Canada not pulling its weight internationally

April 11, 2017

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its annual review of development aid assistance today, ranking Canada as the 11th largest OECD-DAC donor, down from 9th in 2015 and 10th in 2014.  In terms of ODA/GNI ratio, Canada now ranks 15th among the 29 DAC members, with a ratio of 0.26% putting it below the OECD-DAC average of approximately 0.32% and far below the commitment of 0.7% of national income. The 0.7% target was met by 6 countries—Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the UK—demonstrating that reaching the target is possible despite current constraints.

Globally, international aid spending increased by 8.9% to $142.6 billion in 2016. Despite the progress, bilateral aid to least-developed countries fell by 3.9% from 2015. Also, rich countries are allocating more and more aid money to support refugees within their own borders. 2016 saw an increase of 27.5% on ODA spent on hosting refugees. Canada’s in-country refugee costs increased from CDN $271.05 million in 2015 to CDN $517.09 million in 2016 due to the large influx of Syrian refugees.

Senior Policy Advisor, Diana Sarosi, said: “The government’s commitment to bring close to 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in 2016 has been commendable. But the costs involved should not count as part of Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance spending. Given the current global migration crisis, development spending to fight poverty and inequality is more important than ever. It contributes to building a safe and prosperous world for all.”

Women’s organizations and movements play an essential role in improving the status of women and fighting inequality. Yet, despite its commitment to putting the rights of women and girls at the heart of its development priorities, Canada’s support to women’s rights organizations continues to fall. Last year only $4.55 million of Canada’s overall aid was allocated to women’s organizations – the lowest since 2006.

Sarosi said: “To live up to its feminist commitments, the government should recognize the value of women’s organizations and support them with increased funding. An earlier report by the OECD showed that donors continue to fail women’s organizations. Canada can play a leadership role in this regard.”

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