Thank you for taking part in our consultation! Your views will help shape Canada’s new approach to international assistance.

Scroll down to find out what you—our partners in Canada and around the world—had to say about building a better world in the “What We Heard” report.

Minister Bibeau

Message from the Minister

We outlined a number of priorities and issues in the International Assistance Review discussion paper, with the empowerment of women and girls, and the protection and promotion of their rights through advancing gender equality at the heart of Canada’s international assistance. Consultation participants had a lot to share and Global Affairs Canada welcomed their perspectives, including messages of support for the proposed orientations, as well as advice on how to go even further.

Main highlights

Main highlights

Policy issues

Delivering results

consultations

300+
consultations

countries

65+
countries

Canadian cities

5
Canadian cities

high-level in-person events in Canada

9
high-level in-person events in Canada

people and partners engaged

15000+
people and partners
engaged

contributions received

10600+
contributions received

visits to the Review website

44911+
visits to the
Review website

potential Twitter impressions

20 million+
potential Twitter
impressions

Twitter users used #DevCanada

1514+
Twitter users used
#DevCanada

Global Affairs Canada sought to engage and consult as wide an audience as possible to identify evidence-based recommendations to help shape Canada’s international assistance...

Participants relied on their experience, analysis and research to provide the department with many concrete ideas and suggestions about how Canada can deliver its international assistance more innovatively, efficiently and effectively, and better measure the results.

To increase our reach:

  • We reached out to the general public in Canada and several partner countries.
  • We reached out to government and civil society organizations, in Canada and abroad, including youth, indigenous and academic groups, women’s rights organizations, universities, private-sector entities, think tanks, and international, multilateral, regional and global organizations. GAC also reached out to practitioners in the fields of international assistance.
  • We engaged with leaders in the Global South and heard the voices of the poor, such as farmers using local radio programs and cell phones.
  • We webcast eight events and used new technologies such as Google Hangout to reach a wider audience across the country and around the world.
  • We benefitted from the input of Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Canadian Parliamentarians also submitted ideas via the Review’s dedicated website.
  • We promoted the consultation process via a news release and through social media, including through the twitter hashtag #DevCanada.
  • We disseminated consultation materials in English, French and in local languages, in order to enable the participation of as many people as possible.

Global Affairs Canada is committed to an ongoing dialogue on international assistance and counts on its partners to continually challenge us to do better.

We would love to hear from you! Please take a moment to give us your feedback via  email.

You can still access the International Assistance Review Discussion Paper for reference.

 

2016 International Assistance Review
What we heard

Thank you for taking part in our consultation! Your views will help shape Canada’s new approach to international assistance.

Scroll down to find out what you—our partners in Canada and around the world—had to say about building a better world in the “What We Heard” report.

Priorities and issues

We outlined a number of priorities and issues in the International Assistance Review discussion paper, with the empowerment of women and girls, and the protection and promotion of their rights through advancing gender equality at the heart of Canada’s international assistance. Consultation participants had a lot to share and Global Affairs Canada welcomed their perspectives, including messages of support for the proposed orientations, as well as advice on how to go even further.

Here are the main highlights

We repeatedly heard eight elements during consultation events and in written submissions:

  1. Pursue the Discussion Paper priorities in principle. Overall, participants expressed support for deepening efforts in the proposed areas and for moving towards an outcome-based approach that is more aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations.
  2. Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Participants expressed support for framing Canada’s assistance efforts within the 2030 Agenda priorities, Sustainable Development Goals and transformative approach to development.
  3. Apply a feminist lens and human rights-based approach. Participants provided broad encouragement and detailed advice on how best to apply a feminist lens and a human rights-based approach to all of Canada’s international assistance.
  4. Focus on the poorest and most vulnerable, but remain engaged in a range of countries. Participants clearly support an increased focus on poor and vulnerable populations, and on poor and vulnerable countries.
  5. Make Canada’s international assistance more effective, innovative and nimble. Participants provided advice on ways to increase the overall effectiveness of international assistance by improving its delivery.
  6. Enhance policy coherence to improve impact and sustainability. Global Affairs Canada received many recommendations on how to build greater complementarity among Canadian policies and initiatives in the fields of defence, trade, diplomacy, security and development.
  7. Consider local needs, contexts and actors when delivering international assistance. Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to better understand local needs, work within existing systems and engage local actors as much as possible.
  8. Increase international assistance funding. Many participants called on Canada to increase its official development assistance to 0.7% of our gross national income (GNI).

How we reached out and how you responded

  • 300+ consultations
  • 65+ countries
  • 5 Canadian cities
  • 9 high-level in-person events in Canada
  • 15,000+ people and partners engaged
  • 10,600+ contributions received
  • 44,911+ visits to the Review website
  • 20.7 million+ potential impressions on Twitter
  • 1,514+ Twitter accounts used #DevCanada

Global Affairs Canada sought to engage and consult as wide an audience as possible to identify evidence-based recommendations to help shape Canada’s international assistance. Participants relied on their experience, analysis and research to provide the department with many concrete ideas and suggestions about how Canada can deliver its international assistance more innovatively, efficiently and effectively, and better measure the results.

  • We reached out to the general public in Canada and several partner countries.
  • We reached out to government and civil society organizations, in Canada and abroad, including youth, indigenous and academic groups, women’s rights organizations, universities, private-sector entities, think tanks, and international, multilateral, regional and global organizations. Global Affairs Canada also reached out to practitioners in the fields of international assistance.
  • We engaged with leaders in the Global South and heard the voices of the poor, such as farmers using local radio programs and cell phones.
  • We webcast eight events and used new technologies such as Google Hangout to reach a wider audience across the country and around the world.
  • We benefitted from the input of Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Canadian Parliamentarians also submitted ideas via the Review’s dedicated website.
  • We promoted the consultation process via a news release and through social media, including through the twitter hashtag #DevCanada.
  • We disseminated consultation materials in English, French and in local languages, in order to enable the participation of as many people as possible.

Global Affairs Canada is committed to an ongoing dialogue on international assistance and counts on its partners to continually challenge us to do better.

Policy issues

Health and rights of women and children

Global Affairs Canada’s discussion paper highlighted the persistent gender inequalities that disproportionately and negatively impact women and girls, and are at the root of poverty and insecurity. Consultation participants responded by highlighting the importance of promoting and protecting all rights in the political, economic and social spheres, in addition to viewing health as a platform for empowerment. A consistent recommendation was to make gender equality a stand-alone priority for Canada’s international assistance, as well as to include this objective in all policy and programs, and to promote the empowerment of women and girls. Participants supported the proposal to apply a feminist lens to international assistance and recommended a gender-based analysis that recognizes the multiple and intersecting dimensions of discrimination and marginalization based on a variety of factors including gender, race, disability and sexual orientation. Participants also suggested prioritizing education to reflect Canada’s considerable expertise in education and its critical role in achieving human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Global Affairs Canada heard strong messaging about the need to scale up our engagement in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, while building on key interventions to improve the health of women, children and newborns, and to advance holistic approaches to nutrition that link across sectors. Participants also recommended that we consider children and youth across all of our international assistance, and ensure that there is space and that there are appropriate mechanisms for children and youth to meaningfully participate in the development agenda so “no one is left behind.”

