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IISD applauds Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy

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Statement from IISD President-CEO Scott Vaughan and Senior Researcher Julie Dekens:

We applaud the Canadian Government’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy as an important step to show that Canada is an international leader on gender equality.

We fully share this new policy’s vision that gender equality is the most effective way to address poverty and achieve a world that is more prosperous, peaceful and inclusive.

Progress toward gender equality is underway, but much more needs to be done. Minister Freeland’s recent statement emphasized why it is worthwhile for Canadians to step up and place the promotion of women’s rights at the core of Canada’s foreign policy priorities.

Her call for multilateralism and a renewed commitment to working together on global challenges like climate change and human rights echoes the adoption by global leaders of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Indeed, the SDGs send a similar message: gender equality is a prerequisite as much as an outcome for sustainable development.

To this end, Global Affairs Canada is placing women and girls at the centre of its international assistance policy. It commits 15 per cent of its bilateral development assistance to projects dedicated to advancing gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment by 2021/22.

IISD is engaged in on-going efforts to mainstream gender within our workplace and make gender equality a priority across our programs. Our work on climate change, energy, and trade and investment already supports the key priorities identified in the new development assistance policy.

For example, we are working to highlight women’s role in decision making on climate change adaptation, particularly in the context of National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes in developing countries.  The NAP Global Network, which we host, is focused on exploring these issues in the Pacific with the support of the Canadian government.

Through our work, we understand that empowered women are important agents for change. Elisabeth Atangana, president of the Cameroon farmers organization, and Special Ambassador for Cooperatives at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), explains what this looks like in practice: “Working with parliaments so they take into account the concern of women farmers to benefit from foreign investment in agriculture contributed to giving us a voice in the national parliaments in Central Africa, and allowed us to sit at the table with our leaders for the first time ever."

IISD looks forward to working with the Government of Canada and its partners around the world to advance this agenda.


About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Established in 1990, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a non-partisan, charitable organization specializing in policy research and analysis, and information exchange. Through their head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and their branches in Ottawa, New York, and Geneva, the Institute champions sustainable development around the world through innovation, partnerships, research and communications. It is dedicated to engaging decision-makers in business, government, non-government organizations and academia on issues around economic and legal frameworks, energy and climate change, water, resilience, and knowledge.

For more information, please contact: Sumeep Bath at sbath@iisd.ca or +1 (204) 958 7700 ext. 740

IISD contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change and energy, natural and social capital, and the enabling role of communication technologies in these areas.