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Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada's International Assistance 2019-2020

ISSN: 1926-3945

Table of contents

Executive summary

Every human being deserves the opportunity to live a peaceful and prosperous life—regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or where they live. Canadians strongly believe that everyone should be able to benefit from equal access to education, health care, food and nutrition, and jobs, as well as to be free from violence and conflict—and Canada’s international assistance seeks to do just that.

In 2019–2020, the Government of Canada provided development, humanitarian, and peace and security assistance globally through multilateral and bilateral mechanisms and by partnering with Canadian, international and local organizations. In total, the Government of Canada delivered $6.3 billion to help improve the lives and ease the suffering of billions of people and amplify the voices of the marginalized, and address the inequities and inequalities that exist in the world. This Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s International Assistance in 2019–2020 provides a snapshot of how Canada has contributed to global development efforts and supported progress toward achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda. The report includes early investments to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but the bulk of this report reflects the pre-pandemic international environment. The 2020–2021 International Assistance Report will account more fully for Canada’s response to the effects of the pandemic in partner countries.

Applying a feminist approach to our work

Over the past year, the Government of Canada continued to implement its Feminist International Assistance Policy, collaborating to enable transformational change in our partner countries. Canada has supported targeted investments, partnerships, innovation and advocacy efforts with the greatest potential to improve gender equality, empower women and girls, and thereby reduce poverty. In fact, since introducing the Policy just 3 years ago, Canada has become one of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s top gender equality donors. With humility given Canada’s own challenges at home, Canada supports global women’s rights organizations, improving access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights services, and reducing violence against women and girls. Canada also invests in women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and climate action, enables greater protections for LGBTQ2I persons, and encourages policies that safeguard the rights of Indigenous persons, migrants and forcibly displaced persons around the world.

In July 2019, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) released 6 action area policies that provide further guidance to staff and partners on what Canada aims to achieve with the Feminist International Assistance Policy across the humanitarian, development, and peace and security channels of its work. Moreover, a suite of how-to guidance notes was launched in August and September 2019. These guidance notes outline how Canada will shift its international assistance processes and practices to be more effective, integrated, responsive, transparent and innovative.

Sustainability is integral to Canada’s Approach

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and priorities are closely aligned with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its emphasis on people, planet and inclusive prosperity.

Canada is committed to working toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by developing innovative solutions that benefit and empower the poorest and most vulnerable in developing countries. This Report highlights the investments that Canada is making and the results being achieved in each of the Feminist International Assistance Policy action areas and, indicates the link to the SDGs throughout.

Highlights :

  • Hosting the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver in June 2019, the world’s largest-ever gathering on gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of women and girls. At the conference, Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s 10-year commitment to increase funding to support women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health around the world to $1.4 billion annually starting in 2023. At the conference, Canada also announced that it would work with the Equality Fund to establish a first-of-its-kind innovative global funding platform that brings the granting, philanthropic, government and investment worlds together. This $300 million commitment aims to mobilize resources for women’s organizations and movements in developing countries.
  • Continuing to prioritize gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all work we do. To that end, Canada is on track to meet its overall commitment of directing at least 95% of its bilateral development assistance to initiatives that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2021–2022.
  • Successfully fulfilling 2 important commitments in March 2020 that demonstrate a decade of leadership in global health and nutrition: the completion of the 2015 commitment of $3.5 billion for maternal, newborn and child health, and the 2017 commitment of $650 million for sexual and reproductive health and rights. These initiatives have made a difference in the lives of millions of women, adolescents and children.
  • Support over 60 countries and territories with bilateral humanitarian assistance, and responded to 37 natural disasters. Through this work, Canada helped save lives and ease the suffering of 98 million people. For example, Canadian funding helped provide life-saving food, clean water, emergency shelter and health care for the more than 7 million people affected by conflict and natural disasters in South Sudan. Overall, the Government of Canada provided $875 million in humanitarian aid.
  • Deepening linkages between Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and the 2030 Agenda’s SDGs, particularly Gender Equality (SDG 5), and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16). For example, in April 2019, Canada announced that it would serve as a champion for the full and equal participation of women in decision-making processes relating to the United Nations Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament. In June 2019, Canada acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty, the first international treaty to address the connection between conflict-related sexual violence and the international arms trade.
  • Programming for advancing girls education is expected to reach some 3.7 million girls, in part through a commitment of $400 million towards the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries.
  • Contributing to fighting climate change, with $2 million to the National Adaptation Plan Global Network, managed by the Canada-based International Institute for Sustainable Development. The Network assists developing countries with adaptation planning, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa and small island developing states (SIDS). In recent years, Canada contributed $30 million to The Least Developed Countries Fund. It has increased the climate change resilience of an estimated 22.3 million people and 3.36 million hectares of land in developing countries.

Forging a clear path forward

When reviewing this report, it is impossible not to consider how the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic may affect hard-won development gains made with Canadian investments. The World Bank has indicated that the pandemic is expected to thrust 88 to 115 million people into extreme poverty—the first such increase since 1998. It has also placed further strains on already overburdened public health systems, putting hundreds of millions at risk of COVID-19 and other diseases. Certainly the pandemic has made clear how interconnected our world is, and how the health and prosperity of Canadians is dependent on an effective global response. All of this underscores that more than ever, Canada’s diplomacy and international assistance matter, as they contribute to creating a more prosperous and peaceful world that benefits everyone, everywhere.

Throughout 2019–2020, Canada’s international assistance continued to make a positive impact around the world. In responding to the pandemic and working to maintain momentum toward achieving the SDGs, Canada has shown itself to be agile and responsive, able to pivot and to work in different ways that will improve the effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance. As Canada works to build back better from this pandemic and its development setbacks, it will continue to find new ways to design, implement and evaluate international assistance programming. This includes reinforcing local capacity by putting power in the hands of local actors. Working with these partners on an equal footing is how we will continue to inspire transformative change that truly empowers all people.

Despite the significant challenges encountered in 2019–2020, this report highlights important gains made. The government firmly believes that Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy provides the appropriate policy framework and program tools to address the COVID-19 crisis. Many of the most significant vulnerabilities revealed by the pandemic are those the Policy seeks to address. As such, emphasis will remain on empowering women and girls and advancing their sexual and reproductive health and rights, alongside investments to support developing countries on the road to economic recovery and resilience. By working together, Canada is contributing to building a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all.

Message from the Minister of International Development and Minister of Foreign Affairs

As the ministers of Foreign Affairs and of International Development, we welcome the opportunity to share the results of Canada’s International Assistance.

This was an extraordinary year—and one of stark contrasts. We saw progress in sustainable development and advancing gender equality on a global scale, only to be profoundly challenged by the beginning of an unprecedented pandemic that has affected people everywhere. We participated in a series of galvanizing moments in the history of women’s rights, including the 25th anniversary of the Beijing-Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25) and the 20th anniversary of the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security. But we also had to push back on efforts by some governments to hold back progress in specific areas of democracy and equality, and even broadly in ways that undermine international rules and institutions that benefit us all.

As Canadians, we will continue our efforts because we know that promoting gender equality produces tangible and measurable results. Further, effective multilateral cooperation and the advancement of gender equality are closely intertwined. Over the past several decades, Canada has worked with countries around the world to develop the institutions, partnerships, laws and norms that have been essential in promoting and supporting gender equality, and in delivering global stability and prosperity.

After 3 years of implementation, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which places gender equality at the centre of our efforts to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world, is delivering results. It is a key pillar of Canada’s broader feminist foreign policy, which is rooted in the conviction that all people should enjoy the same human rights, have the same opportunities to succeed, and live in safety and security. In this year of profound disruption, one thing is abundantly clear: how intricately connected our world is—from security to global health, global supply chains to food security, inequality to climate change. Canadians are intimately impacted by what happens elsewhere. Our government is therefore determined to bring integrated and innovative solutions to the global table.

As is seen throughout this report, Canada’s funding has achieved remarkable results, for instance: 390,798 women and girls have received sexual and reproductive health services, including access to contraception, through a Global Affairs Canada-funded humanitarian response delivered by civil society organizations (CSOs). In addition, Canada-funded projects that support women’s economic empowerment reached nearly 4 million people.

While this report focuses mainly on the pre-COVID period, we would be remiss if we did not note that the pandemic has had a significant impact on our work, our results and how we interact with our partners. The pandemic has highlighted how the health and prosperity of Canadians is intertwined with an effective and coordinated global response and recovery. Solving this global crisis and rebuilding more resilient and sustainable socio-economic systems is critical in advancing the SDGs and is essential to the future prosperity and security of Canadians. For this reason, Canada, led by Prime Minister Trudeau, has shown global leadership in seeking to focus attention on the long-term international efforts necessary to recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on people around the world and build greater resilience.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis that does not recognize borders and threatens to have significant and lasting negative impacts on the health, prosperity, and opportunities of the poorest and most vulnerable. This is particularly true for women and children, who are already more likely to experience poverty and exclusion. Unfortunately, we have also seen how the pandemic has slowed progress on gender equality.

Canada has framed its response to the COVID-19 crisis around 3 strategic pillars for action where we can make an immediate and direct impact. First, we are strengthening capacities to deliver the health-related SDGs and supporting equitable access to COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines. Second, we are addressing financial stresses and helping to stabilize economies. And third, we are focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable and reinforcing recovery through humanitarian support toward food security and education, and by addressing the longer-term socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. In 2019–2020, Canada allocated more than $2 million in funding to directly aid international efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, an amount that has already grown to more than $2 billion.

Canada is collaborating with multilateral development banks and the private sector on economic and social infrastructure, piloting innovative financing mechanisms, addressing debt vulnerabilities, improving remittance flows and supporting tax cooperation. For example, Canada is working with Jamaica and the UN on the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond initiative, which is developing practical approaches that respond to the socio-economic and financial impacts of the pandemic in order to support an inclusive and sustainable recovery.

Fostering and upholding strong partnerships is critical to the effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance. We recognize the vital role that the Canadian international development sector plays. Its resilience during this unprecedented time has enabled Canada to support partner countries and communities to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partners across all sectors—including civil society, the private sector and academia—play an integral role in designing, delivering and monitoring our international assistance programming. For example, through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, we are working directly with local partners to respond to local needs and priorities and to ensure that diverse voices contribute to shaping local development agendas. Our investments, with international organizations, like the Nobel-prize winning World Food Programme, likewise support community-level gains.

We hope this report and the stories of hope and resilience it presents inspires you and demonstrates just what can be achieved through Canada’s engagement with the world. We believe all Canadians should take pride in the contributions our nation has made in helping the poorest and most vulnerable, contributing to the SDGs, and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Message from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

The Government of Canada is committed to help the world’s most vulnerable people. Together with the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, I am pleased to present this year’s annual Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s International Assistance 2019–2020. This report discusses the Government of Canada’s key international assistance objectives and results for 2019–2020.

Canada’s international assistance approach reflects Canadians’ interests and values. This approach prioritises: the defence of human rights; building more prosperous communities and societies; promoting peace and security; and ensuring people everywhere have a more just and equal future, particularly women and girls.

We continue to advance the goals set out in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy by continuing to promote gender equality. The pandemic has threatened to undermine many hard-won social and economic gains, and we need to make sure that we do not lose the progress we have made in recent years.

Canada’s international assistance work is also focused on global economic stability, promoting inclusive, green growth, and improving health outcomes.

As people and economies around the world continue to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is essential that we have policies to support the recovery of developing countries so that they can build a future that is inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.

Canada continues to work with its multilateral partners including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group (WBG), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to support and advance these aforementioned objectives. As Canada’s Governor at these institutions, I will ensure that Canada continues to collaborate closely with these IFIs and our other partners to address humanitarian and development needs.

By working together, we can ensure an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable global economic recovery, and future, for everyone.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Overview of Canada’s Federal International Assistance in 2019–2020

The Government of Canada delivered $6.3 billion in international assistance in 2019-2020. Of this, $6.1 billion was official development assistance (ODA)Footnote 1. We delivered this amount through 20 federal organizations:

  • Global Affairs Canada: $4,845 million
  • Department of Finance Canada: $545 million
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: $643 million
  • International Development Research Centre: $145 million
  • Other federal organizations: $75 million

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. Progress achieved is tracked and measured through the Policy’s 6 action areas.

Global Affairs Canada’s bilateral international development assistance is mostly targeted or integrated to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girlsFootnote 2:

YearTargeted (%)Integrated (%)Total (%)
2019-2020148397
2018-201969096
2017-201838992

Canada committed to ensuring that, by 2021-2022, 95% of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance initiatives will target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. At least 15% of this will specifically target gender equality.

The Government of Canada’s international assistance disbursements, by action area of the Feminist International Assistance Policy

Text version
Action areaAmount
3 The amount under the gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls action area reflects only disbursements toward its specific sub-areas. Investments that either integrate or target gender equality are also prioritized.
4 These expenses refer to Other Social Services/ Food Security.
5 Operations and management costs incurred by departments and agencies to implement international assistance programming and activities.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls3$241,000,000
Human dignity - Health and nutrition$1,056,000,000
Human dignity - Education$450,000,000
Human dignity - Gender responsive humanitarian action$872,000,000
Human dignity - Cross-cutting activities4$146,000,000
Growth that works for everyone$823,000,000
Environment and climate action$714,000,000
Inclusive governance$390,000,000
Peace and security$304,000,000
Multi-action area activities, such as refugee-related activities$855,000,000
Administrative costs5$400,000,000

Key Performance Indicators

Note to the reader:

Results data comes from numerous projects funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and illustrates results achieved during the 2019–2020 fiscal year (and for a small number of projects, during the calendar year). These figures include data from projects funded solely by Canada, as well as projects funded by multiple donors. The figures therefore reflect Canada’s contribution to international assistance results and cannot be attributed to Canada’s funding only. Furthermore, these figures represent only a snapshot of GAC’s international assistance results and do not reflect the entire breadth of its programming.

GAC is working to ensure a greater proportion of data is sex and gender disaggregated. However, limitations exist and will persist with respect to collecting and presenting all data in a fully disaggregated manner. Importantly, when data is gathered on the ground by implementing organizations, sex, gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are self-reported by project beneficiaries and are not always or universally captured, sometimes due to concerns about privacy and of personal security.

Understanding these challenges, GAC will continue to work with its partners to improve sex and gender data collection in a manner that balances accuracy and detail with considerations of inclusion, personal safety, privacy and well-being of project beneficiaries.

Gender Equality

  • 28,946,027 peopleFootnote 6 (9,927,691 women; 202,787 men; 18,815,549 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that help prevent, respond to and end sexual and gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage and/or female genital mutilation.

Education

  • 33,796 teachersFootnote 6 (24,121 women; 9,632 men; 43 gender not indicated), were trained according to national standards.
    GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 31,656 teachers trained (12,880 women; 16,392 men).Footnote 7
  • 17,532 schools have implemented changes to create welcoming spaces that respond to the specific needs of girls.
    GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners also contributed to supporting 38,444 additional schools that have implemented welcoming spaces that respond to the specific needs of girls.Footnote 7
  • 42,310 peopleFootnote 6 (18,105 women; 16,611 men; 7,594 gender not indicated) graduated from demand-driven, technical and vocational education and training.
    Through GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners, 107,692 people graduated from demand-driven, technical and vocational education and training.Footnote 7

Gender-responsive humanitarian action

  • 24% of humanitarian assistance projects have included sexual and/or gender-based violence or sexual and reproductive health and rights components.
  • 390,798 women and girlsFootnote 6 have received sexual and reproductive health services, including access to contraception, through a GAC-funded humanitarian response delivered by CSOs.

Health and Nutrition

  • 3,163,798 peopleFootnote 6 (2,326,166 women; 182,269 men; 655,363 gender not indicated) received access to sexual and reproductive health services, including modern methods of contraception.
    Funding for contraceptives provided through UNFPA supplies helped to potentially avert 8 million unintended pregnancies and 2.3 million unsafe abortions in 2019. Beyond that, each year, every additional $10 million Canada spent on contraceptives resulted in 91,000 fewer unintended pregnancies and 25,000 fewer unsafe abortions.Footnote 7
  • 9,546,183 peopleFootnote 6 (8,530,372 women and girls; 852,053 men and boys; 163,758 gender not indicated) received micronutrient supplementation, including iron and folic acid.
    In 2019, 173,932,461 children received the recommended 2 doses of vitamin A through initiatives led by UNICEF and Nutrition International.
    Under the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) commitment, Canada also improved the nutrition of more than 3.1 million pregnant women from 2016-2019. In 2019, Canada’s support to Nutrition International also provided 5,225,115 adolescent girls with iron-folic acid supplementation, averting 639,225 cases of anemia.Footnote 7
  • 441,383 peopleFootnote 6 (184,654 women; 54,943 men; 201,786 gender not indicated) benefited from gender-sensitive health and nutrition services.
    Through its support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Canada helps immunize millions of children every year. In 2019, Canada’s support helped immunize 65 million children, which averted 1.5 million deaths.Footnote 7

Growth that works for everyone

  • 3,864,952 peopleFootnote 6 (1,445,530 women; 2,404,914 men; 14,508 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that support women’s economic empowerment.
    GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 4,223,077 people reached by projects that support women’s economic empowerment (2,868,715 women; 9,921 men; 1,344,441 gender not indicated).Footnote 7
  • 5,207,255 entrepreneurs, farmers and smallholdersFootnote 6 (2,025,875 women; 3,146,179 men; 35,201 gender not indicated) were provided with financial and/or business development services.
    GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 1,478,393 entrepreneurs, farmers and smallholders provided with financial and/or business development services (7,715 women; 9,921 men; 1,460,757 gender not indicated).Footnote 7

Environment and Climate Action

  • 3,597 peopleFootnote 8 (112 women; 133 men; 3,352 gender not indicated) were newly employed in the environment sector, including in technical, supervisory and management roles.
  • 2,754,911 peopleFootnote 8 (1,346,179 women; 1,401,132 men; 7,600 gender not indicated) benefited from climate adaptation projects.
    Through GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners, 13,652,034 people also benefited from climate adaption projects.Footnote 9
  • 2.31 metric megatons of greenhouse gas emissions were reduced or avoided through GAC’s contributions.
    Support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 1039.179 megatons of gas emissions reduced or avoided.Footnote 9
    As part of the Feminist International Assistance Policy Environment and Climate Action Area, the Government of Canada is delivering on its 2015 $2.65-billion climate finance commitment. Canada’s climate finance to date has helped to mitigate climate change by reducing an expected 193 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions.Footnote 10

Inclusive Governance

  • 3,594,666 peopleFootnote 8 (1,723,487 women; 1,816,086 men; 55,093 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that support women’s leadership in decision making in governance.
  • 258,824 peopleFootnote 8 (110,667 women; 85,338 men; 62,819 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that support access to justice and public services for women and girls.
  • 1,702 civil society organizations that advocate for human rights and/or inclusive governance were supported.

Peace and Security

  • 11,005 peacekeepersFootnote 8 (1,529 women; 8,024 men; 1,452 gender not indicated) were trained through deployments and projects to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • 88 subject matter expertsFootnote 8 (4 women; 52 men; 32 gender not indicated), including in sexual and gender-based violence, were supported to participate in international efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law.
  • 532 civil society organizations, including women’s organizations, were supported to increase participation of women in peace negotiations and conflict prevention efforts.

Supporting all Action Areas

  • 22 small and medium Canadian organizations supported to develop and implement programming in partnership with local organizations to support the 6 action areas of the Feminist International Assistance Policy, notably Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls.Footnote 11

Canada’s Signature Initiatives

Canada has launched a number of signature initiatives to support the implementation of the Feminist International Assistance Policy, in addition to the wide range of international development projects that are planned or under way. The following examples highlight some of Canada’s key initiatives and results.

Global health and nutrition

In March 2020, Canada successfully fulfilled 2 commitments representing more than a decade of leadership in global health and nutrition:

  • $3.5 billion commitment (from 2015 to 2020) to maternal, newborn and child health
  • $650 million Her Voice, Her Choice commitment (from 2017 to 2020) to sexual and reproductive health and rights

The hundreds of projects funded under these 2 commitments have helped make a difference in the lives of millions of women, adolescents and children.

Gender equality

  • In 2019–2020 as part of Canada’s $400 million commitment to the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education.
  • Canada launched more than 40 projects across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to support girls’ and women’s education and skills training in conflict and crisis situations. These projects are transforming communities and more than half of them seek to immediately address gender-based violence.

These newly established initiatives are expected to reach 3.77 million girls, adolescent girls, and women.

Women in Peace Operations

The Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations provided $8.4 million to support advocacy, research, the development of the Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations barrier assessment methodology and projects to create receptive environments in UN missions. This enabled the UN, NGOs and bilateral partners to pilot approaches to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in peace operations. It supported the first program cycle of the Elsie Initiative Fund-implemented by UN Women and advanced partnerships with the Zambia Police Service, Ghana Armed Forces and Forces armées sénégalaises to empower troop and police contributing countries to remove barriers faced by women.

Examples of Canada’s Major International Assistance Commitments

In line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s COVID-19 response from March–June 2020 focused on the world’s poorest and most marginalized, and considered the specific needs of women and girls.

Canada’s Contributions

  • As COVID-19 transitioned from an epidemic into a pandemic in early 2020, Canada provided an initial contribution of $2 million to the WHO to help vulnerable countries prepare and, if necessary, respond to the pandemic.
  • As the crisis worsened, Canada announced its initial COVID-19 Response Fund in March 2020. It included $50 million in additional funding to address the global outbreak and help more vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to the virus.
  • This initial contribution and announcement laid the groundwork for Canada’s larger international assistance response to the COVID-19 pandemic later in 2020.

Canada’s Approach

  • International coordination: Early in the pandemic, Canada sought to foster global coordination by working hand in hand with international partners through the G7 and G20, the UN system and the Bretton Woods institutions. This included partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO), which is ensuring a coordinated global response to COVID-19.
  • Keeping momentum: The international response to COVID-19 must stem the erosion of hard-won gains in poverty reduction and health. Canada has emphasized the need to maintain essential health services and other long-term development efforts as countries fight the pandemic.

10-year commitment

Canada launched a 10-year commitment, from 2020 to 2030, to improve the health and rights of women and girls around the world. Starting in 2023, funding will be raised to $1.4 billion annually, with half dedicated to promoting sexual and reproductive health rights.

Women's Voice and Leadership program

To meet Canada’s commitment to provide more than $150 million (from 2018 to 2023) to address the needs of local women's rights organizations in the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Canada funded 31 projects in 29 countries and regions through the Women's Voice and Leadership program (WVL).

In 2019-2020, WVL began providing financial and organizational support to women’s rights organizations (WRO), as well as fast, responsive grants to address urgent women’s rights issues. This support helped WROs strengthen their governance, management, fundraising, and safety and security operations, and to more effectively advocate for women’s and girls’ rights around the world.

Clean energy

In 2019–2020, Canada provided $40 million to the World Bank to support the expansion of clean energy systems and infrastructure, and improve energy access for women and girls in small island and developing states.

Agricultural Development

In 2019–2020, Canada provided $70 million of the total $150 million commitment to support the International Fund for Agricultural Development for climate-smart and gender-responsive agriculture in developing countries, with an emphasis on those in Africa.

Equality fund

Global Affairs Canada invested $146 million in 2019–2020 to support 868 women’s organizations and women’s networks (international and local) to advance women’s rights and gender equality.

This includes $105 million of a $300 million contribution to the Equality Fund to establish a sustainable source of funding to strengthen women’s organizations and movements in developing countries through a unique partnership between government, philanthropy, private sector and civil society actors.

The Government of Canada’s International Assistance Around the World

To learn more about activities and results around the world, please visit the Canada and the World website and the Statistical Report on International Assistance.

Top 10 Recipients of International Assistance

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Ethiopia
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Democratic Republic of Congo
  5. Mali
  6. Nigeria
  7. Tanzania
  8. Iraq
  9. Kenya
  10. Mozambique

Hurricane Dorian: Canada’s response to Hurricane Dorian helped provide:

  • 2,310 households with emergency shelter
  • 3,058 households with basic food-related needs
  • 4,731 households with safe water

Iran Floods: Canada’s response to Iran floods helped provide:

  • 600,000 people with immediate assistance
  • 59,728 tents for emergency shelter
  • 135,238 hygiene kits
  • 12,204 families with cash assistance

Cyclone Idai: Canada’s response to Cyclone Idai helped provide:

  • 14,978 people with food
  • 1,039 families with shelter repair kits, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and solar lights
  • 68,469 people with clean water
  • 800 families with seeds to help replant
  • 1,854 families with shelter materials and household items
  • 5,000 families with hygiene and dignity kits
  • 94 communities with repaired water spouts

In 2019–2020, Canada’s Middle East Strategy deepened results in the region by contributing support to:

  • humanitarian programs in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, which provided food, shelter, water, health, sanitation, education and protection services such as specialized care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence
  • improvements to education quality and system capacity in Jordan and Lebanon, where more than 1.8 million children have access to safer, more inclusive learning environments
  • gender-responsive projects including support for the Syrian Women’s Political Movement, an advocacy organization established by Syrian women
  • security and stabilization by delivering 3 training programs to local police and civil society in Iraq, specifically targeted at women and youth, and to an additional 300 members of the Lebanese Armed Forces on gender-sensitive and human rights compliance measures in responding to terrorism and violent extremism

Ukraine: Canada helped support inclusive, free and fair elections; shift government resources closer to people; advance gender equality; and improve livelihoods for small-scale farmers. Highlights included simplifying the voter-registration process and providing specialized support to more than 100 emerging women leaders, with a particular focus on local candidates running in the 2020 elections. These elections were the first held in Ukraine under new gender-quota rules and should significantly increase women’s representation in local politics.

The Caribbean: Canada is supporting 13 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries, as well as regional systems, to bolster inclusive climate and economic resilience. Key areas of partnership include gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as enhancing climate action to reduce vulnerability to disasters and improve response capacity. Other key areas include strengthening public institutions and justice systems, and increasing growth of the green economy. Canada is also the largest contributor to the Caribbean Development Bank’s Special Development Fund.

Mali: Humanitarian, development and stabilization programs funded by Canada are in place to fight poverty and improve living conditions for the most vulnerable in Mali, particularly women and girls. In 2019–2020, Canada continued to support improvements to access basic social services and promote gender equality. Canada’s support for sexual and reproductive health has increased quality access to these types of services for more than 600,000 people, including more than 485,000 women.*

* In response to the coup d’état in August 2020, Canada suspended direct bilateral assistance to the Government of Mali in the form of direct budget support.

Ethiopia: Canada helped address barriers to gender equality in Ethiopia through programs that combat sexual and gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, and child, early and forced marriage, as well as initiatives that improve access to sexual and reproductive health services. Canada supported innovative pilots to increase women’s access to finance, while its flagship contribution to the Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program helped to enhance its resilience to financial shocks, including droughts, and improve the food security, nutrition and economic well-being of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable households. In 2019–2020, it helped approximately 8 million Ethiopians to access social assistance, while supporting the rehabilitation of more than 290,000 hectares of degraded land.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh has been making exceptional development progress, but disparities remain, particularly for disadvantaged groups. Canada is helping to strengthen the rights and empowerment of women and girls, including their access to quality health and education services. Canada has focused on: increasing sexual and reproductive health and rights for adolescents and women; addressing gender-based violence, including ending child, early and forced marriage; and helping women defend their rights to a safe and healthy workplace. It is also providing gender-responsive humanitarian and development support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and their host communities.

Jordan: In Jordan, the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it challenging to provide citizens with the services they need, especially the large number of refugees that remain in the country. Canada’s assistance continues to help strengthen and sustain the resilience of the country’s education, health and social protection systems, improve the quality of municipal services and implement reforms that drive economic growth and create jobs. It is also increasing the quality of and access to education, including for girls and for refugees. Additionally, it is strengthening health systems and improving access for refugees.

Canada responds to diverse country needs and opportunities

  1. Canada provides assistance to countries and sub-regions with the greatest depth and incidence of poverty and with limited access to the resources and capacity needed to attain their development goals. For example, Canada worked with the Government of Tanzania to reduce poverty and eliminate the inequalities and discrimination confronting Tanzanians, especially women and girls. Last year, Canada developed gender-sensitive training guides and conducted professional development for almost 750 primary and secondary school mathematics teachers and delivered essential classroom supplies.
  2. Canada provides assistance to countries and sub-regions that are affected by instability caused by rapid onset or protracted crises, political violence, crime or terrorism and that often have immediate and critical humanitarian, security and stabilization needs. For example, in 2001 there were fewer than 1 million children in school in Afghanistan—and most were boys. Today, with Canada’s support, approximately 8.9 million children are enrolled in formal and community-based schools in the country, almost 39% of whom are girls.
  3. Canada provides technical assistance to help tackle key barriers to progress, particularly in select middle-income countries and sub-regions. For example, Peru has experienced remarkable socioeconomic growth over the past 2 decades, but further action is needed to put the country on a more sustainable development path. Canada is supporting the Government of Peru by sharing best practices and offering advice.
  4. Canada provides targeted assistance to address specific local sustainable development challenges. For example, Canada provides humanitarian and development assistance to support vulnerable populations in Venezuela, as well as to the more than 5.4 million Venezuelans who have fled to neighbouring countries since 2015. It also supported the UN’s efforts to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Venezuela. Canada has also provided strong diplomatic leadership to support the peaceful return of democracy in Venezuela.

Government of Canada’s International Assistance and Official Development Assistance Disbursements by Organization, 2019–2020

The Government of Canada, through 20 federal organizations, disbursed $6.3 billionFootnote 12 in international assistance in 2019–2020, of which official development assistance (ODA) made up 98% or $6.1 billion. The Statistical Report on International Assistance provides further details on international assistance and ODA expenditures by source, sector and recipient, and includes information on channels of disbursements for the International Assistance Envelope (IAE).

The following table shows the amount disbursed by each of the 20 federal organizations.

Federal international assistance, by organization, 2019–2020 ($ million)
OrganizationTotal international assistanceof which
IAE fundedFederal ODAODA reported to OECD
13 Figures in this table are represented in millions, and as such contributions by Public Service Commission of Canada display as 0. Its 2019–2020 contributions totalled $540.
Global Affairs Canada4,844.754,793.92
(all IAE pools)
4,708.434,677.17
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada643.12-643.12643.12
Department of Finance Canada544.62544.62
Disbursed from the International Financial Institutions pool
536.38536.38
International Development Research Centre144.97144.97
Disbursed from the Core Development pool
144.97144.97
Royal Canadian Mounted Police19.3719.37
Disbursed from the Peace and Security pool
19.3719.37
Environment and Climate Change Canada14.1710.73
Disbursed from the Core Development pool
12.9812.98
Canada Revenue Agency7.224.87
Disbursed from the Core Development pool
7.227.22
Department of National Defence5.11-5.115.11
Employment and Social Development Canada1.66-1.661.66
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada0.99-0.990.99
Parks Canada0.95-0.950.95
Canada Post0.48-0.480.48
Public Health Agency of Canada0.34-0.340.34
Canadian Space Agency0.23-0.230.23
Canadian Intellectual Property Office0.11-0.110.11
Correctional Service Canada0.08-0.080.08
Transport Canada0.07-0.070.07
Statistics Canada0.03-0.030.03
Canadian Museum of Nature0.02-0.020.02
Public Service Commission Canada130.00-0.000.00
Services supporting Global Affairs Canada’s activities23.81-23.8123.81
Total for federal organizations6,252.085,518.486,106.346,075.08
Other sources (shown here for information and completeness)
Cost of refugees in Canada (first year) – provincial and territorial governments208.50--208.50
Imputed foreign student subsidies35.79--35.79
FinDev Canada100.00--100.00
Provinces, territories and municipalities28.38--28.38
Subtotal (other sources)372.67--372.67
Total – all of Canada6,624.755,518.486,106.346,447.75

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy

Canada firmly believes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls—both at home and abroad—is the best way to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. Guided by its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada has adopted a feminist approach that is both human rights-based and inclusive to deliver its international assistance. Canada has adopted a feminist approach that is both human rights-based and inclusive. The aim is to support the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity, and others who are vulnerable and marginalized—including those living in fragile circumstances. Canada has committed to making this feminist agenda a cornerstone of its domestic and foreign policies.

The Feminist International Assistance Policy is a key pillar of Canada’s overarching feminist foreign policy, which also includes:

The Policy is the result of an extensive review that included consultations with Canadian and international partners and stakeholders, and is based on research and evidence. It aligns Canada’s international assistance with the UN’s 2030 Agenda. At the heart of this Policy is SDG 5—achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. By focusing on this SDG, Canada recognizes that ending discrimination against women and girls around the globe will drive progress toward achieving the other goals.

For more information, see the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

What Canada is doing to achieve its policy objectives

The Policy adopts an integrated approach to development, humanitarian, and peace and security assistance that aims to support transformative change through 6 interlinked action areas:

  • Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls (core action area)
  • Human Dignity (which includes Health and Nutrition, Education and Gender-Responsive Humanitarian Action)
  • Growth that Works for Everyone
  • Environment and Climate Action
  • Inclusive Governance
  • Peace and Security

In July 2019, Canada launched 6 Action Area Policies that set out what Canada aims to achieve through the Policy. They guide Canada’s international assistance programming and advocacy efforts through geographic, multilateral and Canadian partnerships. They also inform results frameworks, progress reporting and performance assessment.

Canada has committed to directing no less than half of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance to sub-Saharan African countries by 2021–2022. In fact, 42% of Canada’s bilateral development assistance was directed to sub-Saharan African countries in 2019–2020. Although 3% less than in 2018–2019, this is due, in part, to important investments in other regions, including the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Canada has also committed to directing no less than 95% of its bilateral international development assistance toward initiatives that target or integrate gender equalityFootnote 14 and the empowerment of women and girls by 2021–2022. As part of this commitment, 15% of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance should specifically target these goals. Global Affairs Canada met this commitment in 2019–2020 with 97% of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance either targeting or integrating gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The department is also on track to meet the 15% sub-target, with 14% specifically targeting these goals in 2019–2020.

Canada has made significant progress implementing signature initiatives highlighted in the Feminist International Assistance Policy. For example, by the end of 2019–2020, Canada had successfully disbursed the entire $650 million committed in 2017 to help improve women’s access to reproductive health services and information, and respond to sexual and gender-based violence through the Her Voice, Her Choice initiative. This funding has also enabled Canada to play a key role in international movements and partnerships such as Every Woman Every Child, SheDecides, Family Planning 2020 and the Ouagadougou Partnership.

In 2019–2020, Canada moved forward in the implementation of the Women’s Voice and Leadership Program. One hundred and fifty million dollars has been committed to this program over 5 years, with 53% of the funds going to sub-Saharan African countries. By the end of 2019–2020, the program already had 31 projects up and running to support women’s organizations and networks in 29 countries and regions. Grants to local women’s organizations helped to strengthen their own operations and programming, advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, and reach vulnerable and marginalized women and girls with key health, education and income generation services.

