CCIC commends the government’s commitment to invest more in international development and the Global Response to COVID

CCIC commends the government’s commitment to invest more in international development and the Global Response to COVID

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is pleased to hear the government’s Throne Speech today speak to the need to “invest more in international development while supporting developing countries on their economic recoveries and resilience. Canada will also support work to ensure that people around the world have access to a vaccine.”  

We agree that we cannot eliminate the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada unless we end it everywhere; and we applaud the government’s stated ambitions to lead a global response to COVID-19 in which increased investments in international assistance ensure that no one is left behind. 

COVID-19 has highlighted the inequalities that exist at home, and around the world. These disparities have the potential to be catastrophic in low and middle income countries where food systems may be less secure and are already impacted by climate change; where children may need to support their families and, as such, may never return to school; and where social safety nets and health care systems are no match to ours. It is estimated that around the world COVID-19 will push 71 million people into extreme povertyand265 million into acute food insecurityand result in 117 million missed child vaccinationsand31 million additional cases of gender-based violence. 

Today the Canadian government has committed to standing up for Canadian values, at a time when the world needs it more than ever. We look forward to investments to follow today’s commitment to build back better and leave no one behind,” CCIC’s CEO Nicolas Moyer states.   

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) encourages Canada to fulfill the intentions laid out in today’s Speech from the Throne by committing at least 1% of its total COVID response – or $2 billion in new and additional funds – to a global response that tackles the spread of the virus and its secondary impacts in the poorest countries.  These investments are not only urgently needed and the right thing to do but they are also the path to global and Canadian recovery. The only way out of this global crisis is through multilateralism, international cooperation, mutual support and solidarity.    

 

Media Contact:
Kat Guerin, Communications Manager
kguerin@ccic.ca 
Cell phone: 613-222-3009

Canada’s global response to COVID-19: Investing in Aid

Canada’s global response to COVID-19: Investing in Aid

In March 2020, the Minister for International Development, Karina Gould, announced what she referred to as the first phase of Canada’s support to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. The $159.5 million was largely allocated to multilateral institutions and included funds for vaccine development and for responding to requests from Canada’s development partner countries. On June 27, the government announced another $300 million allocated to global COVID-19 response. These funds come from existing unallocated pool(s) within Canada’s overall aid envelope.  

While Canada has sent positive signals regarding its pandemic support, there will be a need for all countries, including Canada, to step up their aid contributions. On one hand, Canada has committed to “staying the course” with respect to existing development priorities, offering partners flexibility to adapt programs to some extent, recognizing that long term development priorities remain critical even as the world adjusts to the COVID-19 reality. At the same time, Canadian aid and other financial flows were already insufficient to meet global ambitions to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The United Nations Inter-Agency Task force on Financing for Sustainable Development’s 2020 annual report noted a number of very concerning trends affecting financing for global development. These included backsliding on aid spending in 2018 (though marginal increases were seen in 2019 in real terms), growing financial risks, high debt risk in developing countries even prior to the pandemic, increasing trade restrictions and the detrimental impacts of environmental shocks with losses from weatherrelated events between 2014 and 2018 increasing by 30% over the previous five years. Analysis of recent aid spending suggests that we will likely see a significant drop in overall levels by 2021 as governments shift resources toward domestic spending to respond to COVID-19.  

While already strained funds are shrinking, the needs are growing. Many countries were already facing sustainable development crises in other forms before the pandemic. These crises have been exacerbated and are expected to continue to worsen as a result of COVID-19 and the secondary impacts of the virusIn Africa, these included locusts, droughts and foreign exchange losses. The situation for countries already facing food shortages will only deteriorate as measures to contain the pandemic unfold, including lockdowns and border closures. All over the world, COVID-19 will disproportionately affect women and girls by putting them more at risk of experiencing gender-based violencechild marriage, reduced access to SRHR services, loss of schooling, among other threats. In many countries, government pandemic response interventions including lockdowns and border closures, risk prompting a regression to isolationismpopulism, and authoritarianismcreating environments ripe for repressive measures including human rights violations, closing civic space and the spread of disinformation. Many of these concerns were also raised in the recent report titled “A Global Crisis Requires a Global Response” by Hon Bob Rae, Special Envoy of Prime Minister on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues.  

This reality raises at least three issues for the Government of Canada to consider in providing additional funding to a global COVID-19 response.  

 

Existing resources are not going to be enough 

As the world grapples with multiple crises from COVID-19, climate change and economic fallout, there is a real risk that existing resources will simply not be enough in the face of significant needs. African Ministers of Finance suggest that an additional $100 billion will be needed to weather the health crisis and its related economic impacts across the continent. Indeed, the short-term response to COVID-19 must be balanced with ongoing attention to existing crises. 

To date, the funds committed are far from the $100 billion benchmark set by African Ministers of Finance. The European Union announced a 15 billion Euro package to support the COVID-19 response in early April – with no new money and funding re-oriented from existing programs and funds, followed by another 6.15 billion Euros in commitments during The Global Goal: Unite for our Future’ Summit. The Joint Statement by the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation’s Development Assistance Committee makes no mention of mounting a globally ambitious COVID-19 response matched by equally ambitious resources.   Relative to the scale of the needs, these commitments are modest at best, and do not match the ambition needed to safeguard past development gains and avert the potential catastrophic global implications of COVID-19 

As citizens in high-income countries grapple with job lossescontainment, and concerns over ever rising public debt, governments face a political reality in which allocating new and additional funding to supporting global efforts is unlikely to garner popular supportYet, the reality is without concerted global effort, Canada and the world will see further waves of COVID-19 outbreaks. As the Government of Canada considers its next phase of its support to the pandemic, there is an urgent and pressing need for Canada to respond to the immediate and secondary impacts of COVID with new and additional funds. This investment would need to be paired with a plan to increase overall spending on Official Development Assistance  Already stretched resources can only be stretched so far, without an injection of the necessary funds that will contribute to a safer, healthier world and as such a safer, healthier Canada.    

