CanWaCH’s Submission for Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2022 Budget

Written Submission Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2022 Budget by Cooperation Canada, the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH), the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development and the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group.

List of Recommendations

Part I: Addressing humanitarian needs and investing in threatened development investments in light of COVID-19  

Recommendation 1: that the Government invest $2.5 billion of new and additional ODA in a coherent global plan for COVID-19 response and recovery, to support the health and safety of communities everywhere.

Recommendation 2: that the Government of Canada commit to a roadmap for a predictable and adequately funded international assistance envelope by 2030, including a clear five-year timetable for sustained increases, commensurate with Canada’s international commitments.

Part II: Investing in a just recovery for a safer, more prosperous world

Recommendation 3: that the Government allocates Canada’s fair share foreseen under the Paris Agreement. This means allocating $1.8 billion annually as principal purpose climate finance, in addition to the baseline international assistance envelope.  

Recommendation 4: that Canada’s ODA prioritize lower-income countries, while ensuring that at least 25 percent of humanitarian assistance be allocated through local organizations, with at least 15 percent specifically designated for women-led local organizations.

Recommendation 5: that Canada deliver on its commitment to invest at least 10 percent of bilateral assistance to education, including education in emergencies and crisis contexts.

Part III: Enabling the effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance

Recommendation 6: that the Government outline a coherent feminist foreign policy that ensures mutually reinforcing role of diplomacy, international assistance, trade, and defense.

Recommendation 7: that the Government undergo a regulatory reform to amend the outdated ‘direction and control’ regulations for Canada’s charitable sector in a way that strengthens their effectiveness and accountability.

Introduction

The coronavirus (hereafter COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in increased inequality and tragic and preventable loss of life. In just the first 25 weeks of the pandemic, 25 years of global progress towards human development were wiped out. 41 million people risk starvation and half a million people already live in famine-like conditions. The world is also on the brink of a massive debt crisis with most global economies, including that of Canada, at risk. Our health, economic stability, and the protection of our environment depend on Canada’s ability to support coordinated action: we simply cannot afford to ignore calls to invest in global solutions to our challenges.

In 2020, Canada showed strategic global leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mobilizing additional funding for official development assistance (ODA) and leading multilateral initiatives to promote global coordination. However, Budget 2021 did not account for the mounting global emergency – with insufficient funding allocated to humanitarian and pandemic containment and recovery interventions.

Canada must scale up investments to achieve the objectives of the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP). The most effective and equitable way to achieve this is through local partners who prioritize the most marginalized groups and historically disadvantaged countries.  Long-term, sustainable increases to the international assistance envelope must be planned in a way that allows for reinforcing interventions that address the climate crisis and build the resilience of the global population to current and future emergencies.

Part I: Addressing humanitarian needs and investing in threatened development investments in light of COVID-19  

Recommendation 1: that the Government invest $2.5 billion of new and additional ODA in a coherent global plan for COVID-19 response and recovery to support the health and safety of communities everywhere.

This represents only 1% of Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery and the country’s fair share of the $50 billion global strategic plan needed to end the COVID-19 pandemic everywhere and accelerate the global economic recovery, including that of Canada. This plan has been put forward by an unprecedented coalition of global actors and offers to ensure economic recovery resulting in USD$9 trillion in returns by 2025.

Investing 1% of Canada’s COVID response and recovery budget in international solutions is needed not only to uphold our commitments to human rights, but also to protect the financial investments made in the domestic recovery. Canadians agree: according to this poll from June 2021, 70% of Canadians are thinking about the risk of new COVID-19 variants and following news about the impacts of the pandemic around the world. In fact, 82% are at least somewhat worried that an insufficient global response might slow down Canada’s economic recovery. Investing in COVID-19 response is also fiscally responsible: every dollar of international assistance spent on COVID-19 vaccines yields $100 dollars in return.

Recommendation 2: that the Government commit to a roadmap for a predictable and adequately funded international assistance envelope by 2030, including a clear five-year timetable for sustained increases, commensurate with Canada’s international commitments.

COVID-19 has demonstrated that our health, safety, and prosperity, as Canadians, are directly linked to that of the rest of the world. COVID-19 is not a short term crisis: our investments in recovery must be long-term and strategic to help solve global challenges impacting Canadian trade, businesses, and livelihoods.

Canada must scale up its investments in global solutions. Far from the global standard of 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI), Canada’s contribution of 2020, which included unprecedented and temporary ODA increases, stood at 0.3% of GNI. Scaling up ODA in a predictable and a sustainable manner is a question of political leadership and understanding of the global nature of the challenges we are facing. Doubling ODA over the next five years would set Canada on a path to reaching its global commitments and ensure that the interventions of the Canadian Government and civil society are planned and delivered in impactful and equitable ways.

Predictable, sustained increases to Canada’s international assistance envelope are crucial to contain the pandemic, mitigate its economic repercussions, and deliver on the feminist ambition in the FIAP. These additional resources are needed to address rising food insecurity and malnutrition, inequitable health services and systems, heightened violence against women and children, disruptions to education, shrinking access to essential services, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and pandemic containment in fragile contexts.