Canada is also making meaningful progress in priority areas by:

  • supporting the leadership and participation of all women and girls as agents of change
  • strengthening peace operations to advance Canada’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, by deploying more women peacekeepers and civilian personnel
  • providing quality education for all, including those living in fragile contexts, and increasing the number of girls who complete elementary and high school
  • enhancing women’s access to and control over land, productive resources, and financial services as well as inheritance and property rights, and promoting their economic participation and empowerment
  • better meeting the needs of women in humanitarian settings and reducing incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse
  • increasing the participation of women, girls and those from traditionally marginalized groups in public leadership, decision-making and democratic processes
  • bolstering resilience to climate change and supporting climate-smart agriculture

Throughout its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has not wavered in its commitment to implementing the Feminist International Assistance Policy. Canada consistently prioritizes its programming objectives to align with the targets and priorities outlined in the Policy. As Canada addresses the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis both at home and abroad, the Policy will continue to guide programming choices to help build back better as we recover from the pandemic. We are confident that the Policy’s focus on greater justice, inclusivity and prosperity, will support Canada’s goal of creating a more resilient and sustainable world—so that together, we can work to prevent and mitigate future crises.

How Canada delivers international assistance

The Feminist International Assistance Policy commits Canada to delivering its international assistance in a manner that is more effective, flexible, responsive and integrated. To support the Policy’s implementation, Canada released a suite of how-to guidance notes in August and September 2019. They outline how Canada plans to improve the effectiveness of its approach in 4 key areas:

In 2019–2020, Canada implemented specific initiatives that are helping to improve how it provides international assistance, including:

  • The Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation initiative. A $100 million fund to help Canadian small or medium organizations (SMOs) develop and implement innovative programming in partnership with local organizations. It supports the Policy’s 6 action areas with a particular focus on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls, and is implemented through 3 programming windows. The Development Impact Window funds projects through calls for proposals, the Innovation Window provides SMOs with funding to test and advance innovative solutions to global development challenges, and SMOs can build their capacity, exchange knowledge and engage Canadians through the Capacity and Knowledge Window, also known as Spur Change.
  • The International Assistance Innovation and Sovereign Loan Programs. Announced in Budget 2018, these programs expand Canada’s development financing toolkit and help Canada advance efforts to mobilize additional sources of public and private development financing toward achieving the SDGs.
  • The Equality Fund initiative. In June 2019, Canada committed $300 million to support efforts to bring the granting, philanthropic, government and investment worlds together in one innovative platform. The initiative aims to address the funding gap faced by women’s organizations and movements promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in developing countries. The design-and-build phase is underway and early results are expected in 2020–2021.
  • The Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for the International Assistance Policy – A Feminist Approach. This policy ensures that Canada’s partnerships with civil society align with the Feminist International Assistance Policy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and that they recognize the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness. Its implementation is guided by close collaboration between civil society organizations (CSO) and Global Affairs Canada as part of the Civil Society Policy Advisory Group (CPAG). In 2019, the Global Affairs Canada—Civil Society Organization annual dialogue focused on enabling an environment for CSOs in Canada and globally to achieve greater development effectiveness.

Where Canada works

With the launch of the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada adopted a flexible and responsive approach to where it provides international assistance. It takes into consideration local needs and opportunities to achieve the greatest impact for the poorest and most vulnerable in the countries where we work.

In 2019–2020, Canada provided international assistance to 150 countries in a wide variety of contexts through:

  • More effective engagement with fragile and conflict-affected states. Providing better-integrated support will improve the resilience of developing countries facing crisis situations or protracted humanitarian challenges.
  • Stronger partnerships for sustainable development. Longer-term development assistance for low-income countries will reduce poverty and vulnerability and create the conditions for more inclusive economic growth.
  • Productive partnerships for transition. Targeted assistance that supports more democratic, inclusive and accountable governance, and that supports sustained economic growth in middle-income countries will help those countries transition into fuller, more self-sufficient economic partners.
  • Targeted and shorter-term assistance. Targeted assistance in diverse countries and regions will support specific, short-term, local sustainable-development challenges, including humanitarian assistance.

As part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy, and as noted above, Canada has committed to directing no less than half of it’s bilateral international development assistance to sub-Saharan African countries by 2021–2022.

Canada promotes a coherent and collaborative approach to delivering international assistance in fragile contexts that are in line with best practices outlined in the UNWorld Bank’s 2018 Pathways for Peace report. Canada has taken concrete steps to enhance conflict sensitivity and Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) within its international assistance and across all action areas. This has allowed for greater understanding of how international assistance and conflict dynamics interact, in order to more effectively target the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, mitigate risk and maximize effectiveness.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides an essential framework for Canada’s approach to international assistance. The 2030 Agenda comprises 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including 169 targets and more than 230 indicators. These Goals are interrelated and indivisible, and strike a balance between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In September 2019, the UN Secretary General launched the Decade of Action to accelerate progress on the SDGs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and related crises have exacerbated vulnerable situations and increased the challenges countries face in achieving the 2030 Agenda. Despite these challenges, Canada remains firmly committed to working toward achieving the SDGs both domestically and internationally, and to using the 2030 Agenda to provide a people-centred response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Both the Feminist International Assistance Policy and the 2030 Agenda recognize the central role gender equality plays in building a more sustainable, peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. Likewise, Canada’s overarching Feminist Foreign Policy, the Inclusive Trade Agenda, and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security also support the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

To coordinate Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the federal government established an SDG Unit in 2018, housed at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The SDG Unit has developed a national 2030 Agenda strategy, which builds upon the 2019 interim report Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy. ESDC also launched the SDG Funding Program in December 2018 to strengthen partnerships with organizations and foster initiatives that promote the SDGs in Canada. As of March 2020, the Program has funded 66 projects, providing a total of approximately $6.1 million to implement the SDGs in Canada.

Responsibility for Canada’s international implementation of the 2030 Agenda falls to GAC. In 2019–2020, Canadian ministers and senior officials participated in the annual UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, contributing to global discussions and highlighting efforts to achieve the SDGs. Canada continued to co-lead the UN’s Group of Friends of SDG Financing with Jamaica. This group gathers representatives from more than 50 countries, along with the UN, World Bank and the private sector, to consider solutions to unlocking the financing needed to achieve the SDGs.

Measuring progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals

The Government of Canada is committed to reporting on the implementation of the SDGs using robust data. Statistics Canada is responsible for measuring and reporting on SDG indicators, as well as for collecting, collating, analyzing, presenting and disseminating data regarding Canada’s progress toward the 2030 Agenda. To this end, Statistics Canada has developed an interactive Sustainable Development Goals data hub for disseminating Canada’s SDG data.

In 2019–2020, Statistics Canada also continued to participate in several international expert groups focused on measuring progress toward the SDGs, such as the UN Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators and the UN Economic Commission for Europe Steering Group on Statistics for SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goals

Action Areas

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is fundamental to realizing human rights, eradicating poverty, and achieving sustainable development and peace. It is also the core action area of the Feminist International Assistance Policy and a strategic focus across all action areas. Women and girls can be powerful agents of change, but due to pervasive gender inequality in many parts of the world they still face violence, discrimination and socio-economic marginalization. Canada has made it a priority to advance gender equality and accelerate its progress so that all people, regardless of their sex, gender identity or expression, can enjoy the same opportunities and reach their full potential.

Canada’s international assistance efforts focus on addressing fundamental and multi-dimensional challenges that act as barriers to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. They do this through 3 pathways:

  • addressing sexual and gender-based violence including child, early and forced marriages, and female genital mutilation and cutting
  • supporting and strengthening women’s organizations and movements that advance women’s rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls
  • supporting evidence-based policy-making and program delivery for gender equality

Women and girls everywhere need to enjoy equal rights, decision-making power and full control over their lives and resources. To ensure this becomes a reality, Canada continues to work with its partners to support initiatives across all regions.

For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser. To learn more about Canada’s approach see its gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls action area policy.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

Graham Crouch © Girls not Brides

Canada works with Canadian, international, and local partners to build knowledge and capacity in developing countries to address persistent barriers to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. It also supports the implementation of strategies and programs—including those of women’s rights organizations and public institutions—to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, close gender gaps, and promote social change that fosters gender equality.

In 2019–2020, Canada invested $241 million in international assistance, of which $238 million was ODA, in dedicated efforts addressing one or more of the three pathways mentioned above. Since gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls drive efforts across all action areas, other issues are reported separately under their relevant action areas (such as women’s economic empowerment, quality education for women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health and rights).

When all action areas are factored in, $3 billion (or 97%) of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance investments in 2019–2020 either targeted or integrated gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The 5 countries receiving the most assistance under this action area were Bangladesh, Ukraine, Jordan, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Overall, Canada’s initiatives in 2019–2020 have:

  • enhanced awareness, access to services and enforcement of laws related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and child, early and forced marriage
  • increased influence and decision-making power for girls and young women on matters that affect them and their future
  • increased the effectiveness of local and national women’s rights organizations and networks to drive change and hold governments accountable
  • strengthened evidence-based practices to measure the incidence of SGBV, understand barriers to justice and develop prevention and response strategies

In 2019–20, 28,946,027 people (9,927,691 women; 202,787 men; 18,815,549 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that help prevent, respond to and end sexual and gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage and/or female genital mutilation.Footnote 15

868 women’s organizations and women’s networks (international and local) advancing women’s rights and gender equality received support for programming and/or institutional strengthening. GAC invested $146 million in 2019–2020 for that purpose. This includes $105 million of a $300 million contribution to the Equality Fund to establish a sustainable source of funding to strengthen women’s organizations and movements in developing countries through a unique partnership between government, philanthropy, private sector and civil society actors.Footnote 16

One of Canada’s flagship initiatives under this action area is the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Program. It supports grassroots women’s organizations and networks that advance gender equality and the rights and empowerment of women and girls. In 2019–2020, the program began to disburse multi-year grants to support women’s rights organizations (WRO) operations and programming, as well as fast, responsive grants to address urgent women’s rights issues. Implementing partners began to work with grantee organizations to develop organizational growth plans. These plans help WROs to strengthen their governance, management, fundraising, and safety and security operations. As the below examples from Nigeria, Pan-Africa, Haiti and the Ukraine show, increased access to funding and strengthened operations has allowed these organizations and women’s movements to more effectively advocate for women’s and girls’ rights. While next year’s report will present in-depth results, it is already evident that flexible funding provided through the WVL program during the COVID-19 pandemic helped grassroots WROs stay open, advocate for women’s rights and meet increased demand for health and basic services.

Sub-Saharan Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, Canada is advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through WVL projects in 13 countries and a Pan-Africa WVL project. In 2019–2020, Women’s Voice and Leadership – Pan-Africa, implemented by the African Women’s Development Fund, provided $896,979 in grants to 7 women’s rights organizations working in 19 African countries to address the significant gap in funding and support to women’s rights organizations and movements across Africa. These grants allowed organizations to expand their women’s rights advocacy activities and to strengthen their monitoring, evaluation and learning for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The Women’s Voice and Leadership – Nigeria Project provided $250,852 in grants to 28 local women’s rights organizations. This helped them to strengthen their organizational capacity and achieve greater program reach. Small rapid-response funding totalling $41,307 was also provided to address other urgent issues, such as advocating for justice in high-profile cases of gender-based violence and protesting police brutality against women’s rights defenders.

Studies have identified male inclusion as a particular gap in efforts to advance gender equality. Canada’s work in Mali is trying to address this gap. One important aspect of the gender equality strategy of Women’s Voice and Leadership – Mali Project is to target men and boys as allies in the fight for gender equality. Men and boys are engaged to change gendered power dynamics and achieve more equitable gender norms and peaceful outcomes through training in positive masculinity. Local organizations also received technical support to integrate feminist principles and gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation practices in their work for the defence of women’s and girls’ rights. In 2019–2020, 19 local organizations dedicated to defending the rights of women and girls were able to increase their capacity to deliver quality programming. In addition, 95% of the targeted local organizations have planned gender-equality policy and/or training activities on positive masculinities.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supported researchers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal in identifying several barriers to justice for women, especially rural women who are victims of sexual abuse. These barriers include feelings of shame, legal costs, and long wait times associated with complaints, in addition to fear that claims will be dismissed. Once these barriers were identified, researchers worked with community members and authorities to shift norms around sexual violence and provide access to the institutional channels and mechanisms needed to secure justice. For the past 8 years, IDRC has supported researchers and civil-society advocates in Senegal to end gender-based violence. In fact, this investment helped to shape a new law in Senegal that criminalizes rape and pedophilia.

In 2019, a Senegal country program evaluation confirmed that while gender equality was an important part of Canada’s programming prior to the Feminist International Assistance Policy, the Policy served as an important tool for communicating Canada’s position even more clearly. The evaluation found that Canada had successfully promoted the integration of gender-equality considerations in several national Senegalese reforms and public policy documents.

Americas

Country: Bangladesh © World Food Programme

Women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to face inequality, discrimination and violence. With this in mind, Canada promotes gender equality across the region through initiatives focused on:

  • preventing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)
  • combatting discrimination
  • preventing the violation of the rights of women and girls
  • increasing access to justice
  • delivering psychological support to victims of SGBV

For example, through its participation in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Canada encouraged member states to adopt 23 institutional measures to combat discrimination and violence against women, girls, and lesbian, gay and bisexual, transgender, two-spirit and intersex (LGBTQ2I) people, as well as to prevent violations of their rights and increase their access to justice. As a result of these steps, approximately 300 women and girls throughout Latin America received protective measures.

Canada also supported a number of key projects that helped change social norms regarding the rights and empowerment of women and girls in the region. The Women’s Voice and Leadership Project – Haiti provided 18 women’s rights organizations with rapid and responsive funding to conduct awareness and advocacy activities to counter violence that targets people with disabilities, and workshops on psychological assistance for women survivors of gender-based violence and women’s rights. The project reached 3,063 people as part of a 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign in late 2019. The project also pivoted in response to COVID-19 by reallocating support to 13 women’s organizations to raise awareness of issues, such as gender-based violence in the context of the pandemic, and to enable them to provide services adapted to women.

In Nicaragua, Canada continued to support the Protecting Girls and Adolescents from Sexual Violence, Teenage Pregnancies and Early Unions project, implemented in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund. In 2019–2020, the project developed a successful social-media campaign that educated the public about the consequences of young girls’ marriages or unions with older men and violent courtships among young people.

Canada also made a significant contribution to the Creating Opportunities and Preventing Adolescent Unaccompanied Migration from Honduras project, implemented by Save the Children Canada. In 2019–2020, this project provided training in gender equality to 1,284 children, 73 teachers, 391 caregivers in 2 communities, and 17 government officials. Teachers who received the training went on to promote respectful, non-discriminatory relationships and a culture of peace to an additional 2,352 students.

In Guatemala, Canada’s support for Women’s Rights and Gender-Sensitive Justice project helped the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office to establish a local crimes-investigation office in October 2019. Indigenous women had advocated for this office for years, and it now provides victims with decentralized access to justice and reparations. Within the first 5 months of operations, 14 formal complaints of violence against women had already been received and investigated.

Asia-Pacific

Many vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls across the Asia-Pacific region struggle to become economically independent and have their voices heard. Canada continued to support initiatives and strengthen partnerships with women’s organizations that advance women’s rights and empowerment in the region. For example, by working with UN Women, Canada helped to promote gender equality and the social and economic empowerment of female market-vendors in 20 markets across Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The project uses a rights-based approach to address the multiple hurdles that women market-vendors face. These include violence against women, and barriers to their leadership and political participation, economic agency and voice, and access to finance. The project also works to increase women’s voices and participation in climate change and disaster-preparedness including participation in infrastructure, resilience and disaster preparedness activities.

Through the Support to Decentralized Governance project in Myanmar, 2,802 key political stakeholders, 36% of whom were women, were trained to assess the impact of federal policies on women and girls. This training increased awareness of gender-sensitive federal governance issues and the need to translate democratic and federal principles into policy.

In Vietnam, Canada helped increase economic opportunities and improve social well-being for girls and women by playing a lead role in advancing the benefits for women in the impact-investment ecosystem. In 2019, Canada commissioned the Vietnam Impact Investment Landscape Report to identify challenges and opportunities to foster and support gender-lens investing—the process of investing with the intent of addressing gender issues or promoting gender equality. For example, it could mean investing in women-owned or -led enterprises, companies that promote workplace equity, or products and services that improve the lives of women and girls.

Canada is working to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and child, early and forced marriage in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines. Oxfam Canada’s Creating Space to Take Action on Violence Against Women and Girls project brings together community leaders and youth to advance women’s leadership and rights. The project improves access to shelters, legal services, psychosocial support and economic opportunities for GBV survivors, and is helping to address child and early forced marriage. In Indonesia, the project helped mobilize public support for the ratification of Law No.16/2019 on Marriage, which raised the legal age of marriage for girls from 16 to 19. In Bangladesh, it enabled 297 GBV survivors to receive legal aid and health-care services. The project also helped women leaders in Pakistan to demand compliance with existing laws on child marriage, thereby reducing the rate of violence against women and girls in targeted provinces.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to focus on advancing women’s rights and empowerment, and reducing sexual and gender-based violence in Ukraine, the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. For example, the Women’s Voice and Leadership – Ukraine project, implemented by the Ukrainian Women Fund (UWF), took its first steps toward a more cohesive and organized national women’s rights movement. UWF trained 20 regional and 5 thematic partners in project management, reporting and results-based management. The project provided 20 organizations with direct funding to build their capacity as regional women’s rights resource centres, implement activities to strengthen the regional women’s movement, and integrate diverse women’s groups and activists into the national women’s movement. A further 265 organizations and activists also participated in consultations to set priorities for future funding grants.

The Canada-supported Enhanced Prevention and Intervention in Cases of Violence Against Women and Girls in Morocco project, implemented by UN Women, helped design a training program for Moroccan police officers on international norms and standards around caring for women victims of violence. The training is significantly improving police services for women and girls in the country. It enabled the General Directorate of National Security to adopt an action plan to assist women victims of violence in the region.

In Iraq, Canada helped fund the Future Forward: The Iraqi Women’s Leadership Initiative, led by Heartland Alliance International. It successfully provided services to 6,922 women—including survivors of gender-based violence—at resource centres in Baghdad, Basra, Duhok, Muthanna and Sulaymaniyah. The 5 centres supported social and economic protection for women by providing legal and mediation services, psychosocial support services and skills-building opportunities to increase their livelihoods. Over 2 years, 4,255 women received mental health and psychosocial support services in response to incidences of gender-based violence through outreach teams and the resource centres. The centres also provided legal services to 2,562 women, helping them to obtain civil documentation, file domestic abuse complaints and access government social services and benefits.

Multi-regional

The year 2020 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference for Women and the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing+25). In 2019–2020, UN Women established the Generation Equality Forum as part of the Beijing+25 commemoration to identify solutions to common barriers to gender equality, generate renewed action and counter backlash. To accelerate progress toward gender equality and the Agenda 2030, Canada also helped draft a 5-year blueprint for all 6 Action Coalitions. As a participant in this Forum, Canada submitted an expression of interest in early 2020 to co-lead the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership. Although the Forum has been postponed until June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada will co-lead the Action Coalition and work with the Netherlands, Malawi, civil society organizations, youth-led organizations and other key stakeholders.

Canada helped promote efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls through its support of the United Nations Trust Fund on Violence Against Women. In 2019, Canada worked with this multilateral, grant-making organization to support 79 projects in 47 countries aimed at preventing and ending violence against women and girls. One project is in partnership with the Nepal Disabled Women Association, part of a consortium working to confront the growth of violence against women and girls with disabilities and empower women and girls with disabilities to prevent violence and achieve justice.

Canada supported the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage (Global Programme), which promotes the rights of adolescent girls to avert marriage and pregnancy, and enables them to reach their goals through education and alternative pathways. Through this program, Canada helped combat child marriage in 12 countries with the highest prevalence: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. In 2019–2020, more than 3.4 million girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years participated in at least one of the Global Programme’s targeted programs and 337,373 girls were able to enrol or remain in formal and non-formal education.

Economic empowerment initiatives with the Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group largely surpassed its target to reach 1.3 million women through its economic-empowerment initiatives. Between 2016 and 2019, 2.1 million women benefited from the program, with almost 900,000 reached in 2019 alone, which is twice as many as the previous year.

The IDB is also adopting innovative approaches to promote gender equality. For example, IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the IDB, has had a pilot project to help women studying in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics) start new ventures. Since 2018, the Women in STEM Entrepreneurship or WISE program has enabled 250 women to complete in-person entrepreneurship courses and provided mentoring support to nearly 100 women founders of tech-based start-ups. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the program has offered an online course (350 women were already participating in May 2020).

Improving women’s rights starts with strong grassroots organizations in Nigeria

Implemented by ActionAid Nigeria, the Women’s Voice and Leadership – Nigeria project directly supports at least 100 women’s rights organizations (WROs) and their networks in 6 states across Nigeria…

Empowering vulnerable girls in Lesotho: Libuse’s Story

Through the Pearl Program, Canada supports Help Lesotho’s work in empowering vulnerable girls to fulfill their potential…

Seeing child marriage through adolescent eyes

Unequal gender norms in many countries dictate that girls are more likely than boys to marry before the age of 18…

Human dignity

Respect for human dignity is central to protecting and promoting human rights for those who experience vulnerability, poverty or are affected by crisis. Advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls within the human dignity action area promotes respect for the human dignity of all people, while giving women and girls a voice as leaders and agents of change. Canada’s support for human dignity is achieved through 3 core areas:

  1. health and nutrition
  2. education
  3. gender-responsive humanitarian action

Health and nutrition

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Country: Myanmar © Allyse Pulliam

Life expectancy is increasing globally, and maternal and child mortality are decreasing. Despite this, global efforts to eradicate hunger (SDG 2) and ensure equal access to health care (SDG 3) continue to come up short. Canada’s investments to strengthen health systems and address infectious diseases made an important difference for our developing country partners. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is also highlighting global inequities when it comes to health. As the number of individuals affected by the virus continues to increase, already-weak health systems in developing countries are being strained, making it very difficult to maintain essential health services for many of the poorest and most vulnerable.

The pandemic is contributing to malnutrition and other health risks. Even prior to the pandemic, significant health disparities existed between and within countries, with malnutrition on the rise and diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis persisting. Stronger health systems improve health security and facilitate more equitable access to the essential services that remain unavailable to half the world’s population. At the same time, gender inequalities in health and nutrition, especially with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights, cannot be solely addressed by the health care systems. They also require changes in social norms and the social determinants of health, as well as a greater focus on intersectionality.

To help realize SDG 2 and 3, Canada is focusing its health and nutrition efforts on:

  • improving the quality and accessibility of health services for the most marginalized
  • increasing access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • improving gender-sensitive nutrition for the poorest and most marginalized

In 2019–2020, 3,163,798 people (2,326,166 women, 182,269 men, 655,363 gender not indicated) received access to sexual and reproductive health services, including modern methods of contraception.Footnote 17

Funding for contraceptives provided through UNFPA supplies helped to potentially avert 8 million unintended pregnancies and 2.3 million unsafe abortions in 2019. Beyond that, each year, every additional $10 million Canada spent on contraceptives resulted in 91,000 fewer unintended pregnancies and 25,000 fewer unsafe abortions.

9,546,183 people (8,530,372 women and girls; 852,053 men and boys; 163,758 gender not indicated) received micronutrient supplementation, including iron and folic acid. In 2019, 173,932,461 children received the recommended 2 doses of vitamin A through initiatives led by UNICEF and Nutrition International.Footnote 18

Under the MNCH commitment, Canada also improved the nutrition of more than 3.1 million pregnant women from 2016-2019. In 2019, Canada’s support to Nutrition International also provided 5,225,115 adolescent girls with iron-folic acid supplementation, averting 639,225 cases of anemia.

441,383 people (184,654 women; 54,943 men; 201,786 gender not indicated) benefited from gender-sensitive health and nutrition services.Footnote 19

Through its support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Canada helped immunize millions of children every year. In 2019, Canada’s support helped immunize 65 million children, which averted 1.5 million deaths.

For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser. To learn more about Canada’s approach see its health nutrition action area policy.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

Country: Sierra Leone © World Food Programme

Canada’s investments are helping to deliver better nutrition; improve access to immunization and reduce rates of infectious disease; make quality health services more accessible; and expand access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services. In 2019–2020, Canada invested $1,056.19 million in international assistance for health and nutrition initiatives, of which $1,055.99 million was ODA. The countries receiving the most assistance were Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Canada takes a comprehensive approach to health and nutrition—from addressing major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and polio to supporting nutrition programs and strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in early 2020, Canada responded by building on long-term investments in health systems and infectious-disease control in our partner countries. This included contributing to the World Health Organization in February 2020 to help vulnerable countries prepare for and, if necessary, respond to COVID-19.

In 2019–2020, Canada also reached 2 key milestones representing more than a decade of global leadership in health and nutrition: the completion of Canada’s commitment (from 2015 to 2020) of $3.5 billion toward maternal, newborn and child health, and its commitment (from 2017 to 2020) of $650 million toward sexual and reproductive health and rights through Her Voice, Her Choice. Projects in our partner countries under these commitments have contributed to:

  • decreases in maternal and child mortality
  • increased access to health care for births in health facilities
  • increased numbers of prenatal and postnatal visits, and births assisted by skilled attendants, as well as greater access to specialized care and equipment
  • increased access to contraception and family-planning services for women
  • fewer unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions
  • greater immunization coverage and reduced vaccine shortages
  • improved access to key nutritional supplements
  • improvements in the quality of health-care staff, including management and supervisory staff, nurses, midwives and doctors
  • improved national and local data systems

The evaluation of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Initiative demonstrated that Canada played a key leadership role in global action to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children. The evaluation found Canada was a respected donor with a positive track record in contributing to national-level policy dialogue and donor coordination.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Asad Zaidi © UNICEF

Women and children in sub-Saharan Africa continue to face barriers to accessing health services, particularly in the area of sexual and reproductive health. In 2019–2020, Canada continued its focus on supporting comprehensive sex education, family planning, safe and legal abortion, and post-abortion care. It also supported initiatives to advance nutrition and improve health facilities.

For example, Canada contributed to the Every Child Thrives project, led by effect:hope (The Leprosy Mission Canada). The project aims to reduce child mortality in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire by addressing 2 of the major causes of disease and death in children under 5 years: vitamin A deficiency and soil-transmitted helminths or intestinal-worm infections. As of March 2020, 14 mass drug-administration campaigns were completed in conjunction with the ministries of health in both Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya. These campaigns provided more than 7 million children under 5 years with vitamin A supplements (VAS) and deworming treatments. This helped reduce their risk of intestinal-worm infections and malnutrition—enabling them to grow strong and healthy.

Canada supported UNICEF to deliver VAS to 86.1 million children (aged 6 months to 5 years). The organization commissioned a review of gender equity in VAS coverage to identify ways to better integrate gender equality into future programming. In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada’s support to the Jane Goodall Institute enabled 13,772 pregnant mothers to access pre-natal care at least 4 times during their pregnancies.

In Tanzania, Canada continued to be a leading donor in the health sector. In 2019–2020, Canadian assistance focused primarily on empowering women and girls to make decisions about their health, while addressing behavioural barriers to sexual and reproductive health and rights. For example, Canada worked with Marie Stopes Tanzania (MST) to reduce unintended pregnancies and improve women’s and girls’ access to youth-friendly, life-saving, reproductive-health services. With Canada’s support, MST was able to exceed its annual targets in 2019–2020, averting 377 maternal deaths, 175,982 unintended pregnancies and 43,828 unsafe abortions.

In Mozambique, Canada’s assistance is enhancing the capacity of Mozambique’s public service to manage and expand the delivery of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services. For example, Canada is supporting Pathfinder International to provide rights-based, gender-sensitive, youth-friendly contraceptive, abortion and sexual and gender-based violence services. As of March 2020, 1,389 health providers from 86 health facilities were trained in responding to sexual and gender-based violence, family planning, safe abortion and post-abortion care. Community-health workers also referred a total of 11,839 women and adolescent girls to health facilities for contraception, abortion and post-abortion care, and for support to address gender-based violence.

From January to July 2020, Canada was the co-chair of the donor-government health thematic group in Mali. Canadian officials helped coordinate technical and financial partners, improve the effectiveness of assistance to the health sector and increase access to quality basic health services for all, particularly women. For example, through its sectoral budget support in sexual and reproductive health, Canada helped to increase access to quality services for more than 600,000 people in Mali, including more than 485,000 women. Its support also helped to increase the rate of births attended by skilled personnel from 38% in 2018 to 42% in 2019.

As part of its institutional support to the African Union (AU), in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada provided support to the AU specialized health agency, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, to supply equipment—including N95 masks—and to strengthen the testing capacities of local laboratories.

As a member and annual contributor to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Canada directly supports the Using Digital Health Services to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals in the Africa Region project. In collaboration with WHO Africa, this project helps member states make better use of Information and Communications Technologies in delivering health services to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all Africans. The ITU and WHO’s Be He@lthy, Be Mobile Initiative is also working with 11 countries to tackle health issues such as cervical cancer, diabetes and tobacco use. To date, more than 3.5 million people have benefited from this program.

Americas

Many Latin American youth lack access to the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information they need to live happy and healthy lives. In 2019–2020, Canada created innovative solutions to fill this gap. It supported initiatives to improve the knowledge and skills of health professionals to provide adolescents with information on HIV and pregnancy. Legal professionals, such as judges, prosecutors and police, received SRHR training since both legal and health professionals play a part in helping victims of gender-based violence and in informing policies to improve access to justice and SRHR services.

In Honduras, Canada partnered with the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Children to eliminate the legal barriers that prevent adolescents and youth from accessing SRHR services. Canada supported a range of tech-supported innovations to promote SRHR. More than 5,000 Honduran youth were reached through apps such as “Yo Decido” (I decide). Youth were provided SRHR information through “virtual reality booths” at 24 Canadian-funded youth-friendly clinics through “The route of dreams: learning on wheels,” a mobile virtual classroom that travelled across remote areas of Honduras.

Canada supported initiatives in Bolivia to address the country’s high rates of adolescent pregnancy, maternal mortality and sexual violence. In 2019–2020, these initiatives:

  • strengthened youth participation and SRHR awareness at the community level, with 22 municipal adolescent networks organizing social-advocacy initiatives (such as cultural events, marches, debates, wall paintings and webinars) that reached 1,714 adolescents
  • supported 364 adolescents to become leaders among their peers in accessing SRHR
  • trained health professionals from 143 facilities to improve their knowledge and skills on comprehensive care for adolescents
  • provided basic information on HIV and pregnancy to 1,200 adolescents

Poor diet in Latin America continues to be a major contributing factor to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, which are responsible for three out of every four deaths in the region. Research supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has been influential in promoting nutritional warning labels on the front of processed food packaging in the region. For example, IDRC funded researchers in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala and Peru to show how food marketing targeted to children has specific gender-oriented strategies for promoting unhealthy food and beverage options.

Through the Scaling up Maternal Newborn Child Health project in Guatemala, Canada worked with the Tula Foundation to improve access to, and use of, community health data through an eHealth platform. It supported training in the use of this platform for 279 health personnel, resulting in 442,348 calls for clinical support. In addition, 3,775 community health workers and personnel were able to graduate from distance-education programs.

In Haiti, the Strengthening the Midwifery Profession and Practice in Haiti project created a call centre to support pregnant women during their pregnancy. The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières is one of the project’s key partners. The “ALO SAJ FANM” platform provides information on pregnancy, childbirth, pre-natal and post-natal consultations, as well as on family planning, and reproductive and sexual health services. Both men and women can access this telephone service, which strengthens their ties to health institutions. As a national program, it ensures that people living in both urban and rural communities have access to this support.

Asia-Pacific

Canada continued to make health and nutrition programming in the Asia-Pacific region a priority in 2019–2020, with a particular focus on strengthening local and national health systems, reducing the burden of disease and strengthening SRHR. For example, support for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Health Action Plan for Afghanistan project enabled 112 female nurses and midwives to complete their professional training this year. These women returned to their communities where they provided much-needed health care to rural and remote regions. Through Canada’s support, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s health programming increased the proportion of health facilities staffed with at least one female health worker. In 2019, 97% of facilities had a female health worker, compared to just 74% in 2012.

In Pakistan, Canada is helping empower girls and women in low-income communities though TB REACH, a partnership that fosters innovative approaches to fight the tuberculosis epidemic. In 2019–2020, the initiative provided leadership and training courses to 3,700 adolescent girls, focusing on health prevention and promotion, stigma reduction and referrals to social support programs.

Through the Inclusive Democratic Development in Burma project in Myanmar, Canada helped provide health care to more than 450,000 patients, 57% of whom were women or girls. Canada’s support to the Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) for Vulnerable Populations project also enabled approximately 1,065 Myanmarese women and girls to access quality SRHR services.

To respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian-supported Livelihoods and Food Security Fund quickly shifted focus to prevent the spread of the virus in conflict areas of Myanmar and in the Rohingya internally displaced-person camps. For example, through the Fund, Save the Children was able to procure 90,000 soap units to distribute across 33 villages and 4 internally displaced-person camps. The International Labour Organization also distributed COVID-19 information materials such as pamphlets, billboards, posters and prevention kits with surgical mask, paracetamol, soap and hand gel to 5,500 households in 34 target villages across Myanmar. As part of COVID-19 prevention measures in Bangladesh, Canada’s support helped the SAFE Plus intervention program to provide unconditional cash transfers to 10,507 households—92% of which were female-headed—to enable them to buy essential items during the pandemic.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Canada continued to support initiatives that address health inequalities experienced by the poorest and most vulnerable in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In Morocco, Canada focused on the SRHR of women and girls, while supporting education on this issue, including providing vocational and technical training. For example, Canada’s support to the Strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Girls in Morocco project, implemented by the UN Population Fund, helped develop a national health-policy statement related to SRHR and gender equality. This allowed 2,050 young women and men to learn about SRHR and social norms that discriminate against women and girls. In addition, 500 Moroccan women were screened for cervical and breast cancer and 500 people were screened for HIV and syphilis. The project allowed 114 victims of gender-based violence (GBV) in Fez to receive support and guidance in their legal procedures. The project also organized 2 awareness caravans on GBV and child marriage, which provided information to 1,000 people.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Canada promoted the reduction of neonatal mortality and all forms of GBV. For example, Canada’s support to the Reducing Neonatal Mortality in Gaza project, implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), helped to procure essential life-saving drugs and medical supplies for 11 hospitals and clinics, including 6 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and 5 maternity hospitals and clinics. It helped to provide post-natal home-visiting services for high-risk pregnant and lactating women and newborn babies who are unable to access services in hospitals. A total of 193,060 vulnerable people—including 78,990 high-risk women, 102,630 young children, and 11,440 newborns—received quality health care services from maternity hospitals, clinics and NICUs. Additionally, UNICEF’s implementing partner delivered post-natal home-visiting services to 990 women who gave birth in hospital.

Multi-regional
Advancing the health rights of women and girls

Country: Myanmar © Bithun Sarkar, CARE

Evaluations of Canada’s international assistance have found that gender equality is a priority among staff who are encouraged to apply a feminist lens to their work. For instance, the Evaluation of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Initiative found that positive changes have been made in integrating gender equality into programming design.

To help promote gender equality, Canada hosted the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, in June 2019. As the world’s largest conference on the health, rights and well-being of women and girls, it brought together more than 8,000 in-person and 100,000 remote delegates from some 165 countries, including world leaders, influencers, academics, activists and journalists. During the conference, Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s plan to increase funding to support the health of women and girls around the world to $1.4 billion annually starting in 2023.

Canada is leading the push for the health rights of women and girls through its participation and support for a range of key initiatives. For example, Canada is a leading partner in Family Planning 2020, a global movement that supports SRHR, and Every Woman, Every Child, a movement to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world. Canada is also a champion of She Decides, which conducts global advocacy for the SRHR of women and girls. In 2019, Canada renewed its partnership with the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and agreed to be a lead SUN Group member. Canada is using this position to advocate for a stronger focus on the nutritional needs of women and girls, and to enhance coordination and alignment among donors and recipient governments.