Details of What We Heard

On the issue of the empowerment of women and girls and the advancement of gender equality, Global Affairs Canada heard that it should:

  • Apply a feminist lens so that all of international assistance seeks to address the root causes of poverty including gender-based discrimination and inequality, unequal power relations, and harmful social norms.
  • Make the empowerment of women and girls and gender equality, as well as respect for their rights, a stand-alone priority integrated into all other areas of focus.
  • Engage a full spectrum of stakeholders, including men and boys, to address the societal change required to achieve gender equality.
  • Promote public-sector institutional strengthening for gender equality and women’s rights and address the gender-data gap.
  • Make a bold funding commitment to support feminist and women’s rights movements and women-led initiatives as catalysts of change.

To better address issues of violence, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Increase engagement and action on eliminating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
  • Work to address the root causes of violence against women and girls, focusing on: domestic violence; female genital cutting/mutilation; child, early and forced marriage; female infanticide; SGBV; sexual exploitation and trafficking; as well as SGBV, exploitation and abuse in conflict, post-conflict and humanitarian contexts.
  • Consider that children, youth, women and marginalized populations face multiple layers of vulnerability based on different factors, all of which influence their susceptibility to experiencing violence.
  • Enhance child-protection systems and coordination between sectors to reduce the risks of violence and exploitation experienced by boys and girls, particularly in conflict and emergency situations.
  • Support efforts for youth at risk, including those associated with violent extremist groups, to engage productively in their societies and to find alternatives to violence and crime.

On the topic of health and nutrition, Global Affairs Canada heard that it needs to:

  • Support a multi-sectoral, human rights-based, gender-transformative approach to health, and apply it through the life course of individuals.
  • Scale up investments to encompass the full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare, such as access to services, information—and to safe abortion, where legal. Participants underlined how these services address gaps in maternal and newborn health, and acknowledge gender inequalities that limit the role of women in decision-making.
  • Eliminate barriers to adolescent health and well-being, particularly for adolescent girls, and increase investments in, and political leadership on, adolescents.
  • Expand Global Affairs Canada’s leadership on improving access to affordable life-saving interventions, such as immunizations, and scaling up proven interventions to reduce newborn and child deaths.
  • Play a key leadership role in supporting the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including through the development of a Canadian policy on SRHR.
  • Adopt a robust, comprehensive agenda for infectious-disease control, prevention and treatment, and build new programming in non-communicable diseases.
  • Endorse more holistic, cross-sectoral and effective approaches to nutrition by combining direct nutrition intervention with programming in areas such as agriculture, food production, climate change and education.
  • Continue support for health-system strengthening, including the development of appropriate infrastructure, human resources, proper data and supply chains.
  • End stigma, discrimination and violence that can impact access to HIV treatment and other health services for key populations.

On the issues of education and skills development, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada should:

  • Support safe, inclusive and accessible education for the poorest and most vulnerable, including girls and boys affected by crisis, conflict and fragile situations.
  • Prioritize education, reflecting its critical role in achieving human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Promote a lifecycle approach, which includes free and quality public education, from early childhood to the end of secondary school, particularly for girls.
  • Harness Canadian education expertise to help strengthen education systems in developing countries, including by supporting country efforts to promote education for environmental sustainability, peace, pluralism and human rights.
  • Play a key role in advancing the empowerment of girls and gender equality in and through education, including through targeted efforts to break down the barriers to participation.
  • Build on existing Global Affairs Canada initiatives to promote skills for employment, including through technical vocational education, training and green skills, by strengthening public and private institutional capacity and partnerships.

Clean economic growth and climate change

Participants recognized that climate change is a serious threat to development, and that poor and marginalized communities—in particular women and youth—are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Global Affairs Canada heard that addressing climate change should be a key priority, as well as a cross-cutting issue across all sectors. Participants offered concrete suggestions about how to help developing and fragile countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to reinforce resilience. Participants noted that supporting the use of clean technologies internationally would build on Canada’s global leadership in areas such as water and wastewater management. Global Affairs Canada also heard that the participation of women in these efforts, both as decision-makers and leaders, needs to be promoted.

On clean economic growth, participants highlighted the importance of targeting the poorest and most vulnerable. Participants noted that Canada’s comparative advantage in economic governance, which can create an enabling environment for economic growth, enables this country to exercise leadership in areas such as financial services and sustainable management of natural resources. Some participants proposed that Canada increase its activities in areas such as clean technologies, resilient agriculture and infrastructure. Participants raised the importance of using innovative trade facilitation and finance tools to connect local economies to regional and global value chains, as well as fostering expanded economic opportunities and growth. We heard that we need to achieve greater complementarity between our trade and development efforts. Another common theme was the importance of focusing on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, as well as on the generation of meaningful employment opportunities for youth.

Details of What We Heard

Addressing the points Global Affairs Canada outlined on economic growth and empowerment, participants responded by noting that Global Affairs Canada should aim to:

  • Target economic growth for the poorest and most vulnerable in developing countries, including initiatives focused on pro-poor growth, safe work, and human and labour rights.
  • Foster the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and support their access to markets.
  • Increase labour-market-driven educational opportunities that help to close the gender gap in labour-market participation and identify meaningful employment opportunities for youth.
  • Focus specifically on women’s economic empowerment, including entrepreneurship, and access to and control over economic resources and assets.
  • Work to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote the creation of laws and incentives to support renewable energy, eco-efficiency and green technology.
  • Expand and strengthen Canada’s support for effective governance of the natural-resources sector, and apply a similar approach to the governance of water and land resources.
  • Ensure that Canadian companies in the extractive sector operate responsibly.

On the issue of economic governance, Global Affairs Canada heard that it needs to:

  • Make economic governance a priority for international assistance, as it enables economic growth.
  • Build national capacities to protect and advance women’s rights through gender-responsive public management and services, including gender-responsive budgeting processes, as well as the collection and analysis of sex-age disaggregated data.
  • Support the development of new solutions for financial and digital inclusiveness.
  • Help the planning institutions of partner countries to integrate climate-change adaptation measures into their development strategies and to develop financial mechanisms that support clean technologies in the private sector.
  • Build country capacity in the fundamentals of good governance, including policy development, social protection, service delivery, accountability, values and ethics.
  • Strengthen financial governance in the areas of regulation and supervision.
  • Help create well-functioning financial systems and inclusive economic and environmental institutions and policies to provide the necessary foundation for all other economic activity.
  • Continue Global Affairs Canada’s cooperation on transparency, human rights and anti-corruption to help governments better manage natural resources for sustainable development.