Part II: Investing in a just recovery for a healthier, safer, and a more prosperous world

Recommendation 3: that the Government allocates Canada’s fair share foreseen under the Paris Agreement. This means allocating $1.8 billion annually as principal purpose climate finance, in addition to the baseline international assistance envelope.

COVID-19 highlighted the need for strengthened preparedness mechanisms and investment in mitigation of and adaptation to complex crises and emergencies. As climate change risks exacerbating the scale and the frequency of future crises, Canada must recognize the mutually reinforcing nature of investments in climate and in development by committing its international fair share in climate finance. In 2021, Canada has made significant progress by announcing doubling of Canada’s international climate finance contributions to $5.3 billion over 5 years. But Canada can and should do more to close the climate finance gap and contribute to climate justice globally.

Canada’s increased ODA should reflect the additional financing needed to meet its fair share in bilateral climate finance contributions as part of the current Paris Agreement commitment of US$100 billion in annual allocations. Based on the size of Canada’s economy, this translates to Cdn$1.8 billion annually. Climate finance is a critical area of investment to mitigate and prevent the impacts of future crises. This investment should be additional to chronically underfunded humanitarian and development interventions, which can and should reinforce climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.  

To ensure the effectiveness of climate finance, Canada should boost its support for context-informed and locally driven civil society initiatives addressing climate adaptation. At least 50 percent of climate finance should be targeting gender-responsive climate adaptation programs. Canada’s climate finance should be grant-based and support countries most at risk of climate impacts and least able to adapt, including Small Island Developing States and fragile contexts. These efforts should support local civil society and women’s rights organizations.  

Recommendation 4: that Canada’s ODA prioritize lower-income countries, while ensuring that at least 25 percent of humanitarian assistance be allocated through local organizations, with at least 15 percent specifically designated for women-led local organizations.

Canada should ensure that 50 percent of bilateral assistance be allocated to low-income countries and interventions in fragile contexts. This is needed to ensure the most marginalized groups are supported, and to help save lives and livelihoods in people experiencing humanitarian crises.

In line with the Grand Bargain principles, the Paris Agreement and Accra Action Plan on Aid Effectiveness, the G7 Whistler Declaration on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Humanitarian Action and the OECD DAC Recommendation on Engaging Civil Society, Canada’s international assistance must strengthen the capacity of national actors, including civil society. Localization of humanitarian and development assistance is one of the main requisites for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Civil society, especially women’s organizations, are best placed to provide equitable access to social services, ensure sustainability of humanitarian and development interventions, but local CSOs receive less than 1 percent of bilateral assistance. Investments should be made to allow Global Affairs Canada to shift its internal mechanisms in order to align with a growing set of Canada’s international commitments to localized interventions.

Recommendation 5: that Canada deliver on its commitment to invest at least 10 percent of bilateral assistance to education, including education in emergencies and crisis contexts.

Education is a human right and a critical enabler to all other global development goals, one that has been severely threatened by COVID-19, with an estimated 20 million girls unlikely to return to school. Canada must deliver on its previous commitments to invest at least 10 percent of bilateral assistance to education, with $1.1 billion allocated by 2026, including in emergencies contexts. This includes delivering the announced $450 million over three years in support of education for refugee and displaced children and youth, in line with the early childhood development in emergencies framework.

Part III: Enabling the effectiveness of Canada’s international assistance

Recommendation 6: that the Government outline a coherent feminist foreign policy that ensures mutually reinforcing role of diplomacy, international assistance, trade, and defense.

Canada urgently needs a coherent feminist foreign policy. The existing commitment to elaborate a feminist foreign policy must be urgently met to allow for a more equitable, inclusive and just recovery through gender-transformative international assistance, debt relief, a feminist trade agenda, and diplomacy. Such an intersectional policy does not need to exacerbate the fiscal deficit: military savings can and should be re-directed towards solutions to global crises affecting us everywhere. This forthcoming Feminist Foreign Policy must be adequately resourced in Budget 2022 and beyond to ensure that its ambition is realized across all dimensions of Canada’s global engagement.

Recommendation 7:  that the Government undergo a regulatory reform to amend the outdated ‘direction and control’ regulations for Canada’s charitable sector in a way that strengthens their effectiveness and accountability.

Canada’s charities employ approximately 2 million Canadians, represent 8.1 percent of GDP and make up a core element of Canada’s national identity. However, they are increasingly threatened by the outdated legislation mandating the ‘direction and control’ regulations, which places undue burdens and hinders equitable partnerships.

A reform is urgently needed. In June 2021, the Senate passed Bill S-222, which seeks to amend the Income Tax Act and ensure Canada’s charities rely on resource accountability models that reflect realities of the 21st century and the standards of Canada’s global partners. The Government should trigger a reform of this outdated legislative framework, in line with the recommendations of the 2019 Report of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector.


This submission reflects the positions of the following institutions and their members: Cooperation Canada, the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D) and the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group.

These coalitions represent over 150 organizations working nationally and internationally through humanitarian, development, peace and security, public health, environmental protection, and social justice efforts.

Published:

août 10, 2021


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