In 2019–2020, Canada funded numerous organizations to support sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Supplies Thematic Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stopes International (MSI), Population Services International and Ipas. This funding has improved access to family planning and safe and legal abortion, as well as post-abortion care for underserved women and girls in Africa and Latin America. In 2019, support from Canada and other donors enabled UNFPA Supplies to provide contraceptives that potentially averted:

  • 8 million unintended pregnancies
  • 152,000 child deaths
  • 24,000 maternal deaths
  • 2.3 million unsafe abortions

In Senegal and Kenya, Canada’s support to MSI also averted 45,301 unintended pregnancies and 13,244 unsafe abortions. In Kenya, Togo and Bolivia, the 3 IPPF member associations running Comprehensive Sexuality Education Regional Centres of Excellence provided almost 202,500 sexual and reproductive health services to young people, 75% of whom were young women.

Plan International Canada’s Strengthening Health Outcomes for Women and Children project helped 1.5 million women and girls in Bangladesh, Ghana, Haiti, Nigeria and Senegal to access skilled nurses and safe facilities for labour and delivery. The World Vision Canada ENRICH project has also enabled the roll out of various multi-sectoral community-based interventions, which have led to 680 fewer deaths in target communities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Kenya and Tanzania.

Securing the financing to provide women and children with the health services they need can be a challenge in many developing countries. Canada is a founding member and leading funder of the Global Financing Facility (GFF), which tries to address this problem. Canada has committed to providing the organization a total of $440 million by 2023, which will help partner countries prioritize and scale up investments to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition. Of the 22 partner countries investing in these areas for more than one year, 86% were on track to meet their outcomes. In addition, SRHR indicators improved in all countries for which these areas were prioritized.

Malnutrition continues to be a critical issue around the world. To address this, Canada remains committed to partnerships with organizations such as Nutrition International (NI). It is dedicated to tackling malnutrition in all its forms for the most vulnerable and, in 2019–2020, its programs provided weekly iron and folic acid to more than 5 million girls in 10 countries/regions (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania and the Sahel). NI programs also provided iron and folic acid supplements to almost 2 million additional pregnant women, reached 233 million people with fortified food, and provided 173 million children with 2 doses of vitamin A.

Two African Development Bank Group (AfDB) programs, Feed Africa and Improve the Quality of Life of Africans, are improving the health and nutrition of those in the region. In 2019, 35% of the Bank's approvals went toward supporting health and nutrition programming. The AfDB reported that 10.1 million people benefited from improved access to water and sanitation, while 20.3 million people benefited from improved agricultural techniques and technologies, and from the building of 3,919 km of feeder roads. The Bank also developed products that supported areas such as nutrition and health, including a plan for achieving self-sufficiency for rice farming in Africa and a study that recognized food safety as a development imperative that needs multi-sectoral action. It also produced publications addressing urbanization, including creating livable cities and better managing the delivery of basic services in areas that are increasingly urbanizing.

Working globally to eradicate disease

Canada continues to provide assistance to help eradicate epidemic diseases in partner countries. With Canada’s support, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has saved 38 million lives since 2002. In 2019, Global Fund programs providing antiretroviral drugs to over 20 million people living with HIV, treatment for 5.7 million people with TB and distributed more than 160 million bed nets to help prevent malaria. Deaths caused by the 3 diseases have dropped by nearly half since the peak of the epidemics in countries where the Global Fund invests. The world has made progress in expanding testing and treatment towards UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 targets. At the end of 2019, 9 countries in which the Global Fund invests—Botswana, Cambodia, Eswatini, Namibia, Rwanda, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe—had achieved this target.

Building on the increased political commitment emerging from the UN High-Level Meeting on the Fight Against TB in 2018, the percentage of people with TB “missed” by health systems—people who go undiagnosed, untreated and unreported—dropped significantly from nearly 40% in 2017 to around 30% in 2018.

In the fight against malaria, the number of deaths worldwide continues to decline—from 585,000 in 2010 to 405,000 in 2018. Since 2016, 6 countries—Algeria, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan—have been certified by WHO as malaria-free, and other countries are getting closer to this milestone. However, the reductions in malaria mortality rates and number of malaria cases slowed markedly in this reporting period. In 2019, Global Fund investments strengthened South Africa’s new 3-year plan to tackle gender inequality and human rights barriers to HIV and tuberculosis services. The Global Fund also set aside up to US$1 billion to help countries fight COVID-19, as well as to bolster health systems and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on HIV, TB and malaria programs.

Through its support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Canada contributed to immunizing more than 760 million children against deadly and infectious diseases and 3.9 million adolescent girls against cervical cancer. As COVID-19 spread across the globe in early 2020, Gavi also worked to maintain ongoing immunization programs while setting aside US$200 million to respond to the pandemic. Canada’s contribution to Gavi, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and other partners such as UNICEF and WHO, helped to fight polio and bring the disease closer to eradication. In fact, Nigeria, one of the few countries where polio still existed, was recently declared polio-free. The GPEI’s global infrastructure and expertise in vaccination campaigns, disease surveillance, contact tracing and outbreak response are also playing a critical role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on in the pandemic, GPEI quickly repurposed 3,600 workers to address the crisis, as well as its logistical capacity, laboratories and communication systems in 52 countries.

The island doctor: A role model for health care workers

Dr. Ng’wasi Simiyu is the head of the maternity ward at Nansio hospital on Ukerewe Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from the Tanzanian shore of Lake Victoria…

Hamida Abdallah Sebe: Volunteering to save her community in Kenya

Through effect:hope’s Every Child Thrives project in Kenya, Hamida Abdallah Sebe is able to make a real difference in her community…

Delivering healthy futures in Bangladesh

Through the Healthy Futures Project in Bangladesh, 18-year-old Bithi was chosen as a peer educator with Plan International Canada in 2016…

Education

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Country: Sierra Leone © World Food Programme

The right to a quality education is integral to improving human dignity and is a means through which all other rights are realized. The Feminist International Assistance Policy commits Canada to supporting access to quality education for the poorest and most vulnerable, with a focus on women and girls. Despite global progress, barriers to accessing education persist and are deeply rooted in power dynamics and social inequalities.

Gaps in knowledge, limited access to evidence and weak systems to support innovations are at the root of the challenges facing education systems in many parts of the world. These constraints, which include insufficient teacher training, a lack of gender equity, inadequate learning processes and the absence of data to inform planning, are barriers to achieving SDG 4. Addressing these barriers is critical to ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education, and to promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Canada is taking action to address gaps in the governance and accountability of national education systems and to create and implement gender-responsive solutions.

Canada’s overall approach to education focuses on:

  • improving gender-responsive quality education
  • increasing access to gender-responsive, demand-driven and quality skills-development
  • improving gender-responsive quality education and skills-development in conflict, crisis and fragile settings

For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser. To learn more about Canada’s approach, see its education action area policy.

33,796 teachers (24,121 women; 9,632 men; 43 gender not indicated), were trained according to national standards.Footnote 20

GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 31,656 teachers trained (12,880 women; 16,392 men, 2,384 gender not indicated).

17,532 schools have implemented changes to create welcoming spaces that respond to the specific needs of girls.Footnote 21

GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners also contributed to supporting 38,444 additional schools that have implemented welcoming spaces that respond to the specific needs of girls.

42,310 people (18,105 women; 16,611 men; 7,594 gender not indicated) graduated in demand-driven, technical and vocational education and training.Footnote 22

Through GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners, 107,692 people graduated from demand-driven, technical and vocational education and training.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

In 2019–2020, Canada invested $450.48 million in international assistance toward education initiatives, $448.79 million of which was ODA. The top recipients were Afghanistan, Jordan, Bangladesh, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mozambique.

Canada remains focused on increasing access to education for vulnerable populations, including those in fragile and conflict-affected states, and improving literacy outcomes and levels of educational attainment. This past year, it funded key projects that improved education for women and girls, including skills and employability of graduates from technical and vocational training programs. In particular, Canada worked with international, national, multilateral and local partners to promote the benefits of education for women and girls by:

  • supporting the development and improvement of textbooks and curricula that are free of gender stereotypes
  • building or maintaining safe educational facilities for girls, including ensuring that schools have safe water and separate toilets for girls and boys, and that girls have access to appropriate menstrual hygiene, health information and sanitary products at school
  • preventing and responding to school-related sexual and gender-based violence
  • advocating for and supporting access to early education (pre-primary) and secondary education, as well as better access to education in environments where Canada is delivering humanitarian assistance
  • providing life skills, technical and vocational education and training, and training for marginalized women and youth, including in non-traditional and better-paying fields such as mechanical engineering, refrigerator and air-conditioner repair, and pipe-refitting

Canada is making progress in this action area through the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries. Adopted in June 2018, during Canada’s G7 presidency, it addresses many of the barriers preventing girls and women from accessing quality education and skills training. As part of its $400 million commitment to the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education, Canada provided support to more than 45 projects across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East in 2019–2020. These projects are transforming the communities where they are being delivered by supporting girls’ and women’s education and skills training, and by addressing GBV. Over the next 3 years, it is expected that 3.77 million girls and women will be reached through these initiatives, including refugees, displaced persons and those with disabilities.

Sub-Saharan Africa

In Senegal, Canada played a key role in bringing about systemic and transformative change in the education sector by providing technical assistance to the Ministry of National Education to bolster its institutional capacity to efficiently manage public funds and deliver inclusive, gender-sensitive services. Canada worked to ensure the safety and well-being of Senegalese children in schools by supporting educational and child protection institutions to promote a healthy environment for every child in and around school.

Canada directly contributed to building Senegal’s skilled workforce by supporting the development of its vocational and technical training sector. Canada worked with the Ministry of Employment, Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Insertion to develop and implement gender strategies and action plans in schools, launch public information campaigns supporting better access and retention of girls in vocational training programs, create networks of women teachers and gender offices in regions across the country, and undertake joint actions to help women integrate into the job market.

In Mozambique, Canada supported efforts to improve school access and retention rates through the Advancing Quality Education and School-Related Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights project. This project was delivered through a combination of sector budget support to the Ministry of Education and Human Development and targeted support through UNICEF. Sector budget support provided by Canada and other donors enhanced the capacity of the Ministry of Education to provide 6.9 million children in grades 1 through 6—3.3 million of whom were girls—with access to quality education. In 2019, the project helped train 5,748 teacher graduates and 1,643 school directors, and provided more than 15 million textbooks. Through support to UNICEF, Mozambique was able to help achieve a school-retention rate of 94% in targeted schools in that country. UNICEF also trained more than 3,600 school-council members to monitor teacher and student absenteeism. In the Tete and Zambezia provinces, it also helped reduce violence against children, early pregnancy and child marriage as well as the number of school dropouts. Since 2018, 11,550 students have benefited from gender-sensitive sanitation facilities that UNICEF has helped build in 33 schools as well as water supply facilities in 24 schools that have helped more than 8,400 children.

The Improving Girls’ Rights to Education in Niger project, implemented by UNICEF, aims to eliminate barriers to girls’ access to education. To date, the project has helped 1,200 children who have dropped out or never been to school (70% of whom were girls) to register for accelerated training through a bridging course. During the project’s first phase in 2019–2020, at least 20,085 decentralized school-management committees, 2,013 traditional and religious leaders, and 578 municipal federations of decentralized school-management committees were consulted and mobilized to highlight the importance of education and of enabling girls to stay in school.

Americas

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada continues to work toward improving access to education and increasing the number of girls in school. For example, through UNICEF’s Integrating Venezuelan children in Peru project, Canada has helped 21,831 Venezuelan children and adolescents gain access to gender-sensitive and inclusive education in Peruvian schools. In addition, 7,440 Peruvian education officials were trained on the importance of a gender-sensitive and inclusive education. Canada’s support also helped improve the delivery of health and protection services in the region, which directly benefited 145,350 Venezuelan and Peruvian children and adolescents.

Through the Creating Opportunities and Preventing Adolescent Unaccompanied Migration from Honduras (CREO) project, implemented by Save the Children, Canada helped strengthen and improve the quality of vocational training. In collaboration with the National Institute for Professional Training, CREO used a gender-equality approach to convince 303 at-risk adolescents to stay in their communities instead of migrating. Another 145 adolescents received counselling, advice and information sessions around professional orientation, employability and youth entrepreneurship. Canada’s support helped break down barriers by encouraging older adolescent women to participate in non-traditional vocational training such as drywall construction and building iron structures.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to work with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to invest heavily in education in the Caribbean. Through ongoing CDB projects, 260 classrooms and educational-support facilities were built or upgraded across Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In addition, 2,384 teachers and principals received training or certification in 10 member countries (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname).

Asia-Pacific

Challenges such as long commutes to school and a lack of female teachers prevent many girls across the Asia-Pacific from accessing quality education. Canada continues to work with its partners to expand resources and break down these barriers. In particular, community-based education has proven to be an effective way to increase girls’ enrolment and attendance. In Afghanistan, Canada supported 3,372 out-of-school children—65% of whom were girls—to enrol and regularly attend community-based schools in 2019–2020. These schools were also staffed primarily by female teachers in remote and hard-to-reach areas.

In regions of Pakistan where women face low socio-economic status and high rates of illiteracy, Canada improved education outcomes for vulnerable girls by supporting the rehabilitation of 30 damaged and destroyed schools. In 2019–2020, the Canada-Pakistan Debt for Education Conversion Initiative contributed to strengthening teacher-training institutions to produce more qualified primary and middle-school teachers and to improve the quality of the training they receive. In particular, Canada’s support helped strengthen teachers’ abilities to deliver lessons, and apply early-childhood-education methodologies and assessment techniques.

To help children affected by the Rohingya crisis, Canada worked with its partners to provide informal education and psychosocial support to 112,000 children living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Canada also offered education support to 119,338 children from host communities in Bangladesh who have been negatively affected by the influx of Rohingya refugees.

Canada and Indonesia worked together in 2019–2020 to establish Indonesia as a regional centre of actuarial excellence. Through a $15 million project led by the University of Waterloo, and with co-financing from Manulife, actuarial science bachelor programs were introduced across the country. As a result, the number of actuarial science graduates in the country is increasing significantly, with 188 graduates—115 of whom are women—obtaining nationally recognized credentials in 2019. In addition, 9 partner universities and 187 companies have received technical assistance to develop co-operative programs in the field and 2 other Indonesian universities have pioneered cooperative education as a result of the project.

The Canada-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development program (SEED) provides students and midcareer professionals from ASEAN member states with the opportunity to apply for short-term studies or research in Canada in a field aligned with the 2030 Agenda and ASEAN’s development efforts. In 2019–2020, 138 new students from 7 ASEAN countries took advantage of the SEED program, studying in 32 Canadian post-secondary institutions across 8 provinces, bringing the total to 214 students, 60% of whom are female. In addition, during the summer of 2019, 4 Cambodian mid-career professionals participated in the pilot SEED mid-career program.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

In the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, Canada’s support helped ensure more than 500,000 Palestinian refugee children received a basic education through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In 2019, UNRWA continued to ensure gender parity in its schools, with female pupils representing 52% of enrolment. The percentage of students with disabilities receiving support almost doubled as a result of this support, increasing from 38% in 2018 to 72% in 2019.

Additional funding provided through Canada’s Middle East Strategy positioned Canada as one of the top education donors in Jordan where a young refugee population has placed immense strain on the country’s school system. Canada is providing direct budget support to the Ministry of Education to implement Jordan’s Education Strategic Plan, which aims to provide quality education to 1.4 million children enrolled in the country’s public schools. With Canada’s support, 1,771 school principals and supervisors received leadership training, 5,486 teachers received training on core teaching skills, and all of Jordan’s 3,800 public schools received financial support to implement their school-improvement plans.

Canada also supports the Accelerating Access Initiative, which has provided formal quality education to more than 136,000 Syrian refugee children enrolled in Jordan’s public schools and training to 4,102 teachers on core and advanced teaching skills. Support to education initiatives has also been a priority in Lebanon, where Canada has been a crucial supporter of the Lebanese government’s national Reaching All Children with Education plan.

The Support to the Education Access and Learning in Lebanon (RACE II) project, implemented by UNICEF, contributed to improving access to quality education for refugee and Lebanese children. With Canada’s support, the project helped develop a Child Protection Policy for Education in 2019–2020, which was rolled out in 435 public schools to address GBV and build a safe learning environment for both girls and boys. A Teacher Training Curriculum Model was also created based on a child-centred approach to teaching, with special attention to inclusion. This led to more than 17,000 teachers and educational staff receiving training on the new model. An Inclusive Education Program was also piloted in 30 Lebanese public schools enabling 5,454 children with disabilities, 38% of whom were girls, to access formal and non-formal education through support from special educators and specialized equipment and services.

Multi-regional

Canada is working to provide children in the poorest countries with access to quality education as a leading donor to Education Cannot Wait and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The GPE continues to mobilize global and national efforts to achieve equitable, quality education in close to 70 developing countries and fragile states. In 2019–2020, Canada contributed $100 million to the GPE. Since 2015, Canada’s support has helped an estimated 24.8 million students, almost 75% of whom were in countries affected by fragility and conflict, and almost half of whom were girls. Of these, nearly three quarters completed primary school and 52% completed lower secondary school. In 2019, the GPE reported that 69% of its partner countries were at, or close to, gender parity in primary-school completion and 54% were at, or close to, gender parity in secondary-school completion.

Along with the GPE, Canada’s International Development Research Centre is implementing the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) to strengthen national education systems in many developing countries. Through KIX, Canada is working with GPE’s partners to identify education-policy challenges, strengthen capacities and policy, and create thriving learning environments.

Education Cannot Wait (ECW), to which Canada contributed $50 million for 2018–2020, focuses on improving girls’ education in more than 30 countries in conflict, crisis or emergency situations. Its activities include providing learning materials and teacher training (including on how to offer psychosocial support to children and youth), and building and rehabilitating water and sanitation facilities and classrooms. Since it started in 2016, ECW has reached 3.5 million children, of whom 30% are refugees and 15% are displaced. In 2019–2020, the organization worked with 2.6 million children, 48% of whom were girls. It also provided financial support to 139,071 teachers or school administrators and built or rehabilitated 5,675 classrooms.

Supporting professional training overseas

© Paula Bronstein Getty

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is partnering with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to encourage girls and young women to enter careers in information and communications technology (ICT). In 2019, more than 100 countries—and approximately 20,000 girls—celebrated International Girls in ICT Day. The ITU, in partnership with UN Women, also launched coding camps and ICT training for young girls in Africa and the Americas. This training provided 532 young girls in Africa with digital literacy, coding and personal-development skills, and the Americas Girls CanCode initiative also taught 300 girls how to code.

Having accurate data is critical in assessing where support is needed and in measuring the progress of programs. For this reason, Canada is helping to ensure that its partner countries have the expertise needed to collect and make effective use of data. In 2019–2020, Statistics Canada continued to bring its statistical expertise to UNESCO’s Technical Cooperation Group on the indicators for SDG 4, the education goal. As of October 2019, this support had led to:

  • 655 national statisticians and policy-makers being trained on SDG 4 monitoring
  • data for 34 of the 43 SDG 4 indicators being made available in the UNESCO Institute for Statistics database
  • 52% of countries in the database having SDG 4 data
  • 155 countries in the database having data on equity in education
  • 49 countries in the database having data on disability and education

Helping young mothers return to school

Monica is a 20-year-old mother who dreams of doing more than raising children…

Creating better learning environments for children with disabilities in Jordan

Nine months ago, Mohammad was attending a school where he felt like an outsider…

Dania’s story: promoting inclusive education for children with disabilities

Ten-year-old Dania Al Fares has a smile that lights up the room…

Gender-responsive humanitarian action

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

The increase in the number and intensity of armed conflicts around the world, the entrenchment of protracted crises, and the scope and frequency of natural disasters—which are exacerbated by the effects of climate change—have resulted in unprecedented humanitarian needs. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has created new and unique needs worldwide, and has severely exacerbated the vulnerabilities of populations facing existing crises. Canada’s international humanitarian assistance is intended to meet the needs of people affected by these crises by supporting swift and coordinated humanitarian interventions that are needs-based and adhere to humanitarian principles. The 2020 evaluation of Global Affairs Canada’s International Humanitarian Assistance Program found that Canada was a consistent and respected donor whose humanitarian investments saved lives, reduced suffering and protected human dignity.

Canada’s gender-responsive humanitarian action addresses the specific needs and priorities of people in vulnerable situations, particularly women and girls, to support their empowerment and to ensure that our assistance has a greater and more sustainable impact. By considering pre-existing vulnerabilities and intersectional discrimination, such as race, ethnicity, age and ability, we believe that this life-saving humanitarian assistance can better meet the specific needs of those living in crises, including women and girls. Canada reacted quickly to provide flexible humanitarian assistance to respond to the emerging needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing partners to respond to the primary and secondary impacts of the pandemic and provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s humanitarian assistance supported efforts to increase the gender-responsiveness of humanitarian action through four key areas:

  • humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law
  • sexual and gender-based violence in the context of humanitarian crises
  • sexual and reproductive health during humanitarian interventions
  • the empowerment of women and girls

24% of Canada’s humanitarian assistance projects in 2019–2020 included sexual and/or gender-based violence or sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

390,798 of women and girls have received sexual and reproductive health services, including access to contraception, through a GAC-funded humanitarian response delivered by CSOs.

For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser. To learn more about Canada’s approach see its action area policy on humanitarian action.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

Canada works with UN partners, NGOs, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide gender-responsive humanitarian action that addresses the needs of more than 131 million men, women, boys and girls in crisis around the world. In 2019–2020, Canada invested $872.26 million in international assistance (of which approximately $871.76 million was ODA) on humanitarian action. Overall, Canada supported over 60 countries and territories with bilateral humanitarian assistance, and responded to 37 natural disasters. Syria, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Yemen and Lebanon were the top recipient countries of Canada’s humanitarian assistance funding in 2019–2020.

Canada’s support over the past year has enabled international organizations to:

  • increase distribution of food assistance and non-food essential relief items
  • improve access to water and shelter support
  • improve access to sanitation and hygiene facilities, and to quality medical services through health centres and hospitals
  • improve access to international protection for forcibly displaced persons
  • improve access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services during emergencies, and for women and adolescent girls in particular

In 2019–2020, Canada strengthened its efforts to address the unmet needs of women and girls by ensuring that more than 96%Footnote 23 of Canada’s humanitarian assistance projects integrated gender-equality considerations. For example, Canada provided 73.4 million to support SRHR services in humanitarian assistance projects.

This has helped to prevent death, disease and disability resulting from unwanted pregnancies, obstetric complications and reproductive disorders, while at the same time reducing sexual and gender-based violence.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Syria © OCHA

Ongoing conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics and other crises in sub-Saharan Africa continue to create a critical need for humanitarian assistance. In 2019–2020, Canada provided more than $300 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to more than 30 countries in the region in order to meet the needs of those most affected by crisis. For instance, in 2019, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faced its 10th Ebola virus outbreak. Although the outbreak officially ended in June 2020, it had lasted nearly 2 years and had spread to communities across 3 provinces. Canada provided $11.5 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to the outbreak in the eastern DRC, which was also an active conflict zone.

During the outbreak, Canada’s support enabled Médecins Sans Frontières to provide more than 50,000 consultations in health facilities, including primary-care and emergency response consultations. They also admitted more than 6,000 patients to hospital and established 4 Ebola Treatment Centres. As women are often most affected during an Ebola outbreak given their role as primary caregivers, Canada’s assistance helped to ensure that women were targeted with much-needed psychosocial support, community outreach and awareness, and health-promotion activities. Canada was also part of a coordinated response to address the broader humanitarian needs in the DRC during the outbreak.

In 2019, Canada provided $12.15 million to address humanitarian needs arising from ongoing civil conflict and natural disasters in South Sudan. Canada’s funding helped an estimated 7.1 million crisis-affected people in the country receive:

  • life-saving food assistance
  • clean water, adequate sanitation and hygiene services
  • treatment for acute malnutrition and other health care
  • emergency shelter protection

For example, 1,500 gender-segregated public or household latrines were built or rehabilitated through Canada’s support to Concern Worldwide. This significantly improved the health, safety and dignity of displaced women and girls in the country. Through support to World Vision, 22,000 people were reached by campaigns aimed at increasing SGBV awareness, decreasing incidences and improving reporting.

Food security continues to be a major issue in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, large infestations of desert locusts have threatened essential crops in the greater Horn of Africa, including in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. To address this, Canada provided $1 million to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to support regional locust-control operations and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and herders.

Americas

Canada continues to support its partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to meet the humanitarian needs of those facing increased vulnerabilities in the region. In particular, in 2019–2020, Canada provided life-saving assistance to migrant, refugee, internally displaced and violence-affected populations in Central America, as well as those affected by the Venezuela crisis. For instance, in 2019, Canada committed $16 million in humanitarian assistance to support populations with vulnerabilities in Venezuela and neighbouring countries affected by the crisis, with an emphasis on migrant and refugee women and girls, undocumented migrants and refugees, and female-headed households. In 2019–2020, $5 million of this assistance was directed toward supporting these populations.

Through Canada’s assistance, more than 10,000 pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and young children in Colombia received nutrition support, as well as WASH and health services. Six safe spaces and shelters for migrants and refugees were also built or repaired along the migration route in Ecuador to provide psychological and legal care for GBV survivors and LGBTQ2I people. Canada’s support also resulted in an increase in the number of temporary accommodations and services available to vulnerable people in the region and provided basic furniture and supplies, such as hygiene kits and mattresses, as well as safe spaces for children and adolescents.

In Central America, Canada provided the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Programme with $1.5 million in flexible regional humanitarian funding. With this support from Canada and from other donors, ICRC provided access to clean water and sanitation services to more than 44,000 people, including those with increased vulnerabilities along migration routes. The funding also helped support 9 different health centres across Central America.

Asia-Pacific

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee violence and persecution in Myanmar in recent years and Canada has made it a priority to provide them with much-needed humanitarian assistance. In 2018, Canada launched its Strategy to Respond to the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, comprising $300 million in international assistance funding over 3 years. Through this Strategy, Canada worked to improve the living conditions of Rohingya refugees in camps and settlements in Bangladesh and address the needs of displaced Rohingya and other conflict-affected populations in Myanmar.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s support helped provide emergency food assistance to more than 800,000 people in Bangladesh and another 640,000 in Myanmar. It also enabled more than 200,000 health-care consultations for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, including family planning, prenatal care and mental health services. In addition, those living in camps for internally displaced persons in Myanmar were able to receive more than 9,000 non-food items, including 4,000 dignity kits for women and girls.

To address the urgent humanitarian needs resulting from natural disasters and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, Canada provided $11.2 million in humanitarian assistance in 2019–2020. Through flexible funding provided to UN and Red Cross partners, 2.5 million people received life-saving food and nutrition assistance, and 26,958 prostheses and orthoses were provided to physical-rehabilitation patients. With Canada’s support, 33,167 people also received emergency shelter kits, hygiene kits and cash assistance. Canadian humanitarian assistance also helped establish 2 mobile health teams in Afghanistan that improved access to health care for women and girls, including providing more than 7,000 women and children with SRHR services.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Ongoing conflicts in many parts of the Middle East have increased the need for life-saving humanitarian assistance in the region. In 2019–2020, Canada provided almost $300 million to support humanitarian programs in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. This included food, shelter, water, health, sanitation, education and protection services such as specialized care for survivors of SGBV.

To help bring about lasting change when it comes to combating SGBV, Canada supported the United Nations Populations Fund’s (UNFPA’s) efforts to strengthen the response in the Middle East. This programming trained 548 humanitarian workers on the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) GBV guidelines and 13 GBV coordination meetings were also held. In addition, 46 humanitarian actors helped implement the Whole of Syria GBV Capacity-building Strategy. In Jordan, an interactive mapping tool was developed to track all facilities providing clinical management of services relating to rape.

To respond to the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq, Canada funded humanitarian partners to deliver life-saving assistance such as food, shelter, water, health, sanitation, education and protection services, including specialized care for SGBV survivors.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to support a flexible, comprehensive humanitarian response to the deteriorating crisis in Yemen. By collaborating with UN Agencies, the ICRC and NGOs, Canada helped provide reproductive-health services to more than 330,000 Yemeni women and girls, and monthly food assistance to more than 12 million people at risk of famine.

Canada’s support to ICRC helped strengthen respect for international humanitarian law in Ukraine. It promoted dialogue and advocacy that led to government legislation and policies that integrate measures around access to detainees in government-controlled areas.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Canada provided assistance to farmers through the Supporting the Resilience of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Food Security project and WASH in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – MA’AN Development Center project. These projects rehabilitated land in the West Bank that was under-cultivated and/or damaged, as well as 10 km of farming roads and 6 community wells. Farmers received training on crop management, livestock feeding and disease control. These activities enabled vulnerable farming households to expand their access to farmland and increased the availability of rainwater for agriculture. It also ensured that farmers were better equipped to respond to natural and manmade threats.

The SAFER HOMES: Shelter Rehabilitation and Non-Food Items for Vulnerable Households in Gaza—Development & Peace project successfully supported 330 vulnerable households living in substandard housing in Gaza. Through this project, 310 homes were rehabilitated to better meet the needs of all household members, especially women and girls. Emergency items such as tarps, plastic sheeting, blankets, mattresses, gas cylinders/heating sources and sealing materials were provided to most of these households to reduce exposure to harsh weather, flooding or conflict. Because of these initiatives, more than 96% of beneficiary households reported that they experienced improved quality of life and 98% of women and girls reported feeling safer and more dignified.

Multi-regional
Responding to global crises and conflicts

Through its support to the World Food Programme (WFP), Canada is helping to address global food-security needs by enabling the organization to directly assist 97.1 million people in 83 countries. For example, the WFP’s school-feeding program provided more than 17 million school children in 59 countries with nutritious meals. In 2019, WFP transferred a record US$2.1 billion of purchasing power to people in 64 countries through food aid and cash-based transfers. Canada supports the use of cash, where feasible, as a way to deliver choice and empower affected populations, as well as to strengthen local markets, as outlined in the 2016 Grand Bargain commitments, of which Canada is a signatory.

In 2019–2020, Canada allocated $83.84 million to the ICRC for its operations in armed-conflict areas. With the help of this funding, the ICRC was able to provide food to more than 4.7 million people and water to more than 34 million people in 2019. Another 25,000 women, men and children who were wounded in conflicts received surgical care through ICRC-supported hospitals and prostheses to be able to regain independence.

Canada has also developed a diversified rapid-response toolkit to support areas affected by disasters or sudden deterioration in crisis settings. The Canadian Red Cross’s Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund (EDAF) provided more than $3.7 million to 60+ operations around the world, supporting more than 580,000 people in 50 countries. This funding provided immediate response to natural disasters and emergencies such as flooding, epidemics, forced displacement, drought, typhoons and other extreme weather.

Through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF), its member and affiliate agencies have been able to reach more than 185,000 people and respond quickly to provide emergency food, health, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene support during rapid onset crises such as earthquakes, floods and tropical storms. In 2019–2020, Canada provided more than $3.2 million to respond to natural disasters in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sudan.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada was one of the first countries to provide ongoing flexible funding to humanitarian partners such as the WHO’s Central Fund for Emergencies. In the initial weeks of the pandemic, Canada’s funding helped support partners’ response in countries most affected or at risk, as well as those facing existing humanitarian emergencies.

Canada was also a top donor to the UN Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). In 2020, Canada allocated $50.15 million to the CBPFs. As part of its response to COVID-19, Canada allocated $13 million to existing CBPFs, in recognition of the critical role played by local NGOs who are often on the front lines of humanitarian responses. As the ninth-largest contributor to the CERF in 2020, Canada provided $29.4 million in unearmarked, flexible funding. This funding enabled both the CBPFs and CERF to play a critical role in delivering urgently needed front-line humanitarian assistance during the pandemic. For instance, during the COVID-19 crisis these 2 funds have:

  • helped establish or operate more than 2,000 medical units, including those for COVID-19
  • delivered 7.9 million units of personal protective equipment (PPE), primary health-care kits and medical supplies
  • provided cash to more than 475,000 people to meet immediate needs
  • supported essential protection services for 550,000 people including prevention and response activities for SGBV
  • supported large-scale logistics efforts such as the establishment of 408 cargo flights and 81 humanitarian hubs
Providing support to emergency appeals

Canada contributed to the IFRC Emergency Appeal in response to Hurricane Dorian. This funding helped provide 2,319 households with emergency shelter, settlement assistance and hygiene services. It helped those affected by the natural disaster to meet their basic household needs. For example, 3,058 households were provided with food and food-related items for 3 months. At least 4,731 households were also provided with safe water during the emergency phase and 2,000 households were reached through WASH items (water, sanitation and hygiene-related items).

The Canadian Humanitarian Coalition brings together 12 Canadian international-aid agencies in times of disaster. To respond to the immediate humanitarian impacts of Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund enabled the Coalition’s member agencies to provide shelter and non-food items, livelihood support, protection services, emergency education and water, sanitation and hygiene activities. For example, 800 families received maize and vegetable seeds to replant their lost harvest and 568 families received cash grants to supplement their household income, helping them to buy food and replace lost possessions. Household items and shelter materials were allocated to 1,854 families and 5,000 families were provided with hygiene and dignity kits (which included towels, reusable pads, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and solar lights) as well as training to help promote proper hygiene. In addition, this funding went toward repairing 94 community water spouts, disinfecting 150 sources of drinking water, rebuilding water systems at 10 schools, helping 1,800 students return to school by providing 20 temporary school tents, and by providing individual and group trauma counselling to 200 boys and girls at child-friendly spaces.

The Cyclone Idai Matching Fund also enabled the Humanitarian Coalition’s member and affiliate agencies to provide much-needed food, health, shelter and WASH services to affected communities. This assistance included:

  • distributing food, seeds and tools
  • providing urgent health assistance
  • allocating emergency shelter materials and non-food items
  • trucking water to communities lacking access to clean and safe water
  • building toilets and handwashing facilities to reduce the risk of cholera and other diseases

For example, 14,978 people received food baskets and multipurpose cash grants, and 1,039 families were provided with shelter-repair kits, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and solar lights. The Fund also helped deliver clean water to 68,469 people and reach more than 37,000 people with door-to-door sustainable hygiene-promotion campaigns.

Through the Canadian Red Cross, Canada also allocated $250,000 in April 2020 to respond to the Iran Floods Emergency Appeal launched by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. This support helped provide immediate assistance to more than 600,000 people affected by the flooding. The operation focused on providing shelter, livelihoods and protection, including the distribution of 59,728 tents and 135,238 hygiene kits and providing 12,204 families with cash assistance.

Advancing global humanitarian policy priorities

Knowles-Coursin © UNICEF

In December 2019, Canada reaffirmed its support for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Protection of Civilians at the 33rd Quadrennial International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Canada’s participation helped to strengthen norms and principles that are key to ensuring IHL compliance and generated support from other member states. Canada also made 7 voluntary pledge commitments to advance IHL implementation, protection of civilians in armed conflict, gender-responsive humanitarian assistance and actions to address SGBV.

Canada continues to promote refugee inclusion through actions that enable host countries to build self-reliance and develop lasting solutions. In 2019, Canada allocated $79.4 million to the UNHCR to help address the humanitarian and protection needs of refugees and other persons of concern. Canada is a strong voice in supporting the UN’s Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which recognizes that sustainable solutions can be achieved only through international cooperation. In 2019–2020, Canada championed measures in the Compact to advance gender equality and address the needs and risks faced by refugee women and girls.

