Celebrating and Strengthening Community
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”
– Helen Keller
We’re fortunate to have many brilliant and passionate members of the RESULTS Canada family. Each citizen advocate brings diverse perspectives and talents to the team. Yet the strength of our advocacy and the success of our work can’t be attributed to individuals alone. The RESULTS Canada community is unique and powerful – our combined voices have contributed to enormous achievements in the fight to build global prosperity. Since Parliament has risen for the summer, Members of Parliament (MPs) will be in their ridings. That means this month is a particularly strategic time to celebrate those successes and to strengthen our relationships, setting ourselves up to continue this legacy of achievement.
For over 30 years, RESULTS Canada has grown both in membership and impact. Canada’s global leadership has been bolstered by countless examples of successful advocacy efforts. In fact, just last month marked an enormous success in a truly remarkable grassroots campaign on polio!
The world is on the brink of eradicating this disease: In 1998, 40 children were infected by polio every hour. In 2016, less than 40 children were infected by polio during the entire year. The enormous success the world has seen in its efforts to eradicate polio is clear evidence that international assistance works. Since the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) nearly 30 years ago, it has generated net benefits of $27 billion (USD) from reduced healthcare costs. Complete eradication would result in additional net benefits of $19-25 billion (USD) over the next 20 years.
Polio eradication efforts have saved lives, prevented billions of children from being affected by this debilitating disease, and seen huge economic benefits. Aid works, and Canadians have been instrumental in this progress.
Canada was among the first contributors to the GPEI when it was established in 1987 and continues to be a strong supporter. When GPEI estimated that it would need an additional $1.5 billion (USD) to end polio for good by 2020, RESULTS Canada’s citizen advocates took action to ensure Canada was a leader in this replenishment.
RESULTS Canada’s Work on Polio
The strength of our community was demonstrated in many different ways, and the government heard us.
In June, Canada pledged $100 million (CAD) to GPEI. In conversations with civil society, Minister Bibeau attributed this impressive amount to the strength of our advocacy efforts, and those of our partners including Rotary, Global Citizen, and UNICEF.
This calls for celebration!
The actions the RESULTS Canada community has taken, in collaboration with civil society partners across the country and around the world, have laid the groundwork for the eradication of only the second disease in history. We should all be extremely proud of what we have accomplished together!
A total of $1.2 billion (USD) was pledged to GPEI last month (and financial commitments are still expected to come from the UK, Japan, and the US). GPEI states, “This new injection of funding and commitment will ensure that in the future, no child will ever again suffer from the consequences of this incurable, but preventable, disease.” However, we can’t eradicate polio without considering other important health interventions. Please refer to the annex (a leave-behind document for future MP meetings) for more information on the connections between polio, nutrition, and education.
This moment in the fight to eradicate polio marks an incredible achievement for grassroots advocacy and for international assistance. Let’s draw on this success and encouragement to celebrate and build our community. Achievements like these can only continue if dedicated citizen advocates remain committed to taking action on global issues. Take this time to share RESULTS Canada’s work with your friends, family, and MPs. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure Canada’s overall financial commitments to global development match its ambition.
This month also presents an excellent opportunity for us to do that work. The Standing Committee on Finance has launched its pre-budget consultation process for Budget 2018. Until August 4th, you can submit a brief on their website outlining the importance of increasing Canada’s levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA). Refer to our past Action Sheets on ODA for statistics on the economic case for increasing ODA and Canada’s poor track record, as well as a look at how ODA affects a variety of government portfolios.
As Robert Greenhill noted in a Globe and Mail article and at RESULTS Canada’s Annual General Meeting last month, when it comes to international assistance, Canada is not back – it’s far back. Let the government know this is important to Canadians. Together, we can end poverty and build a world characterized by health, opportunity, and equality.