With eye toward ultra-vulnerable populations, Canada to provide "essential services" to low-income countries amid COVID-19 outbreak

In early March of 2020, Canada announced US$38 million in funding to help low-income countries tackle COVID-19. Canada has provided new details on this funding and has announced that  US$6 million of this funding will immediately be given to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

This part of the funding will be used to "respond to the needs of vulnerable populations" in low-income nations dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and will go toward prevention and essential services such as water, sanitation and hygiene services, protection services, emergency health care, and mental health support.

Canada believes that response efforts must take into consideration the fact that women and girls, specifically, are disproportionately impacted by crises.

News release- Global Affairs Canada


Canada announces new funding for education in Global South

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has awarded  US$8 million to the Global Partnership for Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX). KIX was implemented by IDRC to "strengthen national education systems and accelerate educational progress in the Global South". Funding will go toward four regional hubs to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration across education stakeholders in different countries, and to use evidence to inform "national education-related policy". The following organizations were selected to develop and run each of KIX's regional hubs:

  1.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; UNICEF; and the African Union will manage a hub for 19 African Anglophone countries;
  2. The Institut de la Francophonie pour l’éducation et la formation, Conférence des ministres de l’éducation des États et gouvernements de la Francophonie, and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie will manage a hub for 20 Francophone African countries;
  3. The Network for international policies and cooperation in education and training will manage a hub for 21 countries in Asia-Pacific; the Middle East and North Africa; Eastern Europe; and Central Asia; and
  4. SUMMA, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and the American Institutes for Research will manage a hub for eight countries located in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Press release- International Development Research Centre 


Canada supports new transitional government in South Sudan

Canada's government issued a statement of support for the newly announced 'Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity' in South Sudan. Canada sees this inclusive government as an important step in South Sudan's national reconciliation efforts and in bringing "sustainable peace, democratic elections, respect for human rights, as well as economic and social development" to South Sudan. 

Canada acknowledged the compromises President Salva Kiir has made to take this step and has applauded the increased representation of women in the new government. Canada is currently a part of the military UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan and will continue to show support to the country through development and humanitarian assistance. 

Press release- Global Affairs Canada


Canada takes stronger stance on chemical weapons control

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, has announced that Canada is taking a stronger stance on controlling dangerous chemicals as a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Specifically, Canada is proposing that four new classes of controlled chemicals must be subject to declaration and verification under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and is introducing legislation to ensure that Canada’s implementation of the CWC is constantly up to date.

These actions are a response to two chemical weapons attacks in the United Kingdom: the March 2018 attacks on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the death of Dawn Sturgess in July of 2018.

Press release- Global Affairs Canada


New resource tracking donor funding for COVID-19

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a US-based non-profit organization focused on health, recently released a centralized compilation of information on donor funding for COVID-19. Their analysis is based on publicly available information and details all funding directed toward the global response to the virus. It excludes spending on domestic response efforts or economic stimulus.

Key findings include:

  • Governments, multilateral organizations, and private funders around the world have so far spent an estimated US$8.3 billion responding to the virus;
  • 91% of funds have come from donor governments, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; and
  • The World Bank is the largest donor so far (US$6.0 billion). The US is the second-largest donor (US$1.3 billion), followed by the Tencent/Tencent Charity Foundation (US$215 million), Alibaba (US$144 million), and the European Union (US$140 million).

KFF plans to update the tracker as this global health emergency continues to unfold.

In addition to KFF's work on donor funding for COVID-19, other efforts to provide data-driven information on the outbreak have begun to emerge. Our World in Data's COVID-19 article is a particularly useful resource. Their aim is to help readers make sense of early data on the coronavirus outbreak. The article will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Report - KFF

Canada invests US$21 million in COVID-19 research

The Government of Canada has announced an investment of CA$27 million (US$21 million) to equip Canadian researchers with resources to better understand and combat COVID-19.  After receiving hundreds of applications for a research funding competition launched in February, the government awarded 47 research teams with financial support.

Most of the funded research will focus on "accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak".  The funding will also go toward policy research that explores the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak on the stigma and fear within individuals and communities and the misinformation perpetuated by the media.

This investment in COVID-19 research will be administered through Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canada Research Coordinating Committee through the New Frontiers in Research Fund, and Genome Canada.

Press release - IDRC

ONE highlights need for better data, alongside release of their new gender data dashboard

ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, has joined the growing number of organizations calling attention to the fact that "more funding for gender equality may not be all it seems". Official Development Assistance (ODA) targeting gender equality reached an all-time high of US$45.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 39.4% of ODA. However, closer examinations of the figures recently released by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal that challenges remain, especially in terms of the quality of the data available on the state of funding for gender equality in development.

As part of ONE's commitment to back up their advocacy with data-driven tools, they released a new interactive dashboard to explore gender ODA from nine major donors. The tool provides data on how each donor spends gender equality focused development funding, information on their key gender strategies, details on the sectors and income levels that they target, and analysis of how different agencies prioritize gender equality.

Blog post - ONE

Canada supports US-Taliban agreement

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, released a statement outlining Canada's support for the recently signed peace deal between the US and the Taliban. This agreement emerged after decades of conflict, violence, and war in the region. It signals renewed efforts to promote peace going forward. 

Champagne's statement reaffirmed Canada's commitment to supporting ongoing negotiations and efforts to foster stability and peace in the region. Canada is encouraging considerations to be made for women and minorities in Afganistan throughout the peace process.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada


Canadian charity workers detained in Ethiopia

Staff members and volunteers working for Canadian Humanitarian, a Canadian charity registered in Medicine Hat, Alberta, have been detained in Ethiopia. Ten Canadian volunteers, three Canadian staff members, and two Ethiopian staff members a part of the charity are being investigated "on the allegations that they were practising medicine without permission and had dispensed expired medication".

Canadian Humanitarian has stated that these workers did have the necessary permits to provide medical care but provided no comment on the issue of expired medication. Global Affairs Canada has contacted the Ethiopian government to obtain more information. 

News article - CBC


Canada calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne and Canada's Minister of International Development,  Karina Gould, have released a statement denouncing the recent and ongoing attacks on innocent civilians (including attacks on schools and hospitals) in Idlib, Syria. Canada believes these attacks to be deliberate attacks perpetrated by the "Syrian regime, its supporters and foreign facilitators".

Canada is calling for an "immediate ceasefire" and urges all involved to show respect for  human decency by not hindering access to humanitarian assistance. Canada has also put forth support for the UN Secretary-General’s call for political negotiations to peacefully end this conflict and humanitarian crisis.  In 2020 over 298 civilians have been killed, while 950,000 have been displaced since December 2019. 

Press release- Global Affairs Canada