In December 2019, the first-ever ministerial-level Global Refugee Forum took place in Geneva. Canada was one of more than 3,000 participants who together delivered more than 1,400 concrete pledges, contributions and best practices to advance the GCR’s principles. Canada was the first donor country to include a refugee as an adviser to its official delegation, demonstrating its commitment to ensuring the meaningful participation of refugees in the processes and decisions that affect their lives.

Supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Canada

Providing support to refugees and asylum seekers when they arrive in this country continues to be a priority for Canada. The Government of Canada’s commitment to provide safety to those fleeing persecution is a clear demonstration of our engagement on the international stage. This commitment complements the work Canada does to help reduce poverty and inequality in developing countries. In line with the OECD-DAC’s ODA eligibility criteria, Canada reports the first year of support to refugees arriving in the country as official development assistance.

In 2019–2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada provided more than $643 million in international assistance in Canada and abroad, consisting of:

  • support to refugees, successful asylum seekers and asylum seekers awaiting a decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • grants administered through the IRCC’s International Migration Capacity Building Program, including the Migration Cooperation and Engagement Envelope, which includes migration and refugee-related capacity-building projects in developing countries
  • Canada’s annual contributions to the International Organization for Migration, an organization that works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all

In total, Canada resettled 28,664 refugees from all over the world, an increase from 27,769 the year before. In 2019, Canada committed to resettle 10,000 government-assisted refugees from Africa and another 10,000 from the Middle East between 2018 and 2020. It has already met this commitment with respect to the Middle East and continues to work to meet its African target. Canada also surpassed its commitment to resettle 1,000 vulnerable women and girls from around the world by December 2019. Although Canada had planned to resettle 30,800 refugees in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hampered these efforts and reduced the capacity of Canada’s resettlement operations.

In 2019–2020, 24,486 eligible newcomers to Canada received Resettlement Assistance Program services (outside of Quebec). IRCC also offered LGBTQ2I and youth specialized orientation such as life-skills training and links to federal and provincial programs. The Resettlement Assistance Program also provided monthly income support to eligible newcomers for up to 12 months.

Responding to Gender-Based Violence in the most vulnerable communities

Throughout the UNFPA’s Responding to Gender-Based Violence in the Most Vulnerable Communities Affected by the Humanitarian Situation project…

Taking the lead in providing protection from gender-based violence in emergencies

In 2019–2020, Canada led the global Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies (Call to Action) initiative…

Growth that works for everyone

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Stimulating sustainable and inclusive economic development in the world’s poorest countries benefits all nations. Canada’s focus is on supporting economic growth that benefits the most vulnerable. Upholding women’s economic rights and supporting their leadership in businesses, communities and institutions is essential to enabling them to reach their full economic potential. Canada encourages developing countries to recognize women’s economic rights and to find ways to address women’s double burden associated with the workload required to earn money while also being responsible for a significant amount of unpaid domestic labor.

At the national and global levels, Canada is working to build greener, more inclusive economies by investing in renewable technologies and advancing policies that benefit the poorest and most vulnerable. Canada recognizes the importance of mobilizing new sources of financing for development, as many countries do not have the resources or capacity to respond effectively to development challenges.

To promote economic growth that works for everyone, Canada continues to focus on:

  • removing barriers to women’s economic empowerment
  • building more inclusive and sustainable economies
  • strengthening economic resilience

For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser. To learn more about Canada’s approach see its growth that works for everyone action area policy.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

In 2019–2020, Canada invested $822.78 million in international assistance, of which $814.60 million was ODA, toward initiatives to support growth that works for everyone. Countries receiving the most assistance were Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Laos and Nepal. In particular, Canada remained focused on empowering women economically to achieve full and productive employment through supporting activities such as:

  • job creation (value-chain development, small and medium-sized enterprises development, inclusive and sustainable business)
  • technical and vocational training and job placement
  • structural reform (worker safety and ethics, business environment, transparent regulation, human rights, gender segregation in labour markets)
  • entrepreneurship-skills training and networking
  • building social capital and community capacity through infrastructure investments

3,864,952 people (1,445,530 women; 2,404,914 men; 14,508 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that support women’s economic empowerment.Footnote 24

GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 4,223,077 people reached by projects that support women’s economic empowerment (2,868,715 women; 9,921 men; 1,344,441 gender not indicated).

5,207,255 entrepreneurs, farmers and smallholders (2,025,875 women; 3,146,179 men; 35,201 gender not indicated) were provided with financial and/or business development services.Footnote 25

GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 1,478,393 entrepreneurs, farmers and smallholders being provided with financial and/or business development services (7,715 women; 9,921 men; 1,460,757 gender not indicated).

Canada also supported agriculture and food-sector initiatives that focus on areas where women are more likely to work and can take on strong leadership roles. These initiatives included empowering women farmers in cooperatives and credit unions, strengthening agricultural markets, addressing land degradation and restoring critical ecosystems and productive areas and supporting smallholder farmers and value-chain workers in adopting innovative and climate-smart approaches.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to demonstrate global leadership in development financing by championing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. Canada provided leadership at the UN through its co-facilitation with Ghana of the 7th High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in September 2019. It received praise for its innovative format, including a session with private-sector representatives and heads of state on “Moving the Money.” Canada continued to co-chair the UN Group of Friends of SDG Financing alongside Jamaica in New York, discussing issues including debt vulnerability and domestic-resource mobilization.

Sub-Saharan Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, structural barriers continue to limit women’s ability to engage in economic activity and access productive resources. In 2019–2020, Canada supported women’s entrepreneurship initiatives and improved women’s economic empowerment through access to education and training.

For example, in Kenya, Canada supported the Maendeleo Sawa (M-SAWA) project, which has generated equitable economic growth through the development of profitable, competitive and sustainable SMEs in the agriculture, construction and extractive sectors. Through this initiative, 43,240 entrepreneurs have received support through 24 lead firms, which in turn have supported the growth of 140 SMEs. The project has also addressed specific barriers faced by women entrepreneurs, helping to increase their leadership and control over resources, and increase their market access and income.

Promoting greater free trade between African nations has the potential to foster significant economic growth for countries across the continent. For this reason, Canada helped establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2019–2020, which covers a market of 1.2 billion people and a GDP of $2.5 trillion. In partnership with a consortium of Canadian centres of trade expertise at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s African Trade Policy Centre directly supported countries in AfCFTA negotiations. This support included integrating gender equality as a formal objective of the trade deal. Canada is now focusing on assisting African countries with their AfCFTA implementation plans so that they can identify steps to take full advantage of national, regional and global markets, as well as address the concerns of women cross-border traders (importers and exporters).

Canada is promoting women’s economic empowerment through support to SOCODEVI, a Canadian NGO that works with cooperatives in developing countries. As part of the Development Program for Inclusive and Sustainable Model Cooperatives (PROCED), SOCODEVI is increasing women’s representation on cooperatives’ boards of directors. For example, only a few months after beginning its work in Senegal, half of the directors elected to one partner cooperative’s board were women. Moreover, these women took up key positions, such as chair, treasurer and executive secretary, ensuring that the new board represents the interests and needs of all members, including both women and men.

Americas

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada worked with partners to boost economic growth through initiatives aimed at improving the business capacity of producers and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, improving leadership skills and managing the extractive and agriculture sectors. For example, Canada supported agriculture and fish-farming initiatives in Bolivia that directly benefited Indigenous peoples. As a result of this assistance, the production of the Tara pod—a source of environmentally friendly tannin as well as a preservative and stabilizer for food and cosmetics—and the production and processing of fish has enabled:

  • 710 Indigenous families to engage in profitable economic activities by applying good environmental practices
  • 660 Indigenous women to gain greater economic autonomy
  • 178 women to improve their leadership skills
  • 434 women to improve their business-management skills

In Peru, Canada supported internships for women from the public and private sector through the Inter-American Development Bank and the Canada Extractives Fund. This in turn resulted in the development of a Gender Equality Action Plan and a workshop for 30 low-income women on mining 101, empowerment and entrepreneurship. Canada also awarded 97 scholarships, including 50 for women, to public-sector professionals from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru (the Pacific Alliance). These scholarships increased their ability to manage and regulate their countries’ extractive sectors and reinforced the Pacific Alliance governments’ plans for sustainable economic growth.

Through a partnership with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Canada is helping to fuel growth in Nicaragua’s agriculture sector. This project provided grants to cooperatives, agri-businesses and women-producer associations to fund new farm technologies or acquire food-processing equipment to expand crop purchasing for small-scale producers. In the first year of the program, 4 recipients (2 agricultural cooperatives, an agribusiness and a foundation) were able to create 341 new jobs in the agri-food sector, 64% of which were for women.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s work with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), CARE and Oxfam Canada in Cuba directly helped 1,383 individuals, including women small-scale farmers and service providers. This assistance improved their physical, social and economic well-being through training, technical assistance and by providing equipment and goods. The ultimate goal is to develop a value-chain approach to food production in Cuba that promotes import substitution and inclusive sustainable economic growth at the local level.

In Guatemala, Canada supported 2 projects in 2019–2020: Economic Empowerment of Indigenous Women and Youth in Alta Verapaz (Camino Verde), and Sustainable Economic Growth for Women (CRECER). Canadian assistance to the Camino Verde project helped 470 Indigenous women access job opportunities, particularly in the lucrative production of cardamom and turmeric. The CRECER project provided more than 740 women and men from 19 cooperatives with training in innovative, clean and sustainable business practices in small-scale agricultural enterprises.

Asia-Pacific

In the Asia-Pacific region, Canada remains focused on providing market-oriented training and skills development and on reducing barriers to women’s economic participation. For example, in Myanmar, Canadian support to the Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT) project in 2019–2020, resulted in technical, vocational and business-development training for 2,640 people, of whom 1,602 were women. The training included a range of trades such as electrical wiring, welding, plumbing and hairdressing. The trainees included vulnerable Rohingya and Rakhine youth and those living in the Myebon internally displaced-persons camp.

In 2019–2020, the Canada-funded Knowledge for Democracy – Myanmar (K4DM) initiative enabled governance and civil society institutions to generate and use research and data to promote inclusion and gender equality. This involved ensuring equal training opportunities for women and integrating a gender perspective into policy analysis. With IDRC support, a local think tank called the Centre for Economic and Social Development helped develop a new law to raise the minimum wage, which had not increased since 1947. Canada also helped 425 women access mentorship opportunities through the Improving Market Opportunities for Women Agricultural Producers project. The project focused on providing women with leadership, public-speaking, financial-management, and negotiation and persuasion skills. As a result, 83% of respondents reported having participated in, or led, community groups or meetings in the year following the training.

Through the International Labour Organization, Canada helped the Government of Bangladesh to develop the National Strategy for Gender Equality in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institute and Gender Guidelines. Canada’s support trained employees of 118 public institutions on these guidelines and on gender planning and budgeting in general. It also created better alignment between training opportunities and market needs in the formal and non-formal sectors in Bangladesh. These increased employment opportunities for 16,559 young people, 5,470 of whom were female and 3,223 of whom were from disadvantaged groups such as those with disabilities, low-income, or Indigenous and other marginalized groups.

Canada’s support to the Government of the Philippines’ JobStart Program provided access to employment services such as life-skills training to 18,860 at risk young Filipinos, 58% of whom were women.

From 2015–2019, CARE Canada’s economic reconstruction assistance project in the Philippines assisted 10,692 farmers affected by Typhoon Haiyan, more than half of whom were women. The project offered livelihood training and entrepreneurship capacity-building assistance that enabled farmers to participate in sustainable agriculture activities. In addition, the Evaluation of Natural Disaster Reconstruction Assistance in the Philippines demonstrated that Canada’s $20.5 million Haiyan reconstruction program directly helped participants to improve their business skills, access capital and insure their businesses. Ultimately, this increased their incomes and improved their natural disaster preparedness.

In 2019–2020, Canada worked through the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise projects in Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces to support more than 700 SMEs, including those led by women, to improve their competitiveness, and access to investment and market opportunities. Through these projects, staff at SMEs increased their skills and knowledge of management practices, benefited from improved access to small-scale infrastructure and accessed business-development services.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Country: Mozambique © Aga Khan Foundation

Women’s equal and full access to the same economic opportunities as men continues to be a challenge in many countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In 2019–2020, Canada’s efforts in the region focused on gender-inclusive measures to create employment, improve access to decision-making positions and increase women’s participation in the economic growth of their communities.

In the West Bank and Gaza, the ICT sector provides women and youth with virtual job-creation and income opportunities. This allows them to balance their family and household responsibilities, as well as address economic and geopolitical barriers by drawing interest from outside the region. With Canada’s support, the Mercy Corps’ Technology-Enabled Careers Harnessing Untapped Potential (TECH-UP) project helped engage women and youth in technology careers. In 2019–2020, 93% of the 280 graduates of the project’s Freelance Academy, Code Academy, and Start-up Acceleration Program reported that the training enhanced their ability to generate income. For example, Freelance Academy graduates generated more than US$345,000 through freelance jobs both during the training and up to 6 months after graduation. The graduates also referred jobs to 333 individuals, who in turn generated a further US$56,000.

In addition, Canada’s support to the Future Entrepreneurs and Leaders in Innovation and Technology project helped to increase the prosperity of young women and men by enabling them to take advantage of economic opportunities in the technology and innovation sectors. In total, 30 start-ups generated employment opportunities through the project and 21 young women entrepreneurs received the support needed to start their own businesses in non-traditional sectors.

In Jordan, 271 youth, 240 of whom were female, received entrepreneurship, information and communications technologies (ICT) and social-innovation training in 2019–2020 through Canada’s support. Delivered through the Digital Opportunity Trust’s Digital Livelihoods: Youth and the Future of Work at Scale project, the courses were designed to address the barriers faced by women regarding ICT use and included training in basic digital skills, social media and marketing, as well as a more advanced introduction to web design. The Launching Economic Achievement Program in Jordan, implemented by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, also enabled 118 entrepreneurs to participate in women-led start-up teams as part of its incubator program mentorship and training. In addition, 373 gender-sensitive entrepreneurship programs were delivered to schools and universities in the country.

With Canada’s support, the UNDP’s Improving Solid Waste Management and Income Generation in Host Communities project established a cooperative association for women in Jordan to help them enter the traditionally male-dominated solid waste-management sector. This involved creating 36 jobs for vulnerable women in Northern Jordan. As a direct result of the project, women went on to manage and operate a sorting plant and 2 new municipal waste-transfer stations in the region.

To support transformative change for women in Syria, Canada contributed to the Support to the Syria Livelihoods Intervention Fund. It provides sustainable livelihood opportunities and promotes food security for the most vulnerable members of local communities, particularly women and women-headed households. For example, the project provided 50 women-headed households with training regarding small-scale egg production. By increasing the availability of eggs, this initiative led to a 25% drop in egg prices, making them more affordable for the community. It also:

  • provided 175 women with entrepreneurship, business-planning and leadership training
  • provided 65 women-headed households with training and in-kind support for the processing and marketing of high-quality food products
  • established 3 hydroponic barley-production sites run by women, which increased the income of women-headed households, stimulated the local economy and increased food security for entire communities

In Egypt, the Canada-funded Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People project, led by the International Labour Organization, created employment opportunities for 210,000 young people. It focused on creating jobs by promoting entrepreneurship and facilitating job-matching processes in 4 Egyptian Governorates. Thanks to this project, 1,100 senior government officials also benefited from capacity-building and shadowing fieldwork, and 5,100 new small-business owners improved their business skills. In addition, 142,000 students completed entrepreneurship education, 11,000 job placements were made and 300 people with disabilities secured decent jobs.

In Morocco, the Economic Empowerment of Women in Morocco’s Argan Sector project, implemented by CoWater, helped women working in the lucrative argan oil industry sector access storage infrastructure so that they can better manage this resource. In total, 4,500 women received support for the upstream structuring of the sector, which ensured that they were not at the mercy of intermediaries when selling the resource.

Multi-regional

Josh Estey © CARE

Small businesses often lack access to the financial services they need, such as the ability to open a bank account or access loans at reasonable rates. Canada’s support to a FINCA Canada financial-inclusion project is helping to provide financial services to low-income individuals and entrepreneurs in the DRC and Haiti. In 2019–2020, the number of people in the DRC who accessed FINCA’s mobile-savings product increased from 7,905 to 147,526, and the number of clients who used its medical-insurance products more than doubled.

With Canada’s support, Développement International Desjardins’ Improving Access to Credit for Microbusinesses and Small Enterprises project developed financial services tailored to the specific needs of small businesses, contributing to the prosperity of thousands of business owners across Africa and the Americas. In 2019–2020, 42,703 entrepreneurs, 14,760 of whom were women, were able to access these new financial services.

Women in many parts of the world continue to face barriers to becoming economically independent. Canada remains committed to supporting initiatives that promote women’s economic empowerment. For example, Canada partners with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to adopt innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Between 2016 and 2019, IDB Group’s initiatives helped 2.1 million women—almost 900,000 in 2019 alone—to become more economically independent. The IDB Lab’s (the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group) Women in STEM Entrepreneurship pilot project is helping women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to start new ventures. Since 2018, 250 women have completed its entrepreneurship courses and the program has offered mentoring support to nearly 100 women founders of tech-based start-ups. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has offered an online course and 350 women participated in this virtual program in May 2020 alone.

The Canada-supported We-Fi initiative, although at the early stage of implementation, is expected to aid a larger number of women-owned or -led SMEs in developing countries. In 2019–2020, 3,340 women-owned or led SMEs benefited from We-Fi financial and non-financial support. In addition, the initiative helped:

  • more than 2,303 women-led SMEs access finance
  • women-led SMEs access $77.6 million in loans and grants provided by We-Fi supported financial-service providers
  • engage 73 partner institutions to support women-led SMEs
  • create 2,464 jobs in women owned/led SMEs that participated in the project
  • create 15 pieces of legislation or regulations aimed at supporting women-owned/led SMEs

Accelerating business growth in Ethiopia

Small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) in emerging economies represent the greatest source of job creation…

Supporting agricultural cooperatives as a tool for sustainable development in Peru

Asparagus, mushrooms, passion fruit, quinoa and specialty coffee are only some of the products that farm cooperatives in Peru now proudly distribute in national and international markets…

Empowering women farmers in Myanmar

Daw Mu Htoo is a 40-year-old woman farmer from Myanmar’s Kayin State who left school early and has worked abroad for 11 years…

Environment and climate action

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Environmental degradation and climate change are threatening long-term development gains, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable—particularly women and girls—at greatest risk. With this in mind, Canada’s international climate finance is supporting projects that advance clean technology, renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, watershed management and climate resilience.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s environment and climate action efforts focused on:

  • strengthening environmental governance and enhancing women’s participation in decision-making
  • investing in low-carbon and climate-resilient economies
  • fostering environmental practices that support healthy, resilient, adaptive communities

In 2019–2020, 3,597 people (112 women; 133 men; 3,352 gender not indicated) were newly employed in the environment sector, including in technical, supervisory and management roles.Footnote 26

2,754,911 people (1,346,179 women; 1,401,132 men; 7,600 gender not indicated) benefited from climate-adaptation projects.Footnote 27

Through GAC’s long-term support to multilateral and global partners, 13,652,034 people also benefited from climate-adaption projects.

2.31 metric megatons of greenhouse gas emissions were reduced or avoided through GAC’s contributions.Footnote 28

Support to multilateral and global partners contributed to an additional 1039.179 megatons of gas emissions reduced or avoided.

As part of the Feminist International Assistance Policy Environment and Climate Action Area, the Government of Canada is delivering on its 2015 $2.65 billion climate-finance commitment.Footnote 29 Canada’s climate finance to date has helped to mitigate climate change by reducing an expected 193 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Learn more about Canada’s approach through its action area policy on environment and climate action. For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

In 2019–2020, Canada invested 714.28 million in international assistance, of which $712.10 million was ODA that went toward environment and climate action initiatives. The top recipients were Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Mexico, Jordan and India.

In particular, Canada supported initiatives that mitigate climate change and help developing countries adapt to its environmental and socio-economic impacts, as well as support sustainable resource management. Among other things, these contributions helped to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and enhance their ability to respond to climate change
  • increase renewable-energy use and energy-efficiency solutions and enhance employment opportunities for skilled workers in the sector
  • enhance capacity to plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters such as drought, floods and cyclones
  • improve adaptation, as well as disaster and climate risk planning in developing countries, particularly vulnerable countries of sub-Saharan African, and small island developing states (SIDS) and the Caribbean
  • support and strengthen local and Indigenous seed systems and farmers’ rights by decentralizing registration of seed varieties and seed certification
  • share best practices related to the management of protected areas, ecological restoration, wildlife conservation and fire management

Sub-Saharan Africa

Canada and its partners worked with countries in sub-Saharan Africa to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. In 2019–2020, Canada supported several multilateral and bilateral climate-related initiatives.

As the largest donor to African Risk Capacity (ARC), a specialized agency of the African Union, Canada helped countries better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters such as drought, floods and cyclones. In 2019–2020, 9 countries participated in the insurance pool, the highest level since ARC’s creation. Since 2014, ARC has assisted 3.5 million vulnerable people through more than US$624 million in drought-risk insurance coverage.

Canada, along with other G7 partners, is supporting the goals of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative. By 2020, it aims to achieve at least 10 gigawatts (GW) of new and additional renewable energy generation capacity in Africa and generate at least 300 GW by 2030. Approximately 930,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit from an additional 490,000 megawatt-hours (MWh)/year in clean, modern and affordable energy. Through a $5 million grant to International Finance Corporation (IFC), Canada is helping to maximize the developmental impact of this initiative. The grant is helping IFC explore bankable investments in off-grid solutions in rural areas and better integrate gender-equality considerations into these investments.

In addition, through the Canada-IFC Renewable Energy Program for Africa, Canada is providing $150 million in concessional financing to help attract private investment and provide access to modern, affordable, gender-sensitive and sustainable energy services. As part of this investment, Canada supported the launch of IFC’s Energy2Equal program in October 2019. Through partnerships with private-sector firms in the region, this four-year initiative is expanding women’s access to jobs, leadership positions and entrepreneurial opportunities within the renewable energy sector.

In South Africa’s burgeoning cities, disadvantaged residents, businesses and municipal governments are facing increased hardships as the result of climate change. Yet, there is little practical guidance for adaptation in these areas. Canada is addressing this through support for the Green Book, an online tool developed by researchers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. With input from more than 50 South African researchers, the Green Book provides city-specific data on current and projected climate and relevant adaptation solutions. This research has the potential to improve resilience within 1,637 South African urban settlements, which are home to more than 65% of the country’s population. During the COVID-19 pandemic, research from the Green Book also helped map risks and vulnerabilities to the virus in South Africa.

Americas

Natural-resource wealth is critical to the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean. However, ensuring that the economic benefits from these activities are equitable and sustainable continues to be a challenge. In 2019–2020, Canada contributed to the sustainable management of forests in the region and to improving the management of mining and energy activities.

Canadian-funded projects focused on increasing the role of women in water management, managing disaster risk and embedding gender equality in the fisheries sector. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Empowerment of Women for Climate Action in Honduras project assisted 10 municipalities in identifying gaps related to natural-resources management, climate adaptation and mitigation, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. It also helped them take steps to address these issues in municipal development and investment plans.

In 2019–2020, Canada supported the $3 million Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Program for the Health Sector initiative to improve resilience across the region following natural disasters. In partnership with the Pan-American Health Organization, the project has helped more than 3,000 health-care workers in 19 Caribbean countries to improve their responsiveness during disasters, as well as during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the $20 million Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund, Canada has partnered with the Caribbean Development Bank to enhance disaster-risk management and climate change adaptation in vulnerable communities across the Caribbean’s SIDS. The fund has implemented 8 sub-projects—5 in Jamaica, and 1 each in Belize, the British Virgin Islands, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Through this fund, 59 communities were able to improve their knowledge of disaster-risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable livelihoods. For example, in the Virgin Islands, early-warning systems linked to the national emergency-response system were installed. Approximately 580 farmers from Belize and Jamaica were trained in sustainable crop-production methods and the potential impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. In Belize, 9 farmers’ cooperatives were established to promote production of local food crops using climate-smart agriculture techniques.

Canada, along with other developed countries, committed to mobilizing US$100 billion per year in climate finance to multilateral development banks and global institutions by 2020 to better address the climate needs of developing countries. As part of this commitment, Canada is contributing $223.5 million between 2019 and 2044 to help the IDB’s Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas Phase II (C2F2). This fund aims to foster private-sector investment in gender-responsive climate mitigation and adaptation projects across the Americas.

Asia-Pacific

Across the Asia-Pacific region, climate events are expected to have an increasingly negative impact on human health, security, livelihoods and poverty. In 2019–2020, Canada helped vulnerable communities to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, in addition to integrating environmental-sustainability elements into new and existing projects in the region. For example, the $10 million Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Myanmar project launched the Myanmar Unified platform for Disaster Risk Application (MUDRA). This one-stop portal is helping government agencies to make better decisions by sharing and applying disaster-risk information.

In 2019–2020, Canada worked with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to build low-carbon and resilient economies in the region. Through its $200 million contribution to the Bank’s Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia II (CFPS II), Canada is helping to catalyze the private-sector investments needed to support clean and resilient innovations. The fund aims to help the private sector overcome risks by offering financing on concessional terms to projects that would not proceed solely on a commercial basis.

Through the CFPS II, Canada had already helped support 6 concessional finance projects as of December 2019. These projects are expected to install 427.6 MW of renewable energy, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 688,000 metric tons annually. They will expand electricity provided to local power grids and help reduce poverty by supporting local economic development and creating employment opportunities in surrounding communities. For example, the first largescale installation of floating solar panels in Viet Nam—the largest installation of its kind in Southeast Asia—was completed in 2019. The Bank committed US$37 million in loans from various funds, including US$15 million from CFPS to Da Nhim–Ham Thuan–Da Mi Hydro Power Joint Stock Company. The loans went toward installing a 47.5 MW facility on the reservoir of the company’s existing Da Mi hydropower plant. The project aims to generate 63,000 MWh of electricity a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30,000 metric tons annually by 2023.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Country: Guatemala © Lys Arango, Action Against Hunger

In Jordan, Canada supported programming in 2019–2020 that increased the use of renewable-energy and energyefficiency solutions, created employment opportunities for skilled workers in the renewable-energy and energyefficiency sector, and promoted the growth of a robust renewable-energy sector. For example, as the result of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development project, implemented by Cowater/SEED, more than 5,000 households and 3,600 users of public institutions, such as schools and clinics, in Northern Jordan benefited from renewable-energy and energy-efficiency systems. The project helped reduce CO2 emissions by 3,400 tons in the region.

Multi-regional

Through the Global Environment Facility, Canada is helping developing countries address environmental issues that are not a result of climate change. Canada contributes $54.75 million per year to the Facility, of which an estimated $11 million goes toward protecting biodiversity. As co-chair of the Convention on Biological Diversity process, Canada is working to develop a global framework to guide biodiversity conservation and sustainability for the next decade.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest fund dedicated to helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and respond to climate change—and in 2015, Canada contributed $300 million to the fund. Canada committed an additional $300 million over 4 years (2019–2020 to 2022–2023) to the GCF’s first replenishment.

As of March 2020, the GCF had committed more than US$5.6 billion to support 129 projects in 108 countries and leveraged another US$14.1 billion public and private-sector project financing. It delivered more than 370 capacity-building grants to governments and organizations in 138 countries. These investments are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by almost a billion metric tons and increase the resilience of 351 million people in developing countries.

Canada is helping to support environmentally sustainable energy solutions through its $3 million contribution to the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program. Over the next 4 years, this global knowledge and technical-assistance fund aims to put a greater focus on promoting gender equality. It also plans to focus on decarbonizing the energy sector, supporting coal regions to transition to a low-carbon economy, and increasing its support for sub-Saharan Africa in a broad range of sectors, including health and agriculture.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) support is promoting inclusive governance of climate action, including working with women and Indigenous peoples, and supporting international collaboration. For example, in 2019–2020, ECCC provided funding to kick-start the Climate Finance Access Network, which aims to help the most climate-vulnerable countries. This work led to Canada committing $9.5 million towards this initiative, which will also help empower developing countries to deploy highly-trained climate finance advisers dedicated to securing financing for priority investments in climate resilience and energy transition.

Promoting resilience and climate change adaptation

In 2020, Canada provided International Fund for Africultural Development (IFAD) with $70 million of the total $150 million loan to support climate-smart and gender-responsive agriculture in developing countries, particularly in Africa. This has enabled the organization to expand support for agriculture-development activities in rural areas. It has helped smallholder farmers, especially women, strengthen their resilience to climate change and adopt technologies and practices that help mitigate the carbon footprint of agriculture.

In 2020, Canada announced $6 million in support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Gender Action Plan (GAP). The Plan aims to combat desertification and land degradation, and reduce the adverse impacts of climate change. Canada’s support has helped UNCCD integrate gender-transformative approaches and enabled women to take a leadership role in reducing land degradation. To date, more than 300 users have successfully completed a free, online course on gender and environment developed under the GAP.

In February 2020, Canada contributed $2 million to the National Adaptation Plan Global Network, managed by the Canadian-based International Institute for Sustainable Development. The Network assists developing countries with adaptation planning, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa and SIDS. In recent years, Canada contributed $30 million to The Least Developed Countries Fund. It has increased the climate change resilience of an estimated 22.3 million people and 3.36 million hectares of land in developing countries.

In Indonesia, Malawi, Mongolia and Peru, the Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada’s (CDF) INVEST COOP initiative is improving food security, nutrition and resilience to climate change for smallholder farmers, particularly women. The initiative has increased incomes and improved food security for 140,327 smallholder farmers. For example, in Indonesia, it has helped seaweed cultivators introduce species that are resistant to climate and disease, and create more durable eco-floats. In Malawi, farmers have increased yields by adopting improved agriculture practices, including using improved seed varieties, and better soil and water management. In Mongolia, the initiative helped farmers to purchase index-based livestock-insurance products that protected their incomes. In addition, farmers in Peru adopted practices to conserve biodiversity by diversifying and transitioning to organic farming.

With Canada’s support, the SeedChange project in Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Honduras, Mali and Nicaragua is helping seed producers to generate income while meeting the growing demand for quality seed varieties that are more climate resistant. The project is strengthening local and Indigenous seed systems and farmers’ rights.

Canada is contributing to global efforts to protect biodiversity through Parks Canada’s support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication. For example, in 2019–2020, the agency played a leadership role in #NatureForAll, a global movement to inspire the love of nature. Parks Canada worked with international partners to share best practices related to managing protected areas and contributed to initiatives focused on ecological restoration, wildlife conservation and fire management.

In 2019–2020, Canada supported the IMF to integrate climate-change issues into its surveillance activities and policy advice. Climate Change Policy Assessments (CCPAs), a joint IMF-World Bank initiative, are already available for select countries susceptible to climate risks. These assessments are helping countries such as Grenada and Seychelles to build clear macro-frameworks for responding to climate change, which could also improve their ability to attract external finance.

Using renewable energy to improve the health of mothers and children—and save lives

Solar-power systems provided by the Canada-funded SUSTAIN project have solved a major challenge at the Janda Health Centre in Buhigwe district, Tanzania…

Growing women’s leadership through agroecology in Guatemala

In Guatemala, SeedChange and the Association of Organizations of the Cuchamatanes (ASOCUCH) use a range of methods to promote women’s leadership and gender equality…

Building back better in the Caribbean

Like many Caribbean countries, St. Lucia is at risk of hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, floods and landslides…

Inclusive governance

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

© Stéphanie St-Laurent Brassard

Inclusive governance is fundamental to long-term sustainable development. It shapes how power is exercised and resources are allocated among different groups in society. It affects how states manage complex challenges, such as inequality, migration, urbanization, violence, natural resources and climate change.

By focusing on inclusion, developing countries can unlock the potential of their diverse populations, while contributing to the 2030 Agenda commitment to leave no one behind, and, more specifically, to achieving SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). Governance is inclusive when it effectively serves and engages all groups, and considers gender and other facets of personal identity. It also entails that institutions, policies, processes and services are accessible, accountable and responsive to all members of society. Canada works to foster inclusive governance by:

  • promoting and protecting human rights
  • increasing equitable access to a functioning justice system
  • enhancing participation in public life
  • ensuring that public services work for everyone

3,594,666 of people (1,723,487 women; 1,816,086 men; 55,093 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that support women’s leadership in decision-making in governance.Footnote 30

258,824 people (110,667 women; 85,338 men; 62,819 gender not indicated) were reached by projects that support access to justice and public services for women and girls.Footnote 31

1,702 civil society organizations that advocate for human rights and/or inclusive governance were supported.Footnote 32

For information on GAC’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser. To learn more about Canada’s approach its see its inclusive governance action area policy.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

In 2019–2020, Canada invested $389.66 million in international assistance, of which $384.46 million was ODA, to support inclusive governance initiatives. Countries that received the most support were Afghanistan, Ukraine, Haiti, Mali and Iraq.

Canada’s support to building the capacity of public institutions includes strengthening local legal and law-enforcement systems, supporting democratic and electoral institutions, and improving access to public services. In 2019–2020, Canada worked with partner countries to bring about legislative, regulatory and policy reforms that enhanced human rights protections, improved legal, electoral and fiscal systems, and reinforced their statistical capacities and audit mechanisms. Canada also supported civic-education initiatives to improve knowledge and awareness of human rights, political participation and legal recourse, especially among women and marginalized communities.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion (OHRFI) assumed management of two small, global funds: the Promoting and Protecting Democracy Fund (Pro-Dem) and the Inclusion, Diversity and Human Rights Fund (IDHR). Pro-Dem was created to augment existing efforts to promote democratic values and build democratic resilience, while the IDHR expands on work formerly undertaken by the Office of Religious Freedom to include projects advancing other human rights.

These two funds provided $11.1 million to initiatives that promote and protect democracy, democratic values, institutions and processes by:

  • providing electoral support
  • fostering civic engagement and inclusive governance
  • promoting freedom of the media
  • promoting and protecting human rights, freedom of religion or belief
  • supporting inclusion and respect for diversity

Among other things, Canada’s contributions to inclusive governance have helped:

  • improve the capacity of state and non-state actors to protect and promote human rights
  • increase access to legal recourse and to the justice system
  • reduce barriers to all people’s equal and effective participation in all forms of public life, including politics
  • strengthen local democratic institutions
  • strengthen efforts to combat corruption and impunity
  • improve public financial-management and service delivery by partner-country institutions

Sub-Saharan Africa

Canada is committed to assisting sub-Saharan countries to strengthen democratic institutions, improve governance and advance human rights, including the rights of women and children. In 2019–2020, Canada promoted civic responsibility, strengthened justice systems and advanced women’s right to fully participate in political processes. For example, the Evaluation of Coherence across Diplomacy, Trade and International Assistance in the sub-Saharan Africa Branch identified the Feminist International Assistance Policy’s Inclusive Governance action area as an effective means for strengthening the link between diplomacy and international assistance through joint-advocacy work that focuses on human rights and the rule of law.

The Women’s Voice and Leadership Program is key to Canada’s inclusive-governance efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019–2020, the program supported collaboration between women’s movements in Tanzania to develop a Women’s Election Manifesto. The Manifesto highlights the fact that women represent half of the voting population and are an important constituency—and that their demands should not be ignored. Developing the Manifesto provided an important avenue for Tanzanian women to articulate their aspirations, needs, expectations and demands. It even increased women’s and girls’ interest in running for leadership positions in Tanzania’s elections.

