World's Poor - Hardest Hit by Global Financial Crisis - Missing from Federal Budget

January 27, 2009

The global financial crisis will be a devastating human tragedy for the world's poor, but unfortunately there was no mention of foreign aid in today's Federal Budget. Department of Finance officials, however, confirm that the already scheduled 8% increase to foreign aid spending will be maintained.

"What was needed from this government today was a recognition that it's the world's poor who will suffer most as a result of the financial and economic crisis," says Gerry Barr, President-CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC). "This is a global crisis, needing a global response. We can't give in to the temptation to turn inward and ignore the poorest and most vulnerable in developing countries."

CCIC is calling for increases to aid spending averaging 15% a year for the next 10 years in order to reach the internationally agreed target for aid spending of 0.7% of Gross National Income.

The Conservative government had committed to 8% increases through to 2010. Unfortunately there is no plan for aid spending after that date. Canada is currently not even halfway to reaching the 0.7% target, stagnating at only 0.32% of GNI. CCIC estimates that Official Development Assistance for 2009/10 will be $4.8 billion, unchanged from 2008/09, despite the 8% increase. Supplementary estimates added $230 million for ODA for 2008/09.

"Now is the time not just to live up to our past commitments to aid spending, but to go beyond them to ensure that the world's poor do not bear the brunt of this financial and economic crisis," says Barr.

For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
613-241-7007 ext. 311
katiag@ccic.ca