On the issue of clean energy and infrastructure, participants highlighted that Global Affairs Canada needs to:

  • Actively engage the private sector to meet global climate and sustainable-development goals related to energy and clean technology. 
  • Work with a full range of partners and stakeholders to encourage investment in resilient infrastructure that is socially inclusive and minimizes environmental impact.
  • Target investments and opportunities in renewables and increase energy efficiency, in particular for women and in areas where access to modern energy is a critical need.
  • Promote clean technologies internationally, and build on Canada’s global leadership in water and waste management, clean energy and agricultural-production technologies.
  • Increase support for the environmental management of natural resources, development and transfer of clean technology, and climate action for the resource sector.

In your advice on climate change and sustainability, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada:

  • Incorporate environmental sustainability in all development sectors as an essential component of sustainable development.
  • Prioritize areas that leverage Canadian domestic capacity in integrated natural-resources management, including forestry, biodiversity, agriculture and water.
  • Support a holistic, multi-sectoral and integrated approach to water, sanitation and hygiene that prioritizes the role of women and girls as key actors and decision-makers.
  • Support education initiatives that focus on sustainable development, including climate change and environment—areas of Canadian expertise.
  • Prioritize the climate-related aspects of urbanization and migration as key elements in adaptation strategies.
  • Promote women’s participation as decision-makers and leaders in climate-change actions and mitigation strategies, and invest in women-smallholder farmers to increase their resilience to climate change and promote their economic empowerment.
  • Support vulnerable countries to increase their resilience to climate-related natural disasters and their adaptation to the impacts of climate change.

Participants outlined agriculture as an area of Canadian comparative advantage where Global Affairs Canada could narrow its focus on international assistance to:

  • Recognize the role of climate-resilient agriculture as central to poverty reduction in most developing countries.
  • Strengthen gender equality in the agricultural sector, recognizing that women’s equality will strengthen environmental resilience, as well as improve food security and nutrition.
  • Enhance water and climate considerations in agriculture programming, recognizing that agriculture is the largest consumer of water and a key sector for climate adaptation and mitigation.
  • Support agricultural systems that are productive, sustainable, resilient and driven by inclusive value chains so they become principal engines of rural economic growth.
  • Expand support to effective enabling environments to help harness the private sector as a key multiplier of the economic benefits of agriculture.

Governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights

Participants in the consultations offered recommendations on how Canada should approach governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights. Consistently, Global Affairs Canada heard that Canada should adopt a human rights-based approach to international assistance, and strengthen the promotion and protection of all human rights. We also heard that we need to reinstate governance as a sector of focus, and renew emphasis on inclusive and accountable governance across all forms of international assistance. Participants largely agreed that governance is crucial to a population’s ability to lead a life of dignity and to participate in the decisions that affect them. Participants noted that Global Affairs Canada needs to help civil society organizations, including women and youth-focused organizations, to better influence policy processes, as well as to help governace institutions accept and facilitate the participation and representation of civil society organizations.

Participants emphasized the importance of increasing access to justice and the rule of law, fostering inclusive and democratic societies, supporting participatory local governance, strengthening public institutions, increasing women’s civic and political participation, and strengthening and empowering local civil society to improve democratic governance. Participants also underlined that Canada is strong because of its rich diversity and that Canadian governance expertise provides us with a comparative advantage to build capacity in this area.

Details of What We Heard

On the topic of human rights, rule of law and access to justice, participants emphasized that Global Affairs Canada should:

  • Adopt an approach to international assistance based on human rights; one that enables people to realize their human rights, and identifies and addresses the root causes of inequality and discrimination as integral to sustainable development, peace and security.
  • Focus on the promotion and protection the full spectrum of human rights (civil, political, economic, social, and cultural) without discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity, among others.
  • Strengthen the rule of law in partner countries as a contributor to social, civic and economic growth and stability, and as protection against insecurity and violations of human rights.
  • Ensure access to justice for the poorest and most vulnerable. These groups are typically excluded from formal institutions of justice and have limited access to legal assistance.
  • Ensure that the diversity of women, men, girls and boys informs policy and programming analysis. This approach recognizes that individuals can face multiple threats of discrimination when their identities overlap.

The consultations revealed a consensus on the importance of building inclusive and accountable governance, and called for international assistance that can:

  • Strengthen governance systems to improve the transparency and accountability of decision-making, to promote and protect human rights, to enable the effective delivery of services at all levels of government, to be more inclusive, and to ensure the active participation of women in all levels of decision-making processes.
  • Reinforce participatory local governance to increase the engagement of people in decision-making, promote mutual accountability and women’s leadership, including through working with local civil society organizations.
  • Build on the capacity of public institutions to foster effective and efficient financial management, strengthen electoral management, and arrange for independent accountability and human-rights reviews.
  • Improve the capacity of public-sector institutions to transparently plan, provide advice, implement laws and regulations, manage finances, deliver services and respond to the concerns of citizens.
  • Do more to counteract corruption, which adversely impacts the poor by limiting access to basic services. Countries with high levels of corruption tend to collect less tax revenue, spend more public funds, and incur larger fiscal deficits.
  • Ensure that women, girls and young people can participate meaningfully and effectively in political spaces, decision-making platforms and accountability mechanisms at all levels.
  • Promote open data and open governments by leveraging technology as a means of increasing transparency.
  • Build on the Canadian experience of peaceful pluralism to help partner countries to foster inclusive institutions.

Global Affairs Canada’s discussion paper raised the issue of civic space and empowerment, which prompted participants to call on Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Promote and protect a safe and enabling civic space, including online, for actors who seek to encourage governments to exercise greater transparency, accountability and respect for human rights.
  • Empower agents of change, such as human-rights defenders, to voice their priorities and address the root causes of persistent inequalities.
  • Assist women- and youth-focused civil society organizations to strengthen their capacity to influence policy processes, and to help governance institutions facilitate the participation and representation of women and youth.
  • Increase Global Affairs Canada’s support for local civil society organizations that understand the local context.
  • Support the use of new technologies and approaches to civic engagement.

