October 16, 2009
Winnipeg, Manitoba — While visiting the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today unveiled CIDA's Food Security Strategy, one of CIDA's three thematic priorities.
"Building on Canada's strengths, CIDA's new Food Security Strategy will respond to the impacts of the food crisis, climate change and the global economic recession that has now moved over a billion of the world's most vulnerable peoples into extreme hunger and starvation by supporting strategic, sustainable, and effective initiatives," said Minister Oda. "CIDA will follow three paths—food aid including nutrition, agriculture, and research—toward helping developing countries become more food self-sufficient, an essential base for all long-term development. The new Canadian International Food Security Research Fund demonstrates our commitment to achieving results by finding practical solutions to increase agricultural productivity, primarily aimed at smallholder farmers."
CIDA's strategy is designed to empower the poorest and most disadvantaged by reducing their vulnerability to various factors that impact their food security, including food shortages, market barriers, and constraints to agricultural productivity. The Food Security Strategy includes short-, medium-, and long-term measures to increase agricultural development, provide more effective food assistance, promote nutrition as a key consideration in food security, and spur innovative and practical research.
Minister Oda announced a new Canadian International Food Security (CIFS) Research Fund. This $62-million fund, a joint initiative between CIDA and the International Development Research Centre, will support research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country organizations. Research activities will focus on applied research to address food insecurity, and may include work on crop resilience, the nutritional value of crops, and infectious diseases related to crops and animal production.
"IDRC has long supported research on agriculture, and we are very pleased to continue this proud Canadian tradition jointly with CIDA," said IDRC President David Malone. "Our partnership will bring together the best minds in Canada and the developing regions of the world to find lasting, research-based solutions for world food security."
CIDA's Food Security Strategy also builds on Prime Minister Harper's 2009 G8 Summit announcement made in L'Aquila, Italy, that Canada would more than double its investment in sustainable agricultural development with an additional $600 million in funding over three years.
As part of that commitment, the Government of Canada will double its support to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to $75 million over three years and support two Challenge Programs undertaken by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Minister Oda also pointed out that CIDA will work with other partners to improve the accessibility, management and storage of food aid. She highlighted CIDA's support for the World Food Programme's innovative Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot programs in Afghanistan and Ghana.
"WFP counts on Canada's profound commitment to fight hunger in the world," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. "Once again, Canada is showing bold leadership with a comprehensive new strategy which supports forward-looking approaches to food security to show us how we can end hunger in the 21st century."
The Food Security Strategy will build on Canada's strong foundations as the third largest single country donor to the World Food Programme, the Vice-Chair of the Food Aid Convention, and a leader in supporting programs of recognized organizations such as IFAD, CGIAR, and the World Bank.
The Food Security Strategy complements CIDA's other thematic priorities areas of Sustainable Economic Growth, and Children and Youth, and maximizes Canadian leadership toward increased aid effectiveness.
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Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
CIDA will work towards increasing food security in partner countries and regions where the Agency focuses its international development programming and where food security is identified as a key priority. These initiatives will be designed to increase the resilience of the poor by reducing their vulnerability to immediate and long-term shocks that impact their food security. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring that rural smallholder farmers can contribute to increasing food security.
The objective of the Strategy is to respond to immediate food needs while increasing access to quality, nutritious food over the longer term. The strategy will also seek to improve the governance of the global food system.
In 2008, the Government of Canada developed a new action plan, the Aid Effectiveness Agenda, and has since announced several important initiatives that are resulting in Canadian development assistance that is more effective, more focused and more accountable.
In April 2008, Canada untied 100 percent of its food aid—a decision with immediate results. Instead of sending food purchased in Canada to developing countries, Canada provides funding to multilateral organizations such as the World Food Programme, leading to faster procurement, reduced transportation costs, and relief provided more quickly to those in need.
In September 2008, Canada announced that it would untie all of its development assistance by 2012-2013. This untying policy will provide Canada's partners with the flexibility to find the best deal on commodities, including buying locally and regionally, helping strengthen the development of local markets and stimulating the economies of developing countries.
In February 2009, the Government of Canada announced it would focus its bilateral development efforts on 20 countries. The 20 countries were chosen based on their needs and their capacity to use development aid effectively and efficiently, and in support of Canada's foreign policy priorities.
The majority of CIDA's bilateral resources will be targeted at countries of focus. The balance of CIDA bilateral resources, as well as other funding channels, including partnership programming, multilateral programs, and Canadian humanitarian aid, will continue to be provided in parts of the world where support is needed.
In May 2009, five new international assistance thematic priorities were introduced to guide development programming. CIDA's three priority themes will be Economic Growth, Children and Youth, as well as Food Security, while other departments will focus on Advancing Democracy and Ensuring Security and Stability.