My congratulations to the Canadian government for doubling our annual contribution to the Global Partnership for Education, which is working successfully to provide access to a quality education for children around the world. The GPE focuses on the needs of the poorest and most disadvantaged children, particularly girls, children with disabilities, and children in refugee camps.
I was also pleased to read recently about the government’s support for a number of initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.
However, my concern is that these contributions will be made at the expense of other global health, education, and humanitarian needs so long as there is no new money for Canadian foreign aid. In fact, our international assistance (called ODA) budget is at 0.26 per cent of gross national income, practically an all-time low, and way below the UN-recommended target of 0.7 per cent of GNI.
We should and do celebrate the above contributions, but the needs to be addressed will continue. For example, one in five children is still not immunized, resulting in 1.5 million deaths among children under five every year.
Canada cannot solve these problems alone, but we can do much more to keep up with other OECD countries. We need more ODA.