In 2019–2020, Canada enhanced its strong partnership with the African Union (AU), the premier political organization for Africa’s social and economic development. Canada’s longstanding relationship with the AU and its institutions helped advance important objectives relating to the empowerment of women and girls, governance and human rights, and institutional reforms. Canada supports gender mainstreaming and the AU’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda and provides support to continental campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building that centres on women and girls’ empowerment.

Canada’s support of two projects carried out by the International Bureau for Children’s Rights in Burkina Faso and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) helped bolster good governance and child protection in 2019–2020. Through the efforts of more than 20,700 workers in the justice, social work and law-enforcement sectors, 1,468,230 children in these countries were provided with access to an environment that is more respectful of their rights. These workers are now better equipped and trained to listen to, support, and protect children as well as encourage their participation in society and make informed decisions that are in their best interests.

Canada’s support to the United Nations Development Programme in 2020 helped strengthen the capacity of Ethiopia’s National Election Board to conduct credible, inclusive and peaceful elections. This included helping state actors to revise the electoral-legal framework and related procedures to include gender equality and inclusion. Although the 2020 elections were postponed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, this support will help ensure fair, inclusive and just elections in the future.

Americas

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada contributed to improving local governance by enhancing civil justice and supporting judicial reform. For example, the Canadian Support for Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Reform in Honduras project, led by UNICEF, has contributed to improving the country’s inter-institutional coordination capacity. To date, 157 municipalities—more than half of the municipalities in Honduras—have adopted municipal systems that protect children’s rights. This project has also contributed to restorative juvenile justice. As a result, the rate of adolescent sentenced-to-custody measures was 21 per 100,000 adolescents in October 2019, down from 48 per 100,000 adolescents just two years before.

In partnership with the Justice Studies Centre of the Americas, Canada supported a regional approach to increasing access to civil justice by providing training and technical assistance to governments that are testing and implementing judicial reforms. As a result, approximately 2,200 judges, attorneys and legal assistants in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Panama, Bolivia and Costa Rica improved their skills on civil-justice management, dispute resolution, public policies, and judicial practices and procedures.

Through the Strengthening the Rights of Indigenous and Other Discriminated Women in Guatemala project, Canada helped promote and protect women’s rights in Guatemala. This included the use of strategic litigation to guarantee culturally appropriate access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for Indigenous women.

Canada helped strengthen democratic governance in all 33 national parliaments across Latin America and the Caribbean though the Improving the Effectiveness of Parliaments in Latin America and the Caribbean project. It provided training to 251 parliamentarians, improving their knowledge on issues of regional and national importance, including gender equality and transparency.

In addition, Canada supported the Organization of American States in enhancing political participation in public processes in Bolivia. Canada provided an electoral-observation mission that contributed to technical improvements to the country’s electoral processes, including conducting an electoral-Integrity Analysis to verify the integrity and reliability of the 2019 general election results.

Asia-Pacific

In Asia-Pacific, Canada focused on promoting credible and transparent electoral processes, protecting the rights of marginalized and vulnerable communities, engaging civil society, and ensuring greater participation of women in governance. For example, in Myanmar, 2,802 key political stakeholders—such as parliamentarians, government officials and members of civil society—received training on gender-empowerment federalism through the Support to Decentralized Governance project. Led by the Forum of Federations, this training increased political stakeholders’ awareness and understanding of gender-sensitive federal-governance issues.

In April 2019, Canada helped successfully organize Indonesia’s largest-ever simultaneous general elections. Through a $12 million project, Canada provided technical assistance to create a more credible and transparent electoral process, which addressed women’s rights and the underrepresentation of women in politics. For example, 261 women candidates and parliamentarians were trained in constituent relations-building, media outreach, campaigning and fundraising. This gave these women the confidence to compete for electoral positions and to advocate more effectively for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Through its support for the World Bank-administered Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, Canada made significant progress promoting inclusive governance in Afghanistan. In 2019–2020, Canada’s contribution:

  • enhanced public decision-making to promote the rights of women and girls
  • strengthened civil society organizations and leadership
  • strengthened institutional, organizational, administrative and individual performance of the government at both central and local levels
  • increased opportunities for women and girls to participate in the economic, political and social spheres of Afghan society
  • increased economic opportunities for rural people, including in agriculture, business development and through access to credit and markets

In Pakistan, Canada’s assistance enabled the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability to publish a report in March 2020 on women’s parliamentary performance. The report raised awareness of existing gender gaps and increased advocacy for more gender-responsive systems and actions in Pakistan. Additionally, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems launched the Women in Elections portal. It provides a one-stop shop for information on women’s rights and electoral and political participation in Pakistan, as well as COVID-related content that pertains to women. Through support from Canada, the Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre created and published the socio-legal journal Bayan in November 2019 to provide women and women’s organizations with a platform to articulate the need for inclusive democracy in Pakistan.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

In 2019–2020, Canada provided targeted assistance in Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia to promote inclusive governance and civic participation, particularly the participation of women, and helped establish institutions and laws to reduce corruption.

In Syria and Iraq, Canada supported Outright Action International’s efforts to build and safeguard effective human-rights mechanisms and inclusive civil societies. These efforts focused on enabling existing and emerging lesbian, gay and bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTQ2I) activists in Syria and Iraq to establish effective human-rights mechanisms.

The evaluation of Canadian International Assistance Programming in Ukraine found that Canada-funded interventions also brought about significant results in rule-of-law and electoral-support programming. Canadian-supported projects improved capacity, systems and procedures, helped enact laws and led to new policies.

Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance project, 16 Ukrainian cities launched programs to support SMEs and provide services to promote women’s entrepreneurship. The project assisted administrators from 8 partner cities to implement gender-responsive budgeting. Recommendations were also prepared for municipal programs in health care, housing and utilities, entrepreneurship support and childcare to integrate the specific needs of women and girls. Sixty-four Ukrainian municipalities have already joined the European Charter on Equality of Women and Men in Local Life—which commits cities to integrating gender-equity considerations at all levels of policy-making—and other cities are in the final stages of admission.

Canada’s support of the Expert Deployment for Governance and Economic Growth project, implemented by Alinea International, helped pave the way for results-based management to be adopted as the Government of Ukraine’s primary tool for reform. The project helped reform Ukraine’s top 15 administrative services through the adoption of Canada’s citizen-centric approach to service delivery. In addition, it reformed the country’s health-care delivery model by building and rolling out a comprehensive IT e-health system that makes primary health-care delivery across Ukraine more transparent and efficient.

In 2014, only 11% of Ukraine’s elected members of parliament were women—but Canada is working to ensure equal opportunities for women in Ukraine’s government. Through Canada’s support to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Ukraine adopted an election Code in 2019 that is now largely aligned with international standards and Ukraine’s reform commitments. The new election Code enfranchised internally displaced people and internal migrants, and introduced a gender quota on party lists to improve gender representation. To support women’s leadership in governance decision-making in Ukraine, the project also trained 159 officials, including 110 women, from Central Election Commission staff and political-party members.

In Iraq, Canada supported the Fiscal Decentralization and Resiliency Building project, implemented by the Institute on Governance, which established a Centre of Excellence at Karbala University. The Centre provides training on federalism and decentralization, and will increase the capacity of senior Iraqi officials to operate more effectively. In May 2019, the Iraqi Parliament passed a law to modernize the public financial-management framework in Iraq. A framework was also established and piloted in the provinces of Maysan and Al-Qadisiyah to provide intergovernmental structures and processes to identify and address barriers to effective decentralization.

In Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco Canada’s funding helped Equitas’ Technological Bridges for Citizen Engagement project train 997 individuals—more than 70% of whom were women or youth. This training demonstrated how technology can help ensure duty bearers understand their obligations to respect, protect and promote human rights, in particular the rights of those in marginalized groups. Using information and communication technologies, such as a tactical-mapping tool developed by the project, participants came up with effective strategies for promoting collaboration to address human-rights issues in their communities.

Multi-regional

Promoting gender-inclusive governance

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative counts 78 governments worldwide, both national and local, among its members. Its goal is to promote accountable, responsive and inclusive governance. In 2019, Canada provided core funding and substantive guidance to launch the Feminist Open Government Initiative to improve OGP’s work and make it more inclusive of women and other underrepresented groups. As a result of the initiative, countries with gender-aware commitments doubled in less than a year.

In the DRC, South Sudan, Colombia and the West Bank, the Women of Courage project increased women’s participation in peace processes, the defence of human rights and post-conflict development processes. In 2019–2020, the project directly impacted 4,280 individuals, of whom 77% were female, by providing:

  • psychosocial or medical support to 583 women survivors of gender-based violence
  • workshops on the psychosocial impacts of war to 326 women and 141 men
  • gender awareness training to 1,299 women and 652 men
  • human-rights training sessions to 716 women and 204 men
  • legal services to 359 women by partners
Engaging in capacity-building of public institutions

In 2019–2020, Statistics Canada provided capacity-building support to national statistical offices and other key actors in national statistical systems in countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Botswana, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. Specifically, it provided support for institutional modernization, census, economic accounts, the use of administrative data and quality assurance.

Strengthened tax capacity contributes to improved outcomes for government planning and inclusive program delivery. In 2019–2020, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offered technical assistance to strengthen public-financial management and expand public-sector funding in Benin, and strengthen the management of the extractive sector in Mongolia. The CRA participated in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) initiative to provide technical advice to Jamaican tax officials on base erosion and profit shifting. Through a joint OECD and UNDP initiative, the CRA also provided expert assistance in risk assessment, audit and transfer-pricing techniques to Papua New Guinea’s forestry industry.

Through the Knowledge Sharing Platform for Tax Administrations (KSPTA), hosted by the CRA, Canada is providing developing countries with access to expertise and content that promotes gender equality. Canada is helping to break down barriers to gender equality and encourage users within less-developed tax administrations to mirror these norms as they develop their own best practices. Canada is also helping women to succeed in the field of tax administration, while contributing to their professional and economic empowerment. Recent research pointing to women’s growing representation among tax-administration employees suggests that better gender balance may improve organizational effectiveness.

Canada is improving the capacity of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in developing countries through support to the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Development Initiative’s Strengthening Audit Capacity and Fighting Corruption project. The project helps SAIs to audit and oversee their governments’ activities and to collaborate with key stakeholders such as parliaments, civil society organizations and media to follow-up on audit recommendations. It also helps them to communicate audit results to the public more effectively. In 2019–2020, the project provided training and support to 51 SAIs in developing countries to help them prevent and detect fraud and corruption. In addition, it supported 73 SAIs to conduct performance audits on their country’s preparedness to implement the SDGs.

In 2019–2020, Canada funded the UNESCO-led Global Media Defense Fund to protect journalistic freedom around the world. The fund aims to bolster international efforts to protect, train and support journalists by providing access to legal services and supporting the prosecution of those who attack journalists. It also supports a high-level panel of legal experts who have produced a number of critical reports and legal briefs looking at media freedom and protection.

Providing a voice for diversity in Honduras

The film was part of a project funded through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)…

Supporting gender-inclusive municipal leadership in Tunisia

The Program for Municipal Leadership Inclusive of Women (PMLIW) project, led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities…

Supporting young civic journalists in Northern Armenia

Recent political changes in Armenia, including the peaceful transition of power after historic elections in December 2018, have demonstrated the need for improved governance in the country…

Peace and security

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs are highlighted under this action area based on common objectives and results.

All SDGs have crosscutting interlinkages with all of the action areas of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Violent conflict and insecurity have widespread, deep and lasting effects on individuals and societies. Continued international support and collaboration is needed to establish and maintain peace and security around the world, both for the safety of individuals and as a precondition for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda underscores that “there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.” This is reflected in SDG 16, which aims to promote peace, inclusive governance and justice for all.

Canada’s international assistance has a long history of directly supporting peace, security and stability. The Feminist Foreign Policy and Feminist International Assistance Policy guide Canada’s international engagement on SDGs 5 and 16 by developing a gender-responsive and integrated response to global peace and security challenges. Canada also works to address the long-term, systemic drivers of conflict and insecurity, as well as the immediate challenges facing peace and stability through programs such as Peace and Stabilization Operations; Office of Human Rights, Freedoms, and Inclusion (OHRFI) Programming; Anti-Crime Capacity Building; Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building; and Weapons Threat Reduction.

Canada is also improving coherence by aligning the objectives of development, humanitarian assistance, and peace-and-security programming when delivering international assistance in fragile and conflict-affected states. It is also ensuring it aligns with international best practices as outlined in the UN-World Bank Pathways for Peace report. Shifting away from managing and responding to crises and moving toward preventing conflict sustainably, inclusively and collectively can save lives and greatly reduce the costs of conflict.

In addition to its work to promote inclusive governance, Canada’s Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion (OHRFI) contributes to peace-building and security objectives by supporting targeted initiatives that address the erosion of civil society space, threats to human-rights defenders, exclusion of marginalized and vulnerable minorities, as well as digital risks to human rights. This is done through OHRFI’s new programming arm, which manages the Promoting and Protecting Democracy Fund (Pro-Dem) and the Inclusion, Diversity and Human Rights Fund (IDHR).

Specifically, Canada works to promote peace and security by focusing on:

  • supporting inclusive and gender-responsive violent-conflict prevention, crisis response, and sustainable peace in fragile and conflict-affected states
  • supporting gender-responsive security-threat reduction and security-system reform
  • improving multilateral management of peace and security challenges

In 2019–20, GAC provided funding to support 88 subject-matter experts (4 women, 52 men, 32 gender not indicated), including those specializing in sexual and gender-based violence, to participate in international efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law.Footnote 33

11,005 peacekeepers (1,529 women; 8,024 men; 1,452 gender not indicated) were trained through deployments and projects to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.Footnote 34

532 civil society organizations, including women’s organizations, were provided support to increase the participation of women in peace negotiations and conflict prevention efforts.Footnote 35

Learn more about Canada’s approach through its peace and security action area policy. For information on Global Affairs Canada’s projects in this action area, please see the Project Browser.

Activities and results in 2019–2020

In 2019–2020, Canada invested $303.98 million in international assistance, of which $182.68 million was ODA, in peace and security initiatives. The top recipients of assistance were Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Yemen and Ukraine.

Through its Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs), Canada distributed $165.8 million in 2019–2020 for projects that support conflict prevention, and stabilization and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states. This included targeted funding for the Global Peace Architecture, implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s Anti-Crime (ACCBP) and Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building (CTCBP) programs allocated $13.6 million and $15.4 million, respectively, toward capacity-building initiatives that enhanced the ability of developing countries to address transnational or violent-extremism security challenges. This support resulted in more effective security institutions, stronger legal systems, improved local policies, frameworks and community resilience.

ACCBP programming enabled beneficiary countries to better prevent, detect, disrupt and reduce the harm of the illicit drug trade, cybercrime, human trafficking, human smuggling, money laundering and the proceeds of crime. As a result, these countries were able seize drugs, disrupt human-trafficking ventures and more successfully prosecute members of transnational-criminal organizations. CTCBP’s programming increased the ability of beneficiary countries to counter terrorist financing, strengthened border management, enhanced community resiliency, and strengthened the capacity of law enforcement, military and intelligence partners to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism. Key results included enhanced gender-sensitive critical-incident response outputs for police and first responders, strengthened border security to limit the flow of terrorist and violent extremists in porous regions, as well as increased community resolve towards countering harmful narratives and extremist ideologies.

As Canada’s flagship commitment to the G7-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, the Weapons Threat Reduction Program (WTRP) has provided more than $1.4 billion since 2002 to address threats posed by chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons and materials. In 2019–2020, the program delivered $70 million in programming to prevent terrorists and states of proliferation concern from acquiring and using weapons and materials of mass destruction. This included a further $1 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a partnership of public, private, philanthropic and civil organizations intended to stimulate, finance and co-ordinate vaccine development against emerging infectious disease. Ongoing support from the WTRP ($14 million between 2019–2020) and other donors enabled CEPI to quickly make use of its existing network and platforms to combat COVID-19. It contributed to CEPI’s subsequent designation as the lead for research, development, testing and licensing of COVID-19 vaccines within the Vaccines Partnership (COVAX) of the Access to COVID Tool Accelerator (ACT-A).

Sub-Saharan Africa

Canada continued its support of peace and security in sub-Saharan Africa through programming and diplomacy that advanced a number of priorities, including promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda, minimizing the spread and impact of violent extremism, and preventing the use and recruitment of child soldiers by implementing the Vancouver Principles.

Canadian support allowed 15,000 survivors of conflict in Mali, half of whom were women, to make depositions to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in 2019–2020. The Commission was established to promote hope, reduce tensions and acts of violence, and contribute to seeking the truth for victims of the conflict in the region. Canada’s assistance allowed many women in the region to move from being survivors of the conflict to active proponents of the peace process. Canada also funded a number of projects to support UN peacekeeping, including peacekeeper training through the Peace Operations Training Institute and providing gender advisers in MINUSCA in the Central African Republic and Mali.

In 2019–2020, Canada supported the 2019 G7 Dinard Declaration on the Partnership for a Comprehensive and Sustainable Strategy to Combat Illicit Trafficking in the Sahel Region. It targets terrorist financing and facilitation networks for Daesh- and al Qaeda-affiliated groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin as well as Kenya and Somalia. For example, law enforcement, security and defence forces in Mali and Burkina Faso received specialized training to identify, document and monitor transnational flows of munitions in order to limit their spread and reduce their use by non-state violent extremist groups. Canada supported United Nations Mine Action Service training for security institutions in Burkina Faso to enable them to mitigate threats from improvised explosive devices and prevent their use by violent extremist groups. These initiatives complement ongoing Canada-led activities to counter violent extremist messaging both online and in traditional media, as well as support community engagement to address local drivers of violent extremism.

In both 2019 and 2020, Canada co-chaired the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict in South Sudan. In February 2020, this group played a key role in getting the Government of South Sudan, armed groups and political actors to sign an Action Plan to end and prevent all grave violations against children—the first agreement of its kind since the creation of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate.

In 2019, Canada helped promote peace in Mozambique by funding the mediation process that led to the opposition Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO) and the Government of Mozambique signing the Maputo Peace and Reconciliation Accord. The agreement is an important milestone for peace in the country and the final step to demobilizing, disarming and reintegrating RENAMO ex-combatants.

Canada also continued its longstanding efforts to strengthen African capacity to address outbreaks of infectious diseases, whether naturally occurring, accidental or through bioterrorism. In 2019–2020, this included ongoing support for biological-containment laboratories in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa, most of which have played key roles in national diagnostic efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Americas

Canada works with international and local organizations across the Americas to build the capacity of justice and law-enforcement institutions and agencies. In 2019–2020, Canadian initiatives supported professional development for police forces, landmine clearing and education activities, and strengthened leadership for peace building.

Canada is making the following investments in Colombia in peace and security. For example,

  • Canada continues to provide support to Colombia as it emerges from decades of conflict. In 2019–2020, the Landmine Action in Colombia Project, implemented by The HALO Trust, cleared more than 57,500 square metres of landmine-contaminated area. Surveys were conducted to identify suspected or confirmed hazardous areas, helping to protect 74 communities and allowing 13 minefields to be converted to productive use. The project also conducted a study on mine-risk education for Indigenous Peoples in five areas to build awareness among underserved communities.
  • Through Plan Canada’s Leading for Peace project, 77,497 victims of the armed conflict in Colombia were able to access improved services from the Government of Colombia. The project enabled these victims to become leaders for peace building in the region and increased their economic empowerment, in addition to creating safe environments for children and youth.
  • Canada’s funding of the Support to the Afro-Colombian Community Initiative for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Colombia project helped use a feminist lens in implementing the Ethnic Chapter of the Colombian Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces. The project also provided women with a voice in the implementation of the Agreement in regions occupied primarily by Afro-Colombian people and highlighted the importance of implementing its ethnic components.
  • In 2019–2020, Canada assisted the Organization of American States’ Mission to Support the Peace Process (OAS-MAPP) in monitoring and reporting to authorities on conditions of security, peacebuilding and transitional justice throughout Colombia. The OASMAPP plays a key role in creating sustainable peace in the country by generating trust and building bridges between communities and institutions.

In Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Canada continued to focus its programming on security reform, countering Internet crime against children, and human trafficking. In the Caribbean, Canada provided capacity-building for states to counter issues such as illicit drugs, money laundering and the proceeds of crime. For example, Canada’s support provided mentoring and other opportunities for the Jamaican Defense Force to become a Special Operations Forces leader in combatting trans-regional threats in the Caribbean Basin, including in Belize, the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.

Through its support to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Canada helped strengthen the Haitian Border Police’s capacity to enforce security and become more aware of the rights and needs of migrants. The IOM conducted training sessions on issues such as combatting human trafficking, protecting the rights of migrants and protecting children. It also helped organize monthly bilateral meetings with key binational institutions working at the border to share common security issues and discuss ways to collectively tackle crime.

In 2019, Canada—in cooperation with the Organization of American States—enabled a number of Latin American and Caribbean states to fully adopt and implement legislation to reduce the development, proliferation and use of weapons and materials of mass destruction for terrorism. For example, this support helped Paraguay to submit its national action plan for implementing UN Security Council resolution 1540.

Asia-Pacific

© Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Canada remains committed to helping build safe and secure communities in conflict and post-conflict regions in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2019, Canada contributed $2 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure its readiness to undertake future monitoring and verification activities in North Korea. Canada provided a further $2.6 million to help member states implement United Nations Security Council Resolution sanctions on North Korea and counter the country’s efforts to develop illicit weapons of mass destruction and ballistic-missile programs.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) strengthened the region’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats. It also played a key role in ASEAN’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Canada’s assistance enabled the ASEAN region to strengthen its Emergency Operations Center Network and establish an ASEAN BioDiaspora Virtual Center to conduct real-time disease surveillance and rapid risk assessments. Canada also strengthened the capacity of all 10 ASEAN member states to identify and track terrorists and violent extremists, including foreign fighters moving to and returning from conflict areas. In addition, border-management projects provided passport-examination technology to seven ASEAN countries that assisted law-enforcement officers in identifying almost 100 imposters and some 200 fraudulent documents.

In 2019–2020, Canada supported a wide range of initiatives that are helping to enhance security and stability in Afghanistan. For example, Canada provided 9,653 out-of-school Afghan youth, 52% of whom were girls, with access to safe community spaces and recreational and educational activities. More than 15,000 parents in these communities were also trained on the rights of the child and protection for children from all forms of abuse. Canada is also supporting CordAid to help prepare a women’s advisory group to engage in the Afghan peace process.

Canada contributed to the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) to ensure regular and timely payment of police salaries through a modernized pay system. Support to the project strengthened the capacities and business processes for the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs to manage all payroll-related functions and operations. In 2019, 372 staff, including seven female staff members, received training on payroll management, financial management, human-resources management, logistics management, and disaster resilience and recovery orientation.

In Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Canadian support to Internews helped produce media and journal content on pluralism with a gendered perspective. As a result of this project, 226 stories were produced in Myanmar and an additional 71 in Sri Lanka. The stories reached national audiences in both countries in multiple languages, helping raise the voices of women and marginalized groups, and setting the agenda for public discourse.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

Longstanding and persistent conflicts and terrorist threats in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen continue to contribute to instability in the region. The situation has only worsened with recent economic challenges and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019–2020, Canada provided much-needed assistance to promote peace and security in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2019–2020, Canada deployed Canadian Armed Forces members to the West Bank and Gaza to participate in Operation PROTEUS. Operation PROTEUS is Canada’s contribution to the Office of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) in Jerusalem. It promotes peace in the region and provides capacity-building support to the Palestinian Authority. The deployed personnel comprise Task Force Jerusalem, which is helping to develop the Palestinian Authority Security Force’s (PASF) ability to provide a safe and secure environment for its citizens and promote peace in the region. In 2019–2020, the Task Force provided the PASF with training support, developed logistics capabilities and constructed security infrastructure. It played a key role in facilitating cooperation between the PASF and the Government of Canada, even on issues that are not usually of military interest, such as borders and crossings, and movement and access.

Canada’s peace and stabilization funding in Ukraine in 2019–2020 supported security-sector reform and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Donbas region, in the eastern part of the country. This helped reduce tensions, build confidence, and increase the sense of security and trust among communities in the area. Canada continued its support for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Special Monitoring Mission, which is mandated to monitor the ceasefire and build peace as part of the Minsk Agreements. In 2019–2020, approximately 30 Canadians were deployed to the Mission.

Canada provided police training and reform programming in Ukraine. The Canadian Police Mission in Ukraine (CPMU) provides strategic advice for the development of effective, sustainable and accountable security services by providing technical assistance in the form of training and advice to the National Police of Ukraine (NPU). In 2019–2020, the CPMU resourced a gender advisor who provided training and policy advice to police agencies in the Ukraine, portraying an inclusive image of police officers and championing change in policing culture. In addition, CPMU provided training on domestic violence. All courses had a GBA+ module and language that reflected diversity.

Canada provided a $2.8 million assistance package to counter Russian state-sponsored disinformation during the 2019 Ukrainian presidential and parliamentary elections. These initiatives helped the Government of Ukraine identify and counter the ongoing and highly corrosive negative influence of disinformation.

In 2019–2020, Canada committed an additional $2 million to support the International Atomic Energy Agency’s efforts to monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Plan limits Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Canada has helped apply international safeguards on Iran’s nuclear activities by training inspectors, increasing Farsi-language skills, and acquiring and interpreting satellite imagery.

In Iraq, Canada’s support to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) improved stability in areas formerly occupied by Daesh through community policing initiatives. Ten community-policing forums and a central community-policing office were established in the Anbar, Diyala and Ninewa governorates. Surveys conducted by IOM reported that 79% of community members and 94% of law enforcement reported an improved level of trust between citizens and police.

During 2019–2020, Canadian programming strengthened the capacity of governments and organizations in the Middle East and North Africa to prevent and respond to violent extremist activity. Specifically, Canadian support through Operation IMPACT—Canada’s military contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh—continued to improve border-security management in Lebanon and Jordan. One example of this is the rehabilitation of 65 km of road along Jordan’s northern border with Syria. Improved border management in the region has also helped contain Daesh to existing battlefields while strengthening the capacity of local security forces to respond to continued threats posed by cross-border terrorist incursions.

In 2019–2020, Canada contributed to the Pooled Fund to support the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 (JONAP). Since the adoption of JONAP in 2018, the number of women in Jordanian national security-sector organizations has increased from 4.73% to 5.43%. The number of women in senior leadership and high-ranking positions within Jordan’s Civil Defence Department has also increased, from 4.7% to 5.5%, and from 1% to 1.6% within the Gendarmerie. In addition, the numbers of Jordanian women in UN peacekeeping operations has increased by 4% since the adoption of JONAP. In fact, in 2019–2020, women constituted 17% of all Jordan Armed Forces personnel deployed to peacekeeping missions and 13.3% of those deployed by the Public Security Directorate.

In Yemen, Canada also provided more than $15 million to support peace and security. This included support for programming to advance the inclusion of women in peacebuilding at the local and national levels, and to ensure humanitarian access is able to reach the poorest and most vulnerable.

Multi-regional

Promoting peace and security globally

Josh Estey © CARE

In addition to country and region-specific programming to promote peace and security, Canada continues to support initiatives with a global reach through multilateral forums. For example, as co-chair of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), Canada helped lead the development of the 2019–2021 Peace Vision. It has led to more than 100 fragile and conflict-affected states, civil society organizations and IDPS development-partner members committing to working together to enhance national cohesion, advance gender equality, enhance peace and security, and support a peace-promoting private sector in fragile and conflict-affected states.

To promote gender mainstreaming within NATO, Canada funded the Office of the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security. In fact, Canada is currently its largest funder. In 2019, NATO adopted its first-ever policy on preventing and combatting Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. This policy is one of many stepping stones that aim to promote gender equality and mainstreaming within the institution as well increase the active and meaningful participation of women in NATO allies’ and partners’ defence and security institutions.

Canada is a founding member and the new co-chair of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF). Through this forum, Canada promotes the inclusion of the principles of rule of law, human rights, international humanitarian law and good governance as underlying themes across counter-terrorism efforts. Canada is an active board member in GCTF-inspired institutions like the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, which helps grassroots movements to strengthen resilience against violent extremism. In addition, Canada is a founding member of the Global Forum for Cyber Expertise, which aims to identify successful policies, practices and ideas to build cyber capacity.

Since 2018, Canada has partnered with the World Institute for Nuclear Security to enhance nuclear security around the world and promote the participation of women in this sector. This support has funded scholarships and promoted women’s participation at industry events, as well as, research on gender inequalities in the field. This culminated in the August 2019 Special Report on Gender in the Industry, co-funded by Canada and Norway. In June 2019, Canada ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), underscoring Canada’s commitment to conventional arms control, and provided $100,000 to the ATT’s Voluntary Trust Fund and Sponsorship Programme. Other outreach and engagement activities increased awareness of gender-equality issues in conventional arms control (such as addressing the prevalence of small-arms usage in gender-based violence).

In January 2020, Canada became chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission for the year, building on our years of engagement on peacebuilding and conflict prevention, and continued to be a top donor to the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). Through these roles, Canada focused on priorities such as gender equality, human rights, and peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Canada’s support contributed to the PBF’s Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative, as well as to building peace in countries such as Mali, Colombia, South Sudan, Yemen and Burkina Faso. In 2019–2020, Canada provided targeted funding for challenging transitions away from UN peacekeeping in Haiti and Darfur, Sudan.

In 2019–2020, Canada supported the Women’s Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Fund. The fund provides 131 civil society organizations in 20 countries with grants focused on prevention, participation, peacebuilding, national action plans on Women, Peace and Security, and humanitarian responses. In 2019, the fund established partnerships with Starbucks to support the prevention of SGBV in the DRC, and with Dell to launch a community of practice for women’s organizations.

The Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA) program recognizes the importance of women’s equal and full participation in conflict resolution, peace building and peacekeeping. It actively seeks to support women in peacekeeping roles by incorporating gender perspectives in program decisions. It also focuses on training female police officers in foreign countries and targeting international-deployment opportunities and senior positions that support this important work. In 2019–2020, 71 police officers—21 of whom were women—were deployed as part of the CPA to support UN missions in the DRC, Haiti and Mali, in addition to EU Missions in Ukraine, the West Bank and Gaza, and Mali.

In 2019–2020, the Canada-led Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations advanced partnerships with Zambia, Ghana and Senegal. This initiative aims to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in UN peace operations. Evidence demonstrates that increasing the number of women in peacekeeping missions benefits operational effectiveness, including supporting outreach to civilian communities. During 2019–2020, the Elsie Initiative supported the design of a comprehensive barrier assessment methodology and advanced projects with the UN to create receptive work environments.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has developed and is leading the delivery of an international women-centred training for the gender-responsive treatment of women prisoners. This training aims to empower corrections personnel to effectively intervene with women prisoners, while respecting the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Noncustodial Measures for Women Offenders as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. In 2019–2020, CSC deployed staff to the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) to deliver this gender-responsive training. They also held a training-of-trainers session that will enable national corrections services in the country to build their own capacity to deliver the training in the future.

Supporting Senegalese women peacekeepers

During his bilateral visit to Senegal in February 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in a roundtable with Senegalese women peacekeepers from the Armed Forces, Gendarmerie and National Police…

Ending impunity for sexual and gender-based violence

Canada’s funding for UN Women has supported the deployment of expert investigators and advisors to collect evidence showing how sexual violence was used as a tool of genocide against the Yazidi community of Iraq…

Advancing gender inclusiveness in Iraq’s police force

RCMP Superintendent Marie-Claude Côté was deployedto Iraq as the Chief Gender Advisor (GENAD) to theCombined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR)…

Collaboration with Canada’s partners

Canada could not achieve its international assistance objectives without strong partnerships both in Canada and abroad. These partnerships bring together the technical capacity, logistical know-how, advocacy skills and organizational networks necessary to deliver Canada’s international assistance and effectively support our partner countries.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to work with a broad range of partners to achieve its strategic priorities—from civil society to local governments to multilateral organizations to the private sector. By collaborating with 181 Canadian civil society organizations such as NGOs, colleges and universities, volunteer-sending organizations, think tanks and others, GAC was able to implement Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, as well as advance its international assistance priorities. Canada built on its relationships with the private sector through:

For further information on GAC’s projects with these partners, please see the Project Browser.

Civil Society

Civil society includes non-governmental organizations, foundations, women’s groups and community groups. Canada fosters strong partnerships with these groups both at home and internationally, including in countries where it delivers programming. In 2019–2020, Canada continued to implement its Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for the International Assistance Policy – A Feminist Approach. In 2019, Global Affairs Canada’s annual dialogue with civil society organizations (CSO) focused on the CSO enabling environment in Canada and globally, as well as its policy-implementation plan.

In 2019–2020, Canada engaged with new and diverse civil society partners. In May 2019, a call for concept notes was piloted under the initiative for Canadian Small and Medium Organizations (SMOs) for Impact and Innovation to reduce applicants’ effort levels and increase the participation of new partners. In addition, the Technical Assistance Partnership launched the Pilot Mission Deployment Fund. The Fund is helping Canadian missions to deploy Canadian experts to engage in technical-assistance and capacity-building activities. In total, 20 Canadian experts—of whom 15 were women, including one Indigenous woman—were deployed to assist 15 partner-country agreements. As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, some missions also successfully adjusted their initiatives to e-expertise activities.

International Development Week (IDW), held every February, is a way to engage provincial and regional councils, as well as other partners, in international cooperation. The annual event helps inform, inspire and involve Canadians, including youth from across the country. The 2020 theme, “Go for the Goals,” challenged Canadians to take action at home and abroad to support the goals set out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The 2020 event reached more than 16,000 viewers through its broadcast, as well as through 140 externally organized in-person events in communities across Canada.

Through the Volunteer Cooperation Program (VCP) and youth-internship programs, Canada provides opportunities for Canadians to contribute to international assistance projects in developing countries. Through the VCP, 15 Canadian partner organizations sent 1,447 Canadian volunteers, 62% of whom were women, to more than 40 developing countries in 2019–2020. Through their expertise in a number of fields, these volunteers helped build capacity for 754 local partners. When these volunteers returned to Canada, they also participated in 1,173 community events to raise awareness about development issues. For example, in February 2020, the VCP hosted a “human library” during which 30 volunteers talked about their volunteer experiences with the audience. Although 2019–2020 was the final year of the VCP program, it has allowed Canada to send a total of 9,508 volunteers over five years through partnerships with recognized Canadian organizations such as Oxfam-Quebec, Cuso International, CESO, CECI and WUSC.

The International Youth Internship Program and the International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative give Canadian youth opportunities to participate in international internships in developing countries. This allows them to gain valuable work experience and participate in Canada’s international assistance efforts. In 2019–2020, 346 interns were sent to 44 countries under the International Youth Internship Program and 99 Indigenous youth interns were deployed to 14 developing countries under the International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative. For instance, some of VIDEA’s Indigenous interns spent 3 months in Zambia with Women for Change, a local Zambian organization that works to increase children’s access to education, as well as to empower women through training on income-generating activities, on sexual and reproductive health and rights. A survey carried out six months after the youth interns returned to Canada showed that 81% of youth interns and 96% of Indigenous youth interns were able to find employment or return to school after their internship.

