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Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité permanent des affaires étrangères et du développement international

For immediate release



Ottawa, November 03, 2016 -

House of Commons Committee makes recommendations on Canada’s countries of focus.

Today, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development presented a report to the House of Commons entitled: Development Cooperation for a More Stable, Inclusive and Prosperous World: A Collective Ambition.

The Committee assessed the long-standing belief that Canada should concentrate its development assistance in a limited number of countries. The government currently has 25 “countries of focus,” which receive 90% of Canada’s bilateral aid.

During this study, the Committee also considered broader issues related to development policy. That discussion was timely given the government’s ongoing review of Canada’s international assistance.

Given that the government has not produced a detailed evaluation of the effectiveness of the countries of focus approach, the Committee was unable to confirm that Canada’s impact is greater when the government focuses its bilateral assistance in a limited number of countries. The report contends that much more rigorous analysis is needed from the government.

The Committee believes that the rationale for countries of focus should be clear, evidence-based, and transparent, as should decisions about the prioritization of recipients. That is why the government should, in the Committee’s view, evaluate its approach and ensure that it has the policy capacity in place to do so.

The Committee also believes that bilateral aid needs to be part of an ambitious and comprehensive international development policy. As such, the Committee wants to see strategic objectives guiding Canada’s development cooperation for at least the next 15 years. It is also recommending that long-term and predictable funding arrangements be prioritized.

Finally, the Committee is aware of the connection between the policy measures it is recommending and available financial resources. The report acknowledges that the volume of Canada’s aid budget will determine the number of countries and sectors in which Canada can be a top donor and leader. As such, the Committee wants the government to aspire to a plan that would see Canada spending 0.70% of its gross national income on official development assistance by 2030. That would begin with Canada spending 0.35% in 2020.

The report includes a supplementary opinion from the New Democratic Party of Canada.


“I am pleased with the practicality of the recommendations presented in this report. By putting forward a medium and long-term vision regarding Canada’s assistance budget, this report is good step in the right direction. It is also important that long-term and predictable funding be seriously considered as part of Canada’s international assistance policy.” Hon. Robert D. Nault, Chair

“We heard many hours of testimony emphasizing the importance of Canada’s development policy to our partners around the world. As this study confirmed, a targeted, common sense approach to development is critical to making a big impact in the lives of those who need it most.” Mr. Dean Allison, Vice-Chair

“While we support the majority of the recommendations in the report, we recommend that the federal government respect its international obligations by investing 0.7% of its GNI in official development assistance so that the 2030 SDGs are adequately funded.”  — Mme Hélène Laverdière, Vice-Chair

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For more information, please contact:
Angela Crandall, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Tel: 613-996-1540