Peace and security

Many participants discussed the challenges and opportunities Canada faces in its attempts to address peace and security issues. Global Affairs Canada detected a consensus that Canada’s investments and advocacy should address poverty reduction and threats to security and stability in a coherent way. Participants called on Global Affairs Canada to address fragility and incorporate a context-specific approach into everything it does. Global Affairs Canada was encouraged to better integrate its conflict prevention, humanitarian and stabilization efforts, as well as its development and trade tools in order to better enable peace and sustainable development.

Participants indicated that Canada possesses the means, influence and authority to play a leading role in building and sustaining peace and security in a manner that is consistent with Canadian values. Participants underlined the need to place gender equality and women’s empowerment at the core of our international assistance and to strengthen our contribution to the women, peace and security agenda. Participants urged us to change how we develop and implement programing in support of these goals.

Details of What We Heard

Participants noted that Canada is well positioned to demonstrate leadership in building and sustaining peace, and encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Take a leading role in building and sustaining peace by working towards the prevention of violent conflict alongside our partners.
  • Ensure that bilateral assistance aligns with the peace-building and state-building goals articulated in the 2011 New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.
  • Increase funding in this area at a rate that is consistent with or exceeds global trends.
  • Encourage greater coherence among our conflict-prevention, humanitarian-assistance, stabilization, development and trade measures.
  • Account for potential fragility and invest in resilience within urban settings.

On reduction of threats, such as terrorism and transnational crime, participants strongly suggested that Canada should adopt a long-term perspective in addressing threats to Canada, Canadians, our allies and partners, as well as to the poorest and most vulnerable. Participants highlighted that this should be core to Canada’s international assistance and that Global Affairs Canada should:

  • Preserve current threat-reduction programming, notably those that combat crime, terrorism and the spread of weapons abroad, including weapons and materials of mass destruction.
  • Continue to proactively identify and address gaps and opportunities, including those originating from cyber-related issues, climate change, global health and space security, violent extremism, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, as well as small-arms and light weapons.

Participants recognized both the disproportionate impact of violent conflict on women and girls, and the critical role women and girls play in the maintenance of international peace and security. Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Strengthen Canada’s support for the women, peace and security agenda through a robust national action plan and committed funding for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions related to women, peace and security.
  • Place gender equality and women’s empowerment at the core of Canada’s international assistance and define the new national action Plan as a high-level policy directive.

On specific peace and security programming, Global Affairs Canada heard that it should:

  • Maintain a high degree of flexibility along with a long-term vision, so Global Affairs Canada can immediately respond to conflicts, crises and threats while also working to address underlying drivers.
  • Understand and adapt work to the prevailing local or international context, requiring capacities to monitor, analyze and adapt to context-specific challenges. To this end, ensure that fragility and conflict analyses inform all interventions to ensure Canada’s interventions “do no harm.”

Responding to humanitarian crises and the needs of displaced populations

The discussion paper stated and participants in Global Affairs Canada’s consultations affirmed that Canada should continue to demonstrate leadership in responding to humanitarian crises. Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to remain a strong voice for principled humanitarian action. Participants also recommended that Global Affairs Canada shift how it responds to humanitarian crises by helping to find political solutions to resolve protracted crises; and in the absence of such solutions, that Global Affairs Canada move from short-term and annual responses to a multi-year approach. Participants noted that this would facilitate planning and promote cost-effectiveness, and enable Global Affairs Canada to reach the most vulnerable.

While participants recognized that respect for humanitarian principles and humanitarian space must be consistently upheld, they emphasized the need for approaches that are more comprehensive, and that better link humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities, and that increase support for local actors. Participants highlighted that crises disproportionately affect women and girls due to existing inequalities, and called on Global Affairs Canada to strengthen gender equality in its humanitarian assistance and to address sexual and gender-based violence. Participants also encouraged Global Affairs Canada to expand its scope of protection for children and people living with disabilities to better respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.

Details of What We Heard

On the issue of humanitarian principles and good practice, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Support principled, needs-based, timely, and coordinated humanitarian action.
  • Ensure that adequate resources are provided to meet needs across contexts, especially in so-called forgotten emergencies.
  • Continue to adhere to, and champion, the Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship as endorsed by 16 donor governments as well as the European Commission in 2003.
  • Lead by example in promoting international humanitarian law, and actively condemn all violations.
  • Develop an international humanitarian-assistance policy that affirms Canada’s commitment to principled humanitarian action.
  • Strengthen gender-based violence-prevention and -response strategies, including comprehensive survivor-centered support, greater engagement and leadership in the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, launched in 2013, preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, and supporting the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action.
  • Advocate and promote the collection and use of sex- and age-disaggregated data among humanitarian actors to support gender-sensitive design and implementation of humanitarian programs, projects and policies.
  • Encourage innovation in the humanitarian sector to more efficiently and effectively respond to needs.

To improve preparedness, disaster risk reduction, resilience building and early warning, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada should:

  • Invest in preparedness, and do more to identify and prevent potential humanitarian crises, and to respond more quickly.
  • Draw more on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

For better addressing the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus, participants highlighted the need to:

  • Better coordinate humanitarian, development and peace-building programming.
  • Strive to break down the silos between programing streams, while acknowledging that the objectives of multiple approaches do not always align.
  • Take more comprehensive approaches to protracted displacement situations, particularly with respect to relations between host communities and forcibly displaced populations.
  • Scale up support to local partners, including capacity building.

On the issues of protection, education and health, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada should:

  • Strengthen attention to gender equality in humanitarian responses, including sexual and gender-based violence during humanitarian crises.
  • Recognize the specific role of women as agents of change.
  • Make dedicated and long-term funding available for projects that address sexual and gender-based violence against women, men, girls and boys, and for child protection in complex contexts.
  • Place an increased emphasis on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, including those living with disabilities and children.
  • Ensure greater attention to education throughout the phases of emergency response, recovery and rehabilitation as an essential measure for children, particularly for girls.
  • Consider expanding the scope of protection of affected populations to address risks of violence and abuse in humanitarian contexts, and to expand support for areas such as access to skills training and employment.

Delivering results

Improving effectiveness & transparency

Global Affairs Canada heard resounding support for Canada’s commitment to improving the transparency, openness, effectiveness and accountability of its international assistance. Participants supported Global Affairs Canada’s work under current aid-effectiveness frameworks and called on Global Affairs Canada to work toward clear goals and achievable results. Participants noted that Global Affairs Canada should focus its efforts on where it has a comparative advantage, and that it needs to understand local power structures and work within existing systems as much as possible. In addition to valuing results, innovation and learning over processes, participants also noted that Global Affairs Canada needs to share best practices internationally to foster improved results globally.

Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to improve monitoring and reporting tools to track, collect, and communicate data on progress towards development results. Global Affairs Canada also heard that it should publish data in a timely manner and ensure that data from implementing partners are available.