 

We cannot work in silos to solve this 

The international development community has a long history of pre-occupation with the need to integrate humanitarian responses with development programming, what the sector has termed “the nexus” or new ways of workingThe COVID-19 pandemic further reminds us of the importance of aligning and coordinating humanitarian, peace and development programming for a cohesive response, especially in the context of complex and protracted crises. The Government of Canada should ensure partner organizations have the ability to flexibly use development and humanitarian funds in their responses to address urgent and emerging community and individual needs. This will accelerate impact and improve organizations’ ability to reach the most vulnerable people by avoiding the administrative burden of project-by-project adjustments. 

 

The crisis won’t be over when the pandemic is contained  

Estimates show a growth in the amount of people living in extreme poverty globally as a result of the pandemic. While exact figures will depend on how much the global economy contracts, a modest five percent scenario puts more than 80 million people below the US$1.9/day poverty line relative to 2018 according to a recent research paper. Scenarios for a contraction at 10 percent put the global headcount at 180 million. These figures do not include the many people who will become “new poor” with incomes falling below US$3.20 and US$5.50 per day. Even once the virus has been contained, the crisis will not be over.  

Signals from Canada’s Minister for International Development, including during a Town Hall she hosted with the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and other partners in early April, indicate that Canada will “stay the course” in terms of existing programs. While partners have been encouraged to adapt their programs according to the current context, the government of Canada is keeping an eye on longterm sustainable development priorities, including as part of COVID-19 recovery.  This will be critical in the months ahead. 

Shannon Kindornay is the Director of Research, Policy and Practice at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation 

Erika Richter is the ODA Campaign Coordinator at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation 

 

 

 

CCIC applauds federal investment of $300 million to support a global response to COVID-19

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) applauds today’s federal government announcement of an allocation of $300 million in funding to support the much-needed global response to the COVID-19 crisis. Today’s announcement includes $120 million to support the development of and access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatment for COVID-19 including $100 M to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator* and $20 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), as well as $18million for humanitarian response. These contributions are a welcome next step in support of a global response to the COVID pandemic following a previous investment of $159.9 million made on April 5 

As cases across the continent of Latin America and the Caribbean have exceeded two million and cases in Africa are now passing 200,000, there is an urgent need to address the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure that Canada takes a lead in stopping the spread of the pandemic as well as its secondary impacts everywhere; not just at homeCanada’s announcement today is an important first step in that.   

“There is a pressing need to invest in stopping COVID-19 everywhere through an equitable global response,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of CCIC. “The needs in low- and middle-income countries are complex and extend beyond global health measures to food security, access to education, sexual health, reproductive rights and beyond. Canada’s commitment today is an essential step in ensuring that we leave no one behind.”  

As Canada continues to invest in responding to the pandemic at home, we must also support our partners around the world in their response.  With this new funding, Canada’s contribution to the global COVID response represents less than 0.25% of the federal government’s domestic response spending. We know that to slow the spread of the pandemic Canada’s contributions must extend beyond our bordersCCIC looks forward to continued and additional investments and engagement on the part of the government in contributing to the world’s global COVID-19 response.  

CCIC member organizations are active around the globe aiding communities at risk in this pandemic. CCIC and its members look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to support global efforts to address and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. 

*The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.   

 

Media Contact:
Kat Guerin, Communications Manager
kguerin@ccic.ca 
Cell phone: 613-222-3009 

CCIC and Global Affairs Canada Partnering to Enhance Canada’s International Assistance

CCIC and Global Affairs Canada Partnering to Enhance Canada’s International Assistance

CCIC is collaborating with GAC to help shape and improve Canadian international assistance, by implementing the Feminist International Assistance Policy and streamlining funding agreements and processes. CCIC leverages its national membership to inform GAC decisions and processes through three key working groups: the Task Force for Increasing Effectiveness (TAFIE), CCIC Chief Financial Officer Working Group, and Civil Society Policy Advisory Group (CPAG).

Please consult the infosheet below to understand why these groups exist, who is involved, what they are doing, and how CCIC members can participate.

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Civil Society Policy Advisory Group (CPAG)

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Task Force on Increasing Effectiveness (TAFIE)

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Chief Financial Officer Working Group

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CCIC Leaders’ Pledge on Preventing and Addressing Sexual Misconduct

The CCIC Leaders’ Pledge on Preventing and Addressing Sexual Misconduct represents our shared commitment as Canada’s global development and humanitarian leaders to ensure the full implementation of practices and policies that will protect and respond to our own staff, volunteers and the communities we serve. As a sector, we recognize our duty of care to all the people we work with, which is further amplified by power imbalances inherent in our work. We are committed to creating safe and respectful workplaces and programs that promote gender equality and are free from gender-based violence, including by addressing and responding to all abuse of power, holding people to account, and protecting the vulnerable.

 

Read all about it here.