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September 5, 2014 – From an outbreak of the Ebola virus to the conflict in Syria to ongoing violence in many African countries, there are significant humanitarian needs around the world. In 2013, more than 140 million people were affected by acute humanitarian crises as a result of natural disasters, conflict or political insecurity around the globe. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the global refugees exceeded 50 million this year for first time since the Second World War. Children make up more than half of those displaced.
The International Day of Charity emphasizes the importance of charitable efforts – whether by individuals or organizations – in alleviating human suffering and the impact of humanitarian crises. The act of providing charity creates social bonds and contributes to a more inclusive society in Canada and abroad.
Canadians have a reputation for being compassionate and charitable people. It’s a reputation that stems from generous donations and volunteer service during times of humanitarian need or to alleviate poverty. As Minister of International Development, I have the opportunity to see the difference volunteer efforts of Canadian organizations are making in the lives of people around the globe. Canadian volunteers are working in more than 100 countries around the globe to contribute to sustainable development goals. These efforts are complemented by Canada’s response to humanitarian crises, including many of the recent large-scale humanitarian crises where Canada has been one of the first to respond and one of the most generous donors.
Canada has committed $353.5 million to assist Syrians affected by the crisis in their country. With our support in 2014, humanitarian partners have distributed emergency relief items to more than 2.5 million people in Syria, provided food assistance to 3.7 million people in Syria and, reached 25 million children across the region in response to the polio outbreak.
When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines in 2013 Canadians donated over $85 million to registered eligible Canadian charities. Canadians’ generosity was matched by the Government of Canada which worked through Canadian and multilateral partners to provide food for three million people, shelter for up to 500,000 families and restore livelihoods for up to 2.6 million people working in agriculture and fisheries.
And in January 2010, when a massive earthquake struck Haiti, Canadians generously donated more than $220 million to registered eligible Canadian charities responding to the crisis—an amount that was matched by our Government. Canada has continued to invest in Haiti and has helped in achieving the following results: the distribution of hot meals every day throughout the school year to more than 1.7 million Haitian girls and boys, the provision of free health care to 72,000 pregnant women and 212,000 children under the age of five; and strengthening and improving the Haitian health system for 2.2 million Haitians in four provinces.
Our government values the power of individual Canadians coming together to donate to charitable organizations to improve people’s lives around the world. We work with development and humanitarian partners including Canadian NGOs which provide life-saving assistance to those affected by humanitarian crises, as well as the tools they need to build a better future for their families and their nations. To increase the incentive to Canadians to contribute our government introduced the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit last year. Valid until 2017, this credit will supplement the existing non-refundable tax credit for charitable donations by individuals.
On this day, I want to thank all Canadians for their commitment to charitable giving and to encourage them to continue this important tradition in any way they can, whether it’s donating to a charitable organization or volunteering in their community or overseas.
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
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Canada is committed to helping developing countries in Asia move from poverty to prosperity
September 3, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Today, at an event hosted by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APFC), the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, highlighted the connection between development and trade that leverages benefits in developing countries by fostering sustainable economic growth while providing significant opportunities for the Canadian private sector.
“Together, trade and investment brings jobs, opportunities and growth both to Canada and to our development country partners. We are committed to helping countries transition from development recipients to trading partners,” said Minister Paradis. “Creating private sector-led, sustainable economic growth is the number one way to break the cycle of poverty. By addressing the underlying constraints to trade and investment – and creating investment opportunities for Canadian companies – we in turn create strong economies that provide meaningful employment and self-sufficient communities in which individuals and families can prosper.”
The Minister announced support to two projects in Vietnam and Indonesia, administered by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, that leverage the resources, know-how and innovation of private-sector partners in growing businesses and helping to create the conditions for greater trade and investment in emerging economies.
“Canada’s contribution to these projects will help to improve competitiveness, drive growth and reduce poverty in Vietnam, and will provide access to training, credit and global markets for smallholder farmers in Indonesia,” said Minister Paradis. “Through projects like these, Canada is engaged on the ground level to help alleviate poverty, promote growth and create opportunities, both at home and abroad.”
While in Vancouver, the Minister also hosted a round table with members of British Columbia’s Filipino community. Canada has been a leader in responding to last year’s devastating typhoon Haiyan, and on June 27, the Philippines was added as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s bilateral international development efforts. Discussions focused on how to strengthen future cooperation between the two countries and enhance the fight against poverty in the Philippines.
- On May 8, 2014, Minister Christian Paradis was appointed as Chair of the World Economic Forum–Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Redesigning Development Finance Steering Committee, and charged with promoting a more systematic approach to testing and scaling up financial innovations and blending capital in order to accelerate progress toward development objectives.
- The APFC is an independent, not-for-profit think tank focused on Canada’s relations with Asia. The APFC brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Canada’s trans-Pacific relations.
- There are approximately 662,600 people of Filipino descent in Canada. The Philippines has recently become one of the largest source countries of immigrants to Canada.
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Today’s announcements reaffirm Canada’s commitment to advancing sustainable economic growth in developing countries in Asia. Canada is supporting the following two projects:
Economic Management and Competitiveness Credit, Vietnam – $12 million, World Bank Group
This project seeks to improve competitiveness, drive growth and reduce poverty in Vietnam. The Economic Management and Competitiveness Credit project supports policy actions in three areas key to economic reform:
- promoting macroeconomic stability;
- improving public sector administration by increasing transparency, efficiency and accountability; and
- creating an enabling business environment that promotes private sector development.
