February 23, 2009
Ottawa, Ontario - Delivering on its commitment to make its international assistance more focused, more effective and more accountable, the Government of Canada announced today that it was moving forward on another element of its Aid Effectiveness Agenda. It will be focusing its efforts in 20 countries by concentrating resources, focusing programming and improving coordination.
"Our government promised to make Canada's international assistance more effective," said the Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley Oda. "While continuing to provide assistance to the people in greatest need, focusing our bilateral assistance will make our aid dollars go further and make a greater difference for those we help."
Canada's bilateral assistance represents approximately 53 percent of Canada's total aid budget. With 80 percent of Canada's bilateral assistance being focused on 20 countries and improving how Canada works in other bilateral partner countries, Canadians will see better results and more resources getting to those in need.
CIDA's multilateral programs will continue to support international efforts such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Canadian-led Initiatives to Save a Million Lives, the UN's World Food Programme and others. Our humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will continue to respond to those who are impacted by natural disasters or humanitarian crisis. These programs will not be affected by the changes to bilateral aid.
A major step towards greater effectiveness had already been made last year when Minister Oda announced that Canada had fully untied its Food Aid and announced that CIDA's development aid funding would be fully untied by 2012-13. Untying aid allows for faster response times during crises, reduces transportation costs and above all makes Canada's aid dollars go further by purchasing goods where they are cheapest.
These measures come in addition to an increased CIDA staff presence in the field that will allow both for better planning and increased accountability to improve evaluation and reporting mechanisms. Canada will continue to work towards even greater focus and effectiveness to its aid agenda.