Working with Canadian civil society partners

Country: Somalia © World Vision Canada

Through the provincial and regional councils for international cooperation that make up the Inter-Council Network (ICN), Canada builds collaborative relationships with diverse Canadian influencers including youth, development actors, political leaders, institutions and businesses. From December 2019 to March 2020, GAC worked with ICN partners to engage Canadian civil society organizations and other stakeholders. More than 350 Canadian development actors, representing some 200 organizations, participated in outreach activities in 13 cities cross Canada. These activities provided important information on how to work with GAC in delivering international assistance programming. In 2019–2020, work with provincial and regional councils for international cooperation resulted in engagement with 3,340,509 Canadians, 70,809 of whom were reached directly through ICN activities and 2,269,700 indirectly through public engagement.

In partnership with Canadian civil society, GAC also continued its efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) in the delivery of international assistance. These initiatives built on international commitments endorsed in the 2018 Whistler Declaration and those adopted in the OECD Development Assistance Committee recommendation on ending sexual exploitation and abuse, and sexual harassment. For example, GAC’s agreement with Cooperation CanadaFootnote 36 led to the creation of Digna, a PSEA-sector hub prioritizing prevention and a survivor-centred approach. Through Digna, civil society organizations are provided training, toolkits and other online resources on PSEA. Direct-engagement activities are also held, such as the November 2019 Dialogue on Sexual Misconduct, the December 2019 Strategic Retreat and the May 2020 PSEA webinar (co-hosted with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation).

Engaging with civil society abroad

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) enables Canadian missions abroad to work directly with local civil society organizations (CSOs) to deliver small-scale, high-impact projects that respond to local needs and priorities. In 2019–2020, it supported 573 projects in 125 countries. Nearly 80% of these projects were implemented by local NGOs, academic institutions and governments. These included:

  • identifying barriers to women’s political participation in Panama
  • training civil society organizations (CSOs), lawyers and police in Kyrgyzstan to increase civil society’s ability to identify, address and prevent torture
  • providing counselling and litigation services to migrant workers in Mexico
  • training women peace actors on peace building, mediation, negotiation and monitoring in South Sudan

Through this fund, Canada is directly supporting local CSOs—many of which may not otherwise qualify for international donor funding—to flourish and succeed. It is also ensuring that diverse voices contribute to building an open civil society in countries where civic space may be shrinking or under threat. CSO partners provide Canada with valuable insights into the evolving and complex realities on the ground, such as during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of recipient organizations were forced to delay planned activities or close their projects early. However, there were instances where recipient organizations were able to reconfigure their existing CFLI projects to respond to the health crisis. For example, a local CSO in Cameroon was able to quickly acquire equipment and provide training to local women on how to make masks to protect against the transmission of COVID-19. More than 5,000 masks were produced and prepared for distribution to vulnerable internally displaced persons.

Private sector

In 2019–2020, Canada collaborated with the private sector in support of sustainable development. Working with the private sector enhances the effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance by applying private sector knowledge, expertise, intelligence and innovation to policy and programming activities, while strengthening and expanding partnerships that mobilize additional private capital. For example, Canada is working with the private sector in Colombia to develop the cacao value chain using a pay-for-results model (over 50% in co-financing, representing over $18.3 million in addition to ODA). Through this project, implemented with SOCODEVI, Canada only pays for verifiable results—rather than activities—in areas such as women’s empowerment, climate resilience and sustainable business. This is an attractive model for Canada’s private-sector partners and allows Canada to be as strategic as possible with its ODA to attract private capital and maximize development impact.

One example of where Canada is applying private sector knowledge and expertise is the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. Canada and five other donors have partnered with private firms—including Maersk, UPS and Walmart—to advise developing countries on how to adjust border controls and address trade barriers to provide both the private and public sectors with commercial and development benefits. Canada will continue to look to private-sector partnerships such as these to facilitate and improve its support of sustainable-development outcomes.

Multilateral organizations

Canada recognizes that meeting our international assistance objectives requires international cooperation. Canada is committed to working with other donors and partner countries to enhance aid effectiveness and collaboration, and reduce aid fragmentation both within and across developing countries. Overall, Canada works with and invests in over 40 key multilateral organizations and partnerships that have the expertise, resources, networks and convening power to make meaningful change in the world.

By partnering with UN agencies, international financial institutions and other international and global partners, Canada is able to advance its international assistance priorities and have greater impact in promoting gender equality, creating peace and security, fighting climate change, and eradicating poverty, illness and disease.

In 2019–2020, GAC collaborated with global partners including the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, La Francophonie, the Stabilization Leaders Forum and MOPAN to develop advice on key international evaluation-initiatives. These partnerships strengthened the global capacity to understand results achieved and provided opportunities to share and strengthen global international-assistance evidence. For more information on Canada’s engagement with international organizations and institutions, please see GAC’s website.

Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD-DAC)

Canada has been a member of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD since its creation in 1960. It is a global forum made up of government aid donors and serves as a platform for standard setting in development cooperation. In 2019–2020, Canada provided $1.2 million to the committee to support subsidiary bodies working on:

  • gender
  • governance
  • the environment
  • conflict and fragility
  • innovation
  • statistics

Canada has taken on a leadership role within the DAC in key areas such as gender equality, development effectiveness, blended finance, environment, innovation, small island developing states and development financing. In April 2019, Canada hosted committee members as part of a peer-learning exercise aimed at sharing challenges and lessons learned in environmental mainstreaming. In recent years, Canada has also encouraged the committee to work with development actors beyond the DAC’s membership—including new and emerging donors, and civil society partners—to improve the relevance and impact of its work.

Since 2002, Canada has actively contributed to the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN). This network of 19 member countries, hosted by the OECD, is responsible for assessing the performance of multilateral institutions. In 2019–2020, Canada was an active participant in MOPAN’s steering committee and technical working group. During this period, MOPAN conducted institutional assessments of CGIAR, UNCTAD, UNIDO and UNODC. Canada also participated in consultations to reform MOPAN’s governance mechanisms and helped develop recommendations to ensure the network functions efficiently, effectively and transparently.

United Nations

In 2019–2020, Canada forged strong partnerships with many UN organizations to deliver on their respective mandates. For example, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Canada and other countries provided assistance, advice and technical support to 22 countries and territories to align their local and national priorities with the SDGs. Another 13 countries were able to improve their capacities for dialogue, consensus-building and reconciliation around contested issues, while ensuring equal participation of women and men. In addition, 39 countries conducted inclusive and credible elections and another 15 integrated targets for low emission and climate-resilient development in their plans and strategies.

Canada continued its support for UNICEF, the UN’s international organization dedicated to protecting children’s rights. In 2019, UNICEF-supported programs provided 5.7 million adolescent girls with care and interventions to prevent child marriage. With Canada’s support, the organization also delivered humanitarian assistance for 281 emergencies in 96 countries, ensuring children in need had access to safe water, measles vaccinations, education, treatment for severe malnutrition, and mental health care and psychosocial support.

Canada is also a strong supporter of UN Women, which coordinates and supports the integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment into UN agencies and member states’ policies and programs. In 2019, UN Women enabled 102 countries to conduct a 25-year review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, a progressive blueprint for action for advancing women’s rights.

Canada’s long-term institutional support to the United Nations Population Fund has helped ensure that a full range of quality contraceptives and services were consistently accessible to women in developing countries. As a result, an estimated 44 million unintended pregnancies were averted. Canada is also supporting work of other UN organizations such as UNHCR and WFP to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. More information on those organizations can be found in the Gender-responsive humanitarian action section of the report.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to be an active member of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners to promote humane and orderly migration. It also organizes regional and global forums on international migration to advance policy development, and delivers humanitarian assistance, and security, capacity-building and development programming. Canada relies on the organization to provide a wide range of services to assist with the delivery of Canadian immigration programs, including services related to refugee resettlement and economic migration, visa-application services, and support for the processing of refugees in high-risk locations.

Organisation internationale de la Francophonie

Canada has a strong and ongoing commitment to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), a key forum that Canada draws on to mobilize the international community around priority issues. In 2019–2020, Canada contributed $8.7 million to the OIF and $3.6 million to the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie in both voluntary contributions and long-term institutional support. In addition, Canada contributed $16 million to the OIF in assessed contributions over the same period.

Canada encouraged the OIF to take gender equality into account in implementing all its programs. As a result, the organization created a gender-equality unit that directly supports OIF’s strategy for promoting gender equality, empowering women and girls, and promoting their rights. Canada played a leadership role in the OIF’s transparency-consolidation policy by supporting reforms aimed at establishing a culture of results and efficiency across all OIF activities. It also supported OIF’s transformation plan by providing Canadian expertise in program monitoring and evaluation. At OIF’s request, Canada conducted a review of its monitoring and evaluation capacity in 2019–2020. This led to recommendations that improved the OIF’s capacity to provide evidence-based decision-making.

For more details on Canada’s work with the OIF, visit Canada and La Francophonie.

Commonwealth

Canada provides annual funding to advance its international assistance priorities in the Commonwealth. Through this support, Canada helps improve the lives of vulnerable and marginalized groups throughout the Commonwealth’s membership, which includes 54 countries and 2 billion people. Canada’s contribution supports progress in areas such as the empowerment of women, diversity and inclusion, governance and the rule of law. It also helps to address the unique needs of small states and to strengthen their voices in multilateral forums.

In 2019–2020, Canada contributed $6.65 million to the Commonwealth Secretariat and another $1.14 million to the Commonwealth Foundation in assessed contributions. It also provided $2.6 million in long-term institutional support to the core work of the Commonwealth of Learning. Through the support of Canada and other members, the Commonwealth of Learning helped nearly 443,000 people access and make use of quality learning opportunities in 2019–2020. Nearly 94,000 learners also improved their livelihoods. In addition, 416 organizations improved their capacity to offer and deliver open, distance and technology-based learning. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has adapted its work to meet the increasing demand for open, distance and online learning across Commonwealth countries.

For more details on Canada’s engagement with the Commonwealth, please visit GAC’s website.

G7 and G20

The Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of Twenty (G20) serve as platforms for Canada to advance domestic and international priorities related to international assistance. Following on its successful 2018 presidency, Canada participated in the 2019 France-hosted G7 Summit, the G7 Development Ministers Meeting, and the G7 Joint Development and Education Ministers’ Meeting in July 2019. Canada’s participation helped ensure the inclusion of language on gender equality, climate change, health and the 2030 Agenda.

In late 2019, Canada helped draft and publish the Biarritz Progress Report on G7 development and development-related commitments. These included reporting on each of the G7 commitments related to international assistance and highlighted progress made in initiatives begun under previous Canadian presidencies. Canada advocated for strong positions on these initiatives as the United States began its G7 presidency in 2020.

Within the G20, Canada played a key role in negotiations for the five deliverables of the Development Working Group during the 2019 Japanese presidency and in the lead-up to the 2019 Osaka Summit. Canada’s alliances with key partners within the group led to the inclusion of women’s-empowerment and gender equality perspectives in many of these deliverables. In December 2019, Canada participated in the first meeting of the G20 Development Working Group as part of the 2020 Saudi presidency.

Please see the G7 and G20 pages on the GAC website for more details on Canada’s role in these organizations.

Engaging with International Financial Institutions

International financial institutions (IFIs) provide financial support, policy advice and capacity development to developing countries—and in some cases, private sector actors—to support economic growth and poverty reduction. Investments by multilateral development banks (a type of IFI) cover a wide array of sectors, including education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial- and private-sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural-resource management.

Canada is a member of several IFIs and provides core contributions to support their operations, activities and specific projects. Canada actively contributes to the development of IFIs’ policies and provides oversight of IFIs’ financial activities through membership on boards of governors and boards of directors, the latter bodies dealing with day-to-day decisions. In order to provide strategic direction for its engagement with IFIs, Canada develops key objectives that are informed by its priorities for multilateralism, foreign policy and development, and by general principles of good governance. This includes Canada’s objectives for the COVID-19 responses of each IFI, which will be discussed in detail in next year’s report. The following section offers an overview of the IFIs of which Canada is a member.

World Bank Group

The World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s leading development organizations and represents one of the largest sources of funding for developing countries. In 2019–2020, the WBG committed US$77 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to partner countries and private businesses to work towards its objectives of reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable growth and development. Canada’s current shareholding at the WBG ranges between 2.5% to 3%.

Canada engages on several strategic fronts at the WBG. In 2019, Canada played a significant role in the $82 billion replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the concessional arm of the World Bank. Canada advocated for strong debt sustainability and transparency measures, ambitious gender equality targets, and increased support to small island developing states. The poorest and most vulnerable 74 countries have access to IDA’s concessional resources.

Canada has also been a strong advocate for the development of financial instruments and inclusive partnerships that strengthen the WBG’s capacity to deliver development results, including by working with other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to increase development impact. Canada continues to be engaged in exploring the development of financial instruments, including through balance-sheet optimization measures. Canada also promotes improvements to the institutional effectiveness and financial capacity of the WBG through ongoing reforms, accountability mechanisms and governance structures.

Through active engagements, Canada ensures that our priorities are reflected in WBG policies and programming, with a focus on gender equality, climate change, debt transparency or sustainability, and capital efficiency. Furthermore, Canada played a key role in developing the WBG’s first ever Strategy on Fragility, Conflict and Violence. This included advice and advocacy on the integration and application of gender equality and the Women, Peace and Security agenda, as well as ensuring better coherence between humanitarian, development and peace efforts. Following the Strategy’s launch, Canada has continued to work with the WBG on its implementation in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Volume 2 of this report provides details on Canada’s engagement in WBG operations, including procurement information and communiqués of the Development Committee of the WBG’s Boards of Governors for the reporting period. For more details on Canada’s engagement with the World Bank Group, visit Finance Canada’s website.

International Monetary Fund

The IMF continually works towards these goals by: delivering financial assistance to members experiencing economic stress; providing surveillance and advice on economic, monetary and financial-sector developments; and strengthening the membership’s ability to implement sound policies.

Canada is a key partner of the IMF and is the 11th largest member, holding a 2.22% voting share. Canada’s engagement at the Fund is guided by four central objectives:

  • ensuring global economic stability, including by providing financial assistance and policy advice to countries at risk of falling into a balance of payments crisis
  • identifying and helping address key global-economic risks, such as those relating to debt sustainability and transparency
  • strengthening global financial resiliency, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, including small island developing states
  • supporting the rules-based multilateral system, including by promoting the benefits of economic and financial integration.

These priorities continue to remain relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volume 2 provides further details on Canada’s engagement in IMF operations, including the communiqués issued by the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee over the reporting period. For more information on Canada’s engagement with the IMF, visit Finance Canada’s website.

African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is dedicated to poverty reduction, economic development and the improvement of the lives of people in its regional member countries. It is owned by 54 regional members and 26 non-regional members. The AfDB provides non-concessional lending and technical assistance to creditworthy, middle-income African countries, while the African Development Fund (ADF) provides technical assistance, grants and concessional (low-interest or interest-free) loans to 38 of Africa’s poorest countries, of which almost half are fragile states.Footnote 37

Canada is the AfDB’s fourth-largest non-African shareholder, with a 3.8% voting share, and the seventh-largest donor overall. With its purchase of new shares, Canada maintains its proportion of shares and voting power at the Bank. In 2019, the AfDB approved approximately $13.2 billion in development programming across Africa, including some $2.2 billion in the form of concessional loans and grants to support the continent’s poorest countries. AfDB’s governors also voted to support a 125% increase to the institution’s capital base—the largest capital increase in its history—which Canada voted in support of.

Canada’s involvement with the AfDB is in line with the Feminist International Assistance Policy and its climate action goals. Canada continues to ensure the Bank constantly improves its gender-based planning, programming and reporting. During the negotiations for the 15th replenishment of the ADF, Canada worked with like-minded countries to ensure gender would be mainstreamed into ADF-funded activities and that perspectives on gender and inclusivity were incorporated into the ADF policy framework, including sections related to fragility, electricity access and climate. Through Canada’s seat on the AfDB’s Board of Directors, Canada is helping to ensure these translate into activities with measurable targets and indicators.

For more details on Canada’s engagement with the AfDB Group, visit GAC’s website.

Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a multilateral development bank of 68 member countries: 49 are regional countries and 19 are non-regional. The ADB’s mandate focuses on poverty reduction, inclusive and green growth, and supporting the region’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. The ADB provides funding through loans and grants, which are financed from ordinary capital resources and through special funds and trust funds.

With 4.47% of the ADB’s voting share, Canada is currently the seventh-largest shareholder overall and the second largest non-regional shareholder. In addition, Canada supports a number of single-donor or multi-donor trust funds and country-specific initiatives, such as Canada’s Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia, the Asia-Pacific Project Preparation Facility, and the Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Myanmar Project. Canada committed to contributing $132 million to the Asian Development Fund between 2017–2020. The Fund is the ADB’s largest pool of concessionary funds, providing financing to Asia’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to encourage the ADB to do more in areas such as gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, climate change, small island developing states and fragile states, private sector development, and blended finance. The Bank’s Strategy 2030, released in July 2018, is closely aligned with the priorities of the Feminist International Assistance Policy. For example, the ADB committed to having at least three quarters of its operations mainstream or target gender equality by 2030.

For more details on Canada’s work with the ADB, visit GAC’s website.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Established in January 2016 and based in Beijing, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) focuses on infrastructure financing in Asia. As of December 31, 2019, the AIIB had approved financing of over US$12 billion across 64 projects, largely in the energy, finance, transport and water sectors.

Canada joined the AIIB in March 2018 with an approximate 1% shareholding, with the Minister of Finance serving as Canada’s governor, and contributed significantly to its first corporate strategy and the review of its environmental and social policy framework in 2019–2020. Through this work, and through AIIB-financed projects, Canada advocated for a stronger focus on climate change, green projects, inclusive growth and gender equality. Since July 2018, Canada is also serving a term on the AIIB board of directors of this IFI. The AIIB board of directors is composed of 12 members, with representation from Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. As in other multilateral banks, Canada represents a constituency of countries, which included Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea and Madagascar as of March 31, 2020, and continues to grow.

In 2019-2020, main strategic-engagement objectives were to build a robust and modern multilateral organization, drawing on strengths from other existing IFIs and the private sector. In 2019–2020, Canada contributed significantly to work on the AIIB’s first corporate strategy, digital-infrastructure sector strategy and water strategy, and the review of its environmental and social-policy framework. Through this work and through AIIB-financed projects, Canada advocated for a stronger focus on climate resilience, gender equality and inclusive growth, and encouraged the Bank’s efforts to mobilize private capital for development purposes. In doing so, Canada helped to ensure that groups that have been historically overlooked can benefit from both public and private financing. In 2019–2020, Canada also focused on the need to maintain high international standards on environmental, social, governance, macroeconomic and technical aspects of infrastructure financing, as doing so is vital for long-lasting and sustainable development.

For more information on Canada’s engagement with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, visit Finance Canada’s website.

Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is a leader of economic cooperation and poverty reduction in the Caribbean region. The CDB has 28 member countries: 19 regional borrowing members, 4 regional non-borrowing members and 5 non-regional, non-borrowing members. Canada and the United Kingdom are the largest non-regional shareholders, each holding 9.31% of total shares. Canada is also the largest contributor to its Special Development Fund, the Bank’s largest pool of concessionary funds. From 2017-2020, Canada contributed $70.34 million to the Fund. It provides financing for priority-development initiatives and technical cooperation, much of which is concessional and backed by sovereign guarantees.

In 2019–2020, Canada continued to work closely with the CDB to ensure that all its strategies, policies and operations consider gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, in addition to reducing poverty and promoting climate change adaptation. The Bank’s recent evaluation of its gender strategy indicate some progress in gender mainstreaming has been made. The Bank recently drafted a new gender strategy and has integrated it as a crosscutting theme in the Strategic Plan 2020–2024.

For more details on Canada’s engagement with the CDB, visit GAC’s website.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Created in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) fosters the transition toward democratic, market-oriented economies and promotes private and entrepreneurial initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region. The EBRD recognizes that successful market economies should be inclusive as well as competitive, environmentally friendly, integrated, resilient and well governed. In 2019, the EBRD reached record levels of financing, investing €10.1 billion in 452 projects across 38 economies.

Canada is a founding member of the Bank and the eighth largest shareholder, with its shares representing 3.4% of the institution’s capital. In 2019, the EBRD chaired the multilateral development bank’s coordination platform on economic migration and forced displacement. It outlined joint commitments to support refugees and those affected by forced displacement, as well as host communities. The EBRD has also invested a cumulative €268.4 million in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and mobilized €160 million of grants in response to the refugee crisis in the Middle East.

In 2019–2020, Canada encouraged the EBRD to continue to promote operations that advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and to work increasingly with other multilateral development banks as a system. Canada also pushed for the Bank to prioritize resources in areas with the greatest need, such as Ukraine and countries in the SEMED region, and provide support for the transition to low-carbon economies.

Volume 2 provides further details on Canada’s engagement in EBRD operations.

Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank Group comprises: the IDB, its public-sector arm; IDB Invest, responsible for private-sector operations; and IDB Lab, a trust fund that serves as the Group’s innovation laboratory by testing innovative ways to enable more inclusive growth. Established in 1959, the IDB is the oldest regional development bank and the largest source of multilateral development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. It has 48 member states, including 26 regional borrowing members. Canada has been a member of the IDB since 1972 and holds 4% of total shares.

In 2019–2020 Canada continued to engage with the IDB Group to: move towards full integration of gender equality and diversity considerations in the Bank’s strategies, policies and operations; continue progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation; and improve the efficiency, effectiveness and governance (including results-based management) of the Bank and its operations.

Canada, with the support of other shareholders, succeeded in pushing for more ambitious targets for the integration of gender equality and diversity considerations in the IDB Group’s programming, in line with the commitment made by the institution to accelerate progress on crosscutting issues (including gender equality and diversity) in its most recent Update to the Institutional Strategy for 2020-2023. As a result, more than 70% of new projects approved at the IDB will support gender equality by 2023 (60% and 25% for IDB Lab and IDB Invest, respectively). Canada also worked with other member countries to set a floor of 30% of total approved amounts for climate-related financing, thereby ensuring a strong focus of the IDB Group in this area.

The IDB Group’s objectives are to reduce poverty and inequality, and to promote sustainable economic growth in the region. In 2019, it adopted an Update to its Institutional Strategy, which reinforces the Group’s emphasis on promoting social inclusion and equality, productivity and innovation, and economic integration in the region. As part of this Update, the IDB Group identified areas of emphasis for 2020–2023. These include promoting technology adoption and innovation, increasing the mobilization of resources, accelerating progress in crosscutting issues and integrating knowledge in its core business.

For more details on Canada’s engagement with the IDB Group, visit GAC’s website.

Volunteers promoting Canada’s expertise in Senegal

The Volunteer Cooperation Program (VCP) provides opportunities for Canadians to get involved internationally by volunteering their expertise and time…

Canada’s innovative approach to international assistance

Lys Arango © Action Against Hunger

The Feminist International Assistance Policy commits Canada to improving the effectiveness of its international assistance, including making it more flexible and integrated. Canada continues to take important steps toward realizing this goal, including through its support for innovation, research and better reporting.

In 2019–2020, GAC continued to support the testing and scaling up of locally driven, innovative approaches in developing countries. These included approaches that challenge gender inequality, engage women and girls as agents of change, and empower the poorest and most vulnerable. GAC promoted inclusive innovation by supporting international assistance policies and projects that are grounded in a feminist approach that is both human rights-based and inclusive.

GAC created new partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including small and medium organizations, to close resourcing gaps and promote innovation. It continued to promote experimentation to identify new models and solutions that can deliver better results and strengthen data collection and transparency.

Academic engagement and continuous learning

GAC implemented several initiatives to promote continuous learning and incorporate evidence-based knowledge from academics and think tanks—including thought leaders from the Global South—into policy and programming. For example, the Visiting Scholar Initiative (VSI) pilot directly reached 914 participants, and many more indirectly, through the development and dissemination of six policy briefs. The VSI supported the department’s efforts to link climate change, the environment and gender through, for example, the Climate Finance Bureau’s 2020–2021 planning process and the Pan-Africa Regional Development Program technical assistance grant in support of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative. Externally, GAC shared the visiting scholar’s briefs with G20 and OECD-DAC, as well as with the Nordic Development Fund, providing learning material for integrating gender equality into renewable-energy policy and programs.

Achieving effectiveness through a feminist approach

Applying a feminist approach represents a significant shift from Canada’s traditional approach to delivering international assistance.

The Feminist Approach Guidance Note, released in September 2019, details how GAC is adapting how it works to achieve gender equality and support the realization of human rights. It identifies entry points and opportunities for change within the department.

In 2019–2020, Canada updated programming forms and tools to reflect the centrality of gender equality and human rights analyses to consistently inform all stages of its programming. Canada also embraced a more participatory approach to the design of the LGBTQ2I international assistance program that is in line with a human rights-based approach.

By developing and utilizing feminist monitoring and evaluation approaches, Canada is successfully improving learning in projects and programming. For instance, through the Women’s Voice and Leadership Program in 2019–2020, women’s rights organizations (WROs) participated in monitoring, evaluating and learning processes that helped to identify and analyze program results. Among other things, the program established a feminist analytical learning framework aimed at generating information on results that WROs identified as important.

Fostering innovation in development work

Canada continues to focus on innovation and working differently to improve the effectiveness of its international assistance. This means encouraging experimentation and measuring impacts through rigorous testing. It also entails expanding the scope of promising innovative solutions to encourage systemic change. These actions are guided by the Whistler Principles and the guidance note on Canada’s approach to innovation in international assistance.

Canada has been a leader in integrating innovation into the work of the OECD-DAC. In cooperation with France, Australia and Slovenia, Canada promoted the use of a marker to identify and monitor innovation-related expenses over time, collecting good practices and sharing collective learning. The pilot project’s findings show that the marker was useful in providing real-time data and helped in decision-making. Moreover, in 2019–2020, GAC supported and contributed to a peer-learning exercise that resulted in an initial report on the lessons learned by OECD-DAC countries regarding the effect of innovation on development.

Canada also continued to participate in a number of communities and networks to share best practices and encourage a culture of innovation. For example, in 2019–2020, GAC brought Canadian civil society organizations together through a multi-stakeholder community to discuss bridging gender equality and innovation. This enhanced understanding of the principles for advancing gender equality and innovation, and created a mindmap of strategies and practices for addressing gender equality at each stage of the innovation process.

GAC also continued its successful partnership with the International Development Innovation Alliance. In particular, this partnership led to a publication on innovating to address gender-based violence and innovative approaches that Canada’s development partners could use to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Canada continued to support the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation’s (MCIC) Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) in 2019–2020. FIT supports Canadian small and medium organizations (SMOs) to test innovative solutions that aim to advance gender equality in the Global South. MCIC received 75 applications in response to its first call for proposals and selected 8 projects for funding based on their strong potential to positively impact international development. Examples of projects include a digital database to improve safety for women journalists in Sudan, tailored e-learning programs for students in Latin America and Uganda, and a distribution model for solar agricultural technologies in Tanzania. Each idea is tested over a 6 to 15 month period, giving organizations an opportunity to gather evidence, adapt and improve. SMOs can also apply for funding through the SMO for Impact and Innovation Initiative to scale up innovative solutions tested through FIT into development projects with longer durations and larger budgets.

Innovative financing for sustainable development

At the beginning of the UN Decade of Action, launched in September 2019, there remained an estimated $2.5-trillion annual financing gap to achieve the SDGs by 2030. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this funding gap has grown. The pandemic threatens to reverse decades of development gains, as countries all over the world are facing growing domestic needs. However, Canada has moved quickly to support developing countries as they respond to and recover from the pandemic. Canada also remains committed to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and believes that the 2030 Agenda provides a clear roadmap for responding to and recovering from the pandemic—one that will help us to build a more resilient world in the face of future challenges.

In partnership with Denmark, UNDP and the University of Maryland, Canada has contributed to the Closing the Investment Gap (CIG) initiative. The initiative aims to create an enabling environment for institutional investors to participate in major infrastructure projects in developing countries. Through a series of workshops in 2019–2020, the initiative helped 8 projects to attract private financing. As of early 2020, projects in Egypt and Bangladesh had already gone to market.

In 2019–2020, Canada actively participated in the Tri Hita Karana (THK) Roadmap for Blended Finance Working Group to further promote advocacy and policy guidance on best practices in blended finance. The THK Roadmap establishes a shared value system and terms of reference among international partners for the actions required to achieve the SDGs. Canada co-chaired the THK’s Transparency Working Group, along with the OECD Secretariat and the International Finance Corporation. Through this Group, Canada hosted technical workshops and developed a report on promoting transparency in blended finance, which is available on the THK resource hub.

Canada advanced new approaches to development financing in 2019–2020. It established new procedures and processes that enable GAC to deploy innovative financing instruments and initiated business development for an initial pipeline of projects. Through its innovative finance programs, GAC has begun an innovative system to allow donors like Canada to better measure the impact of investments that use new financing tools.

To encourage private investment in climate mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries, Canada allocated $1.8 billion of its $2.65 billion international climate finance commitment as unconditionally repayable contributions. This enabled Canada’s partners to reduce the technical and financial risks involved in climate-related investments, promote innovative finance approaches to increase investment in sustainable infrastructure, and demonstrate the commercial viability of projects to unlock future private investments in similar initiatives.

As a member of the InsuResilience Global Partnership’s High Level Consultative Group, Canada is helping to strengthen the resilience of developing countries and protect the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable through climate-risk finance and insurance. This Group also helps establish a common agenda for climate-risk finance and insurance with national governments, international organizations, private sector, academia and civil society.

Through FinDev Canada, Canada’s development-finance institution, Canada provides development financing and support to businesses in developing countries to empower women, mitigate climate change and advance local-market development. In 2019–2020, FinDev Canada signed 10 transactions representing US$66 million in commitments for a total of US$96 million. Forty-eight percent of FinDev Canada’s total investments are in sub-Saharan Africa and 31% in Latin America.

One of FinDev Canada’s investments in 2019–2020 included US$7.5 million to Alitheia IDF, a fund supporting women-owned and led businesses. Its goal is to boost women’s economic empowerment and improve access to finance in sub-Saharan Africa. Through this support, Altheia IDF is expected to:

  • create 5,000 jobs for women
  • provide up to 100,000 women with access to essential products and services
  • provide at least six women-owned or led businesses with access to capital
  • allocate and mobilize $100 million of capital to women-led business
  • help some 40 women access leadership roles

In 2019, three of Alitheia IDF’s clients reported that they were able to create more than 1,000 permanent jobs, half of which were for women. Another 748,427 people benefited from improved access to energy, as the Fund supported the production of 296,000 MWh of clean energy, which avoided 468,585 tonnes of C02 emissions.

Fostering experimentation

Experimentation, otherwise known as testing and comparing, is a method GAC uses to help verify that projects and services are achieving the best results for both its partners and Canadians. Rigorously testing an approach before it is rolled out on a larger scale increases the chance that the approach will achieve the intended results. This reduces risk and maximizes impact. For instance, experimentation was used in the AgResults initiative to test innovations using randomized controlled trials to measure the success of scaling up innovative technologies designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of rice farming, while still increasing yields.

Over the past three years, GAC has expanded its use of experimentation and is continuously working to strengthen its institutional and partner capacity to support it. To this end, the department is increasing the level of awareness and knowledge of experimentation, as well as the availability of expert advice for the design and implementation of experiments. In 2019–2020, the department continued to:

  • gather data on experiments planned or underway
  • integrate experimentation into departmental governance bodies and decision-making processes
  • develop an internal-experimentation community of practice
  • dedicate sustained human and financial resources to experimentation

Ensuring aid effectiveness and efficiency

Through the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada committed to improving the effectiveness of its international assistance. This included creating more effective partnerships with civil society, multilateral and international organizations, philanthropic foundations, developing-country governments of all levels, the private sector and emerging donors.

Since 2017, Canada has served on the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC). The GPEDC is a global multi-stakeholder platform focusing on the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation. As a GPEDC Steering Committee member, Canada had the unique opportunity in 2019–2020 to interact and engage with a multitude of development actors and partners. These included civil society, private-sector actors, parliamentarians, local governments, trade unions, philanthropic foundations and international organizations.

Throughout 2019–2020, Canada also remained an active member of the GPEDC’s Private Sector Engagement Working Group. The Working Group is responsible for promoting the guidelines for implementation of the Kampala Principles for Effective Private Sector Engagement in Development Cooperation. Developed by the working group in 2018 and launched in July 2019, the Kampala Principles are a set of guidelines for improving private-sector partnerships at the country level that are leveraged through development cooperation.

Canada maintained its key role in the Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation. In 2019–2020, Canada co-led the advocacy stream, which brings together different development stakeholders to better situate triangular cooperation in the current development landscape. Its efforts were guided by the Voluntary Guidelines for Effective Triangular Cooperation document, which was launched at the Second High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) in March 2019. Canada, as a part of the Global Partnership Initiative’s core group, continued to help advance effective triangular cooperation as the leading platform to exchange and share cooperation cases, lessons learned, guidelines and operational tools.

Canada worked with its civil society partners to raise awareness of the importance of effective partnerships. In 2019, GAC funded and worked collaboratively with Cooperation Canada to deliver and launch the Equitable Partnerships through Triangular Co-operation: Experiences from Canadian Civil Society report. It highlighted how Canadian civil society organizations are engaging in effective triangular development cooperation. The report also offered a set of best practices for actors interested in maximizing the effectiveness of these partnerships. In February 2020, internal working groups on effectiveness and triangular cooperation were also created to further define Canada’s strategic vision and approach to these topics.

At the OECD-DAC, Canada continued to advocate for an inclusive and effective approach to development partnerships that bring together a broad range of actors. In the spring of 2020, Canada became co-chair of the DAC Informal Reference Group on Effectiveness, which was created to provide a venue to further explore effectiveness of development assistance.

In 2019–2020, Global Affairs Canada’s Task Force on Improving Effectiveness held external consultations to improve the unsolicited-proposals selection mechanism, while internal consultations were done to further streamline our programming and funding processes. An intradepartmental working group also looked at how to implement our innovative finance instruments more efficiently. This work contributed to the launch of the International Assistance Innovation Program in 2019. It also resulted in the production of web content, a concept note template, and the use of the Partners@International portal for certain unsolicited proposals.

Promoting aid transparency

Transparency is essential to the effective delivery of Canada’s international assistance. It facilitates the coordination at the country level and helps citizens hold their governments to account. GAC leads efforts to strengthen the transparency of Canada’s international assistance and enable citizens to see how Canada’s funding flows through partners to deliver development activities and results on the ground.

As noted in Budgets 2018 and 2019, the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing its international assistance reporting and to ensuring that information on Canada’s international assistance activities is accessible and transparent. As part of this effort, the government brought forward reforms to the International Assistance Envelope funding and reporting structure, which is detailed in the International Assistance Envelope section. The present report is also part of Canada’s efforts to enhance reporting by merging existing international assistance reporting to Parliament into one consolidated document.

In 2019–2020, GAC worked with stakeholders to develop a plan to implement the Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance Policy – A Feminist Approach. This Policy contains objectives related to sustainability, transparency, accountability and results aligned with open-government principles. The resulting Implementation Plan lays out how GAC and its civil society partners will work together to enhance visibility and awareness of Canada’s international assistance results, as well as invest in policy research and better data-collection for gender equality.

Canada is also an active member of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a multi-stakeholder initiative that promotes the publication and use of open and standardized data on development financing. GAC’s Project Browser provides access to GAC’s IATI data, which is updated on a daily basis. The website also offers searchable interactive reports and statistics on Canada’s international assistance. Continued improvements in the transparency and accessibility of GAC’s information enabled GAC to achieve a score of 80.9% in the 2020 Aid Transparency Index, which was up from 79.6% in 2018.