This multidonor initiative provides technical assistance and policy advice, and undertakes analytical work with the Government of Vietnam to implement key policy or institutional changes, such as developing and passing laws, regulations and strategies relating to the three economic reform areas. The initiative also serves as the main platform for policy dialogue between the Government of Vietnam and the donor community on economic governance in the country.
Indonesia Agribusiness Development – $10 million, International Finance Corporation
The project aims to reduce poverty among smallholder farmers by supporting the development of sustainable agribusiness (the business of agricultural production, including crop production, input supply, and marketing of agricultural products). It will increase the incomes of smallholder farmers, increase investment in agriculture and rural communities, and increase demand for sustainably produced agricultural commodities. Project activities include:
- developing business models for sustainable agricultural production, post-harvest handling and marketing;
- training and advising private sector buyers and input suppliers to train and provide services to smallholder famers;
- training bank staff on new financial products for smallholders;
- training plantation staff on sustainable community investment; and
- training consumer products firms about market opportunities of sustainable products.
Canada’s development assistance in Asia
On June 27, 2014, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines and Vietnam were confirmed as countries of focus for the Government of Canada’s bilateral international development efforts.
DFATD programs help Asian nations develop their capacity to address the continent’s most pressing challenges: reducing poverty; consolidating economic gains; and strengthening governance, political inclusion, social development and environmental protection.
In fiscal year 2012–2013, Canada provided approximately $1 billion in official development assistance to countries in Asia.
Rideau Hall, Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Check Against Delivery
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall for this presentation of letters of credence. I would also like to welcome you, on behalf of all Canadians, to our country.
I hold your work in the highest regard. You have travelled far away from your homes to take up residence in a foreign land. You have come here to build on our relationships and to achieve further success for your nations. I hope each of you will come to view Canada as a second home, a place where you will always be welcome.
Ambassador Cencen, as a career diplomat, you understand the importance of diplomacy in our globalized world. You have immersed yourself in many different cultures, and have also apparently served as a visiting professor at a number of universities. I hope that you will take the opportunity to explore Canada’s academic institutions, which are a particular source of pride for me.
Slovenia and Canada share many common goals, including security and the strengthening of democracy. Innovation and knowledge sharing are also areas in which we can improve our collaboration. I look forward to speaking with you about the specific ways in which we can further develop our friendship.
Ambassador Garcia, your knowledge and skills are most welcome in Canada. Our countries will undoubtedly both benefit from your dedication to building a better world. You and I share a background in legal education, and I hope we can find the time to discuss this common interest.
The Philippines and Canada share a strong friendship that is based on our people-to-people ties. With 660 000 Filipinos living in and contributing to Canadian society, it is no surprise that we are still finding ways to work together for the mutual benefit of our peoples. I look forward to new and exciting partnerships between our two countries.
Ambassador Sigurjónsson, I know that you are already somewhat familiar with Canada, and I hope that you and your family will see as much of the country as possible during your time here. Along with your fellow ambassadors here today, you have a history of creating opportunities around the world. I know that you will find Canadians to be wonderful partners in the pursuit of our shared goals.
Canada and Iceland—both proud, northern nations—collaborate in a variety of international fora. Our people-to-people ties are strong, having been forged a century ago. I am pleased to see that our friendship continues to grow, and I hope we can expand on our ties in the months and years to come.
Ambassador Delcorde, I am pleased to welcome you to Ottawa for this important posting. I am certain that the range of experience you have acquired over the course of your long career has given you considerable knowledge from which you will draw. I look forward to speaking with you about the relationship between our two countries, and I wish you the very best as you make your home in Canada.
I am delighted to note that this year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Belgium. I am particularly pleased to see the developing relationship between our two countries in science, in technology and innovation, and in higher education. Canada and Belgium are stronger countries because of our friendship, and there remains great potential for further collaboration between us.
Ambassador Kpayedo, it is a pleasure to welcome you to Canada for this latest assignment in your impressive diplomatic career. I understand that you have already worked with Canada in the context of Togo’s efforts to combat human smuggling and illegal migration. I wish you all the best as you settle into your new home.
Canada and Togo have enjoyed diplomatic ties for more than 50 years and today our two countries work together on a range of political, economic and security issues. Through continued co-operation and dialogue, I am certain our two countries will improve their mutual prosperity, freedoms and well-being.
Ambassador Nobs, allow me to welcome you to Canada as you take on your new role. You are, of course, already familiar with this country, having studied at the University of British Columbia and you have experienced Canada’s great diversity and size. We are pleased to welcome you back and wish you well in your new responsibilities.
The close friendship and ties that exist between Canada and Switzerland are founded on our shared values and our commitment to democracy and human rights. We have strong people-to-people ties, which include thriving partnerships in business, education and science, technology and innovation. I look forward to even greater collaboration between our two countries.
Each of you knows that, in today’s rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever for sovereign nations to commit to dialogue and diplomacy. On behalf of all Canadians, I welcome you to Canada in a spirit of partnership and respect.
Let us work together to build a better world.