents Canada at the Pan American Health Organization and delivers emergency management training to developing country partners. The training helps learners understand and apply public health emergency management principles and practices.

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada’s development initiatives focus on governance through capacity-building support to accountable public institutions—specifically, national statistical offices and other key areas of national statistical systems in developing countries. The agency is an active participant in working to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It provides Canadian statistical expertise to the development of sound global indicators for measuring the Sustainable Development Goals and to helping other countries measure progress toward achieving them, particularly in key areas such as education and the environment.

Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint contributed to Canada’s ODA in 2017-2018 through the donation of computers to schools in the Dominican Republic and the Philippines via the World Computer Exchange.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

The ODA contribution of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office consists primarily of technical assistance for developing countries. This assistance is provided through two channels: an annual workshop on intellectual property services, and research reports for patent requests.

Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature is a scientific and educational institution that helps Canadians and others connect with the natural world. The museum’s ODA activities consist of its institutional contribution as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The union has a global program of activities that contributes to habitat conservation, ecological integrity and the conservation of biological diversity. Their activities emphasize the engagement of youth and the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women.


More extensive information about Global Affairs Canada’s development and humanitarian assistance projects can be accessed through Global Affairs Canada’s online Project Browser. The Project Browser is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitments to transparency and accountability of Canada’s international assistance programs as outlined in Budget 2018 and the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Additional information about how Canada’s IDRC is making a difference can be found on its website. Projects that IDRC has supported over the past decade can also be explored on its project browser.

More information on Canada’s refugee programs.

The World Bank Group provides information on development results through its bi-annual Corporate Scorecards and through the annual report of its Independent Evaluation Group. A project browser providing specific information on World Bank projects is also available.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank provides a detailed list of its approved infrastructure projects on its website. The information includes project summaries as well as detailed project documents. Note that most of the projects on the list were approved before Canada became a full member of the bank.

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