(Vancouver) – Oxfam Canada enthusiastically welcomes the Government of Canada’s announcement today of $700 million per year in new funding to increase Canada’s global leadership on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), as part of a $1.4 billion commitment for global health.
“This announcement could not come at a better time,” said Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. “The world is witnessing a backlash against reproductive rights and there are increasing threats to women’s bodily autonomy and the right to choose. Canada’s leadership is needed more than ever to ensure hard won gains do not get rolled back.”
Oxfam Canada’s work with partners around the world has demonstrated that a rights-based approach to investing in SRHR can not only have a positive impact on women and their communities, but also lead to meaningful progress on gender equality, human rights and economic development.
The funding announced today has the potential to empower 18 million women and adolescents around the world – the same number of girls and women in Canada today. The announcement is particularly noteworthy because of the Government of Canada’s commitment to fund programs in the most neglected areas of SRHR worldwide, including comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptive care, safe abortion care, support for advocacy on SRHR and SRHR in emergency settings.
“Stigma, the rise of regressive and populist movements, and major funding cuts to development assistance are all fueling a looming crisis for sexual health and reproductive rights. We are thrilled to see Canada be such a bold champion for women’s rights on the world stage,” said Delahanty.
Today’s announcement of $700 million per year for SRHR is part of a $1.4 billion commitment to women, adolescents and children’s health and rights around the world. It builds on the $650 million that Government of Canada committed to SRHR programming back in 2017.
“Today’s announcement is the result of coordinated advocacy of Canadian organizations who are members of the Future Planning Initiative and the THRIVE coalition,” said Delahanty. “It is a testament to the power of organizations working collaboratively and the importance of advocacy to achieve real progress for women’s rights and gender equality. Oxfam Canada is proud to have been part of this collaborative initiative from the very start.”
While today’s announcement is truly momentous, Oxfam Canada is calling on the government to immediately follow up with commitments to fund sexual and reproductive rights here in Canada, in particular programs led by and for Indigenous communities, which are sorely under resourced.