If one is interested in international development in Canada CIDA is hard to ignore, and one would not want to ignore CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency. It spends about 4 billion per year on international development in bilateral, multilateral and partnership areas. In the last budget Canada will increase its ODA commitment by 8% this year, which although less than some would want, is a significant amount in these difficult times. I have been looking for information on CIDA and I am finding it really hard to find that information. Not sure what I am missing but I thought that I would blog a little about CIDA and see what I will find out. For a government department spending $4 billion there is surprisingly little on the web, except that which is placed on the CIDA website, or information put out by organizations that receive substantial amounts of CIDA funding. Even then the information is often very basic.
Tuberculosis (TB) kills about 1.7 million people every year. The Canadian government has just announced spending about 127 million to fight TB.
In March 2009 the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC), in partnership with the Wild Rose Foundation, had Angus Reid conduct a poll of Canadians. Despite the global economic crisis, it appears that there is substantial support for various actors including federal and provincial governments, NGOs and others, tackling the issue of global poverty. In the poll they found that 89% of Canadians say they believe “Canada should be addressing global poverty in some way, with three-in-ten (29%) actually placing global poverty as a higher priority than local issues.”
Here is a press release from the Canadian government with respect to the 20 countries that will be the focus of Canadian bilateral (government to government) aid and they include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Caribbean, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Ukraine, Vietnam, West Bank/Gaza.
In this article from Embassy Magazine entitled “Aid to Focus on Needs During Downturn: Oda”, Bev Oda, the Minister of International Cooperation who is responsible for CIDA provides some very interesting insights into questions that many have wondered about in terms of the direction of CIDA. For those who want to understand CIDA this article is very useful. The article by Lee Berthiaume covers many issues including why aid was not discussed in last budget, doubling aid to Africa, Food Aid Convention commitments, untying of aid, relative importance of Africa versus South America, and aid effectiveness.
This CIDA and Save the Children Canada workshop sounds really interesting on “Understanding and Using the Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies (MSEE), Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction.”
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.