Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Canada supports development and humanitarian assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean

April 16, 2013

Ottawa, Ontario — Today, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), met with ambassadors and high commissioners of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to highlight Canada's commitments to the region and to announce support for a new development initiative and humanitarian assistance.

"As part of Canada's vision of a more prosperous, secure, and democratic world, we continue to support initiatives that foster economic opportunities that lift people out of poverty in the Americas," said Minister Fantino. "The Harper Government's support for two new region-wide commitments highlight Canada's continued focus on poverty alleviation and our compassion for people in humanitarian crisis."

Minister Fantino announced further support for the Regional Infrastructure Integration Fund, an initiative through the Inter-American Development Bank, which aims to boost trade and create jobs by facilitating regional infrastructure investments throughout the Americas, with a particular focus on the Caribbean.

"Canada is committed to working with our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve our shared goal of a thriving, safe and democratic hemisphere," said Minister Ablonczy. "By fostering strong ties and forging deeper connections throughout the region, Canada is helping to shape a brighter future for all the peoples of the Americas".

Canada is also making a commitment to lifesaving assistance during times of humanitarian crisis. Each year, Canada responds generously to appeals by humanitarian organizations, helping them save lives when humanitarian crises occur. This commitment includes Canada's support to four international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, for their regional work in the Americas.

Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013 announced the creation of the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. This amalgamation will further bolster our international development efforts as it puts development on equal footing with trade and diplomacy, allowing us to work together in a more effective and complementary way. As demonstrated through today's announcement, Canada remains committed to poverty alleviation and delivering humanitarian assistance during times of crisis.

For more information on Canada's development commitments in the Americas, please visit What we do in the Americas.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA


Backgrounder

Regional Infrastructure Integration Fund (RIIF)

The Inter-American Development Bank's Regional Infrastructure Integration Fund (RIIF) is a multi-donor trust fund whose objective is to provide technical assistance to support the preparation of infrastructure projects in Latin American and the Caribbean.

The Fund supports the following priority areas to facilitate both public and private infrastructure investments:

  • strengthening best practices in regional regulatory frameworks by removing regulatory bottlenecks at border crossings;
  • promoting investments that reduce the logistics costs of regional trade by investing in infrastructure corridors, ports and maritime services, and improving market structures for air cargo services; and
  • enhancing transnational regulatory frameworks for key regional markets, such as energy and telecommunications.

Canada's recent contribution of $5 million will bring our total commitment to the Fund to $10 million.

Regional allocation for the Americas (2013 Humanitarian Appeals)

Each year, Canada generously provides assistance to experienced humanitarian organizations to support efforts to save lives, reduce human suffering, and maintain the dignity of people affected by humanitarian crises and food insecurity around the world.

To the Americas region in 2013, Canada is providing $2.15 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN World Food Programme, to help meet the urgent humanitarian needs of crisis-affected families, including:

  • the provision of food assistance to as many as 350,000 people;
  • the delivery of water and basic medical services to conflict-affected populations;
  • the provision of protection services to as many as 500,000 refugees; and
  • improved coordination of humanitarian action, to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of assistance to those most in need.