Guyana has been shifted off the government of Canada’s international bilateral assistance radar as it moves towards more focused, effective and accountable aid, concentrating its resources on 20 countries around the world.
According to a press release from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the areas of focus are now: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Caribbean, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Ukraine, Vietnam, West Bank/Gaza.
“Our government promised to make Canada’s international assistance more effective,” the CIDA release quoted Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley Oda as saying. “While continuing to provide assistance to the people in greatest need, focusing our bilateral assistance will make our aid dollars go further and make a greater difference for those we help.”
Canada’s bilateral assistance represents approximately 53 percent of Canada’s total aid budget. With 80 percent of Canada’s bilateral assistance being focused on 20 countries and improving how Canada works in other bilateral partner countries, Canadians will see better results and more resources getting to those in need, the release said.
Meanwhile, CIDA’s multilateral programmes will continue to support international efforts such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Canadian-led Initiatives to Save a Million Lives, the UN’s World Food Programme and others. Its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will continue to respond to those who are impacted by natural disasters or humanitarian crisis. These programmes will not be affected by the changes to bilateral aid, the release said.
A major step towards greater effectiveness had already been made last year when Oda announced that Canada had fully untied its Food Aid and announced that CIDA’s development aid funding would be fully untied by 2012-13. Untying aid allows for faster response times during crises, reduces transportation costs and above all makes Canada’s aid dollars go further by purchasing goods where they are cheapest, the release said.
These measures come in addition to an increased CIDA staff presence in the field that will allow both for better planning and increased accountability to improve evaluation and reporting mechanisms. Canada will continue to work towards even greater focus and effectiveness to its aid agenda.
CIDA programmes in Guyana likely to be affected are its governance, literacy (Guyana Basic Education Teacher Training Program) and HIV programmes. In addition, CIDA has funded some NGOs including Youth Challenge.
CIDA is Canada’s lead agency for development assistance. It has a mandate to support sustainable development in developing countries in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable, and prosperous world.