Delivering reliable, cost-effective, live-saving medical oxygen to health facilities in Kenya

Canada’s partnership with Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) has had a transformative effect in low- and middle-income countries by improving access to consistent, quality supplies of medical oxygen.…

Developing an Indigenous peoples’ professional experience program in Guatemala

Indigenous peoples continue to face significant barriers to getting the skills required to work for Canada, as well as other donors and partners…

Federal organizations providing international assistance

Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is the lead federal department responsible for coordinating Canada’s international assistance policy and programming around the world. This includes delivering development, humanitarian, and peace and security programming. GAC works with country partners, multilateral institutions, Canadian and international civil society partners, private-sector partners and other government institutions to develop and implement innovative and sustainable development initiatives globally. The Feminist International Assistance Policy guides all of Canada’s international assistance priorities and programming. Through this Policy, GAC champions the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in order to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world for all. This includes providing international assistance that is human rights-based and inclusive, and considers the perspectives of the most marginalized and vulnerable. By adopting a feminist approach, GAC also aims to provide more integrated, responsive and accountable assistance that invests in innovation and research, delivers better and more transparent reporting on results, fosters effective partnerships and focuses on those regions of the world where Canada can have the greatest impact. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, coupled with the Feminist International Assistance Policy, also provide a robust roadmap to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforce the need and utility of these guiding documents.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is a global leader in the promotion of orderly managed migration pathways using an internationally recognized migration model. GAC plays a significant role in upholding Canada’s international obligations and humanitarian tradition of promoting human rights and providing protection to those fleeing persecution. It works both domestically and internationally to develop and implement timely, efficient and effective refugee-protection policies and programs.

Department of Finance Canada

The Department of Finance Canada provides funding to the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and regional development banks to help achieve Canada’s international assistance priorities. The department also supports the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. This Initiative helps decrease debt-service payments in developing countries, supports the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to address the significant infrastructure gap in Asia, and works with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to catalyze private capital for development.

International Development Research Centre

As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) invests in knowledge, innovation and solutions to improve the lives of people in the developing world. By bringing together the right partners around opportunities with the greatest impact, IDRC helps build the leaders of today and tomorrow. IDRC-supported research helps drive change for those who need it most and generates opportunities that promote an equitable, diverse and prosperous world.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is responsible for deploying Canadian police officers to peace operations around the world through the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA). The CPA is jointly managed by the RCMP, GAC and Public Safety Canada and is part of an integrated approach to respond to the security needs of fragile and conflict-affected states. RCMP personnel serve in international peace and stabilization operations by assisting in building law-enforcement capacity in these countries. By building the capacity of foreign police to maintain law and order, the RCMP help support global peace and security by creating safer and more stable local environments.

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) supports developing countries’ transition to low-carbon, sustainable and climate-resilient economies. Delivered through multilateral, regional and bilateral initiatives, the department’s support focuses on areas such as disaster-risk management, capacity-building for climate adaptation and mitigation, and clean-technologies deployment. International assistance delivered by ECCC also provides communities in developing countries with the tools required to implement their plan to fight climate change. (see section on “Support ambitions mitigation action”).

Canada Revenue Agency

As a key member of international and regional tax organizations, the CRA helps promote collaboration to support the sharing of expertise and technical support with tax administrations in developing countries. This assistance focuses on strengthening tax capacity to address domestic resource-mobilization challenges, as a means to foster self-reliance, growth and stability. By strengthening tax capacity, developing countries are better placed to participate in the global tax dialogue. It also ensures that international standards to combat tax evasion and avoidance are meaningfully implemented in these countries.

Department of National Defence

The Department of National Defence provides certain support to developing countries, including capacity-building activities and responses to humanitarian emergencies. In 2019–2020, the Canadian Armed Forces contributed to Operation PROTEUS, which supports Israeli-Palestinian security coordination. It also promotes institutional reform within the Palestinian Authority Security Forces by providing advice and assistance at the operational and strategic level to enhance transparency, ownership, accountability and legitimacy.

Employment and Social Development Canada

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) works to effectively implement the labour chapters of free trade agreements with partner countries and to ensure these countries promote and respect internationally recognized labour rights and principles. Its Labour Program provides technical assistance to support capacity-building projects implemented by international organizations and regional nongovernmental organizations on behalf of Canada. This assistance funds projects that strengthen democratic governance and promote economic growth, while respecting workers’ rights and improve the quality of working conditions in partner countries.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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

Parks Canada

Parks Canada supports global efforts to conserve and protect natural and cultural heritage through a broad range of international activities. The agency collaborates with international partners and shares information and best practices related to the management of protected areas and heritage places. It also helps to fulfill Canada’s multilateral obligations and the SDGs by providing expert support and financial contributions to international organizations, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, which administers the World Heritage Fund.

Canada Post

As a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), Canada Post helps support the UPU’s technical-cooperation programs. These programs help reduce the postal divide between industrialized and developing countries. This assistance includes, among other things, support to implement postal-reform plans based on national analyses, training and purchase of equipment.

Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada represents Canada at the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. PAHO serves as both the WHO’s Regional Office and the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System. In terms of international assistance, the Agency provides financial and in-kind support to PAHO and WHO initiatives aimed at strengthening health systems in developing countries.

Canadian Space Agency

The Canadian Space Agency is a member of the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters. This collaboration among space agencies around the world provides unified access to space-based data that support disaster-relief operations at no cost to the end user. Canada contributes by offering valuable data from the RADARSAT-2 satellite, and soon from that of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), both of which have 24/7 emergency-call services for disaster cases throughout the world. These services help mitigate the impact of natural or technological disasters on property and human life.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s international assistance contribution consists primarily of technical assistance on intellectual-property management for developing countries. In 2019–2020, this assistance was partly provided through an annual workshop on intellectual-property services to senior intellectual-property officials from 12 developing countries. All training, forums and discussions were provided through the lens of women in the intellectual-property (IP) field. A full day was also dedicated to discussing global efforts toward advancing gender equality and women empowerment in the global IP sphere.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to developing and strengthening international partnerships to enhance public safety, and to further the efficiency and effectiveness of correctional services worldwide. Recognized as a leader in corrections, CSC’s international activities support the Government of Canada’s foreign policy objectives. These include promoting the rule of law, the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment, respect for human rights, and international development and cooperation. CSC deploys corrections specialists to peace operations. It also coordinates the delivery of specialized corrections training activities, hosts international delegations, and develops and/or manages bilateral memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with several countries on various corrections projects, such as: study visits; sharing of information and expertise; needs assessments; and technical assistance.

Transport Canada

Transport Canada is promoting a safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system. In 2019–2020, Transport Canada, as champion state for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) No Country Left Behind initiative, provided technical support to Haiti for the development and implementation of Haiti’s Aviation Safety Oversight System. Furthermore, as part of the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO’s Assistance Capacity Building and Training program to support the global implementation of the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), Transport Canada delivered capacity-building sessions to developing nations, mainly in French African states and in Caribbean states.

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada’s development initiatives focus on capacity-building support to accountable public institutions. It works with national statistical offices and other key actors in developing countries to provide Canadian statistical expertise to develop sound global indicators for measuring the SDGs and to helping these countries measure their progress towards achieving them. At the 5th UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders’ Forum in February 2020, Statistics Canada presented a new survey on security in public and private spaces. It also shared Canada’s practices in measuring violence against women and children, and information regarding the safe cities project currently under development.

The 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 international assistance activities consist of its institutional contribution as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Union enables the development of partnerships and networks that help members work together toward the conservation and sustainable use of the earth’s resources. It has a global program of activities that contributes to habitat conservation, ecological integrity and the conservation of biological diversity. The Union’s activities also emphasize the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women, as well as the engagement of youth.

Public Service Commission of Canada

The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) is responsible for promoting and safeguarding a merit based, representative and non-partisan Canadian public service. The PSC provides international assistance by organizing knowledge-sharing sessions with representatives from public-service organizations in developing countries. This engagement also helps support capacity-building in their public services. In 2019–2020, public-service organizations in Mongolia and Malaysia requested meetings with the PSC to learn about its role in preserving the integrity of the staffing system and the non-political nature of the federal public service of Canada.

Annex A

International assistance reporting: Canada’s legislative requirements and key financial concepts

The goal of this document is to provide Canadians with an accounting of results achieved through the use of public funds for international sustainable development, humanitarian action, and peace and security. It is also intended to give Canadians and the international community a clearer picture of Canada’s progress toward implementing the Feminist International Assistance Policy and achieving the UN’s SDGs.

It also consolidates reporting requirements related to the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA), the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act (Bretton Woods Act), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act (EBRD Act). A consolidated report was made possible by the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, which also introduced a new funding structure for the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) by establishing six dedicated “pools” that address the following types of activities:

  • core development
  • humanitarian assistance
  • international financial-institutions funding
  • peace and security
  • crisis
  • strategic-priorities funding

Volume 1 of this report covers all federal official development assistance (ODA) as per the ODAAA reporting requirements. It also details other IAE assistance that does not meet the definition of ODA. For more information on non-ODA activities, refer to the section on the Key Financial Concepts.

The ODAAA also requires that the Minister of International Development issue a statistical report on ODA within one year after completion of each fiscal year. This report provides more details on international assistance expenditures by organization, sector and recipient. It is also available on GAC’s website.

For more information, refer to the text of the ODAAA on the Justice Laws Website.

Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act

The Bretton Woods Act requires the Minister of Finance to table an annual report in Parliament that provides a general summary of operations under the Act and details of those operations that directly affect Canada, along with communiqués issued by the institutions’ governing committees. These communiqués can be found in Volume 2.

For more information, refer to the text of the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act on the Justice Laws Website.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act requires that the Minister of Finance provide to Parliament an annual report of operations containing a general summary of all actions taken under the Act, including their sustainable development and human rights aspects. Please refer to Volume 2.

For more information, refer to the text of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act on the Justice Laws Website.

Key financial concepts

International assistance: includes all financial resources and activities provided by Canadian governments (federal, provincial or municipal) to support economic, environmental, social and political development in other (primarily developing) countries. This report includes only the federal component of Canada’s international assistance.

International Assistance Envelope (IAE): is a dedicated, whole-of-government pool of resources for international assistance. The International Assistance Envelope (IAE) funds the majority of Canada’s international assistance. Activities funded by the International Assistance Envelope which are not ODA-eligible include security, conflict prevention, stabilization or peacebuilding initiatives that do not meet ODA eligibility due to country eligibility or activity type. Several federal organizations have received IAE funding in recent years, including Global Affairs Canada, the Department of Finance Canada, the International Development Research Centre, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Canada Revenue Agency. In 2019–2020, the IAE funded $5.5 billion of Canada’s international assistance, totalling 88% of all federal international assistance.

Official Development Assistance (ODA): Canada’s ODA as defined in the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act is compatible with the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development definition. In addition, ODA must meet the three criteria set out in subsection 4.1 of the Act, that states it must:

  • contribute to poverty reduction
  • take into account the perspectives of the poor
  • be consistent with international human rights standards

Given that the ODAAA applies to federal spending only, this report excludes international assistance provided by provinces, territories and municipalities.

International Assistance Envelope Allocations and Disbursements in 2019–2020

Since Budget 2018, the IAE was reorganized around dedicated funding pools to more clearly outline and project how federal Canadian aid is allocated (through the Core Development Pool, the Humanitarian Assistance Pool, the International Financial Institutions Pool, the Peace and Security Pool, the Crisis Pool and the Strategic Priorities Fund). In addition, Budget 2018 announced additional resources for the IAE, with $2 billion allocated over five years (from 2018–2019 to 2022–2023).

Budget 2019 committed to reporting on expenses against the allocations presented. The comparison can be found in the charts below.

Allocations announced in Budget 2019*

Text version
  • IFIs: $777 million
  • Peace and Security: $407 million
  • Humanitarian Assistance: $788 million
  • Core Development: $3,439 million
  • Crisis Pool: $200 million
  • Strategic Priorities Fund: $136 million
  • Total: $5,747 million

Disbursements in 2019–2020*

Text version
  • IFIs: $810 million
  • Peace and Security: $421 million
  • Humanitarian Assistance: $690 million
  • Core Development: $3,275 million
  • Crisis Pool: $197 million
  • Strategic Priorities Fund: $125 million
  • Total: $5,518 million

* The Strategic Priorities Fund was allocated to the Core Development (80.7%), Humanitarian Assistance (10.5%) and Peace & Security (8.8%) pools. The Crisis Pool was allocated to the Humanitarian Assistance (64%), Core Development (26%), and Peace and Security (10%) pools for international crisis and stabilization response.

Volume 2: Engagement with international financial institutions

Introduction

Volume 2 of the Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s International Assistance 2019–2020 provides information on Canada’s engagement with international financial institutions (IFIs)Footnote 38, with specific focus on engagements and operations at the World Bank Group (Section A), the International Monetary Fund (Section B), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Section C), as they respond to various reporting requirements under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement (EBRD) Act.

IFIs provide financial and technical assistance to developing country governments, and in some cases private sector actors, to support poverty reduction and long-term economic development. These investments cover a wide array of sectors, including education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Some IFIs, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, also support developing countries with policy advice, research and analysis, and capacity-development activities.

Canada provides core contributions to support IFI operations and activities, while also providing funds for specific projects. Canada also actively contributes to the development of IFI policies and provides oversight of IFI financial activities through membership on boards of governors and boards of directors, the latter bodies dealing with day-to-day decisions. Canada is also involved in the work of various internal committees and engages in meaningful dialogue with other shareholders.

In order to provide strategic direction for its engagement with IFIs, Canada develops key objectives that are informed by Canada’s commitment to multilateralism, foreign policy, and development priorities, and general principles of good governance. Details on Canada’s engagement priorities are presented in Volume 1 of this report.

Section A: Canada’s engagement in World Bank Group operations

Reporting requirements

The Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act came into force in 1985 to govern Canada’s engagement with the Bretton Woods institutions: the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank Group (that is, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency). The Bretton Woods institutions constitute important channels through which Canada delivers international assistance and supports global economic and financial stability.

As laid out in sections 13 and 14 of the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, the Minister of Finance is required to table an annual report in Parliament that provides a general summary of operations under the Act and details of operations that directly affect Canada, along with communiqués issued by the institutions’ governing committees. Sections A and B meet these reporting requirements.

For more information, refer to the text of the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act on Justice Canada’s website: Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act.

Governance and representation

Canada’s capital subscriptions and shareholding

The World Bank Group is governed by member countries, each of which owns shares of the agencies that make up the World Bank Group. Decision-making power is exercised primarily by countries, through their representative on the Board of Governors and their Executive Directors.

Canada is among the 10 largest shareholders at the World Bank Group. Since the World Bank’s creation in 1945, Canada has contributed a total of US$9.2 billion in capital subscriptions to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and US$12.2 billion in contributions to the International Development Association (IDA) (see Table A1).

Canada’s current voting power ranges from 2.5% to 3% within the Bank’s different institutions. Voting power at the Bank is a function of the shareholdings held by a country. A small share of a member’s voting power is also determined by basic votes, which are distributed equally among all members.

Table A1: Canada’s cumulative capital subscriptions, June 2020 (US$ millions, unless otherwise indicated)
DescriptionBIRDIDASFIAMGI
39 Represents Canada’s cumulative contributions to IDA.
40 While Canada’s cumulative payments to the IFC amount to US$81.3 million, Canada holds US$620.2 million of shareholder capital as a result of the conversion of members retained earnings into paid-in capital.
Capital subscriptions and contributions8,499.312,220.839620.24056.5
Amount paid in619.512,220.881.34010.7
Amount not paid in but contingent on future capital requirements7,879.8--45.8
Subscription or contributions share (%)2.954.573.172.95
Voting power (%)2.822.673.022.50

Information on the World Bank Group’s 2019–2020 fiscal year (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) is provided in the financial statements of each entity. Further information on the WBG’s performance can be found on its Results webpage.

Canada at the Board of Governors

Each member appoints a Governor to represent it on the Board of Governors, the highest authority governing the World Bank Group. Governors are responsible for core institutional decisions, such as admitting or suspending members, increasing or decreasing the Bank’s authorized capital stock, determining the distribution of net income, and reviewing financial statements and budgets. Canada’s Governor at the World Bank Group during the reporting period was former Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. The position of Alternate WBG Governor was held by Diane Jacovella, Canada’s former Deputy Minister of International Development, until September 2019, and has been vacant since.

Canada at the Executive Board

Governors delegate responsibility for the day-to-day running of the organization to 25 full-time Executive Directors, located at the WBG’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Executive Directors are appointed for two years. They each represent a constituency, which can include more than one country. Canada holds one of the 25 seats on the Executive Board and represents a constituency that is also composed of Ireland and 11 Caribbean countries. Representatives of the governments within the constituency provide advice to the Executive Director on issues discussed at the Executive Board. Canada’s Executive Director to the WBG during the reporting period was Christine Hogan, until her departure in September 2019. Canada’s current Executive Director is Louise Levonian.

The Executive Board usually makes decisions by consensus. In the event of a formal vote, however, the relative voting power of individual Executive Directors is based on the shares held by the constituencies they represent. Further information on Canada’s Executive Director’s office can be found on the World Bank website.

To learn more about the governance of the Executive Board, please visit the World Bank Group’s Board of Directors’ webpage.

Canada at the Development Committee

By virtue of its significant shareholding, Canada’s Governor is also accorded a seat at the Development Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and IMF. The committee meets twice a year, at the Spring Meetings and the Annual (Fall) Meetings. The Development Committee is a ministerial-level forum of the World Bank Group and the IMF for intergovernmental consensus-building on development issues and the financial resources required to promote economic development in developing countries.

In 2019–2020, Canada’s Governor tabled two Development Committee statements on behalf of Canada’s constituency, on October 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C., and on April 17, 2020 during a virtually-held meeting. Among other things, the Governor highlighted some of Canada’s priorities at the WBG, including women and girls’ empowerment, debt sustainability and transparency, coordination among IFIs, and a swift COVID-19 response.

Canada’s financial contributions to the World Bank Group in 2019–2020

Canada is an important provider of funding to the World Bank Group. In 2019–2020, Canada made the following contributions, which are reported as Canadian official development assistance:

  • IDA contribution: $441.6 million

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Strongly aligned with Canada’s international assistance priorities, IDA-financed operations focus on primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, environmental safeguards, business climate improvements, infrastructure, and institutional reforms. IDA provides countries with low-interest loans, interest-free loans and grants based on a country’s level of income and record of success in managing their economy and their ongoing IDA projects.

During the reporting period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, Canada provided $441.6 million, as agreed under the IDA18 replenishment. This corresponds to the third and last installment of Canada’s IDA18 contribution. This contribution supports IDA’s efforts to enhance aid effectiveness, finance large regional projects such as infrastructure projects, and provide special assistance for fragile states, such as Afghanistan and Haiti, while ensuring countries do not take on unsustainable levels of debt.

  • Multilateral debt relief through the World Bank: $48.1 million

Under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), the World Bank, IMF and African Development Fund (ADF) agreed to cancel 100% of eligible debts owed by heavily indebted poor countries. At the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, United Kingdom, in 2005, Canada and other donor countries agreed to fully compensate the World Bank, IMF and ADF for the debts they cancelled on behalf of poor countries, so as not to undermine the ability of these institutions to provide new financial support to low-income countries. Canada’s total commitment over the 50-year lifespan of the MDRI is $2.5 billion and payments are made annually. Debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the MDRI has substantially reduced debt burdens in recipient countries. During the July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 reporting period, Canada provided $48.1 million to the World Bank Group for the MDRI.

  • World Bank Group trust funds: $414.6 million

World Bank Group trust funds are an effective instrument for channeling donor funding to address key strategic development issues at the country, regional or global level. In particular, trust funds leverage bank funding for development programs, particularly in post-disaster and post-conflict situations; enable donor and private sector financiers of development activities to partner with the Bank, consistent with harmonization objectives; build capacity to work in innovative areas; and work with civil society organizations. Trust funds can either be single or multi-donor. Canada contributes to both types, with the majority of its contributions going to multi-donor trust funds.

Canada’s engagement with the World Bank Group reflects a strong focus on:

  • the Feminist International Assistance Policy, which puts the empowerment of women and girls at the centre of its development efforts
  • the poorest countries and countries in conditions of fragility and conflict through both IDA and the IBRD/IDA trust fund portfolio
  • global public goods, such as health, including maternal and child health, and climate change mitigation, through IBRD/IDA trust funds and financial intermediary funds (FIFs)
  • private sector development, reflected in the funding of IFC advisory services and investments, and FIFs (such as the Global Infrastructure Facility); and
  • country operations, with the majority of IBRD/IDA trust fund agreements either country- or region-specific. A high share (85%) of overall IBRD/IDA trust funds are recipient-executed.

Global Affairs Canada manages Canada’s trust fund relationship at the World Bank Group. Table A2 provides a list of Global Affairs Canada trust fund disbursements in 2019–2020.

Table A2: Global Affairs Canada disbursements to WBG trust funds in 2019–2020
Trust fundsDisbursements between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 ($ millions)
Africa
Ethiopia Resilient Landscapes and Livelihoods Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Resilient Landscapes & Livelihoods for Women in Ethiopia)2.5
Umbrella Fund for Gender Equality (Supporting Leadership, School Retention and Achievement of Adolescent Girls in Senegal)10.0
Disease Surveillance and Response in West Africa Multi-Donor Trust Fund (WARDS – West African Regional Disease Surveillance)20
Ethiopia Second Agricultural Growth Project Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Agricultural Growth Program II in Ethiopia)7.5
Mozambique Primary Health Care Strengthening Program-for-Results Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Strengthening National Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Mozambique)15.0
Canada-IFC Enhancing Extractive Sector Benefit Sharing Project (Enhancing Extractive Sector Benefit Sharing in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Kenya)2.9
Americas
Support to girl access to secondary education in Haiti single-donor Trust Fund (Improving Girl’s Access to Secondary Education in Haiti)4.5
Caribbean Resilience Facility Trust Fund (Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility)4.0
Asia
Bangladesh Health Sector Support Project Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Strengthening Health Systems and Services in Bangladesh)6.0
Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF— 2017–2020)65.0
Middle East and North Africa
Jordan Inclusive Growth and Economic Opportunities Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Jordan’s Growth Matrix)4.0
Gender and Social Protection in Iraq Externally Financed Output1.2
Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Iraq Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Fund (I3RF—Iraq Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Fund)3.1
Umbrella Fund for Gender Equality (UFGE) Trust Funds (Mashreq Gender Technical Assistance Facility in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan)1.9
Note: Total may not add due to rounding.
Sources: Global Affairs Canada, Chief Financial Officer – Statistics
Global Initiatives and Strategic Policy
Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Women Every Child40.0
Canada-World Bank Climate Innovation Financing Facility (Canada Clean Energy and Forest Facility (CCEFF) – Energy Transition Program)156.0
Canada-World Bank Climate Innovation Financing Facility (Canada Clean Energy and Forest Facility (CCEFF) – Renewable Energy in SIDS)30.0
Canada-World Bank Climate Innovation Financing Facility (Canada Clean Energy and Forest Facility (CCEFF) – Renewable Energy in Small Island Developing States (grant))10.0
Canada-World Bank Climate Innovation Financing Facility (Canada Clean Energy and Forest Facility (CCEFF) – Sustainable Forest Landscapes)40.0
Global Program for the Blue Economy (PROBLUE)7.0
Total414.6

Objectives and results of Canada’s WBG trust funds

As Canada continues to engage with the World Bank Group through trust fund arrangements, the effectiveness of these partnerships is assessed to ensure that development outcomes are being achieved. Key areas of progress include:

In 2019–2020, Canada contributed $236 million to the Canada Clean Energy and Forests Climate Facility (CCEFF), which targets financing to where it is needed most in order to stimulate investment in inclusive, green growth. Established in 2020, the Facility will support transformational climate actions of World Bank projects, with a focus on Asia’s clean energy transition, renewable energy in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and forests and sustainable land use. Financing from the Facility will catalyze and scale up clean energy climate financing across multiple sectors, accelerate energy efficiency and renewable energy market development, promote the mainstreaming of gender considerations in clean energy investments, and support sustainable landscapes, climate-smart land use, and green supply chains, as well as new financial instruments that promote private sector investment and public-private partnerships.

In 2019–2020, Canada contributed $65 million to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). Established in 2002 to provide a coordinated financing mechanism for the Government of Afghanistan's budget, the ARTF has been one of Canada’s main funding vehicles to deliver development assistance in Afghanistan. Canada’s support since 2002 has helped the achievement of results in a number of areas such as reduced maternal mortality, significantly improved health indicators, and an increased number of students enrolled in basic and secondary education, in particular the proportion of girls. Canada announced funding of $135 million over three years (2020–21 to 2023–24) at the 2020 Afghanistan Pledging Conference in Geneva. Since 2002 and through the end of 2020, the ARTF has been the largest single source of financing for Afghanistan’s development, with US$12.4 billion contributed by 34 donors to date to support the Government of Afghanistan’s civilian operations and development objectives. Canada has thus far contributed US$805 million, or just under 7% of the total budget, and is the fifth largest donor overall following the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union and Germany.

In 2019–2020, Canada contributed $40 million to the Global Financing Facility (GFF). As a founding donor to the GFF, since 2015, Canada has committed a total of $440 million to support GFF countries to prioritize and scale up investments to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition through targeted strengthening of primary health care systems. Prior to the pandemic, GFF countries had seen positive trends in outcome indicators for under-five mortality, child growth, adolescent fertility, as well as reductions in maternal and newborn mortality.

World Bank procurement from Canada

The Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) works closely with Canadian companies to increase awareness and pursuit of multi-sectoral procurement opportunities at the IFIs. The TCS maintains the Offices of Liaison with International Financial Institutions (OLIFIs). The Washington, D.C., OLIFI helps businesses access WBG procurement opportunities.

Due to data availabilities, this section reflects contract awards for World Bank operational procurement only, and does not include sub-contractor information.

Table A3: Disbursements by IBRD and IDA borrowers: Goods and services from Canada (US$ millions)
World Bank Fiscal Year (July 1–June 30)Amount
Note: Based on World Bank Group figures as of July 31, 2020.
2007-200861.4
2008-200951.6
2009-201080.0
2010-201149.8
2011-201231.2
2012-2013177.6
2013-2014105.5
2014-201547.1
2015-201627.1
2016-201719.6
2017-201837.1
2018-201953.0
2019-202015.6
Table A4: Disbursements by IBRD and IDA borrowers: Suppliers of goods and services from Canada, 2019–2020 (US$)
SupplierSectorCategoryAmount
Note: Based on World Bank Group figures as of July 31, 2020. The World Bank fiscal year runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
Nordastelo IncAgricultureConsultant services250,187
World Vision CanadaHealthConsultant services3,032,263
Lea Consulting LtdTransportationConsultant services1,129,484
Exp. International Services Inc.Water, sanitation, and wasteConsultant services430,825
Individual ConsultantNot assignedConsultant services480,000
WSP Canada IncNot assignedConsultant services441,773
CPCS Transcom LimitedNot assignedConsultant services554,281
Osman S. ElmiNot assignedConsultant services157,140
Bleakburn Capital L.P.Not assignedGoods1,449,256
Individual ConsultantNot assignedConsultant services72,000
Individual ConsultantNot assignedConsultant services103,480
Spatial Dimension Canada UlcNot assignedConsultant services669,583
Mme Moira Hart PoliquinNot assignedConsultant services126,967
Mme Moira Hart PoliquinNot assignedConsultant services112,383
Individual ConsultantNot assignedConsultant services70,000
Doli Professional CorporationNot assignedConsultant services102,629
FokabsNot assignedConsultant services206,038
Exp International Services IncNot assignedConsultant services643,966
CCISDNot assignedConsultant services3,096,304
Basel AlbishtawiNot assignedConsultant services112,000
Idea InternationalNot assignedConsultant services1,400,526
Gemacor InternationalNot assignedConsultant services387,062
Marcel Equipment LimitedNot assignedGoods600,000

Communiqués of the Development Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and IMF (as required under the Bretton Woods Act)

World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings 2019: Development Committee Communiqué

October 19, 2019

  1. The Development Committee met today, October 19, in Washington, DC.
  2. Global growth remains subdued, reflecting the softening pace of investment and trade. Downside risks persist due to continued policy uncertainty, trade tensions, financial volatility, and rising debt. We call on the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue cooperating and work with countries to bolster potential growth, increase resilience to shocks, boost domestic revenues and continue building policy buffers. They should also consolidate the multi-pronged approach with borrowers and creditors to address the increase in debt vulnerabilities in emerging and low-income economies, as well as promote sustainable and transparent borrowing and lending practices. We ask the Bank Group and IMF to promote effective regulatory and operational measures for fostering tax transparency and combatting illegal tax avoidance, money laundering, illicit financial flows and other challenges to the integrity of the international financial system, including tackling corruption. Efforts should also protect the most vulnerable, enable private sector solutions, spur job creation and strengthen public sector efficiency.
  3. We welcome the 2020 World Development Report—Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains. The positive effects of the expansion of trade and value chains are evident in their impact on economic growth and income gains, jobs, productivity, technology transfer, and most importantly, poverty reduction. At the same time, trade gains remain unevenly distributed within and across countries. We call on the Bank Group to work with member countries to strive to realize free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment, while protecting the environment and ensuring that the gains from participation are equitably distributed.
  4. We appreciate the progress reported in the Human Capital Project Update, particularly the concrete institutional and policy reforms of participating countries. We encourage the Bank Group to continue working with public and private sector partners to prioritize analytics and strengthen systems, interventions and investments that improve human capital outcomes, with continued refinement of the Human Capital Index methodology. The outcomes include: improving revenue mobilization and public expenditure management, making progress toward universal health coverage in developing countries, ensuring quality education as well as lifelong learning to prepare workers for current and future job market needs, investing in and empowering women, expanding the coverage of social safety nets and improving service delivery. These actions are essential to achieving the twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.
  5. We welcome the paper on Jobs and Economic Transformation: Drivers, Policy Implications and World Bank Group Support. We appreciate Bank Group support of country-specific priorities that bring together analytics, policy advice, and tools to support jobs and economic transformation, while de-risking and catalyzing private investments. We support coordination and urgent action within the Bank Group to support institutional development and governance reforms, create markets and jobs, spur private investment, reduce barriers to creating businesses, address labor demand and supply constraints, enhance opportunities for women and youth, expand regional projects and collaboration as well as leverage regional integration and south-south cooperation. We urge management to mainstream and operationalize this agenda, drawing on lessons from past successes and on the framework provided in the paper, customized to country contexts, and ask that the Board be updated on this approach by Spring 2020.
  6. Countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) face a complex landscape exacerbated by, among other issues, natural disasters, climate change, weak governance, inequalities, exclusion and poor access to energy. They have high numbers of vulnerable people, demographic and migration pressures and forced displacement. These factors create risks and challenges, and to overcome them requires innovation and increased support. Fighting poverty and promoting shared prosperity in FCV situations is key to furthering progress toward the twin goals and the SDGs. The Bank Group and the IMF must remain engaged, with strong local teams in place, to prevent, mitigate, and build resilience to crises while strengthening institutions, developing quality infrastructure, and partnering with the private sector. We look forward to the Bank Group’s new FCV strategy that aims to address the drivers of FCV in affected countries, including fragile small island states, and their impact on vulnerable populations. We also expect the strategy to guide context-specific and regional interventions, policy dialogue, and operational partnerships via country programs and country platforms with key bilateral and multilateral partners, including the UN.
  7. It is critical that accountability mechanisms for Bank Group projects remain strong and effective, especially as the organization intensifies its work in more challenging environments. We reiterate the importance of the World Bank Inspection Panel and the IFC and MIGA Compliance Advisor Ombudsman in enhancing development outcomes.
  8. The private sector is crucial to generating jobs and raising living standards. We appreciate the role of the Bank Group, including IFC and MIGA, in continuing to provide upstream advisory services, facilitate and expand investments and create markets by engaging with all clients, while prioritizing IDA and FCV countries. We support their efforts to build opportunities for private sector solutions while maximizing development impact, including through the upcoming MIGA strategy. We encourage IFC and MIGA to continue to be proactive and innovate to increase private sector investments and support entrepreneurship, including SMEs.
  9. We agree on the critical role of IDA, the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, in helping to tackle the most important development challenges facing the global community. We welcome the strong implementation of IDA18 and ask that lessons learned be captured and applied to IDA19. The overall direction of IDA19, with its special themes and cross-cutting issues, represents an ambitious agenda. To deliver on this, we look forward to a successful IDA19 replenishment, with strong support from existing and new donors. We ask IDA to continue to focus on delivering results on the ground through its core financing and dedicated windows. We also welcome the one-third increase in IMF concessional financing available to low-income countries approved in May 2019, which provides more room for the IMF to support its poorest and most vulnerable members.
  10. Gender equality is a priority for the Bank Group, and we are encouraged by the implementation of its Gender Strategy, reinforced by commitments related to IDA and the capital increase. Going forward, it will be critical to further deepen this implementation. We also welcome the enhanced focus given to gender equality issues by the IMF, including in its country work.
  11. We commend the progress in implementing the IBRD and IFC capital package and delivering on the Forward Look commitments of (i) serving all clients, (ii) leading on global public goods, (iii) creating markets and (iv) continually improving the business and operational model. IBRD should continue to engage clients across the income spectrum, while prioritizing additional financing towards countries below the graduation discussion income, in line with the commitments of the capital package. The Bank Group is uniquely placed to address global development challenges, and we encourage it to help implement country platforms to make better use of development resources and mobilize private sector solutions. We call for intensified engagement with clients to advance on the global issues identified in the capital package, namely crisis management and FCV, climate change, gender, knowledge and convening, and regional integration, and other specific issues such as energy security, biodiversity, illicit financial flows and pandemics. The Bank Group engaged on many of these issues at the recent UN General Assembly. The Bank Group should also continue to deliver on its Climate Change Action Plan.
  12. We look forward to the adoption of the IFC capital resolutions by March 18, 2020, and we encourage ongoing work toward subscriptions and payment for the IBRD capital increase launched on October 2, 2018.
  13. We welcome the IDA Voting Rights Review: Report to Governors and endorse the proposed review, including its guiding principles and scope. We request that the IDA Board of Directors lead the review, and we look forward to an update by the 2020 Annual Meetings, with an agreed timeline for concluding the discussions.
  14. The next Shareholding Review will take place in 2020. Reviews are an opportunity to take stock of shareholders’ representation relative to the agreed Dynamic Formula and in line with shareholding principles.
  15. We call on the Bank Group to work with members to lay the foundation for a proactive and orderly LIBOR transition, preserving the integrity of the financial model of the Bank Group, while applying principles of fairness and transparency.
  16. We thank Christine Lagarde for her strong leadership of the IMF over the past 8 years. We also congratulate Kristalina Georgieva on her selection as Managing Director of the IMF.
  17. The next meeting of the Development Committee is scheduled for April 18, 2020, in Washington, DC.
World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings 2019: Development Committee Communiqué