Details of What We Heard

On the issue of effectiveness, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Understand local power structures and work within existing systems when possible, especially when strengthening public institutions and building government capacity to deliver services.
  • Decentralize decision-making to, and strengthen expertise in, the field, to engage more effectively with a range of partners and increase responsiveness to changing local contexts.
  • Ensure that partners are accountable for collecting data on specific indicators.
  • Work within existing aid-effectiveness frameworks that increase country ownership by supporting locally-owned and -led development plans, and by encouraging greater aid effectiveness in fragile situations.
  • Recognize that effective assistance ideally requires a two-pronged approach that supports community-level and grassroots organizations, as well as state structures.
  • Design programs to suit context and local needs. Such an approach would encompass political analysis, flexible iterative programming, and locally-led design and implementation.

On the issue of transparency, Global Affairs Canada heard that it needs to:

  • Improve monitoring and reporting tools, including Global Affairs Canada’s International Development Project Browser, to track, collect and communicate data about progress toward the achievement of development results.
  • Publish data in a timely manner and ensure that data from implementing partners are available.
  • Consider changes to reporting requirements for the use of information already published by partners on their use of Global Affairs Canada’s international assistance, to decrease the burden of reporting.
  • Take concrete steps to promote and encourage the adoption of the International Aid Transparency Initiative by Canadian civil society organizations.
  • Conduct regular engagement and open dialogue with partners about programming approaches, results of evaluations and lessons from testing innovations.
  • Promote open data and government through the use of technology, such as open codes and crowd sourcing.
  • Increase transparency with partners by explaining funding decisions and helping unsuccessful applicants to improve their applications.

Innovation

Participants encouraged Canada to be a leader in innovation and offered a number of suggestions for how to create an enabling environment and ecosystem that fosters innovative and efficient approaches. In particular, participants emphasized the importance of increasing risk tolerance, promoting real-time and constant learning, and ensuring that Global Affairs Canada financial tools and processes encourage rather than hinder innovation.

Participants also recommended that Global Affairs Canada find and implement better ways of working, noting that Canada needs not only new tools, but also resources dedicated to supporting innovative programming. Participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada link its domestic and international innovation agendas, and seek opportunities to leverage Canadian expertise, knowledge and experience across all of our international assistance. Participants noted that Global Affairs Canada needs to foster innovation by supporting organizations, universities and research institutions in developing countries. Also, that Global Affairs Canada should explore new ways to monitor and measure the impact of innovative ideas so that successful development innovations can be scaled up.

Details of What We Heard

Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to demonstrate a higher risk tolerance, and to:

  • Adopt a portfolio approach to development innovation by creating space and opportunities to: experiment and scale up innovative programming for new and efficient solutions; promote collaboration and coordination among partners, and collectively resolve global development challenges; and to build on successes and lessons learned.
  • Examine internal processes and incentives that contribute to risk aversion and re-examine how results-based management can be used to promote rather than stifle innovation.
  • Encourage greater tolerance for obstacles and failures when adapting and learning, including by creating incentives for partners to be more innovative.

Global Affairs Canada heard that dedicated resources are needed to support innovative programming. In addition, participants recommended a range of financial tools and mechanisms:

  • Use long-term and flexible funding, as well as smaller funds to pilot smaller-scale projects.
  • Build in flexibility to redistribute resources as contexts or opportunities change.
  • Explore new financing models and mechanisms to support innovation, including repayable loans and equity.
  • Examine ways to support the testing and scale-up of successful innovation pilots, recognizing the need to balance the expansion of projects with local demand and the need for local adaptation.
  • Adapt funding rules to support innovation by decreasing the approval time for small-scale innovative programs, and by expanding the eligibility criteria for innovative initiatives that come from local organizations in developing countries.
  • Explore ways to enable Canadian for-profit companies to deliver Canadian programs.
  • Adopt innovative financing mechanisms, such as blended finance.
  • Support innovative approaches to, and initiatives for, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, such as cash-based programming, digital platforms and mobile devices for financial transactions.
  • Recognize that applying such mechanisms will provide greater flexibility to better reach the poorest and most vulnerable.

Participants also suggested other ways that Global Affairs Canada could innovate:

  • Promote a learning agenda on innovation by sharing best practices and learning from the testing of innovations.
  • Base decisions about the implementation of innovation on evidence, and engage local stakeholders as key sources for innovation.
  • Embrace an approach to innovation that brings stakeholders together through platforms to address a particular global-development challenge.
  • Explore new ways to monitor and measure the impact of innovative ideas so that successful development innovations can be expanded.
  • Examine ways to link Canada’s agendas for domestic and international innovation to leverage Canadian knowledge and expertise.

Partnerships

Global Affairs Canada heard that it should consider a renewed approach to partnerships that is based on collaboration, dialogue and learning. Participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada consider developing a more deliberate public-engagement strategy that draws on Agenda 2030 and links domestic and international priorities. Canada’s proud tradition of working with a diverse range of partners was noted, in addition to its experience with mobilizing international coalitions and cooperating with other countries and civil society organizations to address global challenges.

Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to engage with a diversity of partners, including persons with disabilities and their respective organizations, youth, indigenous communities, the private sector and diaspora groups. On engaging with the private sector, many participants strongly recommended that Global Affairs Canada work with Canadian companies to ensure that their overseas operations respect international standards related to human rights and the environment.

Details of What We Heard

Participants’ ideas on partnerships included recommendations to:

  • Adopt a renewed model of partnerships that emphasizes collaboration, dialogue and collective learning, rather than the current focus on transactions and service-delivery.
  • Engage and collaborate in new partnership models including with smaller organizations, the private sector, research institutions, emerging donors, cultural communities, diaspora groups, as well as with local governments and organizations.
  • Work with Canadian Indigenous communities to learn from their experiences and knowledge.
  • Engage with local and smaller civil society organizations, particularly women’s rights organizations in developing countries.
  • Engage think tanks, research institutes, universities and other knowledge makers to develop policy, understand countries and issues and to train staff.
  • Engage with youth-led organizations to ensure that space and appropriate tools exist so that children and youth can meaningfully participate in the development agenda.
  • Clarify future plans for strategic partnerships with key organizations.
  • Act as convenor to bring together coalitions, advance innovative solutions to development challenges, and share lessons learned and knowledge generated.

On public engagement, participants noted that Global Affairs Canada should:

  • Develop a strategy for regular engagement, dialogue and consultation with the public.
  • Enhance how Global Affairs Canada shares the results of international assistance with Canadians.
  • Communicate clearly to Canadians and others the objectives and results of international assistance to increase public support and change public perceptions of the Global South.
  • Provide incentives for engaging and brokering dialogue with the Canadian private sector through public-private-partnerships.
  • Recognize the importance of youth in peace and development by strengthening youth policy frameworks and engaging youth, including Indigenous youth, in international assistance.

