Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy

Dear CAIDP Friends;

On June 9, 2017 CAIDP was invited to attend the launch, by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy. Minister Bibeau’s announcement is best seen in the context of the other two major foreign policy announcements this week, the Foreign Policy introduced by Minister Freeland on Wednesday and the Defence Review introduced by Minister Sajjan on Thursday. These three documents lay out the government’s objective of Canada contributing to a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.

Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy is focused on reducing poverty and inequality through empowering women and girls, which the Government sees both as a strategic investment to help the poorest and most vulnerable, and as the area where Canada can have the greatest impact. The feminist lens will be applied to all programming – indeed in order to receive funding from Canada, future project proponents must demonstrate that they have consulted with local women and that they are included in the project.

Canada will work toward a safer, more just and inclusive world through six action areas: gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (core action area), human dignity (including health and nutrition, education and humanitarian action), growth that works for everyone, environment and climate action, inclusive governance, and peace and security.

The policy is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA). The Department will be defining the criteria for determining where Canada will be involved (poverty, local poverty reduction/development policies, Canadian capacity), but international assistance programming will no longer have countries of focus. The Department plans to move toward 50% of funding going to sub-Saharan Africa where poverty is greatest.

CAIDP welcomes this policy statement. As a membership organisation representing over 200 Canadian individuals, companies, NGOs and institutions working in international development, CAIDP is most interested in the effectiveness of development. In that respect, CAIDP welcomes in particular the announced measures to improve our effectiveness, and looks forward to further details on the commitments made by the Government today to "provide its international assistance in ways that are more rapid and more effective in reaching local populations" and that "streamline and accelerate funding and reporting procedures to reduce the administrative burden on our funding recipients." We also look forward to "more efficient and effective funding mechanisms and approaches" that allow Canada to "take responsible risks, with decisions based on evidence and learning." Especially we look forward to "streamlined funding application processes and modernized results-based management and risk management procedures to better respond to specific country and partner contexts and support timelier funding decisions" that "will help improve the predictability and transparency of our funding decisions."

The full details of the Feminist International Assistance Policy can be found at this link\