Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Inter-American Regional Program

Table of Contents



The Inter-American Regional Program supports regional development activities in most of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This region has the highest levels of inequities in the world—both in terms of wealth distribution and of access to basic services and opportunities. The richest one fifth of Latin America's population receives almost two thirds (57 percent) of the region's income, while the poorest one fifth receives less than 3 percent.

The region is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals in education, child mortality, and maternal health, but progress is uneven within and among countries. Communicable diseases still account for 74 percent of child deaths, and pandemic threats spread beyond borders. Children and youth account for almost two thirds of the region's population and hold the key to the region's future prosperity or failure.

The 2009 global economic crisis sharply reduced international demand for goods and services from the region, although the emerging domestic demand from the region's growing middle class and improved macroeconomic management and regulation have helped the region handle the crisis better than expected. Yet, many of those who escaped poverty between 2002 and 2009, when the poverty rate fell from 44 percent to 33 percent, are still at risk. Violence and organized crime are also increasing: a person 15-24 years of age is almost 15 times more likely to be murdered in Latin America than in Canada.

After decades of authoritarian or military rule, governments are now democratically elected across the region—with the exception of Cuba. Improvements are still needed in human rights and the rule of law.

Thematic Focus

The Inter-American Regional Program addresses issues that are regional in scope or need a regional approach such as increasing benefits from trade and controlling the spread of disease. It contributes to the Government of Canada's Americas Strategy and strengthens key inter-American institutions such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The goal of the Inter-American Regional Program is to stimulate sustainable economic growth and secure the future of children and youth.

Economic growth

Canada focuses its international development initiatives on strengthening the region's enabling environment for economic growth and helping governments and private sector organizations connect to global markets. These efforts include standardizing and harmonizing investment and taxation policies, and regulatory frameworks so that the private sector can operate within a common set of rules and regulations, as well as strengthening public financial management by training public officials.

Selected examples of expected results
  • More than 1,000 public officials will be trained in public financial management, tax and customs policy development and administration, and financial sector regulation
  • Four countries negotiating or having free trade agreements with Canada will benefit from an increased number of new firms exporting to Canada, improved market access, and a reduction in the time required to clear customs

Children and youth

Canada focuses on preventing, detecting and controlling communicable diseases as well as strengthening national health systems across the region to improve access to, and quality of, health services.

Selected examples of expected results
  • 17 countries will improve their health services to better respond to the needs of women, children and excluded groups
  • 765 municipalities in hard-to-reach areas will achieve 95 percent immunization coverage against vaccine-preventable communicable diseases, benefiting some 7.2 million children

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

The Inter-American Regional Program supports donor harmonization and coordination at the regional level. Canada is the second largest donor to the OAS and the third largest-donor to PAHO. CIDA also encourages its regional partners to apply and promote the principles of aid effectiveness with their country members.

Achievements 2009-2010

Economic growth

  • Helped train more than 1,800 stakeholders from the region in developing and implementing government energy policies
  • Helped form community associations and establish funding mechanisms to install sustainable energy technology in indigenous communities in Guatemala, Paraguay, Bolivia and Guyana and increase their economic productive capacity
  • Helped train 60 lawyers and public officials in modernizing the criminal justice system in Latin America and strengthening the protection of human rights and reach 7,000 others

Children and youth

  • Helped train more than 7,600 health professionals in South America between 2002 and 2010 and helped 37 universities incorporate an Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy within their medicine and nursing faculties, leading to better health services and outcomes for children and youth