Delivery mechanisms

Throughout the consultations, Global Affairs Canada heard recommendations on how it can improve its delivery of international assistance, and received specific proposals related to effectiveness, transparency, innovation and partnerships.

Participants emphasized the need for Global Affairs Canada to deliver international assistance in a new way: by adopting and using properly a set of innovative programming tools to achieve desired outcomes. Participants also offered suggestions on the volume and type of funding Global Affairs Canada should undertake and how to allocate funding in a predictable and transparent way. Participants urged Global Affairs Canada to ensure that it is fit for purpose, has access to the appropriate skills, and acts as a knowledge broker. Global Affairs Canada was also challenged to position Canada as a pioneer in testing and scaling new approaches to international assistance. Participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada set realistic goals and pursue these goals in a flexible manner so that it can respond quickly to realities on the ground. In particular, participants noted that fragile settings are inherently risky environments and that to deliver services there requires a higher tolerance for risk.

Details of What We Heard

Regarding the overall delivery of our international assistance, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

  • Tighten its focus on project implementation and results, and allow for longer project durations where appropriate.
  • Consider longer project durations where appropriate and ensure the predictability of funding to foster sustainable development.
  • Create project-selection and funding mechanisms that are simpler, more streamlined, and accessible to small Canadian civil society organizations, with a variety of funding levels, including small budgets.
  • Simplify and streamline processes for project planning and selection.
  • Create new programming tools relevant to specific partner-country contexts, such as concessional loans and cost-recovery mechanisms for middle-income countries.
  • Develop a Canada-wide facility for the deployment of technical assistance and leverage expertise of other government departments in delivering international assistance.
  • Continue to draw on and support professional Canadian non-governmental and private-sector expertise, including through volunteer-cooperation programs.
  • Adopt integrated country-programming frameworks that take into account all Global Affairs Canada activities in-country.

With regards to delivering change, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada recognize and work to improve interconnections.

  • Program across thematic sectors using a program approach, rather than a project approach, to increase effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Increase coordination of programming and policy within Global Affairs Canada and across the Government of Canada.
  • Ensure greater complementarity among all development programs: bilateral, regional, Canadian partnerships and multilateral programs.
  • Promote inter-sectoral collaboration among areas, such as between health, agriculture and nutrition.
  • Work with other donors collectively towards common goals to reduce administrative costs for both donors and recipients, and to avoid the duplication of work.
  • Increase awareness of the interconnectedness between humanitarian work and long-term development work.
  • Take into account the trade and security context(s) of both humanitarian and long-term development work.

Participants also asked Global Affairs Canada to work with relevant sources of expertise.

  • Look to Canada’s Indigenous community for perspectives on development issues.
  • Ensure that the strategic direction of programming is informed by local perspectives, using locally-driven solutions, with local ownership and buy-in.
  • Use the appropriate delegation of authorities, including to the field.
  • Focus on delivering programming in areas of Canadian expertise and strength, since many donor countries have the same development, trade and peace and security priorities.

Global Affairs Canada was encouraged to adopt a principled approach to assistance delivery and:

  • Strengthen accountability and focus on results over process, while using qualitative as well as quantitative performance measures.
  • Ensure that work undertaken includes efforts to address root causes.
  • Tailor projects to the issue being addressed and then decide on the best way to achieve results.
  • Develop a made-in-Canada set of principles that define excellence in development practice.
  • Develop a policy on how to assist countries as they transition away from donor support.
  • Look at the cost of an activity as well as the cost of inaction, when planning and analysing risks.
  • Promote opportunities for knowledge sharing and the creation of knowledge networks.
  • Meet the 0.7% ODA/GNI target for international assistance for development.

Participants also encouraged Global Affairs Canada to be clear and goal-oriented.

  • Set clear, measureable and prioritized goals based on needs assessments.
  • Use transparent, effective and consistent monitoring, and make adaptations or changes to projects or initiatives where needed, even in the middle of a project.
  • Shift away from the current focus on approvals and disbursements toward planning and implementation.
  • Extend project timelines more than five years as it may take ten years or more to deliver measurable sustainable impacts.

Participants also offered insights into how Global Affairs Canada could better allocate international assistance geographically to:

  • Focus on both the poorest and most vulnerable people wherever Global Affairs Canada works.
  • Increase support to fragile and conflict-affected states and situations, including chronically fragile countries and aid orphans.
  • Be transparent about the criteria used to select countries and how they are applied, as adopting an all-or-nothing country-of-focus approach is insufficiently nuanced and does not serve Canada well internationally.
  • Focus where Canada has strong relationships and the needed expertise to help.
  • Use regional approaches and partner with regional organizations to flexibly address development and security challenges that transcend boundaries.
  • Avoiding frequent changes in countries of focus, engage for the long term and ensure the predictability of funding to foster sustainable development.

Global Affairs Canada heard that it should clarify and streamline project approval processes.

  • Consider options for long-term and flexible funding to better respond to local needs and to change during project implementation.
  • Put in place project-selection and -funding mechanisms that are simpler, more streamlined and accessible to small and medium-sized Canadian civil society organizations, with a variety of funding levels, including small budgets.
  • Accelerate the funding-application process and use a graduated application process that narrows the pool of bids before substantial resources are invested.

Timeline – What happens next?

  • Pre-co‎nsultation
    November 2015 to May 2016‎
  • ‎Consultation and evidence-based analysis‎
    May-November 2016
  • Release of “What We Heard” report
    December 2016‎
  • Release of new International Assistance Policy for Canada
    Winter 2017
  • Implementation
    Spring 2017‎‎

How to contact us

We would love to hear from you! Please take a moment to give us your feedback via email.

You can still access the International Assistance Review Discussion Paper for reference.

2016 International Assistance Review
What we heard

Thank you for taking part in our consultation! Your views will help shape Canada’s new approach to international assistance.

Scroll down to find out what you—our partners in Canada and around the world—had to say about building a better world in the “What We Heard” report.

Priorities and issues

We outlined a number of priorities and issues in the International Assistance Review discussion paper, with the empowerment of women and girls, and the protection and promotion of their rights through advancing gender equality at the heart of Canada’s international assistance. Consultation participants had a lot to share and Global Affairs Canada welcomed their perspectives, including messages of support for the proposed orientations, as well as advice on how to go even further.

