September 23, 2014 – Pickering, Ontario
Check Against Delivery
Good morning, everyone.
Thank you for joining us.
I am pleased to be here today on behalf of Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Christian Paradis.
History tells us that in response to great suffering and tragedy, Canada is routinely at the forefront of global humanitarian efforts to help alleviate hardship.
We saw this last fall, when Typhoon Haiyan had a significant impact on the Philippines.
Even before that record storm made landfall, our government was preparing to respond.
And by the time we finally knew of Haiyan’s full impact, Canada and Canadians were fully engaged in the relief effort.
There is a reason for this: Canada has a long tradition of generously helping the world’s most vulnerable people.
We live up to the values we hold dear.
And we never shy away from assisting people in times of great need.
It is this compassion and generosity that embodies the value Canada places on international assistance—whether in the form of long-term development programming designed to help more people move from poverty to prosperity, or in the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance whenever and wherever it is required.
We make this commitment for many reasons, chief among them because it is an expression of the values we believe in.
And because it is our moral imperative to assist those who are without the means to overcome the challenges they face.
This includes people living in Afghanistan today—a country that has been affected by decades of conflict and that suffers from recurrent natural disasters.
The cumulative effect of these crises has left ordinary Afghans highly vulnerable, particularly children under the age of five.
The humanitarian challenges are exacerbated by the security situation, weakened economy and limited capacity of the Afghan government to provide quality services for its people.
An estimated 5.4 million people need access to health services.
Another 1.5 million people are in need of special protection assistance to access basic humanitarian services.
And more than 8 million people lack access to nutritious food.
Today, I am pleased to announce that Canada is contributing $1.1 million to World Vision Canada to provide emergency water, sanitation and hygiene for the people of Afghanistan.
With our support, World Vision Canada will help nearly 25,000 Afghans receive much-needed support and training.
This includes training 45 community groups, 42 schoolteachers and more than 2,700 students on hygiene promotion and awareness of healthy water and sanitation practices.
It also includes the construction and rehabilitation of safe water infrastructure and latrines to benefit a total of 4,541 households.
Our government has made its commitment clear: we provide humanitarian assistance when the basic needs of people affected by crises are going unmet.
This is currently the case in Afghanistan, and it is why I am so pleased to announce this latest contribution today.
This support will also contribute to Canada’s long-term commitment to improve maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries.
Prime Minister Harper has made this Canada’s top development priority.
Last May, he hosted health experts and world leaders at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child summit in Toronto in order to accelerate global efforts on women’s and children’s health.
There, Canada committed an additional $3.5 billion and released the Toronto Statement, which laid the groundwork to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborn and children under the age of five within a generation.
Canada’s global contributions are well-rounded. We focus on providing immediate assistance where necessary, and on delivering long-term programming meant to secure the future for countries in need.
Today’s announcement, combined with our previous commitments and our ongoing work to save mothers and children, means that Afghanistan is benefiting in both areas.