Why Canadian and African youth are asking Prime Minister Trudeau to increase ODA and #BringCanadaBack

PM Trudeau said “Canada is back.” But we aren't back – we are waaay back – and way behind where we used to be on international development spending.

As citizens in a democratic country, we each have a voice that our government needs to listen and respond to – but when we speak together, we’re more likely to get heard.

This is the power of EWB’s community advocacy.

Recently, we brought 400 young people from Canada, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda together for three days of learning, skills-building, connection, and action at our annual conference, xChange 2018. As one of the three core areas of our work, policy and advocacy was a big part of this.

In a series of workshops, delegates learned how even small actions – like sending a tweet to the Prime Minister or raising awareness about an issue in their community – can lead to systemic change. We explored big questions about international development, including “is official development assistance (ODA) morally right? Does it makes economic sense or provide value for money?” with Canadian policy heavyweights, Julia Sanchez, CEO-President of CCIC and Aniket Bhushan, Lead Analyst and Principal Investigator for the CIDP. Delegates learned how to advocate at the United Nations from internationally renowned youth advocates Roseanne Palmer-White, UK Director of Restless Development, Hajer Sharief, co-founder of ‘Together We Build It’, and Irem Turner, Technical Analyst at the United Nations Population Fund.

We also put our words into action, asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to #BringCanadaBack!

60 years ago, former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson laid the groundwork for the creation of Canada’s international development agency and famously set a standard for how richer countries should invest in and support their global neighbours, establishing the international development spending target of 0.7% of GNI (Gross National Income). While this target inspired many countries to do more to build a better world, it’s a goal Canada has never managed to reach.

In fact, Canada’s contributions have been slipping in recent years.

Right now:

  • Canada’s development assistance is 0.26% of its GNI, which is near an all-time low.
  • While development assistance globally has increased 9% in the past year, according to the OECD, Canada’s contributions have declined by 4%.
  • Canada has the lowest official development assistance (ODA) spending of all Group of Seven (G7) countries.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that “Canada is back.” But Canada isn’t back – we’re waaay back – and way behind where we used to be on international development spending.

In order to support the Feminist International Assistance Policy, fulfill Canada’s global commitments, and truly lead at this year’s G7 Summit (which Canada is hosting in Charlevoix, Quebec, on June 8-9), we’re asking the Prime Minister to increase ODA in Budget 2018 and truly #BringCanadaBack!  

Will you raise your voice too? Write to the Prime Minister, tweet @JustinTrudeau using #BringCanadaBack, and share our videos!

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