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International Development Community Applauds Foreign Aid Increases

February 18, 2003

With Finance Minister John Manley’s budget today, foreign aid spending, derailed for over a decade, is finally back on track. It is expected that Official Development Assistance in 2003/04 will climb to approximately $3.2 billion and to $3.4 billion the following year. This means that the Prime Minister has fulfilled his commitment to an 8 percent increase and should signal a renewed commitment to the world’s poor.

Manley also added approximately $373 million to the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) for this current year ending March 2003. This amounts to an $820 million increase to the base for the IAE by 2004/05 and a cumulative increase of $1.8 billion available for new spending. The government’s projection of a $1.4 billion increase represents an increase over the Department of Finance’s financial framework, which was determined at the time of last year’s budget.

"The bar has been raised today," said Gerry Barr, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. Calling for this increase to be sustained, Barr added "this is also a challenge to the Prime Minister’s successor who will need to show that what was announced today is not just a good beginning, but also a reliable one."

Even with today’s announcement Canada’s ODA as a percentage of our Gross National Income (GNI) remains the same at an estimated 0.27 %. Aid is projected to double by 2010. This is still well below the internationally agreed to 0.7% of ODA to GNI. At this rate, it will take until 2040 for Canada to meet its United Nations commitment.

In a post September 11th world, human development (economic equality, democracy, human rights and environmental integrity) is the only real foundation for international peace and security. Notwithstanding Iraq’s current high profile, the gravest (and long term) threats to international peace do not come from wars between nations. They come from internal political and social disintegration and the undermining of peoples’ livelihoods in the world’s developing economies. At least 1.2 billion people around the world – mostly women and children – live in "absolute" poverty on less than $1 US per day. This is "every-day-terror", and it is available around the world in industrial quantities.

"With so much that is dark around us," says Barr, "this can be a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s international development that makes human security possible."

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation is a coalition of approximately 100 voluntary sector organizations working to end poverty and to promote social justice and human dignity for all.

For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
(613) 241-7007 ext. 311

Gerry Barr
(613) 282-1086 (cell)

For more information see also CCIC’s analysis, "The Federal Budget Plan for 2003: Fulfilling Canada’s Commitment to Increase Aid by 8%"


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