Here are the main highlights

We repeatedly heard eight elements during consultation events and in written submissions:

  1. Pursue the Discussion Paper priorities in principle. Overall, participants expressed support for deepening efforts in the proposed areas and for moving towards an outcome-based approach that is more aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations.
  2. Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Participants expressed support for framing Canada’s assistance efforts within the 2030 Agenda priorities, Sustainable Development Goals and transformative approach to development.
  3. Apply a feminist lens and human rights-based approach. Participants provided broad encouragement and detailed advice on how best to apply a feminist lens and a human rights-based approach to all of Canada’s international assistance.
  4. Focus on the poorest and most vulnerable, but remain engaged in a range of countries. Participants clearly support an increased focus on poor and vulnerable populations, and on poor and vulnerable countries.
  5. Make Canada’s international assistance more effective, innovative and nimble. Participants provided advice on ways to increase the overall effectiveness of international assistance by improving its delivery.
  6. Enhance policy coherence to improve impact and sustainability. Global Affairs Canada received many recommendations on how to build greater complementarity among Canadian policies and initiatives in the fields of defence, trade, diplomacy, security and development.
  7. Consider local needs, contexts and actors when delivering international assistance. Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to better understand local needs, work within existing systems and engage local actors as much as possible.
  8. Increase international assistance funding. Many participants called on Canada to increase its official development assistance to 0.7% of our gross national income (GNI).

How we reached out and how you responded

Global Affairs Canada sought to engage and consult as wide an audience as possible to identify evidence-based recommendations to help shape Canada’s international assistance. Participants relied on their experience, analysis and research to provide the department with many concrete ideas and suggestions about how Canada can deliver its international assistance more innovatively, efficiently and effectively, and better measure the results.

Global Affairs Canada is committed to an ongoing dialogue on international assistance and counts on its partners to continually challenge us to do better.

Policy issues

Health and rights of women and children

Global Affairs Canada’s discussion paper highlighted the persistent gender inequalities that disproportionately and negatively impact women and girls, and are at the root of poverty and insecurity. Consultation participants responded by highlighting the importance of promoting and protecting all rights in the political, economic and social spheres, in addition to viewing health as a platform for empowerment. A consistent recommendation was to make gender equality a stand-alone priority for Canada’s international assistance, as well as to include this objective in all policy and programs, and to promote the empowerment of women and girls. Participants supported the proposal to apply a feminist lens to international assistance and recommended a gender-based analysis that recognizes the multiple and intersecting dimensions of discrimination and marginalization based on a variety of factors including gender, race, disability and sexual orientation. Participants also suggested prioritizing education to reflect Canada’s considerable expertise in education and its critical role in achieving human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Global Affairs Canada heard strong messaging about the need to scale up our engagement in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, while building on key interventions to improve the health of women, children and newborns, and to advance holistic approaches to nutrition that link across sectors. Participants also recommended that we consider children and youth across all of our international assistance, and ensure that there is space and that there are appropriate mechanisms for children and youth to meaningfully participate in the development agenda so “no one is left behind.”

Details of What We Heard

On the issue of the empowerment of women and girls and the advancement of gender equality, Global Affairs Canada heard that it should:

To better address issues of violence, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

On the topic of health and nutrition, Global Affairs Canada heard that it needs to:

On the issues of education and skills development, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada should:

Clean economic growth and climate change

Participants recognized that climate change is a serious threat to development, and that poor and marginalized communities—in particular women and youth—are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Global Affairs Canada heard that addressing climate change should be a key priority, as well as a cross-cutting issue across all sectors. Participants offered concrete suggestions about how to help developing and fragile countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to reinforce resilience. Participants noted that supporting the use of clean technologies internationally would build on Canada’s global leadership in areas such as water and wastewater management. Global Affairs Canada also heard that the participation of women in these efforts, both as decision-makers and leaders, needs to be promoted.

On clean economic growth, participants highlighted the importance of targeting the poorest and most vulnerable. Participants noted that Canada’s comparative advantage in economic governance, which can create an enabling environment for economic growth, enables this country to exercise leadership in areas such as financial services and sustainable management of natural resources. Some participants proposed that Canada increase its activities in areas such as clean technologies, resilient agriculture and infrastructure. Participants raised the importance of using innovative trade facilitation and finance tools to connect local economies to regional and global value chains, as well as fostering expanded economic opportunities and growth. We heard that we need to achieve greater complementarity between our trade and development efforts. Another common theme was the importance of focusing on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, as well as on the generation of meaningful employment opportunities for youth.

Details of What We Heard

Addressing the points Global Affairs Canada outlined on economic growth and empowerment, participants responded by noting that Global Affairs Canada should aim to:

On the issue of economic governance, Global Affairs Canada heard that it needs to:

On the issue of clean energy and infrastructure, participants highlighted that Global Affairs Canada needs to:

In your advice on climate change and sustainability, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada:

Participants outlined agriculture as an area of Canadian comparative advantage where Global Affairs Canada could narrow its focus on international assistance to:

Governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights

Participants in the consultations offered recommendations on how Canada should approach governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights. Consistently, Global Affairs Canada heard that Canada should adopt a human rights-based approach to international assistance, and strengthen the promotion and protection of all human rights. We also heard that we need to reinstate governance as a sector of focus, and renew emphasis on inclusive and accountable governance across all forms of international assistance. Participants largely agreed that governance is crucial to a population’s ability to lead a life of dignity and to participate in the decisions that affect them. Participants noted that Global Affairs Canada needs to help civil society organizations, including women and youth-focused organizations, to better influence policy processes, as well as to help governace institutions accept and facilitate the participation and representation of civil society organizations.

Participants emphasized the importance of increasing access to justice and the rule of law, fostering inclusive and democratic societies, supporting participatory local governance, strengthening public institutions, increasing women’s civic and political participation, and strengthening and empowering local civil society to improve democratic governance. Participants also underlined that Canada is strong because of its rich diversity and that Canadian governance expertise provides us with a comparative advantage to build capacity in this area.

Details of What We Heard

On the topic of human rights, rule of law and access to justice, participants emphasized that Global Affairs Canada should:

The consultations revealed a consensus on the importance of building inclusive and accountable governance, and called for international assistance that can:

Global Affairs Canada’s discussion paper raised the issue of civic space and empowerment, which prompted participants to call on Global Affairs Canada to:

Peace and security

Many participants discussed the challenges and opportunities Canada faces in its attempts to address peace and security issues. Global Affairs Canada detected a consensus that Canada’s investments and advocacy should address poverty reduction and threats to security and stability in a coherent way. Participants called on Global Affairs Canada to address fragility and incorporate a context-specific approach into everything it does. Global Affairs Canada was encouraged to better integrate its conflict prevention, humanitarian and stabilization efforts, as well as its development and trade tools in order to better enable peace and sustainable development.