April 17, 2020

  1. The Development Committee met virtually today, April 17, 2020.
  2. Our meeting occurred at a time of unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its devastating effects are being felt across the globe as the human and economic toll continues to rise. We express our sympathy to those affected and offer our support and solidarity to those working on the front lines fighting the pandemic.
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores that the development community increasingly faces global challenges requiring decisive, collective action and innovation. Multilateral cooperation is needed to contain the pandemic and mitigate its health, social, and economic consequences. The World Bank Group (WBG) is uniquely positioned to tackle these complex issues and to play a leading role via its lending, investments, knowledge, and convening capacity.
  4. We encourage the WBG and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), within their respective mandates, to continue helping all clients, in partnership with the World Health Organization, other UN agencies, international financial institutions, and bilateral partners. We ask them to collaborate in addressing the pandemic, supporting economic recovery, and safeguarding progress toward the twin goals and the SDGs.
  5. The global economy is experiencing an exceptional negative shock as a result of COVID-19. The attendant sharp decline in global investor confidence has severely tightened external financing conditions for countries across the income spectrum. The pandemic is disrupting trade, supply chains and investment flows. It is also leaving financial and human capital idle, while remittances, transport revenues, and income from tourism have rapidly diminished. In addition, steep drops in commodity prices are harming commodity-dependent economies. We ask the WBG to help countries mitigate these disruptions and support efforts to preserve jobs and boost confidence. Special attention should be paid to the provision of affordable medical supplies and to food security and safety. We also ask that all countries ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, and that they work to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains, to support the recovery.
  6. The pandemic has already profoundly impacted human capital, including lives, learning, basic well-being, and future productivity. Disruptions in the delivery of essential services and food, combined with employment and income loss for households, are devastating. We ask the WBG to help governments deploy resources toward public health interventions, nutrition, education, essential services, and social protection against the immediate adverse effects of the shocks. We also support the WBG’s emphasis on boosting government preparedness to protect human capital against potential subsequent waves of the outbreak and future pandemics. Efforts should place special focus on fragile situations, small island states, and the poorest and vulnerable people in all countries, with attention to gender issues.
  7. We commend the IMF and WBG for their rapid response to the crisis thus far. We ask them to help client countries achieve tangible development outcomes and shorten their time to recovery. We urge the two institutions to work with countries to design and implement policies and programs that help lift the poorest households out of poverty and support small businesses. We also call on them to promote structural reforms that lay the foundations for growth and higher living standards for all. We ask them to use all available financial and advisory instruments, facilitate the sharing of lessons, and offer operational flexibility to tackle this common threat at the country, regional, and global levels.
  8. We welcome the WBG’s estimated financial support of up to US$150-160 billion over the next 15 months, with a focus on the poorest and vulnerable in all client countries. We are pleased that as part of this overall response, and 2 through the Fast Track COVID-19 Facility, IBRD and IDA are making funds available to help developing countries in their urgent response to the public health threat, as they strengthen their health systems, shore up social safety nets, and improve access to services, while bolstering their response capacity and building up disease surveillance. IFC is also making funds available for prompt short- and medium-term financial support to trade flows and the wider private sector. MIGA is making fast-track guarantees available to meet financing needs for the immediate health response and economic recovery.
  9. We also welcome the IMF’s stepping up of financial support for developing countries through both its regular facilities and emergency funding, which will allow for much needed support at a time when many countries lack the policy and fiscal space to act. The doubling of annual access levels to the IMF’s emergency financing facilities is an important response to the challenges faced by the membership, as is its move to accelerate internal procedures to speed up disbursements.
  10. IDA countries are severely affected by the pandemic. We recognize the growing burden of debt service and the need for immediate liquidity to tackle the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis in a coordinated manner. We therefore strongly support the WBG initiatives for IDA countries, including frontloading of grants and highly concessional IDA19 resources. We welcome the coordinated approach agreed by the G20 and the Paris Club, supported by the WBG and IMF, toward a time-bound suspension by bilateral official creditors of debt service payments for the poorest countries that request forbearance. We call on private creditors to participate in the initiative on comparable terms. We ask the World Bank and the IMF to work with IDA countries to evaluate their debt sustainability based on enhanced transparency, to monitor the use of freed-up fiscal space, and to provide the Development Committee with a progress report at the Annual Meetings. In line with the G20 request to multilateral development banks, we ask the World Bank to further explore options for the suspension of debt service payments over the suspension period, while maintaining financial capacity, current rating, and low cost of funding, and to report to its Board in a timely manner. We also ask the WBG and IMF to review the debt challenges of middle-income countries, and to explore expeditiously a range of solutions to fiscal and debt stress in those countries on a case-by-case basis.
  11. The WBG has the financial firepower to provide a meaningful long-term response to this crisis thanks to the capital increases for IBRD and IFC, as well as the successful IDA19 replenishment. We encourage all shareholders to accelerate the subscription processes and front-load their contributions to the greatest extent possible.
  12. This crisis has the potential to erase development gains for many countries. The WBG must not only address immediate economic needs, but also support long-term development priorities; ensuring affordable energy access, building energy security and resilience to economic and environmental vulnerabilities and climate change. We urge the WBG and the IMF to ensure effectiveness on the ground and help countries create the conditions for inclusive and sustainable long-term growth. We also call on the WBG to maintain its critical role in key global challenges, as outlined in the capital package commitments, to achieve the twin goals of eliminating poverty and achieving shared prosperity, as well as the SDGs. It is only by rebuilding stronger and better that these goals can be achieved.
  13. The next meeting of the Development Committee is currently scheduled for October 17, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Section B: Canada’s engagement in International Monetary Fund operations

Canada has been an influential member of the IMF since 1945, as one of the original 29 signatories to the IMF Articles of Agreement. Since then, the IMF has grown to include a near-global membership of 190 member countries. Canada is engaged in all aspects of IMF governance and activities, and plays a collaborative role with our international partners to ensure that the Fund is effectively fulfilling its mandate. A healthy and stable global economy creates more jobs for Canadians, promotes stable prices for goods and services, and improves our standard of living.

Governance and representation

Canada’s voting share

Member countries’ voting shares are based largely on their relative global economic weight and openness to international trade. Canada holds a 2.22% IMF voting share, making Canada the 11th-largest member during the reporting period.

Table B1: Voting shares of top 20 IMF members (Percentage of total votes)
RankCountryShare (%)
1United States16.5
2Japan6.2
3China6.1
4Germany5.3
5France4.0
6United Kingdom4.0
7Italy3.0
8India2.6
9Russian Federation2.6
10Brazil2.2
11Canada2.2
12Saudi Arabia2.0
13Spain1.9
14Mexico1.8
15Netherlands1.8
16Korea1.7
17Australia1.3
18Belgium1.3
19Switzerland1.2
20Turkey1.0
Canada at the Board of Governors

The IMF is accountable to its member countries through a number of mechanisms. The Board of Governors, composed of a Governor and an Alternate Governor appointed by each member country, is the IMF’s highest decision-making body. The Board of Governors is responsible for the most important institutional decisions required under the Articles of Agreement (e.g., approving quota increases, admitting new members, and amending Articles and by-laws). Canada’s Governor at the IMF during the reporting period was former Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. The position of Alternate IMF Governor was held by Stephen Poloz, Canada’s former Governor of the Bank of Canada, until June 2020, and has been vacant since.

Canada at the Executive Board

The Board of Governors delegates authority over the IMF’s regular business to the 24-member Executive Board, which is chaired by the IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. The constituency system allows the 24 Board members to represent all 190 member countries, making it easier to conduct day-to-day business.

Canada holds one of the 24 seats on the Executive Board and represents a constituency of 12 countriesFootnote 41. With all constituency members combined, the Executive Director for Canada holds a voting power of 3.38%—making it the 12th-largest constituency by voting share. Given Canada’s financial contributions and level of IMF engagement, a Canadian has always held the Executive Director position within our constituency. Canada’s current Executive Director is Louise Levonian. Ms. Levonian is supported by a staff of seconded individuals from the countries represented within our constituency.

The Executive Board usually operates on a consensus basis, so formal votes are rare. Canada contributes to the development of policy proposals before they are brought to the Board through informal discussions with staff and management, or through consultation with other members of the Executive Board.

To learn more about the governance, representation and accountability structures of the IMF, please visit the IMF’s Governance Structure website.

Canada at the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC)

The IMFC advises and reports to the Board of Governors on international monetary and financial matters, and emerging issues of global importance. While it has no formal decision-making powers, it plays an important role in setting the strategic direction of the Fund. The composition of the IMFC mirrors that of the Executive Board with Canada’s Minister of Finance occupying one of the 24 seats at the IMFC table. The IMFC usually meets twice a year, during the IMF-World Bank Annual and Spring Meetings, and produces communiqués providing strategic direction and policy guidance to the IMF Managing Director and the Executive Board. Canada’s Minister of Finance also tables written statements on behalf of our constituencyFootnote 42 during the Annual and Spring Meetings that outline our collective views on the activities of the Fund. These statements are published on both the Department of Finance Canada and IMF websites.

IMF resources, lending, and capacity development

IMF financial resources

The IMF’s total financial resources are composed of both permanent and temporary resources. Members’ permanent quotaFootnote 43 subscriptions are the primary component of IMF financial resources. These are supplemented by New Arrangements to Borrow, a renewable multilateral borrowing arrangement that forms a second line of defence, in which Canada participates. Additionally, the IMF maintains temporary bilateral borrowing arrangements with 40 members (including Canada), which serve as a third line of defence. In the event of a major global economic crisis, the Fund can draw on these multilateral and bilateral lines of credit after all other resources have been effectively depleted. Further information can be found at the IMF’s multilateral and bilateral borrowing website.

While the resources outlined above can be used to support the macroeconomic adjustment needs of any member country, the IMF also maintains a special trust fund to enable concessional lending to the poorest and most vulnerable membersFootnote 44. The Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) is financed through loan and grant contributions from members such as Canada, as well as through IMF investment income.

IMF financial operations are conducted in Special Drawing Rights (SDR)Footnote 45, an international reserve asset created by the IMF to supplement the existing official reserves of member countries. Table 2 summarizes the IMF’s financial resources, and Canada’s commitments to and financial position at the Fund as of April 30, 2020. For more information on IMF finances, see the IMF’s 2020 Annual Report of the Executive Board.

Table B2: Summary of IMF financial resources and Canada’s financial position at the IMF, as of April 30, 2020 (Billions)
DescriptionTotal (SDR)Canada’s Contribution (SDR)Canada’s Contribution (CAD)Drawn from Canada’s Contribution (SDR)
Sources: IMF: Canada: Financial Position in the Fund; Department of Finance Canada calculations.
General resources account
Quota47611.0212.3
New arrangements to borrow1823.97.40.2
Bilateral borrowing agreements3188.215.60
Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust
Active loan commitments 1.01.90.5
IMF lending programs

The IMF makes its resources available to help members finance temporary balance of payments problems while they implement economic policy adjustments. To provide this assistance, the IMF utilizes 2 types of lending arrangements: non-concessional lending that is available to all members, and concessional lending available to qualifying low-income member countries. Non-concessional lending is financed out of the Fund’s normal resources grouped under the General Resources Account, whereas concessional lending is financed out of the PRGT. Details on the IMF lending process and instruments are available on the IMF lending website.

Lending arrangements

During its 2019–2020 fiscal year (May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020) the IMF approved 29 new non-concessional lending arrangements (21 of which were emergency arrangements primarily clustered at the end of the fiscal year in response to COVID-19), as well as one augmentation and one diminution to 2 existing arrangements, totalling SDR 59 billion (approximately $112.1 billion). As of the end of the IMF fiscal year on April 30, 2020, there were 38 active non-concessional arrangements with the Fund, totalling SDR 112.9 billion (approximately $214.6 billion).

The IMF also approved 37 new concessional arrangements (28 of which were emergency arrangements primarily clustered at the end of the fiscal year in response to COVID-19) and 3 augmentations to existing arrangements under the PRGT, amounting overall to SDR 5.5 billion (approximately $10.4 billion). As of the end of the IMF fiscal year on April 30, 2020, there were 47 active PRGT arrangements totalling SDR 7.1 billion (approximately $13.5 billion).

Table 3 provides a summary of new IMF lending arrangements approved in 2019–2020. Chart 1 provides an overview of active IMF lending arrangements as of April 30, 2020. A complete list of the IMF’s active lending arrangements is available in its annual report and on the IMF Lending Arrangements website.

Table B3: Summary of new lending arrangements approved during 2019–2020
DescriptionNumber of new arrangementsSize (SDR billions)Size ($ billions)
Source: IMF, Department of Finance Canada calculations.
Non-concessional lending3159.0112.1
Regular program lending76.712.7
Emergency lending217.814.8
Precautionary lending144.684.7
Augmentations to existing arrangements2>-0.1>-0.1
Concessional lending (PRGT)405.510.4
Regular program lending92.34.4
Emergency lending283.05.7
Augmentations to existing arrangements30.20.3
Total lending7164.5122.5
Table B4: IMF lending arrangements
IMF lending arrangementsSize (SDR)
Source: IMF, Department of Finance Canada calculations.
Europe1.0B
Americas95.6B
Asia8.1B
Africa5.3B
Non-concessional precautionary agreements52.4B
Colombia7.8B
Mexico44.6B
Non-concessional lending agreements60.5B
Argentina40.7B
Rest of Americas2.3B
Pakistan5.3B
Rest of Asia2.5B
Angola2.7B
Rest of Africa6.1B
Europe0.9B
Concessional agreements7.1B
Capacity development

For over 50 years, the IMF has provided technical assistance and capacity development (TA/CD) to members to help strengthen the ability of domestic institutions to foster effective policies, leading to greater economic stability and growth. IMF TA/CD activities are both internally and externally financed in about equal proportions. They accounted for nearly one third of the IMF’s budget in 2019–2020. Total spending on TA/CD was US$305 million, including US$166 million that was funded externally. For more information, see IMF Capacity Development.

Canada’s contributions to capacity development

External partnerships allow the IMF to scale up its capacity building efforts for members in need. Canada has historically been among the largest external contributors to IMF TA/CD, providing approximately US$129.2 million (approximately $179.7 million) since 2010 (see Table 4 for details). This support has helped low- and middle-income countries build capacity in areas such as central bank functions, public financial management, and financial sector development and oversight. Canadian-financed TA/CD is generally delivered in three distinct ways:

  1. Regional Technical Assistance Centres (RTACs): The IMF has developed a regionally tailored approach to TA/CD delivery. In addition to the training offered at the IMF Institute for Capacity Development in Washington, D.C., the IMF operates seven regional training institutes and nine RTACs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, China, the Middle East, and the Pacific. In 2019–2020, Canada provided US$1.1 million (approximately $1.5 million) to the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) and an additional US$1.4 million (approximately $2 million) to the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) to support the mobilization of a debt management advisor for the region. These are in line with Canada’s commitment to increase support for IMF TA/CD for small island developing states. For more information, see IMF Regional Capacity Development Initiatives.
  2. Country-directed initiatives: Member countries, other IFIs, and IMF project financing vehicles (e.g. RTACs, multi-donor trust funds, and country-specific trusts) can maintain “subaccounts” for targeted technical assistance initiatives and/or retaining a strategic reserve for rapid response to emerging priorities. Canada maintains a subaccount to support various TA/CD activities in the Caribbean, Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa.
  3. Multi-donor trust funds: The IMF manages several thematic funds. Examples include the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Fund, along with others that focus on improving data availability, public debt management and other public financial management issues. In addition, there are two fragile state funds that specifically focus on supporting South Sudan and Somalia. Canada has previously supported multidonor trust funds, including the AML/CFT Thematic Trust Fund, the IMF-Somalia Trust Fund for Capacity Development, and IMF participation in the World Bank’s Supporting Economic Management in the Caribbean project. For more information, see Thematic Funds for Capacity Development.
Table B5: Canadian technical assistance (US$ millions)
DescriptionTotal disbursed from 2010–2011 to 2018–2019Amount disbursed in 2019–2020
Notes: IMF capacity development financing is denominated in US dollars. On April 30, 2020, 1 US dollar equaled 1.3910 Canadian dollars.
Table only includes initiatives to which Canada has contributed.
Source: IMF.
Regional Technical Assistance Centres
Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre29.62.8
Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic Regional Technical Assistance Centre12.60
Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centres10.40
Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre01.1
Country-Directed Initiatives
Canadian Global Technical Assistance Subaccount23.5(2.6)
Ukraine Selected Capacity Development Activities21.70
Canada-Caribbean Enhanced Public Financial Management Project16.60.5
AML/CFT and other Selected Fund Activities2.41.8
Multi-Donor Thematic Trust Funds
Somalia Trust Fund for Capacity Development2.50
AML/CFT Thematic Fund2.30
World Bank Subaccount for Selected Fund Activities5.70
Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening Initiative0.10
Total amount127.41.8

Additional details on IMF operations (including IMF surveillance, lending, capacity building, and institutional governance) are available on the IMF website.

Communiqués of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of the IMF (as required under the Bretton Woods Act)

Communiqué of the Fortieth Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC)

October 19, 2019

Chaired by Mr. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank. We extend our deepest sympathies to the people and Government of The Bahamas for the loss of human lives and the devastating impact of the recent natural disaster.

Global outlook and policy priorities

The global economy is projected to grow by about 3 percent this year, but the pace has continued to weaken since April. Growth is projected to pick up next year, but the outlook is highly uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks. These include trade tensions, policy uncertainty, and geopolitical risks, against a backdrop of limited policy space, high and rising debt levels, and heightened financial vulnerabilities. Other longstanding challenges also persist.

We will employ all appropriate policy tools, individually and collectively, to mitigate risks, enhance resilience, and shore up growth to benefit all. Available fiscal space should be used to support demand as needed. Where consolidation is needed to ensure debt sustainability, fiscal policy should be carefully-calibrated, growth-friendly, and safeguard social objectives. In line with central banks’ mandates, monetary policy should ensure that inflation remains on track toward, or stabilizes around targets, and that inflation expectations remain anchored. Central bank decisions need to remain well-communicated and data-dependent. We will continue to monitor and, as necessary, tackle financial vulnerabilities and risks to financial stability, including with macroprudential policies.

Strong fundamentals, sound policies, and a resilient international monetary system are essential to the stability of exchange rates, contributing to strong and sustainable growth and investment. Flexible exchange rates, where feasible, can serve as a shock absorber. We recognize that excessive volatility or disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. We will refrain from competitive devaluations and will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes.

We will advance structural reforms to lift growth, employment, and productivity; enhance resilience; and promote inclusion. We reaffirm our commitment to strong governance, including by tackling corruption. We will advance policies that foster innovation and more competitive and flexible markets, and strive to address challenges from demographic shifts. We will provide opportunities for all people to contribute to economic activity and share its benefits, and effectively assist those bearing the cost of ongoing transitions.

We will enhance our efforts to reduce policy uncertainty and strengthen international frameworks and cooperation.

  • Free, fair, and mutually beneficial goods and services trade and investment are key engines for growth and job creation. A strong international trading system with well-enforced rules addressing current and future challenges would support global growth. To this end, we recognize the need to resolve trade tensions and support the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization to improve its functioning.
  • We will cooperate to reduce excessive global imbalances through macroeconomic and structural policies that support sustainable global growth.
  • We stress the importance of timely, full, and consistent implementation and finalization of the financial sector reform agenda as soon as possible, and the ongoing evaluation of the effects of these reforms. We will also address fragmentation through continued regulatory and supervisory cooperation, adapt financial regulation to structural changes and the evolving global financial landscape, and close data gaps.
  • We are working toward a modern and globally fair international tax system, particularly taxation related to digitalization, and will address harmful tax competition, artificial profit shifting, and other tax challenges. We will continue to address correspondent banking relationship withdrawal and its adverse consequences. We will also continue to tackle sources and channels of money laundering and terrorism financing, proliferation financing, and other illicit finance.
  • We will continue to work together to enhance debt transparency and sustainable financing practices by both debtors and creditors, public and private; and strengthen creditor coordination in debt restructuring situations, drawing on existing fora.

Sustained joint action is essential to address other challenges that transcend borders. We support efforts toward achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will continue to support domestic and multilateral efforts to address, build resilience to, and deal with the macroeconomic consequences of pandemics, cyber risks, climate change and natural disasters, energy scarcity, conflicts, migration, and refugee and other humanitarian crises. We will continue to collaborate to leverage financial technology while addressing related challenges.

IMF operations

We welcome the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda. In line with its mandate, the IMF will continue to support its members and collaborate with the World Bank, standards-setters, and other partners to:

  • Help members mitigate risks and support growth: We welcome the IMF’s broad agenda to enhance its advice on monetary and macrofinancial policies and look forward to progress on the ongoing work on the integrated policy framework. We also support the enhanced focus on governance, including tackling corruption, in line with the IMF’s governance framework. We ask the IMF to continue to work on structural reforms, including market competition issues, to boost potential output.
  • Strengthen debt sustainability and transparency: We support the continued implementation of the IMF-World Bank multi-pronged approach to work with borrowers and creditors, including by assisting members to strengthen debt management capacity, debt transparency, and sustainable financing. We also ask the IMF to continue to work with members to strengthen fiscal institutions and frameworks, and enhance public reporting of sovereign debt. We look forward to continued implementation of the updated debt sustainability framework for low-income countries and to the reviews of the debt sustainability framework for market access countries and the IMF’s debt limits policy.
  • Promote policies to foster inclusion and expand opportunities: We welcome the IMF’s efforts to operationalize the new strategy for engagement on social spending. We support the enhanced focus on fragile and conflict-affected states through country engagement strategies, tailored financial support, and strengthened capacity development. We also support the provision of analysis and advice to help countries achieve the SDGs. We ask the IMF to help members boost domestic resource mobilization, including through collaboration with other partners of the Platform for Collaboration on Tax and by applying the experience with medium-term revenue strategies, with a tailored approach for countries with low capacity and for fragile countries. We welcome the macroeconomic analyses of gender and inequality issues, including in the area of gender budgeting.
  • Upgrade global cooperation: We welcome the IMF’s continued efforts to conduct a rigorous, evenhanded, and multilaterally-consistent assessment of global imbalances and of exchange rates. We support the IMF’s efforts to mitigate risks and enhance confidence in trade through policy advice and trade-related macroeconomic analyses. We call for further efforts to address the causes and adverse consequences of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships and help countries deal with them. We appreciate the IMF’s collaboration with other institutions on, and its contributions to, the global regulatory reform agenda; work on tackling illicit financial flows, including through AML/CFT; and work on international tax issues, including by analyzing the impact of global tax changes for low-income and developing countries. We support further efforts to strengthen the global financial safety net and promote a resilient international monetary and financial system, including by reconsidering elements of the IMF’s lending toolkit and deepening collaboration with regional financing arrangements.
  • Facilitate global solutions to global challenges: We welcome the IMF’s work on the implications of fintech, consistent with the Bali Fintech Agenda. We also welcome work on supporting countries’ efforts to enhance resilience to cyber risks in the financial sector. In line with its mandate, the IMF will respond to increased member requests to provide guidance on members’ implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. We support the IMF’s continued assistance for resilience-building in countries vulnerable to natural disasters, especially small states and low-income countries, in collaboration with other institutions. We also support the IMF’s assistance to countries affected by conflict, migration and refugee crises.
  • Adapt policy tools to lead and support change: We welcome the IMF’s continued efforts to enhance its surveillance through the 2020 Comprehensive Surveillance Review and the reviews of the Financial Sector Assessment Program and the policy on multiple currency practices. We ask the IMF to continue incorporating the recommendations of the reviews of program design and conditionality and of concessional facilities to improve program design and outcomes in recipient countries. We look forward to the forthcoming reviews of Data Standards Initiatives and data provision to the Fund; the implementation of the overarching strategy on data and statistics; and continued efforts to integrate capacity development with surveillance and lending.

We welcome the IMF’s efforts to continue providing high value-added support to its members and to enhance its efficiency. To this end, we welcome efforts to attract and retain high-caliber staff. We support ongoing modernization initiatives, including the HR strategy, the comprehensive review of compensation and benefits, and the work on enterprise risk management. We call on the IMF to make progress toward the 2020 diversity benchmarks. We support increasing gender diversity in the Executive Board.

IMF resources and governance

We reaffirm our commitment to a strong, quota-based, and adequately resourced IMF to preserve its role at the center of the global financial safety net. We note the lack of progress on a quota increase under the 15th Review and call on the Executive Board to complete its work on the 15th Review and on a package of IMF resources and governance reforms, and to report to the Board of Governors as soon as possible. We support maintaining the IMF’s current resource envelope and welcome the extension of the 2016 Bilateral Borrowing Agreements by one year. We look forward to consideration of a doubling of the New Arrangements to Borrow and a further temporary round of bilateral borrowing beyond 2020.

Beyond the 15th Review, we are committed to revisiting the adequacy of quotas and continuing the process of IMF governance reform under the 16th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula as a guide, with the Review to be extended from 2020 to no later than December 15, 2023. In this context, we remain committed to ensuring the primary role of quotas in IMF resources. Any adjustment in quota shares would be expected to result in increases in the quota shares of dynamic economies in line with their relative positions in the world economy and hence likely in the share of emerging market and developing countries as a whole, while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members.

Other issues

We express our deep gratitude to former Managing Director Christine Lagarde for her outstanding leadership of the IMF and distinguished service to member countries and the global community over the past eight years. Under Ms. Lagarde’s leadership, the IMF undertook important reforms to maintain its relevance and responsiveness to members’ needs, including by modernizing its macro-financial surveillance; enhancing its financial support, lending facilities, and capacity development; increasing attention to the social outcomes and human dimensions of IMF policies and operations; and integrating climate change, gender, governance, and income inequality into the work of the IMF. Ms. Lagarde also worked tirelessly to secure the financial resources necessary for the IMF to deliver on its mission, to ensure that dynamic emerging market and developing countries have greater voice, and to achieve support for IMF governance reforms. We wish Ms. Lagarde all the best in her new position as President of the European Central Bank. We thank Mr. David Lipton for his stewardship as Acting Managing Director during the transition.

We warmly welcome Ms. Kristalina Georgieva as Managing Director and look forward to working closely with her in meeting the challenges ahead.

Our next meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 2020.

Communiqué of the Forty-First Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC)

April 16, 2020

Chaired by Mr. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank

We express our deepest sympathies for the loss of human lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our urgent collective task is to mitigate the health and economic impact that the pandemic is having on people worldwide. We remain confident that, working together, we will overcome current challenges to help safeguard the global economy for all.

We are in an unprecedented global crisis. The global economy will contract sharply this year, reflecting necessary health measures to contain the virus, disruptions in economic supply and demand, and tightening financial conditions. Many countries are coping with grave challenges including limited medical supplies and capacities. In particular, many emerging market and developing countries are facing sharp declines in export demand and commodity prices, large capital outflows, foreign exchange shortages, and increasing debt burdens.

While the global outlook is subject to exceptionally high uncertainty, we expect a recovery next year as we continue to employ all available policy tools to defeat the pandemic, protect jobs, and restore growth. We have taken extraordinary macroeconomic action and, working together, will further scale up fiscal, monetary, and financial stability measures, as necessary, to facilitate a speedy return to strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth. Targeted and sizable fiscal support is critical to provide a safety net for the most affected households and businesses and create conditions for a rapid recovery. We welcome the actions of central banks and financial authorities to alleviate stressed global financial conditions and maintain financial stability.

We support the IMF in assisting member countries through financial support, policy advice, and capacity development, in close collaboration with other international institutions and partner organizations. We welcome the IMF’s crisis response package, comprising streamlined procedures, rapid and enhanced access to emergency financing, including a temporary doubling of the annual access limits under the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument, liquidity provision through a new short-term liquidity line for members with very strong fundamentals and policies, and debt service relief to the poorest and most vulnerable countries through a reformed Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). We also call on the IMF to explore additional tools that could serve its members’ needs as the crisis evolves, drawing on relevant experiences from previous crises.

We welcome the pledges to the CCRT and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) received so far and call for additional contributions to ensure that the IMF can support its poorest and most vulnerable members. We welcome the coordinated approach agreed by the G20 and the Paris Club, supported by the IMF and World Bank, toward a time-bound suspension by bilateral official creditors of debt service payments for the poorest countries that request forbearance. We call on private creditors to participate in the initiative on comparable terms. We welcome the IMF’s focus on crisis-related work, including on debt and financial stability risks, supporting a sustainable recovery in a way consistent with long- standing issues on our agenda.

We reaffirm our commitment to a strong, quota-based, and adequately resourced IMF at the center of the global financial safety net. We will keep demands on the IMF’s resources under close review. The IMF’s lending capacity of US$1 trillion is critical to maintain confidence that the IMF can fulfill its mandate by helping its members overcome the crisis. The recent Executive Board decisions on the doubling of the New Arrangements to Borrow and on a new round of Bilateral Borrowing Agreements are important steps in this regard. We look forward to swift action by members in implementing these decisions. We remain committed to revisiting the adequacy of quotas and continuing the process of IMF governance reform under the 16th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula as a guide, by December 15, 2023.

We endorse the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda.

Our next meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., on October 17, 2020.

Section C: Canada’s engagement in European Bank for Reconstruction and Development operations

Reporting requirements

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Act (EBRD Act) came into force in 1991 and provides the legal framework for Canada’s membership in the EBRD. As a founding member and the eighth-largest shareholder in the Bank, Canada actively contributes to the development of EBRD policies while providing oversight of the Bank’s financial activities. This is primarily achieved through Canada’s seats on the Board of Governors and Board of Directors.

As laid out in section 7 of the EBRD Act, the Minister of Finance is required to provide to Parliament an annual report of operations containing a general summary of all actions taken under the Act, including their sustainable development and human rights aspects. This section meets these reporting requirements.

For more information, refer to the text of the EBRD Act on Justice Canada’s website: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Agreement Act.

Governance and representation

Canada’s capital subscriptions and shareholding

As of December 31, 2019, the EBRD had 69 shareholders: 67 countries, as well as the European Union and the European Investment Bank. The EBRD is active in 38 economies in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.

The EBRD’s share capital is provided by member countries that hold proportional voting rights. Decision-making power is primarily exercised by member countries through their representatives on the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors.

Canada is the eighth-largest shareholder of the EBRD, with its shares representing 3.4% or €1.02 billion of the institution’s capital. Of Canada’s total share, €213 million is paid-in capital and the remaining is callable capitalFootnote 46.

Table C1: Canada’s capital subscriptions to the EBRD, 2019, as of 31 December 2019 (€ millions)
DescriptionTotal
Note: Figures are from the 2019 financial report for the EBRD.
Capital subscriptions and contributions1,020.49
Amount paid in212.85
Amount not paid in but contingent on future capital requirements807.64
Subscription or contributions share (%)3.43
Voting power (%)3.43

Information on the EBRD’s 2019 fiscal year (January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019) is provided in its Annual Review and Financial Report. Further information on the EBRD’s performance can be found in the Sustainability Report and Transition Report. The Bank releases considerable information on its various activities. Bank publications include information guides (such as the Guide to EBRD Financing), evaluation reports, special reports, country strategies, and assorted fact sheets. Information can be obtained on the Bank’s website.

Requests for EBRD information can be addressed to:

Attention:
Access to Information Function
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
One Exchange Square
London, EC2A 2JN
United Kingdom

Or submitted online to accessinfo@ebrd.com, or through the Bank’s Information Request Form.

Canada at the Board of Governors

The highest authority in the EBRD is the Board of Governors. The Board meets annually and approves the EBRD’s Annual Review, net income allocation and financial statements, the independent auditor’s report, the election of the chair and vice-chair for the next Annual Meeting, as well as other items requiring governors’ approval. Governors provide a written statement at the EBRD annual meetings. Canada’s statement outlines its priorities at the Bank.

A Governor and an Alternate Governor represent each of the 69 shareholders. Former Minister of Finance Bill Morneau was the Canadian Governor during 2019–2020 reporting period. Marta Morgan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, is Canada’s Alternate Governor.

To learn more about the governance of the Board of Governors, please visit the EBRD’s Board of Governors webpage.

Canada at the Executive Board

The Board of Directors is responsible for the general operations of the Bank. It comprises 23 members, with each representing either one member or a constituency of member countries. The Board helps to set the strategic and financial course for the Bank, in consultation with the Bank’s management. From November 2016 to September 2020, Canada was represented on the EBRD Board of Directors by Douglas Nevison. Sarah Fountain Smith is the current director for Canada. The director for Canada also represents Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia at the EBRD Board of Directors.

To learn more about the governance of the Executive Board, please visit the EBRD’s website. The office of the Director for Canada, Morocco, Jordan, and Tunisia, can be reached by email at canadaoffice@ebrd.com.

Canada at board committees

The Board of Directors has established 4 committees to oversee Bank activities: the Board Steering Group, the Audit Committee, the Budget and Administrative Affairs Committee, and the Financial and Operations Policies Committee. This division of labour is consistent with good corporate governance practices and provides an appropriate system of checks, balances and incentives. In addition, the structure ensures a more effective discussion by the Board, once initiatives are ready for approval.

The Board Steering Group is responsible for the coordination of the committees’ work programs to avoid overlap and ensure timely completion. In addition to some administrative duties, the Group’s chair is the main liaison between the Board of Directors and management. In 2019, the Group was chaired by the Director for Austria, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Kazakhstan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Audit Committee’s primary objective is to ensure that the financial information reported by the Bank is complete, accurate, relevant and timely. The Committee oversees the integrity of the Bank’s financial statements, and the compliance of its accounting and reporting policies with the requirements set out in the International Financial Reporting System. It also reviews the EBRD’s system of internal controls and its implementation, as well as the functions of the internal audit, evaluation, compliance and risk management teams. In 2019, the Committee was chaired by the Director for Spain and Mexico.

The Budget and Administrative Affairs Committee is responsible for ensuring that the Bank’s budgetary, staff and administrative resources are aligned with its strategic priorities. To this end, the Committee reviews the medium-term resource framework, annual budgets and the business plan. It also oversees the Bank’s human resources policies, the Shareholder Special Fund, and the uses of Donor funding. In 2019, the Committee was chaired by the Director for Norway, Finland, Latvia, and Lebanon.

The Financial and Operations Policies Committee oversees the Bank’s financial and operational policies, including the annual borrowing plan and the liquidity policy prepared by the Treasury Department. The committee plays a key role in taking forward implementation of the Bank’s Strategic and Capital Framework; policy coherence and coordination; discussions on projects under the early warning system; and substantive preparations for the EBRD’s Annual Meeting. Since 2007, the Committee has also been charged with overseeing the net income allocation process. As well, it is responsible for the Bank’s Environmental and Social Policy and EBRD country and sector strategies. In 2019, the Committee was chaired by the Director for Switzerland, Ukraine, Liechtenstein, Turkmenistan, Serbia, Montenegro, Uzbekistan.

Benefits of EBRD membership

Canada’s membership in the EBRD, and its active participation in the discussion of policy and operational issues, is an important means to help shape economic and social development in the EBRD’s countries of operation. Canada strongly supports the overriding objective of developing a strong private sector in its countries of operation by mobilizing financing for projects with a high transition impact and by providing advice and technical assistance to businesses and governments. The Bank provides Canada with a vehicle to contribute to development in transition countries that are not currently part of our bilateral development assistance programs. Furthermore, Canadians are well represented on EBRD staff. At the end of 2019, there were 46 Canadians on the staff of the EBRD, representing 1.24% of total positions.

Finally, Canada’s engagement helps to raise awareness among Canadian companies of opportunities presented by the EBRD. Canadian companies can seek financing for projects undertaken in the Bank’s countries of operations. The Bank often relies on the procurement of goods and services from the private sector to implement transition projects. The Executive Director’s office works diligently with Bank management to increase awareness amongst Canadian companies of the opportunities presented at EBRD, with a view to increasing the participation of Canadian companies. Canadian financial institutions also play an active role in managing EBRD global bond issuances.

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