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Commitment to Increase Canada ’s International Development Assistance Welcomed by NGOs

News Release

For Immediate Release: October 12, 1999

The government’s commitment, as outlined in today’s Speech from the Throne, to increase Canada’s international development assistance is long overdue but also a welcome sign that Canada may soon live up to its international aid commitments. In order to "enable poorer countries to improve the quality of life for their citizens" Canada’s aid program should be re-focused to concentrate on poverty eradication.

"The cuts to the aid budget in recent years have made it very difficult for Canada to live up to its obligations as a responsible global citizen and a leader in the fight against poverty," says Betty Plewes, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. "We are very pleased to see that Canada is now increasing its commitment to development assistance,"

The government, in its first budget of the millennium, should commit itself to a target for aid of 0.35% of GNP by 2005/06, and allocate and additional $225 to $300 million in each of the next six years to the International Assistance Envelope to reach this target. Canadian aid should be directed solely towards eliminating poverty. At least 60% of CIDA’s budget should be applied to programs that directly improve the conditions of the poor. This would mean, for example, increasing the proportion of funds allocated to basic and primary health and building sustainable livelihoods in small-scale agriculture.

"The Speech from the Throne also made reference to a ‘world where people are secure’ and by working to create a world without poverty we are contributing to its security," says Ms Plewes.

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation is a coalition of over 100 voluntary organizations (members include OXFAM, World Vision, Horizons of Friendship) committed to global development.

For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
(613) 241-7007 ext. 311


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