Participants indicated that Canada possesses the means, influence and authority to play a leading role in building and sustaining peace and security in a manner that is consistent with Canadian values. Participants underlined the need to place gender equality and women’s empowerment at the core of our international assistance and to strengthen our contribution to the women, peace and security agenda. Participants urged us to change how we develop and implement programing in support of these goals.

Details of What We Heard

Participants noted that Canada is well positioned to demonstrate leadership in building and sustaining peace, and encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

On reduction of threats, such as terrorism and transnational crime, participants strongly suggested that Canada should adopt a long-term perspective in addressing threats to Canada, Canadians, our allies and partners, as well as to the poorest and most vulnerable. Participants highlighted that this should be core to Canada’s international assistance and that Global Affairs Canada should:

Participants recognized both the disproportionate impact of violent conflict on women and girls, and the critical role women and girls play in the maintenance of international peace and security. Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

On specific peace and security programming, Global Affairs Canada heard that it should:

Responding to humanitarian crises and the needs of displaced populations

The discussion paper stated and participants in Global Affairs Canada’s consultations affirmed that Canada should continue to demonstrate leadership in responding to humanitarian crises. Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to remain a strong voice for principled humanitarian action. Participants also recommended that Global Affairs Canada shift how it responds to humanitarian crises by helping to find political solutions to resolve protracted crises; and in the absence of such solutions, that Global Affairs Canada move from short-term and annual responses to a multi-year approach. Participants noted that this would facilitate planning and promote cost-effectiveness, and enable Global Affairs Canada to reach the most vulnerable.

While participants recognized that respect for humanitarian principles and humanitarian space must be consistently upheld, they emphasized the need for approaches that are more comprehensive, and that better link humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities, and that increase support for local actors. Participants highlighted that crises disproportionately affect women and girls due to existing inequalities, and called on Global Affairs Canada to strengthen gender equality in its humanitarian assistance and to address sexual and gender-based violence. Participants also encouraged Global Affairs Canada to expand its scope of protection for children and people living with disabilities to better respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.

Details of What We Heard

On the issue of humanitarian principles and good practice, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

To improve preparedness, disaster risk reduction, resilience building and early warning, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada should:

For better addressing the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus, participants highlighted the need to:

On the issues of protection, education and health, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada should:

Delivering results

Improving effectiveness & transparency

Global Affairs Canada heard resounding support for Canada’s commitment to improving the transparency, openness, effectiveness and accountability of its international assistance. Participants supported Global Affairs Canada’s work under current aid-effectiveness frameworks and called on Global Affairs Canada to work toward clear goals and achievable results. Participants noted that Global Affairs Canada should focus its efforts on where it has a comparative advantage, and that it needs to understand local power structures and work within existing systems as much as possible. In addition to valuing results, innovation and learning over processes, participants also noted that Global Affairs Canada needs to share best practices internationally to foster improved results globally.

Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to improve monitoring and reporting tools to track, collect, and communicate data on progress towards development results. Global Affairs Canada also heard that it should publish data in a timely manner and ensure that data from implementing partners are available.

Details of What We Heard

On the issue of effectiveness, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

On the issue of transparency, Global Affairs Canada heard that it needs to:

Innovation

Participants encouraged Canada to be a leader in innovation and offered a number of suggestions for how to create an enabling environment and ecosystem that fosters innovative and efficient approaches. In particular, participants emphasized the importance of increasing risk tolerance, promoting real-time and constant learning, and ensuring that Global Affairs Canada financial tools and processes encourage rather than hinder innovation.

Participants also recommended that Global Affairs Canada find and implement better ways of working, noting that Canada needs not only new tools, but also resources dedicated to supporting innovative programming. Participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada link its domestic and international innovation agendas, and seek opportunities to leverage Canadian expertise, knowledge and experience across all of our international assistance. Participants noted that Global Affairs Canada needs to foster innovation by supporting organizations, universities and research institutions in developing countries. Also, that Global Affairs Canada should explore new ways to monitor and measure the impact of innovative ideas so that successful development innovations can be scaled up.

Details of What We Heard

Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to demonstrate a higher risk tolerance, and to:

Global Affairs Canada heard that dedicated resources are needed to support innovative programming. In addition, participants recommended a range of financial tools and mechanisms:

Participants also suggested other ways that Global Affairs Canada could innovate:

Partnerships

Global Affairs Canada heard that it should consider a renewed approach to partnerships that is based on collaboration, dialogue and learning. Participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada consider developing a more deliberate public-engagement strategy that draws on Agenda 2030 and links domestic and international priorities. Canada’s proud tradition of working with a diverse range of partners was noted, in addition to its experience with mobilizing international coalitions and cooperating with other countries and civil society organizations to address global challenges.

Participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to engage with a diversity of partners, including persons with disabilities and their respective organizations, youth, indigenous communities, the private sector and diaspora groups. On engaging with the private sector, many participants strongly recommended that Global Affairs Canada work with Canadian companies to ensure that their overseas operations respect international standards related to human rights and the environment.

Details of What We Heard

Participants’ ideas on partnerships included recommendations to:

On public engagement, participants noted that Global Affairs Canada should:

Delivery mechanisms

Throughout the consultations, Global Affairs Canada heard recommendations on how it can improve its delivery of international assistance, and received specific proposals related to effectiveness, transparency, innovation and partnerships.

Participants emphasized the need for Global Affairs Canada to deliver international assistance in a new way: by adopting and using properly a set of innovative programming tools to achieve desired outcomes. Participants also offered suggestions on the volume and type of funding Global Affairs Canada should undertake and how to allocate funding in a predictable and transparent way. Participants urged Global Affairs Canada to ensure that it is fit for purpose, has access to the appropriate skills, and acts as a knowledge broker. Global Affairs Canada was also challenged to position Canada as a pioneer in testing and scaling new approaches to international assistance. Participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada set realistic goals and pursue these goals in a flexible manner so that it can respond quickly to realities on the ground. In particular, participants noted that fragile settings are inherently risky environments and that to deliver services there requires a higher tolerance for risk.

Details of What We Heard

Regarding the overall delivery of our international assistance, participants encouraged Global Affairs Canada to:

With regards to delivering change, participants suggested that Global Affairs Canada recognize and work to improve interconnections.

Participants also asked Global Affairs Canada to work with relevant sources of expertise.

Global Affairs Canada was encouraged to adopt a principled approach to assistance delivery and:

Participants also encouraged Global Affairs Canada to be clear and goal-oriented.

Participants also offered insights into how Global Affairs Canada could better allocate international assistance geographically to:

Global Affairs Canada heard that it should clarify and streamline project approval processes.

Timeline – What happens next?

How to contact us

We would love to hear from you! Please take a moment to give us your feedback via email.

You can still access the International Assistance Review Discussion Paper for reference.

Date Modified: