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Justin Trudeau speaks at the Francophonie Summit in Madagascar. Photo: Twitter Justin Trudeau

Trudeau announces additional $112.8 million for international aid projects

While attending the XVI Summit of La Francophonie in Madagascar, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday, November 27, 2016 that the Canada will provide $112.8 million for international aid projects that will benefit several African countries and Haiti.

According to the official statement, this funding will:

  • contribute to projects that aim to fight climate change, empower women, and protect their rights”
  • “will be used to stimulate economic growth, which will create job opportunities for young people and women, and to counter terrorism and prevent radicalization.”

Canada’s foreign aid under Trudeau government

During his first official visit to Liberia on November 24, 2016, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced over $12.5 million in new initiatives “aimed at supporting democracy, peace and security, inclusion, and gender equality in Africa.”

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced during her visit to Madagascar on November 23, 2016 over $7.5 million in funding for three projects that will be implemented in Madagascar.

During her first official visit to Haiti on November 18, 2016, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced $54 million in funding to support various humanitarian and development projects in Haiti in the wake of the the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, new funding “to support education, health and social services for millions of vulnerable Palestinian refugees, as well as urgent humanitarian assistance.” The new funding includes:

  • $20 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to help increase access to these essential services. A proportion of Canadian funding will also be used to expand training for staff on the proper and neutral use of social media.
  • $5 million to UNRWA’s emergency appeal for Palestinian refugees impacted by the crisis in Syria and surrounding areas.

The Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, hosted by Canada in Montreal, ended with a new pledge for foreign aid. Prime Minister Trudeau announced on Saturday, September 17, 2016 that Canada will pledge $804 million to the Global Fund, for 2017 to 2019. On May 9, 2016, Trudeau, said that Canada will pledge for this cause only $785 million. In total, the conference raised over $12.9 billion in pledges to fight devastating diseases as epidemics by 2030.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 that Canada will contribute $22.6 million over five years to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) to train African mathematical scientists to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions.

Canada’s Liberal government revealed on Friday, August 26, 2016, its new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) and pledged up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel to be available for possible deployment to UN peace operations.

The government is devoting $450 million to PSOPs for better protecting “civilians, including the most vulnerable groups, such as displaced persons, refugees, women and children.”

Canada’s PSOPs and future contributions will focus more on the areas of “early warning, conflict prevention, dialogue, mediation and peacebuilding, and the empowerment of women in decision making for peace and security.”

Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced on Monday (July 25, 2016) seven new security and safety initiatives worth more than $17 million during his participation at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference in Vientiane, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).

These seven projects support initiatives across the ASEAN region to enhance counter-terrorism measures; to prevent, deter and combat human smuggling; to strengthen biological and nuclear security; and to bolster resilience in the face of humanitarian disasters.

Dion and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, that Canada has pledged $158 million over three years to support humanitarian and stabilization efforts for the people of Iraq and up to $200 million in additional financing to the Government of Iraq.

According to the official statement, the $158-million pledge is part of Canada’s three-year, $1.6-billion commitment to Iraq and the region, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February 2016, which includes $840 million in humanitarian assistance.

The $200 million is a new commitment, agreed to at the G7 Leaders’ Summit, that will support Iraq’s economic reform efforts through the World Bank.

Of Canada’s pledge of $158 million, $150 million will support the international humanitarian response to help meet the basic needs of conflict-affected Iraqis, $4 million will be provided to the United Nations Development Programme to help Iraqis return to their homes in areas liberated from ISIL, and $4 million will support the clearance of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Ramadi and other liberated areas.

On May 23, 2016 Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey $274 million to United Nations humanitarian and development agencies to strengthen emergency response, ensure child protection in humanitarian crises and build long-term resilience to food insecurity.

According to an official statement, this funding will help strengthen emergency response, child protection and long-term resilience to food insecurity:

  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – Central Emergency Response Fund ($147 million, 2016-2021)
  • Rural Social Protection: Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program – United Nations World Food Programme and the World Bank ($125 million, 2016-2021)
  • Child Protection Working Group – UNICEF ($1 million, 2015-2017)
  • UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict ($1 million, 2015-2017)

Before tabling the 2016-17 budget, the Liberal government had made pledges to spend more than $5 billions on foreign aid, including $2.65 billion by 2020 to help developing countries deal with climate change; more than $1.6 billion over three years, starting in 2016–17, towards security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon; $678 million over six years, starting in 2015–16, to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis and aid in the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees; and $100 million in 2015–16 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to help support critical relief activities in the region.

The budget allocated additional funding for foreign aid initiatives, including $256 million over two years to Canada’s International Assistance Envelope (IAE) and up to $586.5 million over three years, starting in 2016–17, for the renewal of key peace and security programs.

On April 15, 2016, Minister Bibeau announced that Canada will contribute $75.4 million in support of projects in health, education and nutrition, as well as a financing mechanism that can assist countries hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees. Following the earthquake in Ecuador (April 2016), Canada provided a $2 million funding commitment to the needy.

On March 24, 2016, Bibeau told the Canadian Press that more aid spending would help Canada win UN Security Council seat when she said: “Canada needs to show the world it is a more generous aid donor if it wants to win a seat on the United Nations Security.

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