5.2 Making poverty history

The current state of planetary health and equity is not encouraging. Still, progress has been made.  The number of people living in absolute poverty, recently redefined as living on less than U.S. $1.90 a day, has dropped from 1.85 billion in 1990 to a 2017 total of 767 million.  The Sustainable Development Goals, endorsed by Canada, calls for all poverty to be eliminated by 2030.
Canadians have rallied to the call to Make Poverty History. In 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit, Canada re-committed to increasing Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of our gross domestic product (GDP). This commitment presented a target set by Canada three decades earlier. In 1992, Canadian ODA stood at 0.45% of GDP. In the ‘program review’ deficit-cutting era of the Chrétien Liberals, ODA dropped to 0.25% of GDP in 2000/2001. Subsequently, in 2002, Chrétien set a goal for 8% annual increases in ODA.
Despite rhetoric about boosting foreign aid, under Prime Minister Trudeau our ODA has dropped again. From Harper’s 0.28% of GDP in ODA, in 2017, Canada’s level of ODA dropped to 0.26% of GDP.
Meanwhile, a number of industrialized countries have, only within the last few years, met the 0.7% goal. In 2016, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, the UK and Sweden met the target set by former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
Greens will work tirelessly to ensure that Canada meet its commitment to allocate 0.7% of GDP to ODA and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). By offering far less than one one-hundredth of our GDP, we can help our world meet the most basic of goals: to make poverty history, reduce disease, foster democracy, and support ecologically sustainable economies.
We will ensure our commitments for the provision of HIV/AIDS retroviral drugs for Africa is fulfilled, and that Africa will be a significant focus of our development priorities. This will include support for African plans for adaptation to the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change in Africa.

“I said earlier this year that we are ‘sleepwalking towards disaster.’ in truth, it is worse than that − we are asleep at the controls of a fast-moving aircraft. Unless we wake up and take control, the outcome is all too predictable.”

Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General to the United Nations, November 28, 2006

Green Party MPs will:

  • Re-establish CIDA as a stand-alone agency of the Government of Canada;

  • Prioritize the restructuring of ODA delivery while making responsible and consistent increases that will achieve the target of 0.7% of GDP within a decade;

  • Revamp CIDA to focus more on developing community-based green economies, on poverty alleviation and programs to combat and adapt to climate change, especially strengthening its Partnership Branch for the delivery of ODA;

  • Fulfill our commitments for the provision of HIV/AIDS retroviral drugs to Africa;

  • Instruct Canadian embassies and consulates around the world to develop effective and rapid early disaster reconnaissance and assessment capabilities in order to greatly speed up Canadian response time;

  • Oppose using the United Nations R2P doctrine after a natural disaster to force aid relief on governments refusing it, as a military rather than diplomatic solution, as this can be counterproductive;