Pre-Budget Consultation Letter to Finance Minister Morneau

Today, EWB submitted the below recommendations to the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau as our contribution to the pre-budget consultations. We’ve asked Minister Morneau for predictable increases to Canada’s commitment to Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding to at least 0.34% of GNI by the end of our 42nd Parliament. 

You can participate in the consultations too! Tell Minister Morneau that Canada’s Official Development Assistance matters to you by writing your own email or using our template to send your submission to fin.2016pbc-cpb2016.fin@canada.ca. And be sure to visit our #ODAFTW (ODA For The Win) campaign page to learn what else you can do.

 

Dear Minister Morneau:

On behalf of Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) and our thousands of young members across the country and in sub-Saharan Africa, we sincerely welcome and congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of Finance. We look forward to building a strong relationship and productive dialogue with you and your Office during our 42nd Parliament about advancing Canada’s role in international development and poverty eradication.

EWB invests in young leaders to create a thriving and sustainable world. Our members develop their ability to create sustainable and scalable solutions to some of the most complex challenges in global development, like how to ensure access to safe water for all and how to enable entrepreneurs in developing countries to create sustainable and inclusive growth. We are uniquely positioned at the convergence of civil society, the private sector, and the Government of Canada to champion sustainable economic development, transparency and accountability in Canada’s aid and extractive sectors, and young Canadians’ participation in our democracy.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 2016 pre-budget consultations through your open call for submissions. We are heartened by your government’s commitments to tackling inequality, climate change and ensuring that our development assistance focuses on the poorest and most vulnerable people, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

In your upcoming budget, we ask that:

  1. Canada commits to predictable, annual increases in our funding to Official Development Assistance (ODA) and that the commitments made to the Green Climate Fund and resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees are additional to current ODA funding. Increases to the ODA budget are an opportunity for profound impact. It will enable the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie to achieve the goals set out in the Ministerial Mandate letter; it will enable Canada to multiply the impact of our existing Maternal and Child Health commitments; it will allow Canada to deliver results in development innovation. It will also send an important signal to international partners as we strive toward our collective ambition to fulfill the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

  2. Canada commits to spending at least as much as on ODA the OECD DAC donor average and ensures that spending surpasses recent funding levels of 0.34% of GNI by the end of the 42nd Parliament. Canada has fallen behind our international partners on foreign aid spending. In 2014, Canada’s ODA dropped to historic lows, spending just 0.24% of Gross National Income—compared to the 0.30% that our Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) partners spent. The downward trend of ODA financing that we have experienced since 2012 has resulted in cuts of over US$1 billion. Moving closer to the United Nations’ target of committing 0.7% of GNI to ODA will ensure that Canada is a positive role model globally.

Canada’s commitment to ODA matters to our membership. It also matters to Canadians. Earlier this year, jointly with the Inter-Council Network, we surveyed Canadians and created a report called Canadian Perspectives on International Development. It highlighted that 76% of Canadians consider that Canada’s commitment to global development is a moral issue.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require a multi-sector approach. Canada has demonstrated innovative leadership in engaging the social responsibility and investment of its private sector toward development outcomes, and maximizing its contribution of global development through such blended approaches. Canada’s increased contribution to ODA is a crucial part of the overall strategy: our aid allows our partner countries to build the foundations on which private sector and civil society can thrive. In EWB, you will continue to find a willing and productive collaborator who will continue to actively engage Canadians, the private sector, our colleagues in civil society and leaders in sub-Saharan Africa to champion the multi-sector approach needed to create a thriving and sustainable world. We call on your leadership to defend and increase Canada’s commitment to ODA.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Boris Martin, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Engineers Without Borders Canada